Champions league : A dominant Real Madrid and two efficient PSG & Barcelona

Tonight is the night with the first two Champion’s League quarter finals. There will be 3 Spanish clubs, 2 German clubs, 1 English club, 1 French club and 1 Portuguese club.

The drawings :

– Vfl Wolfsburg / Real Madrid
– Paris SG / Manchester City
– Bayern Munich / Benfica Lisbone
– FC Barcelona / Atletico Madrid

Time has come to study this top 8 with a few statistics. We’ll review the shots attempted/conceded, the offensive vs defensive efficiency, a comparison between the performances of the clubs in CL and in their own championships.

Note: with no statistics available on the Portuguese championship (whoscored & squawka), only Benfica’s CL performances will be taken into account.

Shots differences:

Dominating is not winning, but it still gives a good indication on the courses of the games. This first table shows the difference in shots for the 8 teams, in UCL and in their own leagues. Reminder : the difference in shots is calculated as for the goals difference: in abscissa, we see the shot difference for each club in their own league – in ordinate, we see the shot difference for each club in UCL.


shots attempted/game – shots conceded/game = shots difference

First highlight: Spanish teams are the only ones that “dominate” at least as much as their opponents in UCL as well as in their championships. Barcelona has a a very similar shots difference in UCL and in La Liga. The two Madrid teams are far more dominant in UCL. However, this does not guarantee easy wins, as have shown the 8th of finals (PSV-Atletico / Real Madrid-Roma).

Just behind Real Madrid, in terms of shots difference in UCL, Bayern is not so far from its Bundesliga’s performance. Behind Atletico Madrid, Barcelona’s position may surprise, but the difference is on the quality of the attempts and especially their efficiency (it will be explained after).

Finally, Manchester City and Wolfsburg see their shots differences almost diminished by half between championship and UCL. It is still better than PSG, who is at +5 in la Ligue 1 and at +1.5 in UCL. As for Barcelona, it is thanks to their efficiency that they succeed so far on the European scene.

Offensive efficiency:

Usually the X factor in big games. Starting by offensive efficiency: in abscissa, the shots per games, in ordinate, the number of attempts for a goal scored. Apart for Benfica, due to a lack of data on in Championship, each team is represented twice for its performances in championship and in UCL. The arrow that links these starts from the Championship and points towards the UCL. These arrows allow us to distinguish who does better and who does worse in UCL.


3 teams do better and are therefore more efficient in UCL: Wolfsburg, Manchester City and Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola’s team succeed in doing better in terms of shots per games and of efficiency in front of the goal.

On the contrary, the three Spanish teams and PSG are less efficient in UCL. Barcelona (6.7 shots/goal) and PSG (7.3 shots/goal) are still the most efficient teams with Bayern Munich (6.9 shots/goal).

Defensive efficiency:

To finish, let’s focus on the defensive efficiency, on the same principle as the precedent chart. We find the number of shots conceded/game in abscissa and the number of shots conceded for a goal in ordinate.

ldc-efficacite-defensiveThree teams are noteworthy: Atletico, Real Madrid and PSG. Most efficient defence in championship compared to the 8 others (> 20 shots conceded/goal conceded), Atletico Madrid does better in UCL (around 26 shots conceded/goal conceded). Real Madrid and PSG are different cases: both teams have had to rely on top players talents to avoid taking goals (Ramos, Thiago Silva), as well as successful goalkeepers in UCL (Keylor Navas, still unbeaten this season in UCL and Kevin Trapp).

Three other teams are making progress from Championship to UCL: Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Manchester City. Skyblues remain the worst team in this area, with 8.4 shots conceded/goal conceded. A data to take into account before their game against PSG.

To finish, let’s talk about Bayern Munich, which is the only team to be less efficient in UCL, according to these data. They concede more shots and their opponents need fewer opportunities to score. This may be explained by the higher quality of their opponents and the ambitious approach in Bayern Munich’s game. When there are more talents in the opposition, pressing is still harder to maintain, knowing a single take-on can create breaches in the defence. Juventus almost succeeded at seizing this opportunity in the 8th of finals.

The game: Barcelona-Atletico

Already on the menu two seasons ago (Atletico qualified), this game between the last two champions of La Liga should be a nice game. It will simply be the most efficient offence vs the best defence of Europe. Clash of styles !

Translated by P.M from this article.

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