Tagged: Mainz

Bundesliga – Who’s best after four weeks?

Perhaps still too early?  I don’t think so – at least not with who’s the best – clearly FC Bayern Munchen are firing on all cylinders.  So…………

What to do?

Well, I’ll be ignoring FC Bayern Munchen in this effort because they are simply head and shoulders above everyone else…  give me about another month or so and I’ll do a special week on Bayern.

For now my focus goes to FSV Mainz (eight points), TSG Hoffenheim (eight points) and FC Paderborn (eight points).

And yes, there are games being played this week where the data you are offered will not be up-to-date —> I gotta have a stop/start point somewhere – so I chose Monday evening… 🙂

Now, to begin, here’s my customary link for those new or wanting a refresh on Possession with Purpose – An Introduction and Explanations…

And now my CPWP Strategic Index through Week 4:

CPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 4

CPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 4

I’m not sure the clarity can be any more clear that Bayern is clearly the leader in PWP.

For now it’s worthy to note that my PWP End State, ””try to match the league table as close as possible without using points”’ looks pretty good as the 6 best teams in CPWP match the six best teams in the Bundelisga League Table – not one-for-one, but close enough to again lend credence to this effort.

Statistically speaking, the correlation (R2) to average points in the league table is .75; still strong.

Will these teams stay in these positions as the season wears on?  Maybe Bayern will but the others?  Probably not – but it helps to begin peeling back info on certain teams now to get a better sense of their progress (success or failure) for the future…

Anyhow – time to peel back the attack of Hoffenheim, Paderborn, and Mainz in my APWP Strategic Index:

APWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 4

APWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 4

It should be worthy to note that Hoffenheim, Mainz, and Paderborn fall below Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin, and Wolfsburg – in short what that means is the three teams I’m focusing on have better team defending performances than those other three teams… 

Defense usually wins out when both teams are good in attack – so it will be interesting to see how these teams compare as the season progresses; for now here’s some key attacking statistics I’ve seen w/r/t Hoffenheim, Mainz, and Paderborn:

  • Passing Accuracy – a surprise here for me is that all three of these teams, average in passing accuracy, falls below the league average of 74.13%; Hoffenheim ~66%, Mainz ~72%, and Paderborn ~71%.
  • At first glance, without watching any of their games, I’d offer these three teams tend to play counter-attacking football where the intent is to take advantage of the opponent getting out of position.  Another indicator to support that is overall possession – Mainz sits on ~49%; while Paderborm and Hoffenheim are lowest and 3rd lowest in the Bundesliga, respectively (37.69% and 42.96%).
  • Without looking ahead, a key indicator to me that supports my initial view is the volume of passes the opponent has in their Defending Final Third – more later…
  • In terms of Shots Taken per penetrating possession – Hoffenheim are below average (resembling teams that I’d attribute the word patience to) at 15.38%, while both Mainz and Paderborn are slightly above average (21.75% and 22.03% respectively).
  • When it comes to converting Shots Taken to Shots on Goal – Hoffenheim, again, is below average (~28%) while both Mainz and Paderborn are above average (~48% and ~38% respectively).
  • In looking at Goals Scored – all the teams are above average with Hoffenheim the highest (~60%) – while Paderborn is next up at ~40% and Mainz (9th overall) at ~33%.

What’s all that mean?

  • Well it appears to me that Hoffenheim best represent a team who counter-attacks but does so with caution/patience – in other words there isn’t as much ‘abandon’ in their run of play when penetrating…  i.e.  they look to catch their opponent out of position, and when they do they are very good at executing in that small window of opportunity.
  • Perhaps someone who watches Hoffenheim more closely can add some thoughts in the comments section?
  • With respect to Paderborn and Mainz; again, without seeing them play, I’d offer they adopt a slightly riskier (more direct?) approach to penetration when they can.
  • And that increase in risk may drive down their patience and accuracy in creation and generation of shots – which in turn drives down their efficiency in goal scoring based upon their volume of shots on goal.

It should be noted, however, that all three teams have eight points after four games – and given those apparent strategies is it surprising to see that FSV Mainz and Paderborn drew 2-2 the first game of the season?

In moving on to my DPWP Strategic Index:

DPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 4

DPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Week 4

Recall that Hertha Berlin, Werder Bremen, and Wolfsburg were all stronger in APWP than the three teams I’m focusing on this week – when viewing DPWP, Hertha is bottom, Werder Bremen is 2nd bottom and Wolfsburg are almost near mid-Index…

On the other hand Paderborn, TSG Hoffeneheim, and FSV Mainz are all in the top half… kind of continues to reinforce that a team who defends better will get better results…

So here’s a look at the volume of passes and passing accuracy percentage for their opponent’s in their Defending Final Third.

