Tonight, all the eyes will be on the return of the most prestigious club competition in the world, UEFA Champions League. In this article, we will take a look back at some 4-season stats of the competition (because 4 years is football’s magic number) and try to read what they imply.
1- Bayern Don’t Know When To Score :
Over the last 4 seasons, Real Madrid scored the most UCL goals among any teamm, netting 119 goals in total. This is anything but surprising since they were the only side who won the trophy twice in that period. Bayern comes second with 118, only one goal less than the European champions, while Barcelona, with 92 goals, comes third. The team with the highest goal/game percentage among the top three in Bayern Munich at 2.41, compared with 2.38 for Real and 2.04 for Barca. In fact, Bayern were the team with the most goals scored in 3 out of the last 4 seasons : 12/13, 14/15, and 15/16. Still, Bayern failed to reach the final, let alone win the trophy, for the last 3 seasons. Why didn’t their success match their attacking power ? Because they don’t score when they should.
That obviously doesn’t apply to the season they won the trophy; The semi-final isn’t a bad place to score 7 goals, not at all. However, receiving 8 goals and not scoring any over 3 consecutive semi final matches is embarrassingly bad for a team of such quality. A single goal in the first legs against Real Madrid in 2014, Barcelona in 2015, or Atletico in 2016 could have changed the 2nd legs were played and ultimately the result of the entire tie. If Ancelotti, who was responsible for the humiliating 5-0 (Agg) defeat Bayern received against Real Madrid, can get his team to score goals when they should, Bayern have as good of a chance at winning the title as any other team.
2- Ronaldo Head And Shoulders Above The Rest :
If there is one thing the individual stats show, it’s that Ronaldo has been superior to any other attacking player, and by far. He had the highest total of goals and assists over the last 4 seasons at 69. Messi comes second with 42. That’s right, Ronaldo is higher than the 2nd best by 64% ! Lewanadowski and Muller aren’t far behind Messi at 39 and 36 respectively.
Surprisingly, both Bayern Player surpass the Argentine when it comes to goals and assists in KO stages. Muller has 19 and Lewa has 16 compared to Messi’s 14. For that, they deserve more appreciation than they are actually getting, especially Lewa who spent 2 of these 4 seasons with Dortmund. Of course, Ronaldo is again far above everyone with 30 goals and assists in KO stages, 58% higher than 2nd place Muller.
I would Include the “per game” statistics, but that wouldn’t make much sense. That’s because a player’s contributions may result in him having more matches; If Ronaldo didn’t score a hat-trick against Wolfsburg, he would’ve played 2 less matches. If Messi didn’t score a brace against Bayern, he would’ve played one match less. With that in mind, it’s unfair to hold matches a player “earned” against him.
3- Dominant Ronaldo Needs Help :
As unbelievably good as Ronaldo’s end product has been, there is still one problem : The team doesn’t help him as much as he helps the team. Comparing him to the other top 3 players shows that very clearly.
For teams like Real, Barca, and Beyern, getting through the group stages is a given, so let’s not talk about that. Knockout Stages are the real concern. Messi, Muller, and Lewandowski have all scored/assisted 30-40% of their team’s goals in KO stages over the last 4 seasons (37%, 35%, and 33% respectively), which is a respectable percentage that doesn’t ring any alarm bells. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has scored/assisted 61% of Real Madrid goals in KO stages over the same period. That’s more than 150% than the other three did.
Ronaldo’s highest contribution percentage came in 2014/15 when he scored or assisted an astonishing 88% (7 out of 8) of Real Madrid’s KO stages goals, that’s way too high for one player even if his name is Cristiano Ronaldo. The highest percentages of both Muller and Messi were nearly half of that of Ronaldo, at 44% and 43% respectively. In fact, both percentages are lower than Ronaldo’s lowest over the last 4 seasons (54% – 12/13). Lewandowski’s highest contribution percentage (54%) is 2% higher than CR7’s lowest, but nowhere near his highest.
Another telling in this subject comes from BBC and MSN goals and assists records over the last two seasons. While the contributions of Barcelona’s trio are rather balanced with each of Neymar and Suarez contributing in (i.e. scoring or assisting) 10 goals and Messi contributing in 9, the BBC’s contributions are as unbalanced as they come with each of Benzema and Bale contributing in 1 goal while Ronaldo contributed in 13.
At his current form, and given he stays fit for most of the season (unlike last season), Bale may be the one to finally provide proper help to Ronaldo.