Tagged: Borussia Dortmund

Bundesliga – Winter Break is here…

No European team can match the league domination that Bayern Munich has shown this year in the Bundesliga.  However, in spite of Die Bayern’s efforts to run away with the title, the German premier division is still awash with fascinating stories.

The race for the remaining Champions League spot could not be closer – five teams are separated by a mere two points.   And no, that excludes Dortmund, who are floundering in the relegation zone.

To set the stage here’s the five teams vying for that third and final spot:  Bayer Leverkusen; Augsburg, Monchengladbach, FC Schalke, and TSG Hoffenheim.

Here’s where they compare with each other in my Composite Possession with Purpose Index:

CPWP STRATEGIC INDEX BUNDESLIGA WEEK 17All five teams in the top half (positive side) of the CPWP Index.  Meaning all five of those teams are, on a regular basis, outperforming their opponent’s in PWP attacking and defending.

From this it would seem pretty obvious that Bayern Munich also stood out way above all others in the CPWP Index.

In addition, it’s good to see the Index also shows a marked difference, in overall team performance, between Wolfsburg and the other five teams battling for the final UEFA Champions League spot.

Of all the leagues I evaluate, using my Possession with Purpose Family of Indices, this League usually shows the best overall correlation.

Meaning, for some, it may be far more predictable – in other words perhaps the Bundesliga is a great league to bet on game results?

If you do that sort of thing here’s what the CPWP Predictability Index looks like:

CPWP PREDICTABILITY INDEX BUNDESLIGA WEEK 17

A reminder – the CPWP Predictability Index was developed after I had some great discussions with folks at the World Conference on Science and Soccer 2014.

Myself, Ben Knapper (Arsenal FC Head of Stats) and others at PROZONE sports all agreed that the Index ‘could?’ have value as a predictability model if Goals Scored/Against data was removed.

The teams with Green Bars are the five teams battling for the third and final UEFA Champions League spot – the Purple Bar, Borussia Dortmund, is highlighted simply because they ‘should’ be winning – given their talent – but they aren’t!

But… could this be a model to actually reinforce Borussia Dortmund still remain a team who can make UEFA Champions League next year even though they are 13 points behind Bayer Leverkusen?  I wonder what the odds are on that?

If you missed my presentation at the WCSS of 2014 here’s a link – in the seven months of this blog it has been my most viewed/read article.

Attacking PWP:

APWP STRATEGIC INDEX BUNDESLIGA WEEK 17

Here again the top two teams are tops in the Index.

For those thinking the best in attack is what drives success it appears FC Schalke and then Bayer Leverkusen are best situated to push forward – while Augsburg slides way back towards Borussia Dortmund.

In taking a look at FC Schalke versus Bayer Leverkusen what separates them in this Index seems pretty interesting.

  • Schalke average more total passes by volume (452 to 399) but within the Opponent’s Defending Final Third Leverkusen average more passes (155 to 120).
  • To go with that, Leverkusen averages more possession (52% to 50%) but lower overall passing accuracy both within and outside the Opponent’s Defending Final Third (68%/57% compared to Schalke at 76%/61%.
  • Meaning Schalke offer more passes, accurately, prior to entering the Final Third while also offering fewer, more accurate passes, once they’ve penetrated.

Looked at from a Leverkusen viewpoint – Bayer actually possesses the ball more – but is less accurate in that possession.  In addition they also look to penetrate far more frequently than Schalke.

When digging into the shots area – Schalke show more patience in taking fewer shots by volume and percentage but both teams end up with roughly the same volume of Shots on Goal and Goals Scored per Shots on Goal (36% for Leverkusen and 34% for Schalke).

  • Put another way – each team shows different statistical trends in possession, accuracy, penetrating, creating, and taking shots but their overall results are the same.
  • Reinforcing, at least in my view, there are a number of different systematic approaches that will get you to the same place.

Before moving on to Defending PWP I think there is value in taking a look at Augsburg.  Earlier this week I did an article on Major League Soccer called “Getting More from Less“.

The intent was to see who did better last year, in MLS, in getting better results with lower team performance.  My gut-check example to quantifying the results in MLS was West Ham and their Direct Attacking nature.

What I determined was a team who averaged fewer passes than the League Average (both within and outside the Opponent’s Defending Final Third) with less than 50% possession could be reasonably called a Direct Attacking Team.

In looking at Augsburg here’s their attacking data as it fits that mold.

Overall dead on average in Possession at 50%.

Passing Accuracy (entire pitch), 73% – less than the League Average of 74.25%.

