Werder Bremen's Demise

Werder Bremen is the second most successful team in the Bundesliga. In the table comprising all games ever, it holds the second place in front of its local rival Hamburger SV, despite the fact that HSV played one season more. In total it won 4 league titles and 6 times the DFB cup. Once they even won the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup. But the last season they ended on a single digit rank in the Bundesliga was 2011/2012. Two seasons before that, they even qualified for the UEFA Champions League, a competition they have been qualified to since their last German title 2003/2004.

We want so investigate how their player transfers influenced the performance and we will start the investigation at the time they qualified the last time for the Champions League. Due to the qualification, they had still the extra income that comes with the participation, money that will be amiss in the season thereafter. Not to get lost in too many details, we will look at the transfers position by position and summarize in the end.

The analysis is based on our Goalimpact methodology. You can read about the algorithm here and here.

Goalkeeper

2009/2010, when Werder qualified for the Champions League the last time, they had mainly two keepers in the team. Tim Wiese was national goal keeper and Vander was his replacement in case of injury or suspension. Whilst Werder preformed significantly worse when Vander was playing, this didn't cause a big problem because Wiese stayed fit.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Tim Wiese 116.6 113.3 112.6 0 €
Christian Vander 90.0 83.9 77.0 0 €
Sebastian Mielitz 96.8 101.3 104.6 103.4 104.3 0 €
Raphael Wolf 200 k€ 81.4 81.6 82.4
Richard Strebinger 0 € 81.1 85.4 95.9
Raif Husic 100 k€ 73.0

One season later, Vander was replaced by the talent Sebastian Mielitz as second keeper. A good move, because Mielitz was already batter than Vander and appeared to have a lot of talent. Wiese, along with the whole team, performed worse than expected and saw both GI and PeakGI drop.

After Wiese's contract ended in the summer 2012, Mielitz became the first keeper. Because as the same time Vander ended his career, Werder brought in two new young keepers, Raphael Wolf and Richard Strebinger. Apparently, Werder was unsatisfied with Mielitz' performance and they refused to prelong his contract and replaced him with Wolf after only one season as first keeper. According to Goalimpact, that was a rather bad choice. Wolf has a significantly lower Goalimpact.

To summarize, Bremen spent a net 300,000€ on keepers to lower their keeper performance 30 Goalimpact points. To be fair, both Stebinger and Husic are very talented and the investment may pay off in future. For Wolf, we don't see a future that bright. We suggest to make Streibinger the first keeper as short term improvement.

Center Back

At the time Werder qualified for the Champions League the last time, they had an excellent defense in the box. Mertesacker and Naldo were both next to world class and maybe the best center back duo in Bundesliga at that time.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Sebastian Prödl 105.8 101.0 100.9 97.8 94.8 94.3
Per Mertesacker 137.9 137.3 11,300 k€
Petri Pasanen 133.9 128.0 0 €
Naldo 130.5 129.4 124.4 4,800 k€
Mikaël Silvestre 0 € 99.6 89.3 0 €
Sokratis 4,100 k€ 102.2 100.4 9,900 k€
François Affolter 500 k€ 110.2 0 €
Mateo Pavlovic 650 k€ 89.9 88.5 92.9
Assani Lukimya 0 € 106.2 99.8 99.2
Luca Caldirola 2,250 k€ 93.9 94.2
Gálvez 0 € 99.7

At the end of the season 2010/2011, Mertesacker and Pasanen left. Mertesacker was sold for substantial amount of money, Pasanen without transfer income, because Werder and the player couldn't agree on the conditions for the new contract. Naldo was injured for more than one year and sold one year later for another few million Euros.

From its for center backs, Werder chose to keep only Prödl, the
weakest player. They were unlucky that he underperformed
expectations falling below Bundesliga minimum.
As replacements, Werder brought Sokratis and Affolter on Board. Affolter was hired on a loan basis and left after just one season and returned to Switzerland. Sokratis, despite a development that was less than expected, was sold at a premium two years later.

Then followed investments in Pavlovic, Lukimya, Caldirola and Galvez which, along with long-time Werder player Prödl, form today's center back. In the good old times, the average Goalimpact of the Werder central defense was 127.0. This is now down to 96.5. It is fair to say, that Werder sold their assets and hence had a net transfer income from CBs only of 18,500,000 €. But the players now in the team are hardly on the level you'd expect from a Bundesliga team, even as Caldirola is expected to improve a bit as he is only 23 years old.

