The Bundesliga returned last weekend, starting where it left off in terms of goals, action and excitement. Over the first half of the season, the German top-flight has led the way in several on-field metrics when compared with the other top five leagues in Europe.
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Bundesliga has seen the most goals per game across Europe’s top divisions so far this season. Germany’s 153 top-flight fixtures have produced a total of 473 goals at a rate of 3.1 per match.
Individually, Bundesliga players also occupy the top spots. FC Bayern München’s Robert Lewandowski has scored 19 times in the first 17 matches of this season to lead both the Bundesliga scoring chart and that of Europe’s top five leagues. His spectacular eye for goal ensured Lewandowski ended the calendar year on 43 goals, setting a new Bundesliga record once owned by the late Gerd Müller.
Lewandowski is three goals clear of everyone else in top five leagues this season, but his closest challenger also comes from the Bundesliga: Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick. The Czech striker has scored 17 goals in just 15 appearances. Another two Bundesliga players also feature within the top 10; Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland on 13 and 1. FC Köln’s Anthony Modeste on 12. His eight headed goals make Modeste Europe’s most dangerous man in the air this season. Unsurprisingly, that makes the Billy Goats the Bundesliga’s best team for headed goals with 11 in total and keeps the Bundesliga joint-top for percentage of goals coming from headers (tied with France’s Ligue 1).
It is not just goals but also assists where the Bundesliga leads the way. Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München) set a new Bundesliga record for the first half of a season with 13 assists in just 17 games. That total is also the most by any player in Europe’s top five leagues so far. Also entering the top five for assists is Bayer 04 Leverkusen star, Florian Wirtz. The German playmaker has set up eight goals from only 15 Bundesliga appearances this term, ranking him fourth across Europe, and comfortably the youngest of the top five.
Almost three quarters of all goals in Germany’s top-flight come from open play (73%). This season, set plays have accounted for just 129 out of 473 goals. That works out at 27 per cent and is the lowest proportion across the top five leagues, meaning a Bundesliga game sees a greater number of goals scored from genuine play.
At the other end of the pitch, Mark Flekken has been in fantastic form for SC Freiburg, ranking highest among goalkeepers across Europe’s top five leagues for the number of goals prevented. Based on xGoals (expected Goals) against, Freiburg should have conceded 20.4 times in the first half of the season. Instead, it was just 16. When excluding own goals, it means Flekken’s saves have spared Christian Streich’s surprise packages 5.4 goals going in, the highest value of all goalkeepers in the respective top divisions.
In terms of fair play, the Bundesliga has seen an average of just 3.6 yellow cards per game in 2021-22, making it the fairest of the top leagues in Europe so far. Furthermore, in the first half of 2021-22, there were only 16 sending-offs, which means an average of just 0.1 per game. In fact, a penalty is only awarded in the Bundesliga on average every four matches, working out at 0.27 per game, also ranking the lowest among Europe’s big five leagues.
All eyes on the second half of the season – “die Rückrunde”
With the Bundesliga returning after the winter break, it was impossible to miss the memo. Billboards in prime locations were placed in key territories all over the globe to celebrate the return of the German top-flight. From Los Angeles, to Beijing, to Warsaw, fans took to social media to give their thoughts on the matches and the season so far.
The DFL was active across the world, working with broadcasters, content partners, media and influencers to promote the return. As well as interviews with players, such as new US signing Ricardo Pepi, clubs worked hand in hand with the DFL and partners to ensure fans were a key part of the build up to the weekend’s matches. Bundesliga Legends gave their thoughts and predictions ahead of Matchday 18, and content partners highlighted the Bundesliga’s return with feature video and graphics, as well as longer form articles and analysis.
As the world’s fastest growing league, in terms of interest and engagement, fan engagement continues to play a key role in the promotion of the Bundesliga globally. And with half of the season still to play, there are a lot of twists, turns and surprises in store to keep supporters on the edge of their seats.