Passing Accuracy within the Opponent’s Defending Final Third (56%) – less than the League Average of 57%.

In looking at volume – Total Average Passes for Augsburg was 413 – the League Average was 435

Total Passes within the Opponent’s Defending Final Third for Augsburg was 114 – the League Average 126.

So on the surface it would appear that Augsburg shows the tendency to play more Direct Attacking, as opposed to a Counter-Attacking ‘tactic’, within a Possession-based game.

For Augsburg – they’ve had eight games that have followed the mode of Direct Attacking – they’ve won five of those games.  Pretty solid in getting more from less – but can they sustain that?

The West Ham review showed they have won 7 games out of 11 games where their team averages fell into the Direct Attacking mode.

It would seem Augsburg are almost as successful (percentage wise) in matching West Ham when it comes to winning games where their performance falls below League Average… (63.63% for West Ham versus 62.5% for Augsburg).

Defending PWP:

DPWP STRATEGIC INDEX BUNDESLIGA WEEK 17

Augsburg, like West Ham, are pretty high up in the Defending PWP Index (Hammers are 6th best in the EPL DPWP Index versus Augsburg who are 4th best here).

So the value of a higher team performance in defending helps sustain success with the lower volumes offered up in attack.

Meaning the will of Augsburg rides more with a collaborative approach, in overall team play, than strictly an attack dominated performance.

Monchengladbach is next highest here, while TSG Hoffenheim doesn’t seem to shine in either Index.

I’d expect some long odds on TSG making that third and final UEFA Champions League spot…

So what separates Monchengladbach from TSG?

  • Goals Against – for Monchemgladbach their GA is .94 – for TSG it’s 1.47 – is that down to Mochengladbach simply having a better Goalie?
  • Maybe… their opponent’s actually average more Shots on Goal (5.35) compared to TSG, whose opponent’s average 4.5 Shots on Goal.

Opponents for both teams average total passes, both within and outside the Defending Final Third, greater than the League Average – so by and large most opponents are playing possession based attacking against these two sides.

Where it gets interesting is the volume of successful passes by their opponents after they’ve entered their Defending Final Third.

  • In the case of TSG, the opponents average 20 fewer successful passes, with almost the same amount of shots taken and shots on goal.
  • Meaning, to me, TSG are finding themselves out of position more often as the screws tighten – hence the greater Goals Against.

In other words one team may be playing more man-to-man while another team may be playing more zonal?

I’m not sure which – those with video or access to X,Y coordinates may know that better?

Anyhow – clearly the data points towards one team having a different defensive scheme that may also include Mochengladbach simply having a much better Goal Keeper.

In Closing:

Half the season remains and while Bayern is basically blowing the Bundesliga away there are others who are still making this league worthy to watch.

Will it be the West Ham of the Bundesliga (Augsburg)?  Can Borussia Dortmund pull it back?  How about the other challengers who appear more steady, like FC Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, or Monchengladbach?

And does TSG Hoffenhein really have a chance as well?  For some I bet UEFA Champions League is the goal for next year – but others might also be shooting for Europa too.

And this doesn’t even broach the topic about who gets relegated – Might that Borussia Dortmund ends up in that race instead?  Wow…….

Jürgen Klopp would get clobbered if that happens!

More to follow…

Best, Chris

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You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp

 

UEFA Champions League – Some great games coming!!!

The greatest professional team soccer competition continues…

But before digging into the Possession with Purpose Family of Indices some general news for consideration.

As the PWP Indices have shown such a strong correlation/relationship to the league tables without using points earned, in ALL competitions measured, I want to try a create a quantifiable way to measure “luck”.   More to follow…

Anyhow, here’s my updated Strategic Composite PWP Index after the Group Stages are completed:

CPWP Strategic Index Group Stages CompletedA few explanations to better understand the diagram – I have paired up the teams (color coordinated them) to show the match-ups for the knock-out stages.

This way others can get an idea of how their team CPWP, APWP, and DPWP Indices compare.

I won’t go so far as to say that the team expected to win has their color first but I would offer it may give you an inkling of who might be favored to advance.

Finally, the red bars represent those teams that did not move on to the knock-out stages.

The knock-out stage pairings:

Barcelona play Manchester City.

FC Porto play FC Basel.

FC Bayern Munchen play Shakter Donetsk.

Real Madrid play FC Schalke.

Chelsea play Paris Saint Germain.

Borussia Dortmund play Juventus.

Atletico Madrid play Bayer Leverkusen.

Monaco play Arsenal.

