Sports and sparklines
Germany’s Bundesliga soccer season is officially over. Bayern Munich remains the record champion; their local rivals in Nuremberg have also won a record – as the most relegated team. Our graphical review shows the ups and downs of the 2007/2008 season.
The relegation into the minor league poses an emotional pathos for the team’s fans, a physical challenge for the players, and economic hardship for the management. After all, their budget is practically cut in half. The proceeds from broadcasting rights fall through, the number of paying fans drops and the sponsors don’t want to pay as much. In professional sports, it’s all about numbers.
Fans of Bavaria’s top two soccer clubs shed both tears of sorrow and joy in the 2007/2008 season. “The Club” in Nuremberg dropped into the minor league while FC Bayern Munich won yet another national championship. The sparklines below illustrate the wins (blue whiskers), losses (red whiskers) and ties (black dashes) for all eighteen teams this season.
|1||Bayern München||34||22||10||2||68 : 21||47||76|
|2||Werder Bremen||34||20||6||8||75 : 45||30||66|
|3||Schalke 04||34||18||10||6||55 : 32||23||64|
|4||Hamburger SV||34||14||12||8||47 : 26||21||54|
|5||VfL Wolfsburg||34||15||9||10||58 : 46||12||54|
|6||VfB Stuttgart||34||16||4||14||57 : 57||0||52|
|7||Bayer Leverkusen||34||15||6||13||57 : 40||17||51|
|8||Hannover 96||34||13||10||11||54 : 56||-2||49|
|9||Eintracht Frankfurt||34||12||10||12||43 : 50||-7||46|
|10||Hertha BSC Berlin||34||12||8||14||39 : 44||-5||44|
|11||Karlsruher SC||34||11||10||13||38 : 53||-15||43|
|12||VfL Bochum||34||10||11||13||48 : 54||-6||41|
|13||Borussia Dortmund||34||10||10||14||50 : 62||-12||40|
|14||Energie Cottbus||34||9||9||16||35 : 56||-21||36|
|15||Arminia Bielefeld||34||8||10||16||35 : 60||-25||34|
|16||1. FC Nürnberg||34||7||10||17||35 : 51||-16||31|
|17||Hansa Rostock||34||8||6||20||30 : 52||-22||30|
|18||MSV Duisburg||34||8||5||21||36 : 55||-19||29|
We had a hunch that things looked bad for Nuremberg back in December. Not much changed since then. Bayern Munich took the championship early and most other teams only moved up or down one or two positions. For comparison, we used a vertical line to illustrate the first and second halves of the season.
Two outstanding second halves this season are those of VfL Wolfsburg, which can look forward to playing in the UEFA Cup, and Energie Cottbus, which saved itself from the relegation. Karlsruher SC, however, lost momentum in 2008. And what happened after Nuremberg gave Hans Meyer, the trainer that led Nuremberg to the 2007 German Cup, the boot for Thomas von Heesen? Not much. After all, you don’t lose the relegation battle during the final match but throughout the course of the season.
That’s why it makes sense to look at the entire season and not just the final table for the season.
Maybe, someday, the editors at kicker – which also happens to be based in Nuremberg – will see things that way, too. This magazine, which is the #1 reference for every serious German soccer fan, could at least ensure that the charts in Nuremberg are top notch, even when local soccer is literally only second-class.
The first horizontal line shows the German teams playing in the Champions League while the second illustrates those who could still qualify. The third horizontal line designates the German teams contending for the UEFA Cup and the fourth signalizes the relegated ones. The vertical line shows the first and second halves of the season. The data originates from the German Football Association (DFB); we made the sparklines using SparkMaker.
For detailed, individual analysis, you may wish to download and print this PDF version.