  • Here, I expected these numbers to be slightly higher than others – to indicate some ceding of possession and space higher up the defending final third.
  • Of the three, Paderborn had the lowest percentage of opponent penetration in their defending final third (19.46%) while ceding the 6th highest volume of passes in their defending final third (131 per game)
  • Hoffenheim yields the 5th highest percentage of opponent penetration in their own defending third (24.68%) while yielding the 4th highest volume of passes (134.50 per game) in their own final third.
  • Mainz yields the 6th highest percentage of opponent penetration in their own defending third (24.40%) while yielding the 11th highest volume of passes in their own defending final third.

All told it would appear that all three teams do cede possession and penetration into their defending final third more than most other teams.

In looking at the bottom line (opponent goals scored per game) Hoffenheim average .5 Goals Against while Mainz and Paderborn (before the Bayern thrashing) averaged 1.00 Goals Against per game.

In Closing:

What is missing?

  • Borussia Dortmund… wow – talk about a slot start.
  • How well these teams perform on the road versus at home – not enough data yet really.
  • How each of the teams do against FC Bayern Munchen – playing Bayern will (usually) negatively impact performance.
  • Actually being able to watch the games to pulse the statistical expectations based upon lessons learned from tracking statistics and watching the English Premier League and Major League Soccer – this is where I need your help.
  • Overall, simply more data – it’s almost rude to expect that four games of data is going to provide anything other than a great start point to begin trending as week 12 or 13 approaches.
  • Can you Adam and Eve it on this strike by Moritz Stoppelkamp, a player from FC Paderborn, – statistics simply can’t account for a goal scored like that!

Next up a look at La Liga and then Expected Wins 3… a statistical look at differences between teams that win, lose or draw in the EPL, MLS, Bundeliga, La Liga, that includes a review of the World Cup 2014 outputs…

Best, Chris

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Bundesliga – Week 3 – Relegation Discussion Already? U Bet!

No doubt Bayern Munich will continue their disciplined march to the top of the Bundesliga League Table;  a few teams like, Borussia Dortmund, or even Hannover 96, might have something to say about that.

Before getting started on this week’s update though; a reminder for those who wish to refresh, or learn anew, what Possession with Purpose is all about, click this Introduction.

Now, for today, I’m going to take a look at some pending relegation battles from two points of view; my standard approach on PWP and then a split view in how the teams compare when filtering CPWP based upon the volume of passes teams offer.

So with Week three in the history books, here’s the five teams who have failed to get a good start on Points: SC Freiburg, Hertha Berlin, FC Schalke 04, Vfb Stuttgart, and Hamburger.

My traditional Compositive Possession with Purpose (CPWP) Strategic Index:

CPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Through Week 3

The top three in the Index also match the top three in the League Table; the correlation to average Points earned (R2) after Week three is (.74). 

Early days still, but (okay) strong when comparing to average points per game.  So you know – Goal Differential – the single, most consistent statistic relative to points, R2 is .94…

As for the other end of the Bundesliga League Table?  Well…  here we go.

  1. SC Freiburg – not bad for starters; although with just one point they do appear to be holding their head above water when it comes to having a positive CPWP Index number; that means their Attacking PWP outweighs their Defending PWP (how good the opponent does against them).
  2. Hertha Berlin – hmmm; not so good but not bottom, yet…???
  3. FC Schalke 04 – again, like Hertha Berlin, their difference between APWP and DPWP is not so good…
  4. Vfb Stuttgart – bottom dweller!?  Is THIS the early sign of things to come?  How long before changes are made – or will they be made?  I don’t know – guess we will see.
  5. Hamburger – same hear, hopefully for Hambuger supporters this team won’t be minced meat all season long…

So how have these five teams opened the season in the Attacking PWP Strategic Index (APWP)?

APWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Through Week 3
A surprise perhaps to see Hertha so high? 

At first glance… Hertha Berlin are pretty close to being up top in attack – if you follow Major League Soccer you’ll know that the Portland Timbers are a very strong attacking side – but, they are also pretty poor in defending.  Will that strong attack carry the day?