So here is how the teams compare in the Strategic Attacking Index:

APWP Strategic Index Group Stages Completed

A few observations…

I’m a firm believer that Defense wins Championships – but I’m also not willing to ignore how effective team attacking performance is in relationship to team defending.

With Barcelona, Bayern, Porto, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Real Madrid being slightly head-and-shoulders above the rest, in attack, it’s likely those teams will put on a great performance.

All told I’d offer those teams will work towards a possession based attack – especially seeing their opponents.  I’d also offer up that Juventus is likely to work towards that style as well.

Teams like Schalke, Dortmund, Donetsk, Leverkusen, Man City, and PSG can show willingness to possess the ball but I think they will cede somewhat more this stage than in the Group Stages.

Teams like Atletico Madrid, FC Basel, and Monaco are )highly) likely to continue to cede possession and play for a swift counter-attacking (almost direct attacking) style of soccer.

Now for the Strategic Defending PWP Index:

DPWP Strategic Index Group Stages Completed

FC Porto have been best, with Bayern, Monaco, Dortmund, Real Madrid, and Barcelona not far behind…

If there is an anticipated blow-out I’d offer Real Madrid is the team most likely to win big – with Porto next up against Basel and Atletico Madrid handling Bayer pretty easily.

As for the others – way too close to call in my opinion – and I’d imagine a huge audience on telly for the Man City/Barcelona match-up – and you can be sure I’ll be watching The Arsenal take on Monaco!

In Closing:

As I noted going into this competition – all these teams are good – what follows as pucker time nears – is the separation of good from great…

If you want a taste on my approach in measuring luck – consider this – Athletic Club had just seven points earned yet they were 7th best in team defending performance and 13th best in the overall Composite Index performance…  if any team was unlucky, in the Group Stages, it was Athletic Club.

On the flip side – if any team was lucky, in the Group Stages, it was FC Basel (who also had just seven points earned) – they were 16th best in team defending performance, 22nd best in team attacking performance, and 20th best in overall Composite Index performance.

Best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP – Trademark

You can follow me on twitter @chrisgluckpwp

UEFA Champions League – Bundesliga Throws down the Guantlet

FC Bayern Munchen and Borussia Dortmund take a big leap in working towards the knockout stages as each sit on six points, along with Real Madrid.

Others falling in line for a push into the knockout stages include Roma, Chelsea, Monaco, Paris Saint Germain (stunner that was), Zenit St. Petersburg and FC Porto.

In seeing those results here’s how the Possession with Purpose Strategic Composite Index (CPWP) shows:

CPWP Strategic Index Group Stages Through Game 2

Of the teams with six points – all three fall within the top five of the Index,  For those on four points, each, only Paris Saint Germain falls in the negative end of the Index.

Clearly the statistical impact of playing Barcelona is painful – and the orange star above Nicosia also highlights how far down the Index they are after that 6-1 thumping in Game 1.  Yet now they’ve won their second game and sit on three points…

From a statistical standpoint the CPWP Index, correlation to average points earned, (R2) is .69 – very reasonable given only two games worth of data.

Oddly enough; and this doesn’t happen very much – the DPWP Index R2 (-.60) was slightly stronger than Goals Against (-.53); normally it’s about 5 one-hundreth’s of a point lower.

The Goal Differential R2 is .76; still the single best indicator that reflects results but doesn’t tell you anything about the internal activities of the game like the PWP Family of Indices.

Moving on – Defending PWP first:

DPWP Strategic Index Group Stages Through Game 2Like the other DPWP Indices for the other leagues I analyze – I’ve adjusted the Y axis to begin at 1.5, as opposed to 0, in order to magnify the differences between those teams that don’t perform well versus those teams that do.

Note both Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munchen are 1 -2 in the DPWP Index – while Real Madrid are 11th best – is that an early indicator that Real’s attack (see below) isn’t going to get them past a much tighter defensive network offered by the two German clubs?

As for other observations – I’d say it’s pretty clear that Benfica, Ludogorets, and CSKA Moscow are toast – all three are 7th worst or worse in team defending… nevermind they all sit on nil-pwa.

Moving on to the APWP Index, with some additional diagrams to sweeten the observations:

APWP Strategic Index Group Stages Through Game 2

As noted above, Real Madrid are much better in team performance for attacking versus defending – for the most part teams that defend better advance further in competitions like these.  I’d imagine Real will need to play a whole lot tighter if they are to succeed.

And what about Barcelona?

Wow – it’s unlikely they don’t advance but it should be an electrifying wake up call that possession for the sake of possession is not going to cut it in the Champions League this year.

This league is a far cry more skilled than La Liga – a reminder on how Barcelona looks in overall CPWP for La Liga is below…  you’re not in Kansas anymore Toto!

