What are some interesting football statistics

Kassel. Every football fan knows them, every football fan loves them: statistics about leather. We are investigating the question of where these numbers actually come from.

How often was player X on the ball? How many flanks did Y hit? And which professional actually runs the most for Team Z? On the sixth match day of the current Bundesliga season there was also a numbers game that was a topic of conversation at regular tables and in the canteens alike: the 206 ball contacts of Bayern professional Xabi Alonso in a 2-0 win against 1. FC Köln - a record in the Bundesliga.

We spoke to Holger Rahlfs from Deltatre. The company specializes in data collection and analysis in the soccer field. A distinction is made between scouting and tracking. The former is the statistical live recording of a player. Tracking is the measurement of a player's physical performance metrics.

Who is collecting the data?

There are four people on site at a Bundesliga match. One scout and three trackers. The scout is watching the game. He comments on the game in key words via the microphone. The description of a Bayern move could be: Schweinsteiger - flank - Alonso - header - goal.

One of the trackers is listening in via headphones. It collects the data and feeds it into a computer. The third man gathers additional information. The fourth member of the team only takes care of the video software for tracking data. On top of that, a so-called supervisor checks the data on a random basis. While tracking is a fully automatic process, scouting still requires a lot of manual work, such as entering individual game events. Tracking and scouting data are then merged. You end up in live databases, in which statistics are automatically generated. These are updated in real time.

The statistics can be used in many ways. Online services, for example, pay companies such as Deltatre to provide the data, which they then make available to the user, usually free of charge and live, via their own platform, and newspapers print it. During a live broadcast on television, the commentators often also use the services - for example when they report that a player has already covered ten kilometers on the pitch.

What does tracking mean?

The word tracking comes from English and means something like following someone or something. The system was only introduced in the Bundesliga in 2011. Deltatre uses two high-resolution cameras for each game. One camera at a time observes one half of the game. The system automatically recognizes which player is where. The running behavior and positional play for each individual actor is calculated from this data.

The images from the cameras are evaluated frame by frame - that is, single image by single image. Complex walking routes, such as a zigzag course across the entire square, are converted into optimized measured values. An algorithm uses this to calculate the distance covered and the speed of the professional.

An unbelievable amount of data is generated in the process. The cameras record 25 individual images per second. For a 90-minute game, that adds up to 135,000 images - per player. Multiplied by 22 players in the field, that's almost three million individual position data records.

What is scouting?

From the English "to scout", that means to scout out, it means the recording of individual game actions with regard to the football statistics. That's more than 2000 events per game. The list is long and ranges from A for offside to Z for tackling. Ball contacts and passes make up the majority of these events.

Statisticians count more than a million game actions during each football season. In addition to the German Bundesliga operations, there are also games with domestic participation at European level as well as games for the German national team. Here, too, the amount of information is immense: Deltatre has recorded every Bundesliga game statistically since 1992. There is also a database that goes back to the foundation of the Bundesliga in 1963.

What are the current best values?

There were also some interesting peak values ​​in the 2013/14 Bundesliga season. Here are five number games from Deltatre's database:

Most shots on goal In one game there was at Hoffenheim against Augsburg (2-0) on matchday 30 with 49 results. Hoffenheim made 26 shots on goal, Augsburg 23.

Most shots on goal by a team were 32. That happened three times (Schalke against Braunschweig and Dortmund against HSV and BVB against Bremen).

• In the game Frankfurt against Hoffenheim there was a total most fouls, namely 47.

The largest running route put back Mönchengladbach's Christoph Kramer. Against HSV (0: 2) he ran 13.9 kilometers on matchday 11.

The fastest runshowed the ex-Braunschweiger Karim Bellarabi, who sprinted 34.96 kilometers per hour against Mönchengladbach (1: 1) on the 23rd matchday.

What is...

The scouting data are based on a sports science definition catalog. In the 2011/12 season this was standardized by the German Football League (DFL), because there are other providers besides Deltatre. The catalog is intended as a means of standardization. In this way it is intended to facilitate the assessment of a game situation. We show a small glossary of the scouting campaigns and illustrate this using the example of the professional Xabi Alonso in the 2: 1 success at 1. FC Köln:

• Shot on goal:Any action taken by Alonso with the ball with the aim of scoring a goal. The foot does not necessarily have to be involved, headers also count. During the 90 + 1 minutes of the game, the midfielder came on a shot on goal.

• Ball contact: The official name is ball possession phase. Put simply, this means: the player gets the ball, he does something with it and then he gets rid of it. It doesn't matter whether he left three opponents standing or just let the ball drip off with one touch. The 32-year-old Alonso made an incredible 206 ball contacts against FC - Bundesliga record!

• Bad pass: These are passes that did not reach the other player. The two-footed Alonso played 19 bad passes. With 204 passes played, the result is a false pass rate of nine percent.

• Fouls / been fouled: Actions that the referee judges as such. The related statistics for yellow and red cards are compared with the referee after the final whistle. The defensive specialist saw no box against Cologne, fouled once and had to pocket twice.

Who is behind it?

Deltatre (pronounced: Delta-tre) was called Impire until February of this year. A takeover brought the name change with it. Impire was founded in 1988. In 1992 the company opened what is probably the most famous football database to this day, namely that of the sports magazine ran on Sat1.

In addition to the provision of football statistics, other services are offered. These include live tickers for mobile devices, editorial articles for newspapers and graphics for TV stations. These are the team line-ups before the start of the game.

Bundesliga clubs also work with the data collected. Among other things, evaluations of the next opponent are offered. A detailed analysis of your own players is also possible.

Deltatre's headquarters are in Ismaning, which is just under 15 kilometers northeast of Munich. About 260 people work with it. A good game observer has to fulfill two things above all, says Holger Rahlfs: A basic understanding of the football game as well as knowledge of the line-ups and players of a team.

By Matthias Hoffmann.

List of rubric lists: © AFP

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