Robert Lewandowski: A profile in statistics

Sascha Steinbach

A profile of Bayern Munich's soon-to-be newest striker, Robert Lewandowski.

Bayern Munich signed a brand new shiny striker by the name of Robert Lewandowksi on Friday. Perhaps you've heard how good he is. While other are explaining the signing of the 25-year-old Polish international as it relates to their relationship with the Bundesliga, and some of are wondering exactly where he might rank in this Bayern Munich squad; others are wondering just how good is Robert Lewandowski?

To that end, this analysis will focus on the Bundesliga and Robert Lewandowski's performance. One caveot that needs to be addressed is that this analysis only includes performance in the Bundesliga and this analysis works from an incomplete dataset. I have purposefully left out performances in the DFB Pokal and the UEFA Champions League as these competitions do not include performances against the same sets of opposition. Comparing performances in these competitions would be fundamentally flawed at a base level as performances is against entirely different sets of competition. I think that the issue of working from an incomplete sample is offset by the ability to compare against a standard dataset that can also be directly applicable to competition Bayern Munich will face.

Offensive Profile

Robert Lewandowski Pass% FinalThirdPass% Shots/90 Key Passes/90
2012/2013 72.23 62.59 3.59 1.1
2013/2014 73.86 64.34 4 1.53
2012/2013 Striker Averages 70.33 58.41 2.43 1.08
2013/2014 Striker Averages 72.49 60.08 2.68 1.25

The first thing that pops out is that offensively with the ball at his feet, he's only really slightly better then the average striker in the Bundesliga. His passing% is only 2% higher for last season then the average and he only 1% above average this season. Where his true value comes from is his passing completion rate in the offensive end, where he has been 4% above average both of the last two seasons. In addition, his shots per 90 and key passes are way above the statistical average. This season he's actually generating a shot and half more a game then the average which is huge advantage over other strikers.

It paints a picture of a striker who is better in the attacking third under pressure then other strikers and is better working with and off his teammates then most strikers.

Defensive Profile

Robert Lewandowski Tackles/90 Interceptions/90 Duel% AerialDuel% PossWon/90*
2012/2013 0.38 0.32 40.34 45.42 3
2013/2014 0.73 0.07 42.84 40.76 2.6
2012/2013 Striker Averages 1.03 0.55 39.75 36.68 2.26
2013/2014 Striker Averages 1.05 0.46 40.54 35.26 1.57

*possessions won in attacking/midfield thirds per 90

Robert Lewandowski is thought of as this dominant aerial force but in reality while he's much more dominant then other strikers in the Bundesliga, he still doesn't win half his aerial duels. This balances out in his total duel percentage in that Robert Lewandowski wins only about 40% of all duels he engages in, barely above the rate of strikers in the Bundesliga. It's also evident that the Polish international actually makes less interceptions and tackles per 90 then his Bundesliga counterparts but actually wins possession more times every game than they do. It's a figure that tracks well with a player who plays in a high press system and forces the opposition into easy turnovers and is not necessarily dependent on tackles or interceptions. In many ways, he's a great match for Guardiola's Bayern Munich with their 5-man high press.

Signing the 25-year-old Polish international is going to be a massive coup for Bayern Munich. They're getting a striker with a demonstrated skillset best used in working off of teammates around him and a player who on defense already demonstrates many of the traits Bayern Munich need from their strikers. One thing's certain: 2014/2015 is going to be full of fireworks.

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