For a long time now, Fear the Wall’s regular match content has included the Man of the Match Polls and the Match Ratings. After every game we nominate candidates for readers to vote on the Man of the Match, and we write up our views of every players’ performance and give them a rating out of 10. Despite all this effort, after every game, we immediately forget everything that has come before and move right on to complaining about the next game. But here at Fear the Wall we are very passionate about sustainable practices, so we thought it was about time we started recycling some content. Everyone’s got to do their bit, after all.
So this season we started keeping track of the ratings and MOTM poll results for every game (which now seems so obvious, I’m not sure why we didn’t think of it before), with the intention of using the data to put together some analysis about BVB’s best (and worst) performers from the season.
Without further ado, I present to you, The Yellow Globes:
Man of the Match Polls
Stephen Glass’s Coca Cola Mountain Bike (Most Frequent Winner)
- Gregor Kobel (7)
- Julian Brandt (5)
- Moukoko/Malen (4)
I didn’t expect to see Youssoufa Moukoko or Donyell Malen making the top three, but it’s hardly surprising to see Kobel and Brandt leading in this category. I suppose I can see how Malen managed to sneak his way into the top three, because he had plenty of really good performances (and plenty of really bad ones too), but Moukoko feels a little lucky to claim a spot.
Gregor Kobel claimed around 15% of the season’s MOTM awards. That’s extremely impressive.
The Bridesmaid Plate (Most Nominations)
- Jude Bellingham (20)
- Gregor Kobel (16)
- Can/Brandt/Schlotterbeck (14)
I was surprised to see that Jude missed out on the top three for the most frequent MOTM winner, but he is way out in front for total nominations, nominated in almost 45% of BVB games this season. Clearly he was one of Borussia Dortmund’s best players all season long, but it seems like he wasn’t THE standout performer that often.
Gregor Kobel makes another appearance in the top three for one of these awards, followed by Emre Can, Julian Brandt, and Nico Schlotterbeck tied in third place. I think all five of these players were in and around BVB’s best players this season, so this seems justified.
BVB d’Or (Highest Average Rating)
- Gregor Kobel (6.77)
- Jude Bellingham (6.54)
- Mats Hummels (6.49)
By now, you might be spotting a bit of a trend. Kobel and Jude dominated this season, Kobel especially. Just based on these results, I think Kobel was clearly the player of the season.
I would have expected Julian Brandt to come in third, behind those two, but Mats Hummels has claimed that spot instead. Sebastien Haller and Julian Brandt made up fourth and fifth place. Several players found themselves further down the rankings than I expected, like Adeyemi, Can, and Malen, but that’s as a result of poor performances in the first half of the season.
Either way, everyone is left in Kobel’s dust.
Shitty Wooden Spoon (Lowest Average Rating)
- Anthony Modeste (4.98)
- Salih Özcan (5.53)
- Julian Ryerson (5.56)
I think Ryerson has been a little hard done by here. In reality, there was a couple others that had lower average ratings than him (Thorgan Hazard, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens), but they didn’t qualify because they didn’t receive enough ratings (a minimum of 50 writer ratings was required to be eligible for a player rating award).
The same can’t be said for Anthony Modeste (and to a lesser extent Salih Özcan), who is a little lucky to be so close to hitting the midpoint in the ratings scale. He was saved by a couple games that saw him rated well, particularly the Bayern Munich game.
The Dependable Bore (Most Consistent Rating)
Note: Consistency is measured using standard deviation, a measure of dispersion from the mean value (how much each player’s ratings differ from their average rating, in this case).
- Gio Reyna (1.1)
- Julian Ryerson (1.2)
- Mats Hummels (1.35)
I was really surprised to see Reyna topping this list and walking away with the firm handshake and free car service for the winner of this prestigious award, but after giving it some thought, I can see it. He didn’t feature as often as most were expecting this season, but whenever he was on the pitch, he was pretty dependable. He put in a lot of solid 6-7/10 performances.
If I was to guess which BVB player would win this award, it would have been Julian Ryerson. He is Mr. Dependable. He puts in solid 6s regularly, and that’s why it feels a little harsh that he made the top three in the previous award. There’s a lot to be said for a guy that guarantees you a solid but not spectacular performance week-in, week-out.
But what should be said for someone that puts in consistently really good performances? Hummels being in the top three for both the highest average ratings and most consistent ratings is extremely impressive, and at 34 years old too! There is greater variance in his ratings than either of Reyna and Ryerson, but even so, the fact he has been consistently good at his age is great. He’s an incredibly valuable depth piece.
Maybe Boring Isn’t Such a Bad Thing? (Most Inconsistent Rating)
- Donyell Malen (1.85)
- Salih Özcan (1.71)
- Sebastien Haller (1.68)
I think if we’d polled the Fear the Wall community asking them who the most inconsistent player was last season, Donyell Malen would have come out top, and by some distance. He wasn’t so much inconsistent from game-to-game, but he was really poor for the first half of the season, before coming out flying after the World Cup. So when I calculated the standard deviation in player ratings, to find Malen out in front by a country mile, I nodded sagely like the all-knowing clever clogs that I am.
Beyond Malen, I’m not sure what is worse out of consistently bad (Ryerson) or inconsistently bad (Özcan). Generally, it feels like the answer to that question should be consistently bad, but I feel pretty strongly that Ryerson had a much better season than Özcan.
Big Studs Doing Football Good (Best Performance of the Season)
- Rapha Guerreiro vs FC Köln (10)
- Jude Bellingham vs Stuttgart (10)
- Haller vs Gladbach/Malen vs FC Koln/Bellingham vs Sevilla (9.33)
We were blessed with two perfect performances this season, and looking back on Jude’s performance against Stuttgart and Rapha’s against FC Köln, I think they fully deserved their 10/10 scores. It’s a shame that neither of those players will be lining up for the Yellow and Blacks next season!
The “Lost Us the League” Trophy (Worst Performance of the Season)
- Emre Can vs Werder Bremen (1.25)
- Soumaila Coulibaly vs Stuttgart (1.5)
- Gregor Kobel vs Bayern Munich (1.67)
I assumed Soumaila Coulibaly’s awful Bundesliga debut was going to come out on top in this one, but he was beaten to the trophy by Emre Can! I must admit, I don’t really remember Can’s performance in Dortmund’s 3-2 loss to Werder Bremen. I’m sure it was pretty bad, but an average rating of 1.25 would suggest it was one of the worst performances imaginable, and it’s odd that I don’t have haunting memories of it.
The Coulibaly performance wasn’t far off being as bad as it gets, though I think he was dealt a pretty bad hand to be chucked in the deep end like that, and Kobel’s performance against Bayern is legitimately one of the worst I’ve ever seen in a Dortmund shirt (particularly funny given that he has topped basically every one of the positive awards here).
So there you have it, Gregor Kobel is BVB’s best player and he lost us the league. That sounds, more or less, exactly on brand for this club. There were a few surprises here, some of which is a product of variation and circumstance, but it feels (to me, at least) like these awards are pretty spot on.
Writing this gave me a chance to reflect on the many positives that I have forgotten about as a result of the heartbreaking conclusion to the season. Hopefully everyone else feels the same way. If you’re itching for a little more, you can check out the rest of the analysis to see the bits I left out, including some analysis of the writers’ ratings!
For anyone that is interested in the code that underpins this descriptive analysis, you can find everything here.