The Bundesliga’s the only major European league to provide us with detailed running stats for its players. Here we’ll take a look at what these numbers tell us about Germany’s biggest teams.
First, a quick primer:
The basic tables should be self-explanatory.
The red-and-blue heatmaps compare each player to all other players with 400 or more Bundesliga minutes this season. That amounts to 467 players in total.
Red indicates a high top speed/distance covered/number of sprints/number of intensive runs for the league.
Blue denotes a low top speed/distance covered/number of sprints/number of intensive runs.
There are separate heatmaps for each team showing per-90 and total numbers for its players respectively.
Next, some obvious general themes:
- The p90 numbers suggest that you don’t have to both run quickly and run far – in relative terms, of course – to play for a top side. It’s actually rare for players to post high distance-p90 stats and high top-speed numbers.
- You can play regularly in central defence for a title-challenger without:
- being quick
- running far
- sprinting often.
- You can play regularly in central midfield at a big club without being fast – but if you lack pace, then you’ll have to cover a lot of ground.
- Fittingly for someone who often makes the game look so effortless, Robert Lewandowski seemingly doesn’t have to work too hard for his goals, at least on a p90 basis.
- Leon Goretzka has pace but seldom needs to use it.
- The season totals show that Thomas Mueller is an exquisitely talented machine, albeit one that moves at a fairly glacial speed for a world-class attacking player.
- They also demonstrate that the departing David Alaba, who has similar numbers to Mueller, will be missed.
- Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting appears to be remarkably immobile for a forward, though admittedly this is a small sample size of 408 minutes.
- Bayern lining up with Alphonso Davies plus one of Kingsley Coman or Leroy Sané on the left must be the stuff nightmares for opposition right-backs.
- Niklas Süle seems to saunter through games, which is especially striking as he’s spent much of this season at full-back.
- That midfield is horribly lacking in speed. Any combination of Witsel/Dahoud/Delaney/Bellingham can seemingly be outpaced with relative ease.
- The poor form of Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus during parts of this season hasn’t been due to a lack of effort.
- Emre Can is deceptively fast.
- Rapha Guerreiro is deceptively slow.
- For such a “busy” player, Thomas Delaney moves at a very genteel pace.
- The often maligned Thomas Meunier and Julian Brandt both have excellent work ethics.
- Wout Weghorst is often described as the kind of big-lug target man who’d be well suited to the EPL. The numbers show that in truth he’s a very mobile striker. The Dutchman’s also incredibly durable, having played 2,142 of a possible 2,250 Bundesliga minutes this season.
- Ridle Baku, who made his debut appearance for the German national team in November, offers similar characteristics to Weghorst from deeper areas on Wolfsburg’s right.
- Admir Mehmedi has worked like a Trojan during his limited on-pitch minutes.
- Hannes Wolf and Jonas Hofmann are examples of that rare player who has both a good top speed and high distance-p90 numbers.
- Breel Embolo doesn’t seem either to cover enough ground or to make good use of his speed.
- The Kramer-Neuhaus double pivot works hard but sorely lacks pace.
- Both players who are vying to lead Leverkusen’s frontline – Lucas Alario and Patrik Schick – lack mobility.
- Despite being a side associated with breakneck attacks – only Stuttgart and Mainz have had more shots on the counter this season – Leverkusen actually seem to be short of pace overall.
- It’s clear that charging wing-backs – Almamy Touré or Erik Durm on the right, with one of Steven Zuber or Filip Kostić on the left – are a big part of Frankfurt’s game.
- Adi Hütter’s side has pace all over the pitch.
- Dayot Upamecano’s departure this summer will leave Lukas Klostermann as Leipzig’s only defender with notable pace.