Nagelsmann’s plan to forget about Lewandowski

Category: Team Analysis

We take a closer look at the change Bayern have undergone following Lewandowski's departure: how Nagelsmann has swapped wingers for strikers.

Published:26/10/2022

Robert Lewandowski generates 0.86 xG per 90 minutes for FC Barcelona this season, almost an expected goal per game. Nobody, not even Erling Haaland, generates more expected goals than him in Europe. Losing such a player is not good news for anyone but it is likely that Bayern and Nagelsmann are a team and a coach, by squad and ideas, capable of seeing such a departure as an opportunity.

Still, Bayern 22/23 have lost more than 40 goals a season without a forceful replacement. Mathys Tel is a gamble on the future and Mané has arrived to make sense of what Nagelsmann is looking for. The data offers a very interesting insight into how Bayern have transformed themselves, dispensing with all that is involved in playing with such a key player finishing and finishing off everything that is generated.

Performance

Before getting into questions of style, the most important thing is the team’s performance. Bayern’s ability to generate and convert in attack is very similar. However, we must not forget, at all times during the search and verification of the data that Robert Lewandowski is a unique striker, who conditions the behaviour of the team and the opposition, generating a quantity and quality of shots unmatched by any other Bayern player.

On this radar we see a difference in the quality of chances: with Lewandowski, Bayern generated 2.38 xG per 90′, to 2.05 without him; 0.36 xG from set pieces, to 0.26 xG without him, as well as a higher xG per shot of 0.12, to 0.10 without him, adding up to more offensive aerial duels won with the Pole (4.82, to 3.6). There is nothing to discover that is not already known to everyone. Lewandowski increases the quality of chances with his finishing talent, as he is managing to improve the same statistics at Barcelona.

However, Bayern maintain the volume of shots per 90′, adding more goals without penalties and the same touches in the box per game. The versatility of their attackers and Nagelsmann’s insistence on enriching combinations at full speed are having an impact on every other attacker.

Style

To some extent, Bayern have ceased to insist on those situations that enhanced the play of the Polish centre-forward. The difference in crosses completed can be seen in these scatter graphs, from last season and this season, to show how Nagelsmann’s side has moved away from the teams that complete the most crosses, towards a much quicker, more front-foot combination team.

Above, scatter graph for the 2021/22 season, relating crosses completed to shots. In the graph below, by contrast, the one for the current season, Bayern add more shots, being higher on the vertical axis (nobody shoots more per 90 minutes than Bayern in the five big leagues) and make fewer crosses, moving their position back on the horizontal axis. In other words, he shoots more and crosses less, a simple and straightforward summary of his post-Lewandowski transformation.

This is where the change is clearly visible: Nagelsmann has converted his wide players into finishing and finishing attackers, as can be seen in the table below, from which we have excluded Sadio Mané, as he is this season’s signing, which is, moreover, a statement of intent as a replacement for Lewandowski.

In it, each of the team’s five most important attackers who are not centre forwards, Musiala, Müller, Sané, Coman and Gnabry, are doing less dribbling and less crossing per 90 minutes, in exchange for finishing and more touches in the box to make up for Lewandowksi’s absence. In other words, they no longer play for a ‘9’ and, therefore, everyone must occupy finishing areas, changing the mentality in the final third of the pitch. With the exception of the odd case such as Coman (he has only played 358 minutes), the other four have seen their numbers in dribbles and crosses decrease and increase in shots, expected goals and touches in the box.

We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in the statistical analysis of players and teams; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 200,000 players from more than 180 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.

Autor: Alejandro Arroyo
For Team Analysis we also recommend you:

Who can replace Ruslan Malinosvkyi?

Ruslan Malinovskyi could leave Atalanta next summer. With a hypothetical exit in mind, we look at five players who could replace him.

The great evolution of football: the average shot distance

There is no greater desire for statistical science than to be able to explain something complex and long-lasting in time with a single image. To be able to generate an immediate impact with a visualisation that condenses a story and its concept(s) in a second. And...

Directness: how direct each team is with their passes

We explain how our ‘Verticality’ metric works and visualise the data with the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Qatar 2022: La Gazzetta dello Sport collabora con Driblab (Italian)

In occasione della Coppa del Mondo in Qatar, Driblab non solo fornisce supporto statistico e di consulenza a tutti i suoi clienti, ma collabora anche con i principali media per far prendere sempre più coscienza delle statistiche avanzate attraverso progetti di ampio...

Il protagonista inatteso dei Mondiali in Qatar (Italian)

Il protagonista dei Mondiali del Qatar 2022 potrebbe essere lo stesso dei Mondiali di Russia 2018. I dati riflettono il suo dominio nelle competizioni internazionali.

Cercasi sostituto per Ruslan Malinovskyi (Italian)

Ruslan Malinovskyi potrebbe lasciare l’Atalanta la prossima estate. In vista di un’ipotetica uscita di scena, analizziamo cinque giocatori che potrebbero sostituirlo.

The unexpected protagonist of the Qatar World Cup

The protagonist of the Qatar 2022 World Cup could be the same as in the Russia 2018 World Cup. The data has been reflecting its dominance in international competitions.

Qatar 2022: style metrics of the 32 national teams

We selected eight style metrics to learn more about the 32 teams at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The data that explain Luis Enrique’s Spain

We analyze how Luis Enrique’s Spain is coming into the World Cup and how the data shows its strengths and weaknesses.

The most offensive fullbacks in La Liga

We discover the most offensive fullbacks in La Liga and those who cover the most meters with carries, two metrics to measure the most important fullbacks in La Liga.

Driblab

Información corporativa

Somos una empresa con sede en Madrid fundada en 2017 por Salvador Carmona y Cristian Coré Ramiro. Desde nuestros inicios nuestro trabajo se ha centrado en el análisis estadístico de datos para ayudar a los clubes en la planificación deportiva. Somos una consultora big data que ofrece servicios personalizados para cada cliente y defiende un modelo de gestión mixto y una comunicación constante para acompañar el día a día de las instituciones. Nuestro punto fuerte es la más amplia cobertura disponible en número de torneos profesionales y juveniles. Para más detalles, póngase en contacto con nosotros.

Colaboramos con:

           

Hemos aparecido en:


Talk to our speciali