The origins of goals in the German Bundesliga

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


We propose to analyse the origin of goals in professional football (soccer) in a purely data-driven approach. Based on positional and event data of 3,457 goals from two seasons German Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga (2018/20,219 and 2019/2020), we devise a rich set of 37 features that can be extracted automatically and propose a hierarchical clustering approach to identify group structures. The results consist of 50 interpretable clusters revealing insights into scoring patterns. The hierarchical clustering found 8 alone standing clusters (penalties, direct free kicks, kick and rush, one-two’s, assisted by header, assisted by throw-in) and nine categories (e.g., corners) combining more granular patterns (e.g., five subcategories of corner-goals). We provide a thorough discussion of the clustering and show its relevance for practical applications in opponent analysis, player scouting and for long-term investigations. All stages of this work have been supported by professional analysts from clubs and federation.
ZeitschriftJournal of Sports Sciences
Seiten (von - bis)2525-2544
Anzahl der Seiten20
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 17.11.2021

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
This work would not have been possible without the perspective of professional match-analysts from world class teams who helped us to define relevant features and spend much time evaluating (intermediate) results. We would cordially like to thank Dr. Stephan Nopp and Christofer Clemens (head match-analysts of the German mens National team), Jannis Scheibe (head match-analyst of the German U21 mens National team) as well as Sebastian Geißler (former match-analyst of Borussia Mönchengladbach). Additionally, the authors would like to thank Dr. Hendrik Weber and Deutsche Fußball Liga

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