NOTE: Article written before the UCL semi-finals were played
The Champions League will soon be finished and we decided to see how players contributed to their teams through competition. With this graph, we will show only players above zero in goal contribution difference. That means these players overperformed their expected goal contribution showing high-quality execution in important situations. Robert Lewandowski achieved more goal contributions than any other player in the Champions League this season with 14 goals and five assists. Lewandowski is clearly at the top, overperforming his expected value by 0.97. Behind him we can see this season’s sensation who played for RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund – Erling Braut Håland. Håland and El-Arabi (Olympiakos) overperformed their expected value by 0.58. Players who had a fantastic season as well are Marcel Sabitzer and Serge Gnabry, both finding themselves in the semi-final. Sabitzer overperformed his expected value by 0.57 and Gnabry overperformed it by 0.55. In the cluster below Gnabry, we can see PSG’s trio of Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria, which is surely one of the reasons why they reached the semi-final as well.
We can see the connection between players higher on the graph and their teams’ success. On the graph, we can see Bayern have four players who are highlighted as overperformers in goal contribution, their extraordinary form is why they are the favourites to win the Champions League this season. PSG have three players overperforming goal contribution and this is the season where they finally have a chance to win it after some surprising results in the knockout-phase. This season will be one to forget for the world’s finest – Messi and Ronaldo. Ronaldo overperformed by only 0.06 while Messi is below zero meaning he underperformed in his expected goal contribution. We can’t really blame him considering he is the only player who played at the highest level for Barcelona this season. It will be interesting to see the final matches of the competition where PSG face Leipzig and Bayern face Lyon. There is a possibility we could see French or German final which is surprising given the quality and money England and Spain teams possess.