As for the others:

  1. SC Freiburg – again, not bad for starters; mid-Index so plenty of room to go higher or… lower!?
  2. FC Schalke 04 – just a tick below SC Freiburg… nothing overly compelling one way or the other yet; so plenty of room for them to show improvement against others as well.
  3. Vfb Stuttgart – near bottom dweller! Not a good sign; but on the bright side it may provide a great contrast if improvements in attacking are made.
  4. Hamburger – changing places – this time they are the bottom dwellers.  Does this mean devastating attacks are a rare thing?  Probably…  We’ll know more about their consistency of purpose, or lack thereof, as the season unfolds.

Moving on to the Defending PWP Strategic Index (DPWP):

DPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Through Week 3So Bayern Munich are at the top –  as are Hannover… hmmm – when do those guys play?  Saturday, October 4… 6:30 AM PST I think…  for those in Germany, I have no clue…

So how about those five teams in DPWP?

  1.  SC Freiburg – near the top (5th best) – that’s probably a good thing for Freiburg supporters.  I personally think it’s better to have a better defending team than attacking team – usually a better defense keeps a team from relegation.
  2. Hertha Berlin – where Hertha Berlin were fourth best in attack – they are now worst in defending.  Might that comparison with the Portland Timbers, in MLS, be true?  Hard to say – but the opponent penetration, shots taken, shots on goal and goals scored against will be something to watch for as the season unfolds.
  3. FC Schalke 04 – near bottom – all told, kinda in the middle of near bottom and near middle; perhaps ‘consistency in being near worst’, as opposed to worst, keeps them from being relegated?
  4. Vfb Stuttgart – not as low as Hertha, nor FC Schalke, but something to consider if they remain consistently bad in defending against their opponents.
  5. Hamburger – If I were a Hamburger supporter I’d be feeling a bit better seeing that Hamburger are above average when it comes to defending.  Defense wins Championships, and as such, you would expect good defending, on a regularl basis, to help them survive relegation.

Okay… with that offered here’s a slightly different view of CPWP.

I’m going to apply a filter, before hand, to see which of these five teams performs better or worse when it comes to the volume of passes they have in their games.

First up is a look at the CPWP Index where the volume of passes in a game exceeds the league average of 427:

CPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Through Week 3 Passes Greater Than 427

When Frieburg exceed 427 passes, per game, their CPWP Index is positive – in other words they perform better, as a team, when they pass more often.

Of course this is early days and only represents three games but – it is what it is… and any positives are worth noting at this early stage.

Stuttgart, Hamburger, and Schalke all have exceeded the league average at least once – yet even when they do they don’t perform so well as a team.

Note Hertha Berlin is not here – what that means is Hertha are attempting to play more of a counter-attacking/direct style approach, in lieu of a possession-based game (compared to others)…  at least that holds true if the measurements in MLS have relevance to the measurements/outcomes in the Bundesliga.

I’ll look for those comparisons later this year.

Now for the CPWP Index where the volume of passes falls below the league average of 427:

CPWP Strategic Index Bundesliga Through Week 3 Passes Less Than 427

There’s Hertha Berlin near bottom – so it would appear that Hertha will be playing slightly more direct, and a more counterattacking style in order to try to glean points in the league table.  Others may have a different view that follow Hertha Berlin more closely – if so please add your comments/thoughts.

As for the other four?

Schalke, Hamburger, Stuttgart, and Freiburg all bring up the bottom of this Index – clearly, for me, falling below the average in league passing is a great indicator, at this time, on how the overall team performance plays out for winners and losers…

Will this pattern continue?  I’m not sure, but it’s certainly something to review and follow as the season progresses.

In Closing…

In a wrap up of the early season bottom dwellers on Passing Accuracy:

  1.  SC Freiburg – 3rd best = 80.15% – key stat appears to be – one goal scored and 2nd worst percentage of shots taken per penetration (13.68%) {League average 19.03%}
  2. Hertha Berlin – 3rd worst = 65.50% – key stat appears to be 3rd worst in goals scored against per shots on goal (53.33%)
  3. FC Schalke 04 – 7th best = 76.42% – key stat appears to be 4th lowest percentage of opponent penetration but the 7th highest goals scored per shots on goal.
  4. Vfb Stuttgart – 6th best = 77.62% – key stat appears to be – one goal scored and worst percentage of shots taken per penetration (12.84%)
  5. Hamburger – 8th best = 76.39% – key stat appears to be – no goals scored

Notice FSV Mainz – when exceeding the league average, in passes, their team performance is not near as good as when falling below the league average.

Might this be an early indicator that they are a good (direct attacking/counter-attacking) team?  What do others think that watch the Bundesliga on a regular basis?

All for now…

Best, Chris

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