Advise: If the team plans to stay in Bundesliga, we suggest going back to the drawing table for the central defense. For the short term, playing Lukimya and Galvez seems to be the best option. However, Galvez plays currently often as defensive midfielder.

Left/Righ Back

The defenders on the left and right back were never as good as the central defenders. But in back in summer 2010, they were more than just decent with Boenisch and Fritz. Werder didn't manage to keep Boenisch as he considered their offer as not sufficient and his contract expired. Fritz plays until today, but due to his age his performance decreased significantly.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Aymen Abdennour 104.0 0 €
Sebastian Boenisch 112.2 112.5 110.2 0 €
Clemens Fritz 112.7 108.8 103.4 96.3 90.0 90.1
Dominik Schmidt 93.3 93.5 0 €
Aleksandar Ignjovski 500 k€ 90.23 89.38 90.83 0 €
Florian Hartherz 200 k€ 95.1 150 k€
Lukas Schmitz 1,000 k€ 106.6 106.0 103.3 0 €
Theodor Gebre Selassie 1,800 k€ 108.8 102.5 101.6
Santiago García 2,000 k€ 93.7 93.1
Marnon Busch €0 94.0

2010, Clemens Fritz was a very good player, but he aged
as expected since then and can't deliver as good performance
for a full 90 minutes anymore.
Despite a net investment of 5,340,000€, the player quality for that position deteriorated. Currently, only Selassie has a Goalimpact above 100, the minimum level you'd expect from a Bundesliga player, also even his performance was below expectations from a few years ago.

In total the average Goalimpact of LBs/RBs dropped from 105.6 to a meager 94.7. Most of the loss in performance origins from the transfer policy, some is caused by aging and some by worse than expected player development.

On the upside, the young talent Marnon Busch is expected to reach that level soon and hence we'd suggest to play Bush and Selassie as the current best selection. That said, at least one additional player should be hired according to Goalimpact, because Fritz isn't fit enough anymore for 90 minutes and Garcia lacks the quality.

Defensive Midfield

For a long time, defensive midfield was synonym to Thorsten Frings in Bremen. Frings was a world class defensive midfielder and some say that Germany might have won the World Cup 2006 semifinals against Italy if it wasn't for his suspension. With his departure in Summer 2011, all that was left was below average Bundesliga level.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Peter Niemeyer 98.8 900 k€
Torsten Frings 137.6 120.4 0 €
Philipp Bargfrede 108.7 102.4 102.6 101.8 101.1 101.8
Daniel Jensen 113.3 100.4 0 €
Tom Trybull 200 k€ 91.0 99.6 100 k€
Felix Kroos 240 k€ 99.5 97.4 101.0 101.8 102.0

Werder didn't invest money into that position that many think is pivotal in modern football. They even hat a small net profit of 560,000€ in transfers. According to Goalimpact, Felxis Kroos was a good buy, but he failed to develop as expected after the transfer. Still he is now the best player available for that position.

Central/Offensive Midfield

According to Goalimpact, Werder's strength used to be the defensive players, but in the spot light used to be the offensive midfield. After years of glory with Johan Micoud and Diego, the last success is tight with the young Mesut Özil. Despite Özil's doubtless impact, Aaron Hunt and Tim Borowski also played an important role.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Tim Borowski 117.1 109.1 101.7 0 €
Said Husejinovic 96.4 96.9 0 €
Marko Marin 105.1 102.8 100.4 8,000 k€
Mesut Özil 120.2 18,000 k€
Aaron Hunt 115.4 111.9 110.3 105.4 98.9 0 €
Wesley 7,500 k€ 93.1 93.5 6,000 k€
Predrag Stevanovic 100 k€ 90.4 91.1 93.6 96.1 0 €
Florian Trinks 91.7 91.9 50 k€
Zlatko Junuzovic 800 k€ 100.0 98.4 93.6 92.1
Mehmet Ekici 5,000 k€ 109.8 110.8 111.0 1,500 k€
Aleksandar Stevanovic €0 91.0 98.3 110.0 0 €
Kevin De Bruyne 450 k€ 105.6 0 €
Cédric Makiadi 3,000 k€ 88.0 87.0
Ludovic Obraniak 1,500 k€ 98.4 97.8
Izet Hajrovic €0 96.8

With Özil's departure to Real Madrid, the fortune of signing excellent creative midfielder seemed to have left the team. They had already secured the service of "Germany's Messi", Marko Marin. A player that was never rated by Goalimpact as high as he was described by the media. Werder did a good deal in selling him for 8M€ as the market value halved shortly thereafter.

