Hertha BSC vs Werder Bremen: Goalimpact of Lineups

Based on the starting XI, Hertha BSC is a 57.0% favorite to win this match. Draw probability is 26.3%, and Werder Bremen might be lucky to get three points with a 16.7% chance. Thus Goalimpact is more optimistic about Berlin's chances than the betting markets are.

Hertha BSC

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeLast National TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Ronny111.3117.228.316610330
Hajime Hosogai95.2101.028.2Japan17814389
Peter Niemeyer90.1103.430.7Deutschland [U21]30822787
Thomas Kraft104.4119.526.022520785
Genki Haraguchi95.1102.223.317112437
Peter Pekarík107.3112.327.8Slowakei19416291
Julian Schieber119.7120.825.5Deutschland [U21]20210938
Sebastian Langkamp94.896.326.6Deutschland [U21]18015831
Johnny Heitinga139.4152.930.8Niederlande44837423
Roy Beerens106.7108.526.6Niederlande Olymp.31023540
Nico Schulz95.7111.421.3Deutschland [U21]1198159
Average105.4113.226.8
Bench
Jens Hegeler109.3110.826.522114245
Sami Allagui96.7102.628.2Tunesien22015214
Rune Jarstein103.8107.729.8Norwegen19918383
Sandro Wagner96.698.526.7Deutschland [U21]22211627
John Anthony Brooks109.2123.821.5USA1068773
Marcel Ndjeng102.6128.132.330723211
Änis Ben-Hatira103.6103.726.0Tunesien19111656
Average103.1110.727.3


Werder Bremen

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeLast National TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Zlatko Junuzovic93.095.426.8Österreich34529159
Cédric Makiadi87.398.530.4DR Kongo30823742
Clemens Fritz89.6122.133.7Deutschland41334372
Assani Lukimya99.6105.828.524119838
Izet Hajrovic97.0104.923.0Bosnien-Herzegowina1167117
Santiago García93.493.626.11028780
Eljero Elia90.094.227.5Niederlande29819341
Franco Di Santo85.987.425.3Argentinien1769534
Luca Caldirola93.9100.023.5Italien [U21]12010735
Felix Kroos101.9108.423.416811315
Raphael Wolf81.895.926.216515275
Average92.1100.626.8
Bench
Davie Selke92.9121.919.5Deutschland [U19]715057
Gálvez99.6101.425.2746359
Nils Petersen101.9102.725.7Deutschland [U19]22314514
Marnon Busch94.3122.019.7665694
Richard Strebinger94.1152.921.5Österreich [U19]837599
Ludovic Obraniak98.2105.529.8Polen36125422
Fin Bartels91.395.527.526120034
Average96.0114.624.1



Prediction: Final Standings of Bundesliga 2013/2014

The fun part of analysis, at least to me, is to make predictions. Since the new season starts next week, I'll try to predict the final standings at the end of the season with my algorithm.

Most predictions algorithms out there are evaluating the teams' playing strength based on the performance in the previous seasons. As the team is the atomic structure in these, they can't take easily new transfers into account. Goalimpact is evaluating players and thus can, in principle, take team changes due to transfers into account. However, it causes other headaches. Most teams have 22 or more players to choose from, but some, often even many, of them will only get few minutes playing time in a season. A team's playing strength is mainly based on subset of the players, maybe 15 or 16 players.

If I'm going to predict team results without knowing the XI that actual plays, I have to guess the players that will be part of the game. In this case I even need to guess the players that will mostly influence a team over the whole season. This can get very subjective quickly. My usual way around this issue is to use minute weighed average values from past games. This works quite well during a season, but I can't calculate this before the season even started. All newly bought players obviously didn't get any playing time yet and thus would get a weight of zero. My prediction would be based on a distorted estimate of the team composition.

An alternative approach, I considered, was to use the starting eleven predicted by LigaInsider. They provide quite accurate predictions for each match day in Bundesliga. The predicted starting XI for Werder Bremen is for example.


However, this has some other disadvantages. The estimate is for the next match day only. It may or may not be a good prediction for the main XI of the entire season. The main XI will be vague to some extend that early in a season in any case. Probably even the trainer will not now for sure which players will get how much playing time over the season. They are likely to have a rough idea and the have their core of six to eight players fix, but too many things are not projectable. So even though LigaInsider is doing a great job, they can't possibly be correct, independently of which XI they pick. Actually they don't even try this. As they pick the likely players for the next match only, some players are excluded because they suffer from a minor illness. Maybe a prediction for the XI of the season would still include them.

