A season in numbers…

Seasonal statistics 2013/14


Football nerdiness

Author: Jo


How important and relevant are statistics and numbers in football? Some love them, because in their view they express strengths and weaknesses of a player or a team. In contrast others argue that the only important statistics is the league table at the end of the season. For them, everything else is just a useless attempt to measure a game, which can’t be described by numbers. I am somewhere in between. In fact, I think statistics are nice, when you can justify your arguments, why your team plays as you expect. However, it is a nightmare, when your numbers do not provide any explanation, why your team loses every match. What I want to say is that this text should not be taken too seriously. Nevertheless, it is the attempt to play around with numbers and statistics from season 2013/14 to explain everything and nothing.

For this article, I picked some statistics randomly from the internet. I used www.kicker.de and the football app from www.spiegel.de to acquire the necessary information. The data was downloaded after our last match against Erzgebirge Aue on 11th of May 2014. So, if you like statistics, I hope that you will have great fun. If you hate weird playing around with numbers, you will better go forward to the next article.

I will start my review with a relative easy statistic; the number of games played (see Table 1). Goalkeepers are often very steady positions without frequent changes, when there is clear number one. Even if it is not a real number one in this case, it is not a big surprise that Philip Tschauner played 32 matches last season. I presume, he would have played more, if had not received a shoulder injury in the match against Kaiserslautern. A bigger surprise is Marc Rzatkowski, who made as many matches as Tschauner. We should not forget that it was his first season at the Millerntor and he has already become an important part of our team. Place three goes to Marcel Halstenberg, who also joined last season from Borussia Dortmund II. He also made 31 matches in the defence and in the defensive midfield. However, my perception is that he made his best games as in the defence and not in the midfield. In any case, I am quite happy that two new players could become regular players in their first season.


Table 1: Number of games

Player Games
1 Philipp Tschauner 32
1 Marc Rzatkowski 32
3 Marcel Halstenberg 31
Source: Kicker.de

Keeping the matches per player in mind, we see both Marc Rzatkowski und Marcel Halstenberg again with the highest distance during the last season (Table 2). Again, Rzatkowski did the longest way last season with more than 350 km. He was quite busy last season, because it was an average distance of around 11 kilometres per game, which is one kilometre more than Halstenberg, number two of the distance ranking. Rank three goes to Markus Thorandt with a distance 297.5 kilometres in 29 matches (average 10.26 km per match).


Table 2: Distance

Player Distance
1 Marc Rzatkowski 353,9 km
2 Marcel Halstenberg 314,3 km
3 Markus Thorandt 297,5 km
Source: Spiegel.de


Matches and distances are interesting figures, but what does it count, if a player does not score? Therefore, we should look at the goals per player. Our most dangerous scorer in season 2013/14 was Fin Bartels with seven goals (Table 3). This is probably also one reason, why he leaves for Werder Bremen in summer. It might be difficult for us to compensate this loss, because our two forwards John Verhoek and Christopher Noethe scored only five goals each. I think that both have some room for improvement. This is probably also the reason, why the manager still looks for another forwarder. Interestingly, Florian Kringe scored also five goals and I am glad that he decided to stay for one more year at least.


Table 3: Goals

  Player goals scored
1 Fin Bartels 7
3 John Verhoek 5
3 Christopher Nöthe 5
3 Florian Kringe 5
Source: Kicker.de

Goals usually don’t happen without any reason. Therefore, it is also interesting to look at the number of assists per player (Table 4). Again Marc Rzatkowski appears to be our number one with seven assists, which makes him an even more valuable player. Second place goes to Christopher Buchtmann with six assists, while Fin Bartels is third with five assists. I am pretty sure that we will miss both Fin’s goals and Fin’s assists next season.


Table 4: Assists

Player Assists
1 Marc Rzatkowski 7
2 Christopher Buchtmann 6
3 Fin Bartels 5
Source: spiegel.de


Goals and assists are important to win matches, while the defence prevents defeats. Looking at the defensive capabilities of each player, successful tacklings might an interesting measure (Table 5). We find again Marcel Halstenberg on place one with 62% successful tacklings. We will see, if Daniel Buballa (our new outside defender) will be able to compete with him. Halstenberg is directly followed by Florian Mohr (61%) and Markus Thorandt (59%). However, one could argue that Florian Mohr played only eleven matches in the last season, which creates a bit of bias in this statistics. It is a little sad that Mohr left at the end of the season and I hope, we will get an adequate substitution.


Table 5: Successful Tacklings

Player Successful tacklings
1 Marcel Halstenberg 62%
2 Florian Mohr 61%
3 Markus Thorandt 59%
Source: Spiegel.de


Successful tacklings are not the only measure, which can be considered in the defence. Unfortunately, unsuccessful tacklings can result in fouls. When looking at the fouls per player (Table 6), we find John Verhoek with 46 fouls on position one. This is probably, because of his aggressive style as a forwarder. Surprisingly, Marc Rzatkowski takes place two with 45 fouls, followed by Christopher Buchtmann with 43 fouls. Both youngsters seem to be bit fussy when defending.


Table 6: Fouls

Player Fouls
1 John Verhoek 46
2 Marc Rzatkowski 45
3 Christopher Buchtmann 43
Source: Spiegel.de


Moreover, it is no surprise that these fouls result in red and yellow cards (Table 7). Position number one, and winner of the Walter-Frosch Medal 2013/14 for the most yellow cards in Bundesliga 2, goes to Christopher Buchtmann with 14 yellow cards altogether. Probably, it would have been more cards, if he had not been stopped by some injuries at the end of the season. He is followed by Sören Gonther with ten yellow cards and one red card. And Marc Rzatkowski seems to appear in almost every ranking with seven yellow cards, together with Sebastian Schachten and Markus Thorandt.


Table 7: Cards

  Player Yellow Cards Yellow-red Red
1 Christopher Buchtmann 14 0 0
2 Sören Gonther 10 0 1
3 Marc Rzatkowski 7 0 0
3 Sebastian Schachten 7 0 0
3 Markus Thorandt 7 0 1
Quelle: Kicker.de


So, which conclusions for season 2013/14 can be drawn from these statistics? Not many probably. Some of our new and young players have played a good season. Especially Marc Rzatkowski and Marcel Halstenberg were very busy. Rzatkowski makes a lot of effort and he makes fairly good assists. When he is able to improve his scoring capabilities and avoid his preference for dives, he might become a very good player. Also Marcel Halstenberg had a very good start at St. Pauli. However, I still think that he plays better as an outside defender than as a defensive midfielder. Actually, I believe that Christopher Buchtmann is better in the defensive midfield, when he is able to avoid some of the yellow cards. Our forwarders Noethe and Verhoek have got some room for improvement, if we want play better than rank eight in the next season. Anyhow, we will need another forward next season after the leave of Gregoritsch to VfL Bochum. Someone might wonder about the role of Sebastian Schachten and some people already see him as the next Fabian Boll. Of course, it is not possible to compare persons on such a subjective basis. Nevertheless, we will need a good captain. If Schachten will become the next skipper, I won’t be surprised, because I think that he is really special guy with a lot of St. Pauli feeling. However, he will not become the next Fabian Boll, simply because he is different person. I don’t know, what to expect from season 2014/15, but it will be different than 2013/14.

At the end, I have to apologize, because I missed so many players, which do not appear in any of these statistics. I know that they are all important parts of the whole and I feel really sorry that I have not considered all of them in this review. However, statistics is only one perspective on the beautiful game and this is how this review should be seen. Just a few numbers, which might make some sense or not.