BuLiStats: Corners in the 2018-19 Bundesliga season

Augsburg coach Manuel Baum

Here we look at teams’ profit and loss sheets for corners during the 2018-19 Bundesliga season.

Coming into this matchday, there have been 2,374 corners in the current Bundesliga campaign, with 90 goals being scored from them. For the league as a whole, each corner has an average xG value of 0.0395 and 3.79 percent of corners have resulted in goals, which works out at a goal every 26.38 corners.

With Bundesliga sides averaging 5.07 corners per game, very slightly above the overall average for all five top European leagues of 5.03, this amounts to a goal from a corner every five or six games.

The easiest way to identify which teams are doing especially well or badly from corners is to look at their net totals for top-line stats such as the number of shots, goals and expected goals (xG) created and conceded from these set-pieces.

Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - net xG/shots/goals from corners

There are some obvious takeaways here. Corners aren’t an integral part of Lucien Favre’s masterplan at Dortmund. Hannover have been very bad indeed at a great many things this season – and corners are certainly one of them.

And while Julian Nagelsmann will bring a number of qualities to Leipzig when he arrives in the summer, an increased effectiveness from corners is very unlikely to be one of them.

Such net totals can easily be determined by overall corner volumes, of course, so it’s important to look at them as well.

Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - corners taken & conceded
Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - net corners

So, given that Bayern have taken 170 more corners than their opponents have, and the next-highest net superiority is Leipzig’s 48, then we would be shocked if Bayern weren’t top in those net metrics by some margin.

Similarly, as Mainz have conceded 49 more corners than they’ve won, it’s no surprise that they’re ranking at the very bottom of the net totals.

Bearing in mind that such raw volumes tend to be a function of the amount of time that a side spends near the opposition’s goal, it can be difficult for coaches at clubs with lesser resources to control them.

What these managers can control much more easily via training-ground preparation, however, is how effectively their sides attack and defend each corner. And this is something that can be measured by teams’ average performances from corners.

Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - average shots/goals/xG per corner
Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - average xGA/shots/goals from corners conceded

Again, there are a few clear takeaways here. Above all, Eintracht Frankfurt and especially Augsburg have been exceptionally dangerous from corners.  

Secondly, although Fortuna Duesseldorf and to a lesser degree Hannover have been able to generate goal attempts from corners at a good rate, the quality of those chances has been very poor overall

While Bayern are very adept at preventing opponents from winning corners, the side is nowhere near so effective when defending them. Similarly, Frankfurt are every bit as bad at dealing with the corners they concede as they are good at exploiting the ones that they’re awarded.

Wolfsburg, meanwhile, are by some margin the best team in the Bundesliga when it comes to defending corners.

Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - corners conceded vs xGA per corner conceded scatterplot

Finally, two things stand out when looking at heatmaps showing the endpoints of those corners by Augsburg and Frankfurt.

Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - Augsburg
Bundesliga corners 2018-19 - Eintracht Frankfurt

Most obviously, Eintracht are considerably more fond of the short corner. Secondly, both teams seem to focus on a particular part of the penalty box, suggesting that neither of them has a near-post/far-post preference in terms of target area.

You can find more BuLiStats articles here, here and here.

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Warren Pegg

Warren is a long-time admirer of German football and German beer. He roots for Borussia Dortmund, but above all greatly admires the Bundesliga's engaged, boisterous, and principled supporters. You can follow him at @Russell_Pegg on Twitter.

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