To get around the need to pick players, in the following prediction, I just use the average of all players that have been nominated for the first team as of now. Doing so, will cause a downward bias in the estimates of the team's Goalimpacts. This stems from the fact that the players actually playing in most cases are the players with higher Goalimpacts. The hope would be that the bias is about equal for all teams, but this is not the case. Some teams have a strong core team, but less strong players otherwise. Some teams, in contrast, have rather evenly distributed Goalimpacts over all 22 players. So, unfortunately, I'll have a bias due to this averaging, but I think it is still the best way to avoid introducing arbitrary selections of players. And, I admit, It has the charm of being easily done.

So this is the table with the predicted final standings for Bundesliga this season.

No. Team
Goalimpact
Points
Goal Diff
Bwin Rank
ClubElo
Euro Club
Index
Last Year
1 Bayern München 139,8 84,7 +64,8
1
1
1
1
2 Borussia Dortmund 119,8 60,2 +23,1
2
2
2
2
3 FC Schalke 04 119,0 59,2 +21,3
3
4
4
4
4 Bayer Leverkusen 113,8 52,9 +10,6
4
3
3
3
5 VfL Wolfsburg 112,3 50,9 +7,3
5
7
8
11
6 VfB Stuttgart 107,5 45,0 -2,8
6
13
7
12
7 Hannover 96 106,1 43,4 -5,6
10
8
6
9
8 1. FSV Mainz 05 105,7 42,9 -6,4
13
11
11
13
9 Bor. Mönchengladbach 105,6 42,7 -6,7
6
6
5
8
10 Hertha BSC 105,4 42,5 -7,1
12
14
13
(17)
11 1899 Hoffenheim 105,3 42,4 -7,3
13
16
16
16
12 Eintracht Braunschweig 105,0 42,0 -7,9
18
18
18
(18)
13 SC Freiburg 104,6 41,5 -8,8
13
5
9
5
14 Hamburger SV 103,6 40,3 -10,8
8
10
10
7
15 1. FC Nürnberg 103,5 40,2 -11,0
16
9
12
10
16 Werder Bremen 101,2 37,4 -15,8
11
17
15
14
17 Eintracht Frankfurt 100,7 36,8 -16,8
9
12
14
6
18 FC Augsburg 99,2 35,0 -19,9
17
15
17
15

As comparison, I added the estimated rank implied in the Bwin odds and the current rank according to ClubElo and the Euro Club Index. The first four teams are identical in all predictions. This doesn't come as a surprise as they are identical to the first four of the last season. The only deviation here is that Bwin and Goalimpact put Schalke above Leverkusen while ClubElo and the Euro Club Index kept the order of last season. But opinions diverge a lot on many of the other league ranks.

Goalimpact predicts Wolfsburg to finish 5th and Stuttgart 6th. Interestingly, this is identical to the predictions by Bwin although both teams where nowhere close to such a good rank in the previous season. The Euro Club Index has a similar rank for both. But it sees Hanover and Mönchengladbach stronger and thus the two are on 7 and 8. ClubElo share the view of a strong Wolfsburg, albeit on rank 7, but predicts Stuttgart to finish even below last year's disappointing rank 12.

All three statistic measures see Hanover finishing slightly higher than previous year on tank 6 to 8, but bwin puts them a rank lower on 10. Similarly all statistic based predictions see Mainz heading to a better season than last year's rank 13. Goalimpact is the most optimistic with rank 8, the other put Mainz on 11. Bwin sees no improvement to last year.

The prediction of newly relegated teams is particularly difficult, because they played few games, if any, against the other teams last season. The difference between the leagues is significant and many new teams face relegation just the next season again. This is, in fact, the prediction for Eintracht Braunschweig. ClubElo, the Euro Club Index, and Bwin see them as clear number 18. If you look at score values and odds, they are predicted to be the last by quite a margin. Goalimpact is more optimistic here and ranks them on 12. There first eleven is not outstanding here either, but the other players are not much worse than the team's stars. It might be that Goalimpact is biased upwards here. The other fresh relegated team, Hertha BSC Berlin, is predicted to be save in the middle of the table by all sources. They should end up between rank 10 (GI) and 14 (ClubElo).

