Bundesliga Round 17

11 Jan

Halfway point in the German top division has left the table looking very familiar – Bayern Munich are 3 points clear at the top, ahead of 2011 Champions Borussia Dortmund. However, the teams in 3rd (Schalke 04) and 4th (Borussia Mönchengladbach), finished last season in 14th and 16th respectively.

Schalke is less of a surprise after finishing 2nd in the 2009-10 season and a good run to the Champions League Semi-Final’s last season. Despite losing Manuel Neuer to Bayern Munich, they’ve performed well this season – with Huntelaar and the ever young Raul scoring 24 goals between them. Mönchengladbach on the other hand only stayed up in the relegation play off last season with a late goal in the second leg away at Bochum.

But what of the top scorers and their performances against decent/poor opposition? Read on….

2011’s remake of Twins wasn’t the same without Arnie and De Vito

Top Scorers:

Continuing his 28 goal top scoring season last year (and remember it’s a 34 game season), Mario Gomez (pictured above with evil Gary Neville Lookalike Frank Ribery) is leading the race for goals once again this season. However, there is a twist. His average opponent per goal is not only a lowly 12.5 – a whole 2 places lower than the expected average, he has also failed to notch against any team ranked in the Top 6 at the start of each round.

At the start of the season, some commentators were suggesting that this Bayern Munich side was one of the best in the club’s history. This seemed to be a pretty bold claim given the history of the 4 time European Cup winners. After a surprise defeat in the opening round against Monchengladbach, they then went on to win 7 of the next 8, drawing the other game – whilst also embarrasing Manchester City in the Champions League. However, since then, they’ve lost a further 3 games in the league, and hold only a 3 point lead in the Bundesliga. Maybe not their best ever team….

Some familiar names on the above list for those not upto speed with the German top division will be former Real Madrid and Ajax forward, Klaas Jan Huntelaar. His 15 goals actually have a worse average rating than Gomez’ at 13.2, though he does at least have some form against Top 6 teams with a goal against Werder Bremen in round 17 and one against an early season high flying Mainz. His former Real Madrid team mate Raul has also followed up his promising first season outside of Spain with 9 goals this time around. He has less goals than his partner but has done it against better opponents – with 4 against other Top 6 teams and an average of 9.67 per opponent per goal. Not unexpected for someone who’s scored in Champions League finals and has 44 goals for Spain.

For the fans of the Premier League, many (Chelsea fans) may be surprised to see how many goals Claudio Pizarro has. This isn’t a one off season either – his record in Germany is very good. Arsenal target Lukas Podolski is also enjoying a fruitful season in front of goal. After his big move to Bayern Munich didn’t work out, he moved back to his hometown club – and this season has the best record against Top 6 opponents, with 8 goals registered against then Top 6 opposition.

But the big game player average leader is Norway and Hannover’s Mohammed Abdellaoue (of Moroccan parentage for those wondering). He scored 10 in 26 last season, but looks set to top that this season with 9 goals in 14 games so far. And it’s not just his ability to perform against big teams that makes him stand out this season…….

Points per Player:

He’s also leading the way in both points gained and the importance to his team. If you remove his goals from the final score, Hannover would be 12 points worse off – 52% down.

Gomez and Huntelaar lead the way in goals only, but players like Mandzukic at Wolfsburg (40%), Raffael (35% of Hertha Berlin’s points) and the aforementioned Pizarro are proving to be more important to their teams. It’s a slightly unfair statistic – players that are in better teams will look worse because their teams win by bigger margins, therefore making individual goals less important. There’s no measurement at the moment on the order of the goal – for example, your team’s first goal is always important, even in a 6-0 win.

Clean Sheets:

And just to show that this site isn’t just about the glory boys putting the ball in the onion bag, he’s the Bundesliga Average Opposition Index clean sheet stats. Bayern once again are leading the way here with 10 clean sheets. After their opening day defeat, they only conceded in one match of the next 10 – including 8 straight shut outs. Since then though, they’ve let in a sloppy 7 goals in 6 games. Okay, not really that sloppy, but normal.

Aside from the actual number of clean sheets, they also have a decent Average Opponent for each one. With 3 clean sheets against fellow Top 6ers. Equalling that achievement, and also bettering the Average is Hoffenheim (Demba Ba’s club before he moved moved to England). Although only ranked 9th in an 18 team league, they’ve managed 6 clean sheets in their first 17 games, and have done so against decent opposition – Monchengladbach, Munich and Dortmund have all failed to find a way through, resulting in a well deserved place at the top of the averages.

It’s just the French League left of the the big 5 European Leagues. I’m hoping to get that one up in the next week, along with the second in the Player Comparison series – Lampard vs Gerrard. They’re both big name players, but are they big game players? And who comes out on top in the Average Opposition Index?

Cheers,

Liam

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