How do injuries impact a team’s season? A closer look at last season

With the physical demands of playing growing more and more intense, it’s become increasingly important to rest players and to work on preventing injuries. These days, all medical departments in the Bundesliga are highly focused on working individually with each player in the squad. Blood tests are conducted on a regular basis, in order to determine how fit each player is.

Lowering the burden in training sessions and allowing players to rest is a trend that’s here to stay. The logic behind these measures is simple: if your best players are available when it really matters, your team is more likely to succeed.

Cellar dwellers

Last season, two teams in particular were haunted by injuries. Both Hannover 96 and FC Augsburg had a terrible time of things. The football website Fussball Verletzungen (translation: football injuries) has kept track of all recent injuries in the Bundesliga, and it found that these two sides suffered the most injury days per player in the entire league.

Hannover were by far the most injured team in the Bundesliga, with each player missing 66.48 days on average due to injuries. FCA weren’t doing an awful lot better, with their players being out of action for an average of 63.4 days.

However, while coaching staff and executives at those clubs can use the amount of injuries as an excuse for their dire seasons, the same can’t be said about 1. FC Nürnberg and VfB Stuttgart. Both teams were relegated at the end of the campaign, but they had the fewest injury days in the entire league. The players of each team were missing in action for a meager 38.5 days on average.

In Der Glubb’s case, the relegation might simply have been down to their squad being too weak for the Bundesliga, while VfB Stuttgart got into a rut at the start of the season and never really recovered. It turned out that not having a lot of injuries didn’t help either team.

The impact on the race for the title

Borussia Dortmund’s players suffered fewer injuries overall than their Bavarian counterparts. However, while BVB were third best in these terms at the winter break, the team had fallen to sixth place in the injury table by the time the season had finished. Injuries to key players during the second part of the season could have played a part in BVB’s failure to secure the title.

Bayern, on the other hand side, were 13th in the injury table after the first half of the season. However, the Bundesliga’s juggernaut had managed to climb to ninth place come the end of the season.

RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen impress

These three sides secured the spots between third and fifth place in the injury table. RB Leipzig have decided to focus on buying mostly young players. It’s well known that youngsters suffer from fewer injuries than older players, which means that the soda club’s good fortune isn’t too surprising.

Eintracht Frankfurt managed to secure a European spot for the second year in a row. Not having too many injuries to worry about was most likely helpful in that regard. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen mounted an impressive comeback in the second half of the season and secured a Champions League spot that had seemed unlikely when Peter Bosz took over the team.

The entire table

Here’s the entire injury table of the 2018/19 season. The graphic was created by Fussball-Verletzungen.com and is shown here with the permission of that site.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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