How Data Analytics Helped Germany Blitz Past their Opponents
By Aditi Bhat
Toni Kroos, the man who has consistently led Germany to its glory as a dependable midfielder, had recently shared the strategy he had in mind for winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Kroos said that four basic qualities - commitment, sacrifice, self-motivation, and willpower had helped them march ahead. But he may not have revealed all his cards.
If you remember the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals, Germany pipped Argentina 1-0 in a nail-biting match that went on to extra time. The unsung hero in their 2014 victory was none other than big data analytics and its insightful numerical advantage that the Germans leveraged to the last digit. One can quite easily say that they tasted victory by winning at the number game.
How data analytics helped Germany blitz past their opponents in 2014
Let’s look back at how the German team worked as a cohesive unit and employed data analytics to create history in the world of football.
Data analytics helped them reduce their average possession time
In football, if you command the ball, you command the game. Teams are always trying to improve their passing game by reducing ball possession time.
The German football association, DFB, teamed up with SAP to employ data analytics to improve the team’s game strategy. Together, they developed two new technologies namely SAP Challenger Insights and SAP Penalty Insights to tap the potential of big data and skew the game towards the German side.
Analytics helped Germany reduce average possession time to 1.1 seconds in 2014 from 3.4 seconds in 2010.
Beat Brazil 7-1, thanks to competition analysis
Germany destroyed the host country Brazil to an unforgettable 7 -1 in the semi-finals of FIFA 2014. Germany's win marked the largest margin of victory in a FIFA World Cup semi-final. Data analytics techniques helped German players understand every aspect of Brazil’s game. The German team employed a SAP tool called Match Insights to evaluate the performance of its competitors. They reviewed troves of data about Brazil team’s gameplay, their player’s movements and defensive strategies.
Germans were able to predict Brazil’s preferred passing routes and each player’s reaction in tight situations.
Analytics helped players become fitter
Fitness is one of the most important aspects of sports today. Fitness equates to performance and the physical coaches of teams have found fitness instructors to do the job better. Tech leaders like Microsoft and Kitman Labs are developing high-tech equipment that check for a range of parameters when the players check-in. These equipment check for ‘imperceptible changes’ in the athlete’s body and create a real-time report for the trainers, helping them create routines that work on the athlete’s pinpointed weaknesses and more importantly help players avoid injuries.
Wearable GPS technology can help track players movements, speed, fatigue levels and consequently prevent injuries!
Analytics helped them win the finals, thanks to player substitution analysis
The final showdown between Germany and Argentina in FIFA 2014 World Cup finals bled into extra time with the fans pushed to the edge of their seats. Germany made a masterful move by bringing in Mario Gotze as the substitute player who scored the golden goal at the 113th minute. Thanks to the 12th player, data analytics, the team won FIFA 2014.
Data analytics helped Germans come up with a unique super substitute player. Mario became the first player in the history to score a goal as a substitute in World Cup Final. Analytical prediction of the best player to substitute during an ideal part of the game became a key factor in Germany’s memorable performance.
"SAP’s involvement has transformed the football experience for coaches, players, fans, and the media," Oliver Bierhoff, manager, German national football team.”
Be the 12th man
Data science is seen as the invisible golden boot player in FIFA 2018. If you are a data science enthusiast pursuing data science courses like big data hadoop training, put on your steeds, as you might be the 12th man every FIFA team needs.