In Simon Rolfes, the Bundesliga and its partner AWS have an expert who knows the Bundesliga from A to Z. Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Sporting Director, Rolfes wore Die Werkself's colours 288 times between 2005 and 2015, and represented Germany on 26 occasions. Rolfes is the ideal man to write a weekly column for the 'Bundesliga Match Facts Zone' on bundesliga.com, analysing current trends and giving unique insight on the Bundesliga Match Facts.
Here, Simon Rolfes introduces one of the latest Match Facts, Average Positions: Trends.
By Simon Rolfes
It has long since become an established part of a professional football club's preparation for their next fixture to undertake an in-depth analysis of their opponents. However, I am seeing more and more football fans showing an interest in tactics, shapes and formation planning.
This is why I am so pleased not only by the creation of Average Positions: Trends, a new Bundesliga Match Fact by the DFL in cooperation with AWS, but by the fact it is also the first existing Match Fact to undergo such a comprehensive overhaul.
This improvement of the existing Average Position Match Fact is groundbreaking. From now on, fans in front of their televisions will not only be shown the teams' Average Positions at a given time, but the TV broadcasters and their commentators will now also have the opportunity to show the teams' tactics for any given period of time. This makes it possible both to compare a team's Average Positions from an early stage of the game with a later stage of the same game, as well as to compare the two teams' Average Positions head to head. And on top of all of this, what I find really impressive is the way Average Positions: Trends allows for the teams' formations to be shown both with and without the ball.
The opportunities that arise from this are almost infinite. How has a team adjusted after conceding? Which formation have they adopted following a red card? Which tactics are they using to try to find an equaliser late in the game? What position has the substitute striker taken after replacing a defender? What is the team's shape with and without the ball?
Watch: an explanation of Average Positions: Trends
Average Position: Trends will now deliver a graphic answer to all of these questions, taking Bundesliga reporting onto another level. Fans will also be able to compare the Average Position over the last 10 minutes with the entire match, all via the Bundesliga App, or compare both the formations with and without the ball. It is an absolutely innovative tool which many journalists, coaches and scouts will also turn to in future.
A tactical representation with Average Position: Trends is absolutely unique across Europe's top leagues. The Bundesliga is setting a trend here, and I am sure that many other leagues will follow this innovation in the near future.
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