VfL Bochum recently fired head coach Robin Dutt and signed Thomas Reis as their new head coach. Bochum’s results in the beginning of the 2 Bundesliga campaign 2019/20 have been poor and Bochum’s defensive department had some issues. However, their defensive struggles seem to maintain under their new head coach so far.

With allowing shots that resulted in the expected number of 13.01 goals, Bochum actually conceded 19 goals. Therewith, Bochum conceded way more goals (+46%) than the stats indicate. In the following tactical analysis, we will examine the reasons for Bochum’s defensive problems and explain which tactical issues caused the big difference between xGA and conceded goals.

The xG model and its pitfalls

For quantitive analysis, data analysts searched for a statistic with a high correlation to the actual result of a game. The creation of the xG model allowed for more accurate claims about a team’s performance. This model calculates the probability of a shot resulting in a goal. For each shot location, there is data about the amount of goals per attempt. With the help of this data, xG values can be created. Different from model to model, some xG values also consider whether it is a header or a shot with the strong or weak foot.

Nevertheless, xG stats do not take into account whether the player taking the shot is pressured by an opposition defender. Not a single xG model considers the distance towards the defender. This might be the reason for the huge discrepancy of Bochum’s xGA value and their actual amount of conceded goals. Bochum seem to fail to pressure the opposition attacker enough and as a consequence concede more goals than expected.

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