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How much is a goal worth?

Comparing the value of goals scored by Bayern players in the 2012-13 season

It’s all in the title really. If you’re one of those people who think that player x doesn’t score the first “deciding” goal and so on and so on, then this analysis will set things straight once and for all.

The system I used was basically to value goals according to when they were scored during a match as follows:

  • Goal scored to give the lead, equalize or pull one back are worth 3 points
  • Goal scored when in the lead, but would later make the difference between winning and drawing or drawing or losing are 2 points
  • Goal scored that did not have a direct influence on the result of the match are worth 1 point

Aggregate scores are counted in European play offs (that is, the Barca game counts as one 180 minute long 7-0 result). All matches are treated with equal weight – the opening goal of a BuLi game v Freiburg is as valuable as the opener for the Champions League.

Given are average goal worth on a scale of 1 to 3, as well as the ratio of “useful” goals to useless goals as a percentage. So let’s jump right in, shall we?

Martinez – normal goal worth is 8 (goal values)/3 (amount of goals scored) 2,67 (a mean value that represents how much an average goal scored by him is worth. His ratio of “useful” goals to total goals is 3 to 3 = 100%. (from here onwards, only the end numbers are presented)

Schweinsteiger – 2,33 – – – 77%

Ribery – 2,18 – – – 63,6%

Mandzukic –  2,087 – – – 56%.

Müller – 2,083 – – – 62,5%

Kroos – 2 – – – 55%

Alaba – 1,8 – – – 40%

Gustavo – 1,75 – – – 25%

Robben –1,69 – – – 38,4%

Gomez – 1,63 – – – 36,8%

Shaqiri – 1,5 – – – 25%

Pizarro – 1,3 – – – 23%

Rafinha, Dante, Tymoschuck, Boateng and Can all scored less than 3 goals this season and as such aren’t counted. Players are listed according to their weighted goal values.

So can we make some conclusions here? Sure. Martinez and Schweinsteiger both top the list, which is an indication of how their play becomes more conservative once we’re in the lead, as they will not seek to push forward and score as much anymore. Of the first choice attacking four, Ribery was the most important goalscorer, while Kroos was the least important one. Müller, despite scoring more important goals than Mandzukic percentage-wise, suffers from the fact that a few of his goals were “second” goals that only later proved the difference between a point and three. Technically, his contribution was more valuable, but Mandzukic was more often the first battering ram through.

What else? Alaba and Gustavo both had small sample sizes (like Martinez), but look decent enough goalscorers, both being directly responsible for a couple of wins. Then we arrive to the next pack of players – Robben, Gomez, Shaqiri and Pizarro. The hidden reason why they are so low on this table is because they were so often substitutes, and as such, usually scored their goals when the game had already been decided. Of course, Robben scored some of the most high profile goals this season, but the rest of his performance wasn’t enough to make him an “important” goalscorer. Gomez is close behind him – while his numbers aren’t as bad as Pizarro’s, they are still quite low, as 63,2% of his goals had no impact on our treble run at all. Shaqiri might feel injustice for his low spot on the list, and as a substitute winger, it can only be expected for him to feature so low. Pizarro’s horrid number also show his status as the third striker – his contributions were mostly during routs like Hamburg.

The most impressive player in these statistics? Gotta be Schweinsteiger, who really pulled through when we needed a goal most, his title winning backheel probably the best example of that.

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  • FCBayernMunchen says:


    That is a very interesting analysis regarding the role of Martinez and Schweinsteiger and how it changes after taking the lead. It is sometimes not so noticeable from the game itself.