Adam Darowski takes a closer look at Dortmund’s statistical leaders of the 2017/2018 Hinrunde. Some you may have guessed and some you may have not.
At the end of the last Bundesliga campaign, I took a look at Borussia Dortmund’s statistical leaders beyond the traditional goals and assists. The end of this rocky Hinrunde seems like a good opportunity to see how things look under the hood so far in the 2017-18 season.
Last season’s goal and assist leaders were well known—Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the top scorer and Ousmane Dembélé was generally his provider. This season, things haven’t changed much at the top of the goal scoring charts. Auba leads the way with 13 goals at the break, on pace for 26 (behind last year’s 31 but in line with 2015-16’s total of 25). Newcomer Maximilian Philipp has found the back of the net six times while Shinji Kagawa, Christian Pulisic, and Andrey Yarmolenko have three goals apiece. As for the assist leader… well, I had to look it up. WhoScored.com (and many other sources) list Aubameyang and Mahmoud Dahoud as the joint leaders with three apiece. Meanwhile, the more liberal Transfermarkt lists Yarmolenko at the top with four.
While goals and assists are vital to a team’s success, we all know there are many other ways a player can contribute. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the statistics available on WhoScored.com in order to identify the quieter contributors on the Dortmund squad.
- Łukasz Piszczek (7.40)
- Maximilian Philipp (7.37)
- Nuri Şahin (7.35)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7.30)
- Marc Bartra (7.19)
The WhoScored.com rating is a complex calculation of a player’s overall performance.
WhoScored.com Ratings are based on a unique, comprehensive statistical algorithm, calculated live during the game. There are over 200 raw statistics included in the calculation of a player’s/team’s rating, weighted according to their influence within the game. Every event of importance is taken into account, with a positive or negative effect on ratings weighted in relation to its area on the pitch and its outcome.
Last season’s team leader (Ousmane Dembélé, 7.44) is, of course, no longer with the club. The current leader (Piszczek) has been out for an extended period while our second-highest rated player (Philipp) is just beginning a long spell on the sidelines. Aubameyang and Bartra have come close to last season’s heights, but 2016-17’s #4 (Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7.21) and #5 (Raphaël Guerreiro, 7.18) have taken a step back. Şahin makes an appearance on the list while Christian Pulisic (7.18) and Andrey Yarmolenko (7.06) just missed.
It may be surprising to see Piszczek at the top of the list, but our drop in form directly corresponded with his absence. He played in Dortmund’s first seven Bundesliga matches, resulting in six wins and a draw. The club failed to secure a win in the next eight matches until Peter Bosz was let go. Per Transfermarkt, Piszczek leads the club in points per match (points the club earned during the matches he played—19 points in 7 matches) with 2.71. Mahmoud Dahoud ranks second at 2.27. Meanwhile, Marcel Schmelzer is at 1.00 (9 points in 9 matches) and Raphaël Guerreiro is at 1.14 (8 points in 7 matches).
At the bottom of the WhoScored rating list, we mostly see players who have made just a handful of appearances. Among players who have appeared in more than four matches, Roman Bürki (6.61) actually has the lowest score, followed by Dahoud (6.65). As a dedicated member of #TeamBürki, I wonder how much the shaky defence ahead of our keeper contributes to his low score.
WhoScored rating is a “rate stat,” meaning it expresses value on a per game basis. Where appropriate, I’ll list Dortmund’s leaders in both raw totals and on a per-game basis.
Total accurate passes
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (1,017)
- Ömer Toprak (816)
- Nuri Şahin (637)
- Marcel Schmelzer (540)
- Marc Bartra (519)
Last season’s leader, Matthias Ginter, is now with Gladbach (and has 872 accurate passes, if you were wondering). Julian Weigl has struggled to make this list (he’s 7th, behind Gonzalo Castro), but hopefully, a return to a similar role to that he played under Thomas Tuchel will get him more involved.
— Adam Darowski (@fussballtwit) December 13, 2017
Accurate passes per game
- Ömer Toprak (74)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (64)
- Marcel Schmelzer (60)
- Neven Subotic (55)
- Nuri Şahin (53)
Nothing really stands out here that’s much different from the previous list except the introduction of Neven Subotic. Basically, if you play centre-back you’re going to get on this list.
- Ömer Toprak (91.4%)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (88.6%)
- Julian Weigl (88.5%)
- Shinji Kagawa (88.1%)
- Gonzalo Castro (87.2%)
The one that stands out to me here is Shinji Kagawa. His passes are obviously coming further up the pitch, meaning every successful connection he makes is in a much more dangerous position and much more likely to contribute to a scoring opportunity. His accurate passes are much more valuable than those that Sokratis and Toprak send side-to-side as they look for an opening.
Total Accurate Long Balls (with Accuracy)
- Roman Bürki (98, 37.0%)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (72, 51.8%)
- Ömer Toprak (37, 60.7%)
- Julian Weigl (34, 64.2%)
- Nuri Şahin (32, 44.4%)
Long balls are included in the total accurate passes list, but I thought they were worth calling out individually. He’s not shown here because he only had 21 long balls, but Shinji Kagawa˝s accuracy is 70%. Expect Julian Weigl’s numbers to increase as he settles into his old, deeper role. He completed 9 of 10 long balls against Mainz (per Squawka).
Total key passes
- Gonzalo Castro (30)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (25)
- Mario Götze (19)
- Christian Pulisic (16)
- Nuri Şahin (15)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (15)
Key passes are “the final pass leading to a shot at goal from a teammate.” Castro is already most of the way to his 2016-17 total (42). Last year, he finished second behind Ousmane Dembélé’s 63.
