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Bissantz ponders


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The ups and downs of soccer – illustrated by sparklines

German soccer fans don’t often agree on much. Few, however, can deny that the 2006/2007 Bundesliga season was more exciting and suspenseful than it had been for years. The following chart illustrates the ups, downs and overall drama of the season’s 306 matches.

R Team GP W D L GS:GA GD P Record
1 VfB Stuttgart 34 21 7 6 61 : 37 24 70 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for VfB Stuttgart
2 Schalke 04 34 21 5 8 53 : 32 21 68 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Schalke 04
3 Werder Bremen 34 20 6 8 76 : 40 36 66 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Werder Bremen
4 Bayern München 34 18 6 10 55 : 40 15 60 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Bayern München
5 Bayer Leverkusen 34 15 6 13 54 : 49 5 51 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Bayer Leverkusen
6 1. FC Nürnberg 34 11 15 8 43 : 32 11 48 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for 1. FC Nürnberg
7 Hamburger SV 34 10 15 9 43 : 37 6 45 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Hamburger SV
8 VfL Bochum 34 13 6 15 49 : 50 -1 45 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for VfL Bochum
9 Borussia Dortmund 34 12 8 14 41 : 43 -2 44 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Borussia Dortmund
10 Hertha BSC Berlin 34 12 8 14 50 : 55 -5 44 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Hertha BSC Berlin
11 Hannover 96 34 12 8 14 41 : 50 -9 44 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Hannover 96
12 Arminia Bielefeld 34 11 9 14 47 : 49 -2 42 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Arminia Bielefeld
13 Energie Cottbus 34 11 8 15 38 : 49 -11 41 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Energie Cottbus
14 Eintracht Frankfurt 34 9 13 12 46 : 58 -12 40 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Eintracht Frankfurt
15 VfL Wolfsburg 34 8 13 13 37 : 45 -8 37 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for VfL Wolfsburg
16 1. FSV Mainz 05 34 8 10 16 34 : 57 -23 34 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for 1. FSV Mainz 05
17 Alemannia Aachen 34 9 7 18 46 : 70 -24 34 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Alemannia Aachen
18 Bor. M’gladbach 34 6 8 20 23 : 44 -21 26 Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Borussia Mönchengladbach

In the last column of our chart, we used sparklines to visualize each team’s complete record for the 2006/2007 season. A blue upward whisker stands for a win, a red downward whisker for a loss and a black dash in the middle for a draw. The first horizontal rule shows which teams will automatically play in the Champions League, while the second reveals which team can still qualify. The third marks which teams will play in the UEFA Cup and the fourth lists the “unlucky losers” who are headed down to the relegation for the upcoming season.

Do you remember when Schalke lost in week 31 and 33 (to Bochum and Dortmund – local rivals, no less!) which ultimately cost them the title? Or Hamburg’s weak start (or bad luck streak – the jury is still out on that one) that made Hamburg fans fear that their team might be forced into the minor league? Hamburg, the only team that has been in the Bundesliga every year since its inception and has never been demoted to the relegation in the history of the Bundesliga! And we in Nuremberg certainly won’t forget the long series of ties at the beginning of the season or the 3 : 0 dream win against record champion and local rival, Bayern Munich. When you see a complete record of the season in front of you, it is amazing how these and so many other stories quickly come back to mind.

As we already discussed in a previous posting, sports fans in general tend to be fans of dense information. Today’s example demonstrates that you don’t even need much space to post a game-by-game account alongside the usual statistics of a soccer season.

The the sparklines in this chart were generated using SparkMaker, our add-in for Excel.

We have even saved a PDF copy of this table to ensure that you or other Bundesliga fans have plenty to talk about until the 2007/2008 season starts in August.

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