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Converting Shots to Goals: Which team is Europe's most efficient finishers?

Converting Shots to Goals: Which team is Europe's most efficient finishers?

The ability to convert chances is of course vital and there's one young strikeforce leading the way

12:00pm on Thursday 20th February 2020
Dan Tracey

After we established who Europe’s most efficient striker is when it comes to shots vs goals, it made sense to expand on this topic and look at which teams are the most ruthless in the final third.

Our sample includes the 98 clubs that make up all of Europe’s five major leagues and, as before, we will be comparing the amount of shots taken against the number of goals scored and from there highlighting the respective shot conversion rates.

The data shows that Borussia Dortmund currently lay claim to being the most efficient team in all of Europe’s ‘Big Five’ with 63 goals from just 308 shots (both on and off target), this means just over one of every five efforts finds the opposition net.The Bundesliga possess a shot conversion rate of 20.45%, by far the most fearsome team when it comes to efficiency.


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But what if we compare that against the team that has had the most overall chances?

That honour goes to Manchester City; Pep Guardiola’s men have created an incredible 498 chances this season. But it does not tell the full story, and from the litany of chances that the Etihad outfit have created, by comparison they have a shot conversion rate of just 13.07%.

That said, Manchester City are the second-highest goal scorers in our sample with 65 and although they have a lesser rate in terms of converted efforts, the attacking prowess they possess cannot be overlooked.

However, they are not the top scorers, with French giants PSG netting 67 times and a shot conversion rate of 16.65%, while also scoring an average of 2.68 goals per Ligue 1 fixture.

This means that Thomas Tuchel's side are the third-most efficient in Europe at present, with Barcelona splitting them and Borussia Dortmund in second, with 57 goals from 310 shots (18.41%).

  TeamGoalsShotsConv %
4RB Leipzig5636115.5%

Of the top three most efficient teams, only one of them are currently top of their league and this means being economic in the opposition’s penalty area does not immediately guarantee success.

In addition, of the top 10 teams with the highest shot conversion rate, the average league position is 3.2 and only three league leaders have made that elite group - Paris Saint-Germain (2nd), Bayern Munich (6th), and Liverpool (7th).

Another aspect to consider is how the teams measure up against their xG figure for this current campaign and when it comes to Dortmund they are far exceeding expectations. So much so, that they have scored a phenomenal 17.89 more goals than Expected Goals would suggest.

Barcelona are no slouches either, exceeding their own tally by 13.67 goals, while PSG are also positive when it comes to comparing against this metric, but only by a much lower 1.01.

We shouldn't just focus on teams that create or score the most, because one team is showing that you can be efficient in front of goal with almost half the effort - Valencia.

The Spanish outfit are the fifth-most efficient team in Europe, with a shot conversion rate of 15.51% - which subsequently is just 0.01% less than that of RB Leipzig. However, where the two teams differ is that Valencia have created far less efforts on goal this season (226 to 361).

This shows that you don’t necessarily have to produce wave after wave of attacks, you just need to finish what you make on a more regular basis and Valencia are certainly capable of that.

But it doesn't always work out - in Valencia's 4-1 loss to Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday, they outscored the Italians on xG but just couldn't finish - something that hasn't been a problem for them all season.

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