The Bundesliga is our first elite European league to return to action since football came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that being said, we haven’t seen action in Germany since Gladbach’s 2-1 victory over Cologne on 11 March, so a refresher might be needed on a selection of metrics ahead of this weekend’s return to elite football.
Bundesliga'S BEST SHOT-STOPPERS
When it comes to shot-stopping, only four goalkeepers in Germany’s top flight see positive numbers in the Post-Shot xG/90 category.
Union Berlin’s Rafal Gikiewicz sits at +0.02 and will be a player worth closely watching. The veteran goalkeeper is set to depart Berlin at the end of the season with his contract expiring, and he has proven he has the quality to not only be a trustworthy backup for top tier teams, but also potentially a better starting option than most clubs currently have as their goalkeeper.
Lukas Hradecky of Bayer Leverkusen has continued to be a stalwart with a +0.10 margin, while well-travelled Hungarian Peter Gulacsi has now placed himself into the discussion of quietly elite goalkeepers with incredible performances mirroring Leipzig’s rise, including this season’s +0.15 PSxG/90 margin.
Standing on top of the Bundesliga statistical shot-stopping category is Yann Sommer. ‘Gladbach’s Swiss goalkeeper has a margin of +0.24 and will be looking to help keep his side in a title dogfight with Bayern, Leipzig, and Dortmund, sitting just six points off the top.
Impect is the firm created by former Bundesliga midfielders Stefan Reinartz and Jens Hegeler who look to bring statistical justice to the players the eye test forgets.
How do they prove to be the hero to many? By creating an index that looks at a number of metrics, such as goals, assists, bypassed opponents/defenders, bypassed receptions, interceptions, and more, we can analyze players who may not initially catch the eye. So who places top three on the index in a database filled with Bundesliga central midfielders?
Standing at third on the bypassed podium is Charles Aranguiz. The Chilean international at Bayer Leverkusen was linked with a move to Bayern Munich this winter, and perhaps it was because of his Impect Score of 96%. While a decline should be expected for the 31-year-old, his efforts will be crucial for Leverkusen’s hopes of breaking into the top four.
Winning silver is Thiago Alcantara. The Bayern star has frequently been discussed as the best playmaker in the league and Impect supports that with his index score of 98%. However, he is not No 1.
You don’t have to look far from the Bayern squad to find the king of Impect scores. The Central Midfielder turned Right Back turned back to Central Midfielder, Joshua Kimmich, emerges on top with a score of 100%. Kimmich is a must-start for both Bayern and Germany and he is still just 25. Will we see an even better Kimmich in the near future?
Be it through a Puskas nominee or a penalty that the goalkeeper just couldn’t get keep out, a goal still counts the same. With that being said, who might slow down the pace with their scoring upon the return, and who is dealing with a bit of misfortune?
Non-Pen Goals v Non-Pen Goals xG
|Player||Team||NPG - NPxG|
|Marius Bulter||Union Berlin||+4.3|
English wonderkid Jadon Sancho has overachieved his expected goals by 6.8. Will he continue to be as fortunate with his superhuman conversion rates or will we see a return to Earth ahead of a summer sure to be filled with speculation? Marius Bulter joins Rafal Gikiewicz as an overperforming Union Berlin player and will look to continue his performances as he hopes to justify remaining a Bundesliga player, as this summer he returns to third-tier side Magdeburg.
While the newly-promoted side is sure to be interested in keeping the winger, if his overachieving continues, it is possible a side with more pulling power could come into the picture as the COVID-19 market now means talent on a budget will be more important than ever before. Sharing the +4.3 overperformance but falling to third is Schalke midfielder Suat Serdar, who will need to continue his level as Schalke’s leading goalscorer while David Wagner looks to find a reliable striker option.
For every 'lucky' person, someone has to be 'unlucky'. Mirroring Serdar’s position is Adam Szalai, who has fallen to -3 below his xG. The Mainz striker will need luck to come to his side as he will be needed to keep the club that gave us Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel out of relegation troubles.
Our next unlucky striker is Koln’s Simon Terodde. The tall German scored 29 goals last season as Koln dominated the second division, but has found Bundesliga life to be hard, scoring just three times in nearly 800 minutes. With an underperformance of -3.5 and an ever-growing lack of opportunity, Terodde will need to start making more of his chances if he wishes to remain at Koln.
While Suat Serdar has become Schalke’s top goalscorer, the man who should be scoring has found himself as the unluckiest player in the Bundesliga. Guido Burgstaller has an xG of 4.4 goals and but nothing to show for it. Sitting 10 points behind Leverkusen from an automatic Europa League spot, Wagner will need all of his players to step up in the final stretch of the season, especially Burgstaller.
Up and down the pitch players have made a name for themselves this season by leading in a number of ways. With the league returning this weekend, who continues their form, and who drops off?
For more stat-driven articles and data visualisation, you can follow Aidan Reagh on Twitter @ARDataAnalysis.