But I also spent a bit of time actually watching the Bundesliga too this season and it was just about the only one of the five major European leagues to have any real form of race on the last day of the season.
|Position||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
Indeed, the chaos around the relegation places made for gripping viewing on that last afternoon.
In the end Stuttgart completed their great escape by winning at Paderborn in a result that also relegated the hosts.
Stuttgart actually came from behind to win both their last two games – vs Hamburg and Paderborn.
But did Paderborn and Freiburg deserve to be relegated?
|Position||Team||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi/TSR||shots on target for total||shots on target against total||Shots on target share||Shooting % For||Save %||PDO|
Well, it seems Paderborn at the very least can consider themselves unfortunate and arguably fully undeserving of relegation.
Certainly their overall shot share was a very respectable 0.48 (only ninth worst in the division).
However, the kicker is, of course, that Paderborn had the worst PDO in the league.
That mark of 85.43 was a full eight points below their nearest relegation contender (Hannover) and ten less than the next (Hamburg).
I’ve not watch much of Paderborn to suggest any of the reasons for this awful PDO.
According to WhoScored Paderborn did take the third highest percentage of shots from outside the 18 yard box (47%), and the joint fewest (along with five others) inside the six yard box (5%), and were fifth worst at taking shots from central areas (59%).
Combine that with being the equal second worst (with two others) at allowing shots from within the six yard box (8%) and eighth worst at allowing attempts from the centre (62%) and we begin to see some of their problems.
But still, Hamburg were worse in their own six yard box (9%) with Stuttgart not far behind (7%).
Either way you splice it, it seems that to me that Paderborn were at least a little lucky to go down.
A similar, though slightly weaker argument, can also be made for Freiburg who will be plying their trade in Bundesliga 2 next season too.
However, the real beneficiaries from this are Hamburg and (to a lesser extent) Hertha Berlin, who both posted some rather poor shot share numbers.
Indeed were it down to me I might have relegated Hamburg just for their 37% share of shots on target. But that was only “good” enough to earn them a second successive relegation playoff, which they duly won, beating Karlsruhe 3-2 on aggregate.
And they could even slip back considerably in the Bundesliga.
But of course the real story of the Bundesliga season was the aforementioned adventures in Dortmund.
It’s quite remarkable that despite owning a PDO score just two points better than poor Paderborn that BVB still managed to finish seventh.
Is that the cost of one departure (Lewandowski) too many?
Perhaps more remarkably, Dortmund continued to improve their shot share and shots on target share numbers throughout the season - moving from 0.645 and 0.583 respectively in week nine to 0.663 and 0.629 by the end. Wow.
But their PDO remained stubbornly sunk well below 90.
If Dortmund had managed to reach a PDO over 90 they surely would have easily finished in the Europa League spots. And somewhere near 100 may have even seen them recovering sufficiently to battle with Leverkusen for fourth.
That would have completed a quite remarkable turnaround from the mid-season horror show that was the Bundesliga table.
But it was not to be and Klopp’s intended fairytale ending is, while not quite a nightmare, certainly a bittersweet one.
So as we can see, from the Bundesliga season, while a shorter schedule has the advantages of generally being less demanding on players, it certainly does not help with the sample size and leaves the possibility for a greater effect on natural football variance to take effect.