The signing of Wesley was seen as way too expensive by Goalimpact. You don't want to pay 7.5M€ for a player that has only a Goalimpact of 93 and is expected to peak at 97. The team contained the damage by selling him at only a small discount again.

The signings of Ekici and Aleksandar Stevanovic, while both no new Özil, were actually quite good, but they were removed from the team at the beginning of the current season. Without them, there is no Bundesliga offensive midfield left to speak of. All of them are below the minimum level of 100 and they are not expected to improve much more, too. The sale of Ekici happened after our Bundesliga season prediction. Even with him on the team, we saw Bremen as the weakest team in the competition. Now we consider the team as even weaker.

Bremen earned a net 19,700,000€ from selling their assets in the offensive midfield, but it caused the average player Goalimpact on that position to drop from 110.8 to 93.4.

Striker

Werder's strikers weren't world-class back in 2010, but they were all above average. However, Werder chose not to prolong the contracts of Almeida and Rosenberg and build up a new attack from the scratch around Pizarro. The striker from Peru, however, was unwillingly to prolong his contract due to the little quality in Werder's team and moved to Bayern Munich.

Player 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Claudio Pizarro 112.5 106.6 103.0 0 €
Hugo Almeida 114.9 2,000 k€
Markus Rosenberg 114.9 750 k€ 106.9 0 €
Sandro Wagner 350 k€ 100.7 550 k€
Denni Avdic 2,200 k€ 100.7 95.0 1,050 k€
Marko Arnautovic 6,200 k€ 99.0 95.9 98.4 2,800 k€
Eljero Elia 5,500 k€ 97.8 90.6 91.5
Nils Petersen 500 k€ 103.9 102.1 102.0
Joseph Akpala 1,500 l€ 106.3 250 k€
Niclas Füllkrug €0 77.9 85.0 90.1 400 k€
Johannes Wurtz €0 106.1 300 k€
Franco Di Santo €0 86.1 85.3
Fin Bartels €0 90.3
Davie Selke €0 66.5 74.1 90.5 94.7

Davie Selke is going to be Werder's best striker soon. He
developed excellent and outperformed expectations so far.
Since then, Werder's attack is a construction site. Many investments have been made that didn't really pay off. Some players were sold again at a loss. Füllkrug, a promising talent from their youth teams, wasn't fully trusted. According to Goalimpact that might be a mistake. He was still young and didn't played constant on a top level, but had a good prognosis (Peak 120). He has a Goalimpact of 97 by now and is soon going to be above 100 also the PeakGI dropped to 110.

Instead Werder placed their hope on Elia whom they bought for 5.5M€. A high price for a player with a Goalimpact of only 98 and not upside (PeakGI 99). Currently, the best striker duo would be Petersen and Selke. The latter is a talent from the own youth and still plays inconsistent, but he has a good prognosis and is expected to peak at 122. In the long-run a second good striker would be needed.

Summary

Werder Bremen reduced the team quality on every single tactical position. The formerly strong defense now looks shaky, the midfield is weak and lacks creativity and the striker seem harmless. To make things worse, there is only few talent in the team that would let us expect future improvement.

Regular substantial transfer surpluses lead to a continuous decline in
the average team quality. The Goalimpact reduced every single year and
now is below the minimum level you'd expect for a Bundesliga team.
The decline is the result of a transfer policy that was aimed at extracting value from the team's assets (the players). Selling the good players resulted in a steady inflow of cash, but the replacement players weren't nearly as good and some also overpaid. However, to say Werder did a bad job in their signings isn't justified. It was more there overall strategy to make transfer profits that lead to the deterioration of team quality and not single signings. The signings didn't generate the upside that some signings in the past did, but they didn't destroy value, too as many were bought for low fees or even no fee at all.

