Friday, September 18, 2020

RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid: Just how big a miss is Timo Werner in Lisbon?

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 13 Aug 2020

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It does not exactly take an Einstein-like genius to suggest any team, let alone RB Leipzig, would miss a striker the quality of Timo Werner.

But when coming up against a team with the defensive quality of Atletico Madrid it appears an even bigger loss.

Werner opted not play in the remainder of Leipzig’s resumed Champions League campaign, however long that may last, after signing for Premier League side Chelsea.

So, just how big a loss will he be to Leipzig? Well, using Opta data for the Bundesliga and LaLiga in 2019-20, we have compared Werner’s stats against Marcel Sabitzer, Patrik Schick and Yussuf Poulsen and analysed Atleti’s defensive strength to highlight the size of the task in Lisbon on Thursday.

TIM-WOE WITHOUT WERNER?

The raw numbers show Werner was, and prepare to be very shocked here (disclaimer: you won’t be), Leipzig’s most potent forward this season – yeah, we were surprised too.

His 28 goals was bettered only in Germany’s top flight by Robert Lewandowski (another surprise…), with Schick’s 10 the next best of our four chosen Leipzig players. Sabitzer had nine and Poulsen five.

Of course, that does not tell the full story given Werner played all 34 games, while Sabitzer (32), Schick and Poulsen (both 22) each played fewer.

However, even when looking at the data per 90 minutes, Werner’s average of 0.9 is still comfortably the best, with Schick (0.69) next in line and Poulsen (0.37) and Sabitzer (0.32) well behind.

Werner’s 64 shots on target equate to 2.05 per 90 minutes, which is also better than Schick (1.38), Sabitzer (0.86) and Poulsen (0.74).

So, not particularly friendly reading for Leipzig fans so far. Things do not get much better when looking at big-chance conversion, with Werner’s at 46.15 per cent.

Schick’s 42.86 is not too far behind, but Sabitzer (22.22) and Poulsen (37.5) are some way off Werner’s figure.

A shot conversion rate of 28 per cent means Werner also led in this category. Throw in five braces and three hat-tricks, none of the other three managed any in those areas, and the Germany star’s absence is pretty pronounced.

Werner had eight assists too, with Sabitzer only one back here on seven.

BREAKING DOWN DIEGO’S DEFENSIVE WALL

Of course, it is not just Werner’s goals that make this such a difficult tie. Even with him involved getting through Atletico’s notoriously difficult defence would have been tricky.

And there is plenty of encouragement for Atleti when looking at the numbers since LaLiga resumed in June.

In the 11 games Atleti played, their defence was breached just six times and the team kept six clean sheets. 

In the 27 matches pre-lockdown, the opposition scored 21 times and Atleti registered 11 shut outs.

Their tackle success jumped up slightly from 61.23 per cent to 63.37, while there were no errors leading to goals in the 11 games since the resumption (impressively there were only two in this category pre-lockdown).

In terms of shots on target faced, Atleti averaged out at three per game (81 from 27 before the league was suspended, 33 in 11 after the restart).

For total shots, Atleti faced a few more on average (11.6 compared to 10.6) but there is no doubting Leipzig face a daunting task.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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