Tagged: Bundesliga

La Liga – Week 2 – Who’s going to keep up with Barcelona?

Even when it’s early days there are just some things that already make themselves clear – Barcelona are the team to beat in La Liga.

I’m sure FC Bayern would like that simplicity in the Bundesliga but not so…

How many pretenders are contenders in the English Premier League is also another story… but Chelsea have certainly opened up well.

If you’re reading about Possession with Purpose for the first time click this link to get more details on this comprehensive team attacking and defending Index.

For the first time, this year, I am using this analytical approach to measure team performance in the English Premier League, the Bundesliga, and La Liga.

With that, here’s my Composite PWP Strategic Index on La Liga, after Week 2:


A reminder – the Composite Strategic Index is a measure of the difference between the Attacking PWP Index and Defending PWP Index; as such it’s intent is to offer a comprehensive (strategic) view of how teams perform in those areas without taking into account specific individual accomplishments…

For me, teams win and teams lose, to quantify that one individual has that much power is (usually) inappropriate.

But like Ice Hockey and Wayne Gretzky, there is Lionel Messi in Soccer and – at least for now – it is reasonable to assume that Barcelona are really-really good because he’s on the team.

Fair dues but, here’s the thing, Messi doesn’t usually pass the ball to himself (most of the time) ūüėČ ¬†so there are ten other guys who do touch the ball.

That said there were a number of transfers this past week so some teams are lining up to try and get past Barcelona – I guess we’ll see how that goes. ¬†For now though, Barcelona are alone at the top.

If you like statistics know that after Week 2 the R2 for the La Liga CPWP Index is (.64); pretty good, not as solid as the R2 for the MLS CPWP Index (.80) but it does appear to have relevance to the League Table without including points for wins or draws.

Before moving on to the Attacking PWP Index here’s a quick snap shot on team passing accuracy in La Liga after two weeks; that’s not a mathematical calculation error – Barcelona is averaging 90%:


If you read my recent article on the Bundesliga you’ll know that the average Passing Accuracy for the league was 73.98%, in Major League Soccer it’s 77.10%, in the EPL, it’s a whopping 80.87%, while in La Liga it’s 77.59%.

If you had to rack and stack the leagues, given Passing Accuracy as being a top indicator of quality, clearly the EPL has the best average (top to bottom) of those four leagues.

So in getting back to the original question – who’s going to stay with Barcelona this year?

I’d expect Real Madrid for starters – obvious reason they spend loads of money but is there a team hiding in the weeds like Atletico Madrid did last year?

To be honest, I have no clue yet, but consistency of purpose is a good thing and at least two teams have shown some good form, compared to most others early on; Valencia and Athletic Club.

But since they have yet to play Barcelona or Real Madrid it’s almost “mere” speculation.

In looking at the Attacking PWP Index here’s how they stand:


Valencia lead this side of the equation but like the Major League Soccer APWP, this is subject to change as more teams go head-to-head with each other.

Another observation about this Index is that this one is a much better reflection of the opponent played against – in other words there are teams that purposefully cede possession – when that occurs these numbers will be influenced.

For example, through choice or no choice,  Villarreal has averaged just ~36% possession with ~74% passing accuracy whereas Real Madrid has averaged ~60% possession with 85% passing accuracy.

Teams that have played those teams will have their Index numbers influenced more, in some areas, than teams like Sevilla or Deportivo, who have averaged near 50% possession with near 75% passing accuracy.

However viewed, early form has just as much value in garnering three points as late form does; if a Head Coach has his team switched on the pressure should really be no different.

Will Valencia, Deportivo and Celta continue to stay near the top in APWP?  Hard to say but we will see.

In looking for early season contrasts, in attacking and defending, the team with the biggest Dr. Jeykl and Mr. Hyde appears to be Atletico Madrid:


In team attacking, they are bottom of the Index, in team defending they are 3rd best…

If I had to hazard a guess I’d imagine Atletico Madrid have got the appropriate focus on team defending – what they will need to secure a stronger position will be better team attacking.

I guess we’ll see how that matures, as well, this season.

In Closing:

It’s early days but it’s pretty clear the overwhelming amount of possession, with an extremely high rate of passing accuracy, will keep Barcelona at or near the top – provided they can generate shots and score goals; hard to imagine they won’t given the sheer quantity in quality…

All for now, best, Chris

COPYRIGHT РAll Rights Reserved.  PWP РTrademark.

Bundesliga – Bayer Leverkusen showing early

It’s still early days in the Bundesliga, but like the English Premier League, early starts do have value – and three points dropped now is no different than three points dropped two months from now.

So what’s the value of an Index after just two weeks? ¬†Well it does provide a reasonable place to begin tracking trends as each month passes by.

For now the early leader in overall team performance is Bayer Leverkusen, and while I’m not tracking the Champions League, yet, their early form in qualifying, and in the Bundesliga, should concern Bayern Munich.

So how do the teams look so far (excluding the league table)?


Not really enough information yet to separate the cream from the milk.

And sadly, since this is my first ever dig into the Bundesliga I have no recall about previous years; that’s probably a weakness as the season starts but I’m inclined to believe my lack of historical knowledge on the league may add some objective value on how things begin to play out later this year.

For now know that the Composite Possession with Purpose Index has an R2 of .57 to the League Table, compared to the CPWP Index in the EPL – which has an R2 of .79 and the CPWP Index for La Liga – which has an R2 of .65.

Finally, and perhaps more relative from a statistical standpoint the R2 for the Major League Soccer CPWP Index is .79

All told that’s pretty reasonable.

In looking at the Attacking PWP, so far, here’s the teams operating at peak performance in attack (left side) versus those who have an early season challenge:


With Bayer Leverkusen being top of the CPWP it’s no surprise they are near top here as well as Defending PWP.

What I’d like to point out is Hertha – here they are fourth best in overall APWP – yet they fifth worst in CPWP – it’s probably fair to say that if their defending team performance can improve they should actually do well in the league…??? ¬†Others who follow Hertha might know better.

Defending PWP Index:


As noted, Hertha are bottom of the league in team defending performance – also note Borussia Dortmund are far down this scale as well… ¬†

Before closing – in Major League Soccer a soundbite that seems to have more value than possession percentage is overall Passing Accuracy – that league averages 77.10% in Passing Accuracy, and the winning teams are those who most often exceed that average.

For comparison, here’s the early season numbers for the Bundesliga:

PASSING ACCURACY 2014 WEEK 2 BUNDESLIGAThe average Passing Accuracy is 73.98% – I’m somewhat surprised by that – a major difference in this league is that there are five teams that exceed 80% in Passing Accuracy and only two teams in MLS that exceed 80%.

Of additional note – in MLS the high percent is 81.26% and the low percent is 72.92% – for the Bundesliga the high percent is 84.86% – while the low percent is 63.13%.

Without any other information I’d offer the level of competition, as a whole, is more equal in MLS than in the Bundesliga.

In Closing:

This should be an interesting year and I’m looking forward to the comparisons I’ll be able to offer between leagues separated by that big pond called the Atlantic.

In case you missed it here’s the latest on the English Premier League where Chelsea are showing early, as are Swansea City and Aston Villa.

If you’re not familiar with Possession with Purpose read here:

All for now, best, Chris

COPYRIGHT, All Rights Reserved.  PWP РTrademark


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

COPYRIGHT, ALL Rights Reserved.  PWP, Trademark.