Where In The World Is The Ball (In Shot Buildup)?

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This was maybe my favorite game show for about a year as a child. Gave me a lifelong love of geography and now Bundesliga Ball Geography.

First let’s look at where teams have the ball in the 3 seconds leading up to shot buildup:

Bayern have the ball closest to the goal, with Dortmund right behind them. Dortmund have the ball the highest % of the time in the center (color of bar). Passes from the center vs the wide and the effects on getting a clean shot off is something I hope to look at tomorrow*.

The most common passing combo for Bayern for these passes is Müller-Lewandowski compared to Schalke’s Caliguri-Uth

*realize these vague promises come true about 10% of the time^

Next we see how Dortmund has slipped further back when you look at 4-6 seconds:

and much wider (see the color of the bar) when it’s 7-9 seconds pre-shot

Looking through the differences in player usage in these various segments between Bayern and Dortmund you really notice Dortmund’s big pieces getting involved in the possession deeper than Bayern. Reus and Sancho are Dortmund’s 2nd and 4th most common passer 7-9 seconds from a shot while none of Bayern’s top 5 are attacking players.

A few interesting tidbits looking through these charts:


  • start wide (7-9 seconds out)
  • stay somewhat deep (4-6 seconds out)
  • quickly come central and close (0-3 seconds out)


  • start very, very wide (7-9 seconds out)
  • stay very, very wide (4-6 seconds out)
  • finish “just” wide (0-3 seconds out)

Schalke, Hannover

  • pretty much are further away from goal than almost everyone else during every segment of shot approach


  • oddly are extremely close to goal during the 4-6 second segment after being further from goal at 7-9 seconds, lack of quality to make the tougher passes?

Hoffenheim, Bayern

  • basically central and close the entire sequence

The Nagelsmann to Leipzig move will be a fascinating one as there will be a pretty large clash in how they’ve played this year to how he wants to play. I’m guessing there will be no more Laimer starting wide next year and I’m on record predicting the Mukiele Explosion next season. Nagelsmann and Leipzig approach shots about as differently as you can this season.

^Cleanliness Of Shot

Ok a quick and dirty look at shots from just this year with blocked shots removed

% of shots that go on target from 5-9 yards away:

Coming after a pass from the center: 63%

coming after a pass from wide: 48%

% of shots that go on target from 10-14 yards away:

Coming after a pass from the center: 69%

coming after a pass from wide: 55%

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