Still, in total the Goalimpact reveals a reduction in team quality every single year since the last Champions League qualification and generated a net cash-in of 20M€. We hesitate to call this a profit, as the positive cash-flow was more than offset by the reduction of team market value. The Goalimpact used to be well above 110, the level needed to be a contender for Champions League qualification, down to below 100, the level that makes relegation likely.

Looking forward, it is difficult to see if the new trainer, Viktor Skripnik, can avoid the relegation. Given the weak team it is not obvious that the problems were caused by his predecessor Robin Dutt. It is more likely that the demise was caused by a short-sighted transfer policy and a few bad scoutings prior to Dutt's arrival in Bremen. You don't need a crystal ball to foresee that Werder will relegate unless they make a 180° turn-around in transfer spending. Rather than swapping player quality into cash, they need to build up a new team that has improved quality. The latest scoutings and signings were not promising in this respect. There are rumors that Werder is willing to spend on new players in the Winter break. Winter is not the best time for signings and given the bad start in the season, it may already be to late to turn-around then.

And there is more bad news, with the current team, Werder would also struggle to stay in the 2. Liga, in case they will get relegated. Certainly an immediate re-promotion is very unlikely. So our final advise is to start thinking in long-term. An  advise not easy to follow in times of trouble.

Werder Bremen vs 1899 Hoffenheim: Goalimpact of Lineups

Hoffenheim is the better team, but his is overcompensated by the home field advantage. Goalimpact is more optimistic then the betting markets when it comes to Werder's chances to keep a point or three at home. The odds do not reflect Hoffenheims better bench though and might be a bit optimistic.

Werder Bremen: 42.7%
Draw: 30.2%
1899 Hoffenheim: 27.1%

Werder Bremen

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeLast National TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Izet Hajrovic97.0104.923.0Bosnien-Herzegowina1167117
Assani Lukimya99.6105.828.524119838
Sebastian Prödl94.797.827.1Österreich22318655
Santiago García93.493.626.11028780
Raphael Wolf81.895.926.216515275
Eljero Elia90.094.227.5Niederlande29819341
Davie Selke92.9121.919.5Deutschland [U19]715057
Clemens Fritz89.6122.133.7Deutschland41334372
Gálvez99.6101.425.2746359
Franco Di Santo85.987.425.3Argentinien1769534
Zlatko Junuzovi?93.095.426.8Österreich34529159
Average92.5101.926.3
Bench
Fin Bartels91.395.527.526120034
Felix Kroos101.9108.423.416811315
Cédric Makiadi87.398.530.4DR Kongo30823742
Marnon Busch94.3122.019.7665694
Nils Petersen101.9102.725.7Deutschland [U19]22314514
Raif Husic68.4170.518.5343162
Luca Caldirola93.9100.023.5Italien [U21]12010735
Average91.3113.924.1


1899 Hoffenheim

PlayerGoalimpactPeak GIAgeLast National TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Niklas Süle88.9124.818.9Deutschland [U17]877242
Ádám Szalai112.4114.326.7Ungarn17511587
Ermin Bi?ak?i?110.7113.824.5Bosnien-Herzegowina16114522
Kevin Volland104.7116.322.0Deutschland [U21]17714470
Tarik Elyounoussi102.8104.126.4Norwegen19814356
Sebastian Rudy108.1111.524.4Deutschland [U21]21116340
Roberto Firmino103.0111.622.81179199
Tobias Strobl108.3112.124.318214700
Eugen Polanski99.4105.528.4Polen23717984
Andreas Beck112.2116.227.4Deutschland28024563
Oliver Baumann109.1139.424.2Deutschland [U21]21720197
Average105.4115.424.5
Bench
Sven Schipplock105.7106.325.819811052
Sejad Salihovi?113.4120.729.8Bosnien-Herzegowina33126151
David Abraham119.4125.228.125722493
Jens Grahl127.4143.925.813012074
Kai Herdling116.2124.530.126118887
Jannik Vestergaard111.4123.122.0Dänemark [U21]1159739
Anthony Modeste81.882.626.3Frankreich [U21]21613882
Average110.8118.026.8



