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Two VERY different ways to build a Bundesliga title contender

A statistical breakdown of the rosters ahead of this weekend’s showdown.

FC Bayern Muenchen Celebrates Winning The Bundesliga Photo by Nathan Zentveld/Getty Images

Bayern Munich has made a habit of hoisting the Bundesliga Meisterschale (championship shield) every May for more than a decade. However, undefeated Bayer Leverkusen has plowed through its schedule this season and sits two points ahead of Bayern heading into the match of the season on Saturday.

Data was extracted from Transfermarkt, FBRef, and Capology to compare the roster construction for both clubs, who find themselves ten points clear of the rest of the Bundesliga. The evaluation consisted of the 18 players on each squad with the most playing time this season, so guys like Serge Gnabry and Eric Dier are excluded while injured players like Alphonso Davies are included. Here are the highlights:

  • Bayern’s average age is a full year older at 27
  • Half of Bayern’s squad joined the roster as a free transfer or academy product, compared only four Leverkusen players
  • Bayern has eight Germans and three non-Europeans; Bayer has four Germans and seven non-Europeans
  • Bayern’s average acquisition cost is €22M versus €12M for Leverkusen; however, the median acquisition cost is only €11M for both teams
  • Bayern’s average salary is €13M; Leverkusen’s is only €3M
  • Bayern’s average market value is €49M; Leverkusen’s is €30M
  • Bayern has 10 players valued over €50M; Leverkusen only has Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong
  • Leverkusen only brought in one transfer in January (Borja Iglesias on a €1M loan from Real Betis); Bayern brought in three players (Sacha Boey, Eric Dier, and Bryan Zaragoza)
  • Leverkusen’s highest-paid player is Alejandro Grimaldo/Patrik Schick (€6M salary); Bayern has 14 players making more than that (Jamal Musiala, Mathys Tel, Sven Ulreich, and Aleksandar Pavlović are the exceptions)

Conclusion

Both strategies are clearly successful, although it seems unlikely that Leverkusen will be able to match Arsenal’s “Invincibles” season. But it is also possible that one of these two teams breaks the 2012/13 record of 91 points and finishes in second place.

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