The 2018/19 Efficiency Awards
At the end of the European season, it’s worth not just reflecting on what went right and wrong for our own clubs, but to take a step back and review the work of rival teams – both in our own countries and beyond. With the help of a few numbers, we can pick out the best pound-for-pound teams on the continent over the last 10 months, and begin to understand what made them tick.
Getafe were perhaps the surprise package in the big five European leagues this season. Though they narrowly missed out on Champions League football, their route to the top mimicked Leicester City’s remarkable title win three years ago. Averaging just 43% possession, but boasting the ninth-best defensive record across the 98 big five league teams, Getafe have shown that going against what is fashionable can reap significant rewards.
Much more has been written about Ajax, after their dramatic run to the Champions League semi-finals. Their belief in playing young players has made a mockery of clubs and coaches who refuse to do so because they “have to win” – Ajax have shown you can do both, and they remain a model club for many.
There are lessons too from poorer clubs; Jablonec and Shkendija have consistently reached at least the Europa League play-off stages in recent years, competing against teams with wage bills ten or twenty times larger than their own. Despite being far from the biggest club in the Czech Republic, Jablonec have astutely recruited young local talent, positioning themselves as a pathway through to bigger, richer clubs.
Finally, Paderborn earned promotion to the Bundesliga, largely with the squad that earned them promotion to the 2. Bundesliga 12 months ago – giving further evidence to the benefit of continuity when things are going well. According to our models, only two teams in Europe were more attacking and better than Paderborn this season – meaning head coach Steffen Baumgart is worth adding to surveillance processes during the season ahead.
While there is a relationship between wealth and wins, it is by no means one-to-one. There are always case studies of clubs who are punching above their weight, with good football operations processes complementing strong on-field performances – and they’re worth studying as we continue our plans for next season.
If you want to find out how your team did in our Efficiency League Table, or benchmark yourself against rival clubs, why not drop us an email?
Never miss one of our weekly insights. Sign up to our insights mailing list.