Key passes per game
- Gonzalo Castro (2.5)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (1.9)
- Mario Götze (1.9)
- Nuri Şahin (1.3)
- Maximilian Philipp (1.2)
Only notable change is the introduction of Philipp. Castro has taken a lot of heat this year, but he’s definitely contributed in this way.
Successful dribbles (with success rate)
- Christian Pulisic (49, 43.8%)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (14, 36.8%)
- Maximilian Philipp (11, 64.7%)
- Mario Götze (9, 42.9%)
- Mahmoud Dahoud (8, 72.7%)
All last season, Pulisic had 55 successful dribbles. This season, he already has 49. That’s as many as the next five players on the list combined. No Bundesliga player has as many successful dribbles as Captain America, but the two closest players to him have much better success rates: Naby Keita (46, 64.8%) and Kingsley Coman (44, 58.7%). Worth noting—Aubameyang has completed just 5 of 26 dribbles (19.2%).
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (57)
- Maximilian Philipp (30)
- Christian Pulisic (26)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (25)
- Nuri Şahin (18)
Nothing terribly surprising, except maybe that Nuri Şahin has more shots from outside the box (13) than Mario Götze has in total (12).
- Christian Pulisic (27)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (26)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (17)
- Mario Götze (17)
- Shinji Kagawa (15)
Pulisic and Aubameyang work in tight spaces and that leads to some bad touches and loss of possession. Dan-Axel Zagadou is the highest listed defender with 11 unsuccessful touches.
- Christian Pulisic (30)
- Maximilian Philipp (17)
- Mario Götze (15)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (14)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (12)
At times, it seems Pulisic tries to do too much and dribbles into a wall. It’s not great that he leads the team in both possession loss metrics, but it also shows that he’s the one trying to make magic. Zagadou and Jeremy Toljan lead defenders with six dispossessions.
- Andrey Yarmolenko (23)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (21)
- Nuri Şahin (19)
- Mario Götze (18)
- 3 tied with (16)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (23)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (17)
- Andrey Yarmolenko (16)
- Nuri Şahin (15)
- Mahmoud Dahoud (14)
It’s not surprising to see Sokratis near the top of both of these lists as he always seems to be tangled with somebody. Yarmolenko’s tendency to dribble into traffic seems to yield his share of fouls. Aubameyang’s appearance on the fouls committed list is interesting. It seems he’s been called on for too many desperation challenges (the red card against Schalke comes to mind).
Successful tackles (with success rate)
- Nuri Şahin (30, 61.2%)
- Marc Bartra (28, 80.0%)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (27, 93.1%)
- Julian Weigl (24, 64.9%)
- Marcel Schmelzer (21, 77.8%)
While Nuri Şahin has three more successful tackles than Sokratis, the Greek’s success rate is much better. Worth noting that Piszczek is 12-for-12.
- Marc Bartra (30)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (21)
- Marcel Schmelzer (20)
- Łukasz Piszczek (18)
- Nuri Şahin (18)
Last year’s leader, Julian Weigl, sits at #6. He had 70 interceptions last year and sits at just 16 at this season’s mid-way point.
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (50)
- Marc Bartra (36)
- Ömer Toprak (36)
- Marcel Schmelzer (28)
- Jeremy Toljan (22)
While Sokratis and Schmelzer are tied with 3.1 clearances per game, Toprak (3.3) and Neven Subotic (3.8) have more on a per-game basis.
Total shots blocked
- Ömer Toprak (4)
- Gonzalo Castro (3)
- 4 tied with (2)
Total crosses blocked
- Jeremy Toljan (8)
- Marc Bartra (6)
- Marcel Schmelzer (5)
- Sokratis Papastathopoulos (4)
- 2 tied with (3)
Total passes blocked
- Gonzalo Castro (15)
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (13)
- Christian Pulisic (12)
- Marc Bartra (12)
- 2 tied with (11)
Last season, Dortmund had three players with a dozen blocked shots. This year, the team leader is on pace for 8. That’s a rather substantial dropoff. Castro, however, is on pace (30) to eclipse last season’s blocked pass leader (Weigl, 22).
Blocking crosses, meanwhile, has been a weakness of Schmelzer ever since (0.6 per game). Jeremy Toljan is showing more promise in that category (1 per game), which has him tied on first place with seven other Bundesliga players.
A bumpy campaign
This has obviously been a difficult Hinrunde, but somehow Dortmund still sits in third place. WhoScored.com provides a score for entire team performances and things started very well during the Bosz era. Over the first seven Bundesliga matches, the team had dropped only two points (in the draw to Freiburg) and had a rating of 7.28. During the next eight matches (during which only three points were earned), the club averaged a 6.57 rating. They had a similarly abysmal 6.65 rating in the Champions League group stage and crashed out.
During the eight-game winless streak, Dortmund had developed a bad habit of allowing second-half goals. While they had scored six second-half goals, they allowed twelve—and it wasn’t any better in the Champions League during that run.
Peter Stöger has only been in charge for three matches (Bundesliga clashes with Mainz and Hoffenheim and the Cup match against Bayern), but things are starting to look a bit better. The WhoScored rating for the two Bundesliga matches averaged 7.08 and the second half performances included four goals scored and none conceded. Add the second half goal against Bayern and suddenly they’re +5 in the second half over their last three matches.
How good is a 7.08 rating? Only four clubs in the world—Barcelona, PSG, Manchester City, and Juventus—have maintained a rating that high in league play all season. Dortmund’s early run of 7.28 is better than any club has maintained this season.
Peter Stöger will hopefully get some reinforcements for the second half both with new signings and players returning from injury (notably Marco Reus, Mario Götze, and the ageing-but-still-statistically-strong Łukasz Piszczek). Here’s hoping these numbers look much better at the end of the season.
You can follow Adam on Twitter @Fussballtwit.