We take a look at the stats behind some of the main talking points from the past seven days.
Bobby Wood’s headed brace for Hannover, Paco Alcacer’s super-sub heroics in Dortmund and the game in which nothing happened — these are the numbers that explain the past week’s headlines.
A star is born
Paco Alcacer deservedly stole the limelight for his remarkable hat-trick off the bench against Augsburg, in what was one of the most entertaining games you’ll see all season. Alcacer’s performance underlined why the 25-year-old, who’s at Dortmund on loan from Barcelona, has been called up into the Spain squad for the first time in two years
His goals put Dortmund first in the table and Alcacer himself top of the Bundesliga scoring charts. Moreover, he’s now netted four more goals as a substitute this season than any other player in the big five European leagues.
Praise is due to Alcacer’s teammates as well, though. xG allows us to gauge the quality of the chances a striker is being presented with, and no other player in those five main leagues has received better service overall than Alcacer.
However, if we instead look at goalscoring opportunities in per 90 terms, the Spanish striker isn’t quite receiving the finest service of any bench player in Europe. That honor goes to Marseille winger Florian Thauvin, who’s recently been linked with a move to Bayern Munich.
Out of the Woods
On Saturday, Bobby Wood scored his first Bundesliga goals for Hannover, the club he joined in the summer. His brace against Stuttgart means he’s already equaled his goal haul for last season, when he was playing for a dysfunctional Hamburg team that was eventually relegated.
Above all, it was pleasing to see Wood coming into some good form ahead of the USMNT’s upcoming fixtures against Colombia and Peru.
Those two headed goals — both set up by Chilean left-back Miiko Albornoz — mean that no other Bundesliga player has scored more headers than Wood this season. He’s currently level with Gladbach’s Alassane Plea and James Rodriguez of Bayern.
That’s even more impressive when you consider that 19 players in the league have been presented with better headed chances than Wood, and most of them are a good few inches taller than him as well.
The bore draws
Bayer Leverkusen’s visit to Freiburg on Sunday was a clash between two teams with leaky defenses who were desperate for points. However, the anticipated goal-fest failed to materialize, to put it politely.
After 15 minutes, the beleaguered commentator James Thorogood noted — with a hint of desperation already creeping into his voice — that the match really needed a moment of magic to spark it into life. And as full-time approached, he was repeating the very same comment.
Only one other match in the main seven European tournaments has produced fewer than two shots on target this season. That was Slovakian side Spartak Trnava’s Europa League encounter with Anderlecht, although the shot in question did at least result in a goal on that occasion.
In fairness to the Bundesliga, however, it has been producing more goals per game overall this season than any other major European league.
Another of the weekend’s most disappointing matches — Liverpool’s much-hyped Sunday clash with Manchester City — came close to producing a season-low number of shots, which demonstrates just how far short it fell in the entertainment stakes.
However, in xG terms, Atalanta’s home game against Cagliari in early September was the worst spectacle of the season. The large number of Ligue 1 games in the table below also hints at why it’s the least-watched of the major European leagues.