CPWP Strategic Index Week 9 La Liga

Okay – now a few extra diagrams for your consideration:

APWP Strategic Index Final Third Passes Greater Than 132 Through Game 2

First off – here’s what the APWP looks like when you filter the teams based upon the volume of passes attempted in the Opponent’s Final Third; in this diagram here’s the teams who have exceeded (the average) of 132 passes attempted.

Those teams with red bars are those that sit on zero or one point; those with yellow bars are teams sitting on two or three points, while those with green bars have four or six points.

Of course it’s unlikely that Barcelona doesn’t advance – but the same can’t be said for Arsenal.

In this diagram Arsenal are 2nd best in APWP – when looking at the diagram for Final Third passes attempted below 132 note where Arsenal is -(last in APWP).

Clearly they perform much better when they attempt to penetrate more – that style of play where more is more in the EPL seems to translate to Arsenal doing better here too.

Whether that holds true for all teams in the Group stages is unclear – I’m sure we’ll see soon enough.

Before moving on; note that there are seven teams in this diagram who exceed 132 passes in at least one game – while four teams sit on one or zero points.

That’s not the case here where the APWP Index is filtered based upon teams/games where passes attempted in the Final Third fall below the average:

APWP Strategic Index Final Third Passes Less Than 132 Through Game 2

Only four teams here have four or six points – actually all four of them sit on four points.

I don’t know (yet) if this is more or less impacted by how the opponent dictates play – nor do I know if this is more or less impacted by how the attacking team dictates play…  More to follow on that one.

Note the high volume of teams with red bars in the lower end of APWP when pass attempts in the Final Third fall below 132 – the lone wolf at the bottom end is Arsenal – kind of reaffirming the need for them to sustain a high passing volume game in order to maximize their team attacking talents.

In Closing:

All for now – only two games in and detailed statistical analysis really isn’t worthy at this time – for the most part it is what it is…

The teams not best suited to do well in this competition are beginning to appear – Game three begins 21 October – should be exciting and the special match-ups I see might not be yours.

Here’s the ones that intrigue me given the state of affairs today:

  • Roma at home to FC Bayern Munchen
  • Barcelolna at home to Ajax
  • FC Schalke at home to Sporting Lisbon
  • BATE Borisov at home to Shaktar Donetsk
  • FC Porto at home to Athletic Club
  • Atletico de Madrid at home to Malmo FF
  • Liverpool at home to Real Madrid
  • Beyer Leverkusen at home to Zenit St Petersburg

Exactly – that’s almost all the games – well you’re right 😉

Looking forward to that round and any upsets that might occur like Paris Saint Germain beating Barcelona 3-2.

Best, Chris

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Bundesliga – Possession with Purpose Indices after Week 1

Most should know I’ve embarked on creating my Possession with Purpose Indices for the English Premier League this season; plus my continuing adventure in Major League Soccer; up new for this coming football season will be my weekly review on the Bundesliga…

…my continuing adventure in determining the value of this highly successful Index approach for MLS.

So; without further ado — here’s the Composite PWP (CPWP) Index after Week 1 in the Bundesliga:

CPWP Bundesliga Week 1

Like the first week results in the English Premier League no observations or comments at this time – as the season progresses this should take better shape and it’s highly unlikely Borussia Dortmund will find themselves on the tail end of this – or any other index; unless they completely fall apart.

For now, here’s the Attacking PWP (APWP) Index in all its glory:

APWP Bundesliga Week 1

 

And then the Defending PWP (DPWP) Index in all its glory:

DPWP Bundesliga Week 1

Four other products for your further consideration include Passing Accuracy across the Entire Pitch, Passing Accuracy within and into the Final Third, and then how the opponents do against the team listed…

All are in order (left to right —> best to worst)…

Passing Accuracy Bundesliga Week 1

Final Third Passing Accuracy Bundesliga Week 1

 

Opponent Passing Accuracy Bundesliga Week 1

Opponent Final Third Passing Accuracy Bundesliga Week 1

 

As noted in my initial PWP analysis on the English Premier League – it’s early days and since I don’t watch any Bundesliga games my objectivity will not be clouded by emotion – no favorites just the raw data on strategic team performance…

“getting the job done – in whatever fashion is needed – cradle to grave”…

And unlike other approaches – no adjustments here; no qualifying data to fit into some other formula and no “predictable” expectations without having at least 15 games worth of data for every single team… to do that violates my 95% confidence level requirements going in…

Hope you enjoy as the season unfolds…

Best, Chris

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