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



Preview on the #Nordderby: HSV vs. Werder Bremen: Lineups and Stats


Hamburger SV

PlayerGoalimpactAgeNational TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Rene Adler115.428.6Deutschland24723064
Heiko Westermann115.930.1Deutschland40937374
Johan Djourou129.426.6Schweiz19015363
Zhi Gin Lam99.322.2987601
Jonathan Tah98.117.6292452
Marcell Jansen110.527.8Deutschland27722852
Tomas Rincon96.025.6Venezuela1349535
Milan Badelj129.924.5Kroatien20316330
Petr Jiracek114.727.5Tschechien15911014
Maximilian Beister112.323.0Deutschland [U21]1479613
Rafael van der Vaart149.330.6Niederlande49637323
Bench
Jaroslav Drobny102.633.9Tschechien Olymp.20518974
Lasse Sobiech98.822.6Deutschland [U21]1139407
Hakan Calhanoglu107.519.6Türkei [U21]1007991
Tolgay Arslan96.323.0956625
Artjoms Rudnevs104.725.6Lettland1188929
Pierre-Michel Lasogga119.921.7Deutschland [U21]1167989
Jacques Zoua124.322.0Kamerun [U20]1256506


Werder Bremen

PlayerGoalimpactAgeNational TeamNo. GamesNo. Minutes
Sebastian Mielitz97.424.1Deutschland [U20]11510614
Santiago Garcia90.225.1796782
Luca Caldirola93.422.6Italien [U21]918038
Assani Lukimya102.327.622118356
Clemens Fritz119.232.7Deutschland39332689
Cedric Makiadi96.829.5DR Kongo28021628
Aaron Hunt113.427.0Deutschland [U21]30220920
Aleksandar Ignjovski90.722.6Serbien13811085
Eljero Elia108.826.5Niederlande25216417
Nils Petersen99.524.7Deutschland [U19]19813092
Martin Kobylanski88.819.5Polen [U19]573957
Bench
Raphael Wolf83.325.213712671
Sebastian Prödl103.426.2Österreich19716379
Theodor Gebre Selassie108.726.7Tschechien15013363
Mehmet Ekici106.423.4Türkei14810140
Felix Kroos92.122.51369033
Levent Aycicek108.419.6Deutschland [U17]221543
Julian von Haacke104.619.5483759


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.

How to replace Mario Götze

At the end of this season Mario Götze, Germany's super talent, will move from Borussia Dortmund to its arch rival Bayern München. A player if this talent is impossible to substitute. Or is it? Various names are rumoured to be on Borussia Dortmunds shopping list. The following chart compares the players I found in internet as alleged candidates.


Non of the candidates is really of Mario's talent, though Ajax Amsterdam's Christian Eriksen is close. Jackson Martinez is also excellent, but doesn't seem to fit as good in Dortmund's strategy to develop young talents.

Chealsea's talent Kevin de Bruyne had a promising start but failed to develop good in the recent years. Probably he also regrets his move to Werder Bremen. Son, playing for Hamburger SV, didn't have a convincing Goalimpact so far despite good critics. He certainly has talent, but it would be a bet if he really can do use of it better than in the past. Bernand is supposed to be a Brazilian supertalent. He currently plays at Atletico Mineiro. There are not too many observations of him in my database, but he managed to be above his team average already. A risky choice, but it may work out very good.

Bottom line: Eriksen seems to be the best option.

If you see other rumors, please leave me a link in the comments and I can add further players.

Update

Here are some more rumored players as hinted in the comments.

Kevin Prince Boateng is a great player, but seems to be less effective in the last year. Certainly a good option. Antonio Candreva started late in his career to produce significant Goalimpact. The raise at the age of 25 concides with his move from Cesena to Lazio. I think it is a difficult choice. Klopp would need to be very sure that he can use him more efficient as he is not very young anymore and not easy to shape. For Goretzka and Vietto there is too little data available. No Götze dimension of talent, but Goalimpact doesn't show a red flag either. Isco looks similar promising.


Kevin Volland had too little Goalimpact so far to be recommended. Dortmund would need to invest in his talents first until he will be effective. Christian Benteke showed his talents more than once in his career, but experienced ups and downs already in his young career. Maybe he suffered from frequent team changes. Thiago is excellent. According to Goalimpact certainly a player that can turn out as valuable as Götze. Dzeko is different he started getting high ratings in his second year at Manchester and could in the current form reinforce any team in the world. A good option if a complete player rather than a talent is thought after.

Internal solutions could be Bittencourt and Hofmann. The former seems not yet convincing although he lately played some games for the A team. Hofmann looked more promising, but saw his measured performance dropping in the last year.