Looking at the lower end of the table, Goalimpact predicts Bremen, Frankfurt and Augsburg as relegated teams. Especially, Frankfurt is disputed by the other approaches. They all predict a lower rank the last year's rank 6, too, but they see Frankfurt to end in the nowhere land between rank 9 and 14. Bremen is as a relegation candidate by the club-based algorithms, too. Bwin is here much more optimistic and predicts rank 11. Augsburg is a likely relegation team by all rankings. ClubElo is the last spark of hope by predicting Augsburg to repeat last year's rank 15. 1899 Hoffenheim is predicted to be relegated by both of the club-based approaches. Goalimpact and Bwin, in contrast, both predict a final rank in the middle of the table (11-13).

We will only know with hindsight which prediction was closed to reality. However, we can have short look into the predictions now already by looking into the correlations.

Goalimpact
Bwin Rank
ClubElo
Euro Club
Index
Last Year
Goalimpact
100%
78%
69%
83%
50%
Bwin Rank
100%
75%
87%
75%
ClubElo
100%
92%
91%
Euro Club Index
100%
82%
Last Year
100%

We can see that the two club-based measures are very highly correlated (92%) and also show comparably high correlations to the last year's ranks (91% and 82%). The lower the correlation is to the last years final rank, the braver (but not necessarily better) is the prediction. ClubElo's 91% makes it close to the naive estimation that everything stays as it was. Bwin (75%) and Goalimpact (50%) were bolder in moving away from last year's standings. If that was too bold, we will now in one year from now.

Germany's most wanted players playing in 2. Bundesliga

The German newspaper Die Welt selected these five players as most wanted players currently playing in 2. Bundesliga. Let's have a quick look a their Goalimpact.


Pierre-Michel Lasogga is a striker at Hertha BSC Berlin. In his 78 games he earned himself a Goalimpact of 109.1. Not too bad for a 21 year old player. According to Die Welt VfB Stuttgart is willingly to pay 4 million Euros, but Hertha doesn't want to sell. Good choice.


Leon Goretzka is considered to be one of the most talented young players in Germany. He is a central midfielder that plays for VfL Bochum in 2. Bundesliga. Although is only 18, he is already playing constantly and is a backbone of the team. However, Bochum doesn't perform particularly well this season and Gortezka only earned a Goalimpact of 99.0 in 40 games. Certainly there is room for improvement given his low number of games in my database and his young age, but it doesn't yet look like he is going to be another Draxler. But with his score he is already among the best playing for Bochum.

Konstantinos Fortounis is an offensive midfielder that recently became a player for the Greek national team. He plays at 1. FC Kaiserslautern and is just 20 years old. Yet in his 76 games he achieved a Goalimpact of just 94.0. Die Welt writes that Borussia Dortmund is willingly to pay 3.5 Million for him. If so, that is going to be for his talent and not for his achievements so far.

Ronny, yet another player of Hertha BSC Berlin, is a Brazilian offensive midfielder in the best football age of 26. Ronny has collected an incredible 25 scorer points in 25 games this season in 2. Bundesliga. This is reflected in his Goalimpact of 117.4 that represents the average of 137 games. He can leave the club without transfer payment as his contracts expires end of this season. Transfermarkt.de lists his value with just 1.5 million Euros. I think he can be a good choice for many lower-end Bundesliga teams.

Caiuby played Bundesliga once in Wolfsburg, but ultimately failed to establish himself. The Brazilian now plays a good season at FC Ingolstadt. Over the 110 games in the database he had an average Goalimpact of  99.4. Not outstanding for a 23 years old left-wing striker. I'm not sure why die Welt thinks he is wanted, but he is not a obvious buy according to the statistics. His upside is more limited compared to e.g. the only 18 years old Goretzka. However, given his rather low market value of 1 million, he may be a good candidate for a reserve team.

General Remark

I often observe that "hot players" are mostly offensive players. I attribute this to the higher media attention as these are the names that a read on the score boards and are more likely to be high on scorer lists. However, I assume that there are very talented defensive players in the 2. Bundesliga, too. But that will be another story.