Pep Guardiola vs Jupp Heynckes: A quick look at the stats

Alex Livesey

This is a fun debate which I continue to see, not only at BFW but at other sites such as ESPN. The most recent example of this debate came from ESPN FC's Gabrielle Marcotti and Craig Burley.

ESPN FC: Gabriele Marcotti and Craig Burley debate this year's Bayern vs last year's Bayern

I do not mind this debate, but I do mind all the cliches that go with it: "Oh, Pep's teams do not score goals. All they do is keep the ball." and "Pep's teams do not know how to defend." and "Jupp's teams were an all-conquering efficient machine which never had issues."

I believe this year's team is slightly better, but that partly has to do with the addition of Götze and Thiago, along with expected improvement from players such as Müller and Kroos.

However, the point of this post is to address some of these misconceptions. To test the misconceptions, I engaged in fairly simple analysis. I gathered shots, shots on target, and goal numbers for and against for 44 fixtures last year and this year (29 Bundesliga, 10 CL, 4 Pokal, 1 Super Cup). I did not include the UEFA Super Cup or the Club World Cup since Bayern did not play in those competitions last year.

First, there is the misconception that this team is a lot worse in terms of defending than last year's team.

Defense Shots Shots On Target Goals
2012-13 380 119 24
2013-14 389 143 30

These differences may be statistically insignificant, but there is at least some evidence to suggest that Bayern is slightly worse defensively than last year. This difference is not high though.

Second, there is the misconception that Bayern only plays possession and does not shoot the ball. A quick look at WhoScored shows that Bayern is 2nd in Europe in terms of shots per game within its league barely behind Real Madrid. In terms of CL, Bayern is tied with Juventus in first for shots per game. On another note, according to WhoScored, the top 17 teams in Europe in terms of dribbles per game are all Bundesliga teams. Only Augsburg is not included and it is 23rd.

But, I also engaged in the exercise of gathering the numbers on the offensive side of the ball.


Shots Shots On Target Goals
2012-13 755 324 118
2013-14 833 343 124

So, apparently, Pep's Bayern have more shots, more shots on target, and more goals than Heynckes' Bayern to this point. Considering Bayern's greater possession numbers this year, it may be possible that it seems like Bayern shoots less in relation to how much it has the ball, but Bayern still has more shots than it did last year.

I am not trying to prove one side or the other with this analysis. It is fairly simplistic. But, given this evidence, people spouting off the cliches of Pep's Bayern will need to provide more evidence, because the decline is not obvious in any way. The current evidence suggests that this team is slightly better on offense and slightly worse on defense. Goal difference is exactly the same to this point between last year's team and this year's team.

If anyone has any more evidence (statistical or otherwise) to suggest a different conclusion on offense or defense, then I am willing to reconsider my opinion in this debate. But, please, no more cliches.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bavarian Football Works readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bavarian Football Works editors or staff.

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