Bravo and ter Stegen: more similar than different

We analyzed the passing game of 26 Liga goalkeepers (500+ played minutes) in terms of passing typology, frequency and accuracy. Although he has played just 4 games in the 2015/2016 Liga season, Marc-André ter Stegen has been also included, with the aim to serve as a point of reference. As we’ll see in the further 4 charts, the passing game of both Barcelona’s goalkeepers is similar, and very different from all the other goalkeepers in the Liga.

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Chart 1

Chart 1 shows the typology of passes (per 90 minutes) of Liga goalkeepers. Both ter Stegen and Bravo play considerably more short passes and less long passes than other goalkeepers. A high number of short passes is also typical of Rayo Vallecano’s goalkeepers (Juan Carlos, Toño and Yoel), a team which plays in a similar way as Barcelona, in terms of high possession. The high number of short passes is a consequence of these goalkeepers attempt to combine a lot with defenders or defensive midfielders who position themselves close to the penalty box when the goalkeeper has the ball.

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Chart 2

Chart 2 shows the total passes per 90 minutes and the percentage of those that are long passes. Here, the tendency that Bravo and ter Stegen have to play less long passes than the rest of the goalkeepers is more visible. Bravo has 35% of his passes classified as long passes (ter Stegen has 36%) while all other goalkeepers have more than 55% of their passes classified as long passes (the average Liga goalkeeper has 76% of passes as long ones). Here it has to be noted that the number of total (attempted) passes per 90 minutes doesn’t seem to be a ‘special’ indicator of ‘passing game’, as a goalkeeper may be ‘forced’ to distribute a lot when his team allows many shots against.

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Chart 3

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Chart 4

Chart 3 shows the overall pass accuracy in relationship to total passes. Bravo and ter Stegen are very close to each other, having a considerably higher pass accuracy (respectively 84% and 82%) than other Liga goalkeepers (all less than 67%). As it can be observed in Chart 4, Barcelona’s goalkeepers are superior in both long and short pass accuracy, with ter Stegen being a bit more accurate in long passes (a typical feature of the young German goalkeeper).

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