The German elite class is in the winter break. The perfect time to review the first few months of the season. Because the table doesn’t say everything about the performance level of the teams.
Due to the changed schedule due to the Corona, the Bundesliga clubs were only able to play 13 games by Christmas. However, this number is almost optimal for making a well-founded forecast for the rest of the season from the available statistical figures. Because the analysis of numbers is playing an increasingly important role in professional football. Who is moving forward the most? Which player is the most likely to cause dangerous moments in front of the opposing goal? Such detailed questions are answered in this t-online analysis.
The math professor and recognized soccer analyst David Sumpter spoke only a few weeks ago in the podcast “The Football Pod” about the fact that certain calculation models are most meaningful at this point in the season. Sumpter referred in particular to the so-called “expected goals”, internationally known as “expected goals” or simply “xG”. Based on historical data, they evaluate to what extent a team was lucky or unlucky with its own goals and conceded goals and thus over or underperformed a little.
And it should state on the basis of empirical values how likely it was to hit from a certain shooting position under the given conditions (for example the part of the body or the type of template; editor’s note). The value has little significance for a single shot, but it does for a large number of shots.
Dortmund is statistically the best team
In this category, which analysts consider important, Borussia Dortmund is in first place during the winter break. The stumbling BVB had a lot of bad luck, especially when they conceded. According to the statistics provider “Fbref.com”, the expected value was 13.6, but Dortmund received 18 hits, which is significantly more. Overall, BVB developed an advantage of 1.11 expected goals per game and is therefore the front runner shortly before RB Leipzig, the actual league leaders Bayern Munich and the surprise team from Union Berlin, which is probably not a one-shot.
|Difference in expected goals per game||Expected goals||Real goals||Expected goals conceded||Real goals conceded|
That doesn’t mean that Dortmund can sit back and just wait for their luck to return – especially since a good goal difference does not automatically mean a high score. But this value already shows that BVB should be in a better position and should make up ground over the rest of the season.
To explain: The “Expected Goals” value is the best evidence of the efficiency of strikers. It quantifies how often a shot on goal is possible on average from a certain position. The highest value has a penalty, which is 76 percent a goal. Long shots from outside the penalty area usually have a probability of less than ten percent. The goal chances of every player can be evaluated objectively according to this scheme.
Neuer and Casteels are the best keepers
At the same time, contrary to popular belief, Dortmund is a team that can gain a lot of space. Only Bavaria has gained more space with passports than BVB.
Another factor in attacking play is always the player who brought the most passes into the opposing penalty area: in this case, Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho (36). The second best player in this ranking is Leipzig’s shooting star Angeliño at 29.
Koen Casteels: the goalkeeper of VfL Wolfsburg. (Source: Joachim Sielskie / imago images)
A completely different category: One of the most aggressive goalkeepers is Bielefeld’s Stefan Ortega, who was able to achieve the highest space gain of all goalkeepers with his passes. When it comes to keeping your own box clean, two of them played exceptionally well in the first phase of the season: Manuel Neuer and Wolfsburg’s Koen Casteels. That too can be measured based on the expected goals. Both received significantly fewer hits than was to be expected based on the shots. It certainly has to do with luck, but both have been at the forefront of this category for a long time, which suggests that there is also a lot of quality behind them.
Leverkusen is the king of speed
As far as the teams’ playing styles are concerned, two things stand out: Bayer Leverkusen are most likely to pick up the pace when they have the ball themselves. According to the provider Twenty3, the Leverkusen team performed an average of 12 so-called “game accelerations” per game. Only FC Augsburg can keep up with 10.5.
Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey (r.): The two offensive players from Leverkusen are among the fastest players in the Bundesliga and keep tighter pace in the Werkself game. (Source: Mika Volkmann / imago images)
The biggest back and forth seems to be at Werder Bremen. The green and whites lose the ball dangerously four times in their own half per game, but also win the leather more than five times in a promising position in the opposing half. Ball wins are an omnipresent element in Bremen’s games.
Of course, at first glance, it’s just a number game. But these values are important for the clubs. Because the coaching teams are constantly trying to find out what’s wrong – whether it’s the speed, the verticality, the defensive pressure or something completely different.
Your own memory can only be of limited use in such evaluations, which is why statistical analysis has now assumed a prominent place in professional football. It is no coincidence that top teams like Liverpool or RB Leipzig are at the forefront here.