Finding the best centre-backs from Danish Superliga – data analysis
In this data analysis piece, we will be identifying the centre-backs to be scouted that are currently playing in the 2021/22 Danish Superliga. Centre–backs in the modern game have evolved a lot. No longer do we find them only defending and being part of the backline to defend. They play a huge role in the team’s attacking success too by starting attacks from the deep.
In our analysis, we will be considering both the attacking as well as defensive attributes. We will be looking at players who have registered at least 800 minutes of football in the league so far this season. We will shortlist the top options according to the statistics and data analysis. Let’s get into the analysis.
The key aspect in which centre-backs are often considered is how they engage in the duels and how well they complete and win them successfully. Right from the likes of Van Djik to Sergio Ramos, all of these modern-day defenders are very good at challenging and competing even with the strongest and quickest of players. So we look into such players in our first section where we compare the Superliga defenders based on the number of defensive duels they attempt per game and the success rate.
We can see that only one player is really above the 3rd quartile (75th percentile) in both the measures so we handpick a few who does decently well in at least one of them while doing well in the others.
Sigurd Rosted – 27-year-old right-footed centre-back from Brondby. He is probably the best performer when considering both the metrics as he averages 6.86 defensive duels per game with a success rate of 75.64%. He has also recorded only 0.53 fouls per game.
Frederik Tingager – The 28-year-old defender from AGF. The Danish has averaged 6.06 defensive duels per game and has won 71.21% of them showing his capability to do well in these types of situations. Also, he has conceded only 0.64 fouls per game which again iterates his decision-making and how balanced he is with respect to making such challenges.
Manjrekar James – The 28-year-old Canadian defender from Vejle Boldklub. The Canadian international, who arrived in the summer to Vejle, has made 6.08 defensive duels per game with a success rate of 71.01%. He has also averaged 0.79 fouls per game which is slightly higher than the former two.
Sebastian Hausner – The 21-year-old defender from AGF’s own academy has recorded 7.64 defensive duels per game with a decent success rate of 66.67%. Though he has recorded 1.31 fouls per game on average which shows his immaturity while making challenges due to his experience.
Stefan Gartenmann – The 24-year-old centre-back from SønderjyskE has averaged 5.7 defensive duels per game with a good success rate of 69.39%. He has committed just 0.23 fouls per game which shows that he is more of a safety-first defender and looks at the right moment to make challenges instead of just diving into those.
It’s a well-known fact that defending is not just about diving into tackles and making challenges to win the ball back. Though these are some of the things that gets the crowd going they are not the only thing that any defender should be having. It is very important for a defender to read the play and intercept passes to block lanes since these have very little room for making errors and equally being effective in suppressing the opposition’s threat.
Stefan Gartenmann – The 24-year-old has managed to make 9.31 possession-adjusted interceptions while actually making 7.79 per game. This speaks volumes about his reading ability of the game and along with that he also averages 12.73 successful defensive actions per game.
Simon Piesinger – The 29-year-old Austrian centre-back from Randers has averaged 9.16 possession-adjusted interceptions in actual making 7.43 interceptions and 12.04 successful defensive actions per game.
Yann Bisseck – The 20-year-old right-footed German centre-back from AGF has recorded 9.73 PAdj (possession-adjusted) interceptions per game whereas, in reality, he has made only 7.49. This shows that due to his team’s style of play the number of interceptions he has made is fewer but comparing it to the other players in the league, it gets inflated due to possession. Along with that, he has also made 10.65 successful defensive actions games. At a very young age, he seems to be showing a good ability to read the play and make decisions right.
Sebastian Hausner – The AGF youngster has recorded 8.38 PAdj interceptions while making 11.96 successful defensive actions per game. He also shows a good ability to read the game despite his age.
Most of the teams these days still use long balls techniques to attack. So the ability to win an aerial duel against the opposition’s forward is a bonus. It also helps teams during set-pieces while defending. Center-backs especially have to deal with tall centre-forwards of the opposition who may possess a great threat aerially.
Rasmus Thelander – The 30-year-old Danish centre-back from AaB. He has recorded 9.26 aerials duels per game and wins 4.88 of them on average in each game. He seems to be contesting a lot of aerial duels which has had an effect on his accuracy as winning an aerial duel on a consistent basis isn’t an easy task.
Frederik Tingager – He has attempted 8.07 aerial duels per game on average and has won 4.86 aerial duels on average with a good success rate of 60.23%.
Mads Lauritsen – The 28-year-old Danish centre-back from Viborg, who joined them this summer, has averaged 8.03 aerial duels per game and has won 4.66 of them per game.
Juninho – The 26-year-old Brazilian centre-back from FC Midtjylland, who is also another summer arrival to the Superliga, has recorded 7.83 aerial duels per game while winning them at a rate of 57.75%. It is a decent measure for someone who stands at 1.86m which isn’t a very tall height for a CB.
Erik Sviatchenko – The 30-year-old experienced leader of defending champions FC Midtjylland has recorded 7.19 aerial duels per game with a success rate of 62.18%. He has been very key to their defensive record over the last few seasons and has led the team from the front with his consistent performances.
In this section, we’ll analyze the list of defenders we have based on a tendency to move the ball forward and also their ability to progress the attack both with their passing as well as carrying.
Sigurd Rosted – The 27-year-old has averaged 12.74 progressive passes per game and 2.55 progressive runs with the ball on average per game. He seems to be the most progressive defender on the ball in the league which can be seen from the above graph.
Mads Thychosen – The 24-year-old centre-back from Nordsjaelland. He has recorded 13.13 progressive passes with a brilliant accuracy of 75.4% and 1.45 progressive runs per game. He seems to be continuing his impressive spell with the club.
Nicolai Boilesen – The 29-year-old CB from Copenhagen and a former Ajax player. He has recorded 10.78 progressive passes per game and 1.73 progressive runs per game with a passing accuracy of 81.48% (the highest in the league).
Stefan Gartenmann – He has averaged 10.58 progressive passes per game with an accuracy of 68.13% which is still a very good rate especially for a progressive pass. Along with that he also averages 1.4 progressive runs per game.
Henrik Dalsgaard – The veteran, who also can play as an RB, has averaged 9.62 progressive passes and 1.94 progressive runs.
Playmaking and Passing Ability
Modern-day centre-backs are widely rated upon their ability to perform with the ball. Top teams across Europe like Manchester City, Liverpool, etc all have quality ball-playing centre-backs with them. Their ability to break the press of the opposition acts as a first step towards building up to a goal.
Sigurd Rosted – The 27-year-old CB has averaged 60.73 passes per game out of which 8.88 are passes into the final third. He has displayed a good ability to move the ball for his team and help them to build their play from the second phase to the final phase.
Nicolai Boilesen – The 29-year-old CB has recorded 60.38 passes per game and 7.32 of them are passes into the final third for his team with a brilliant accuracy of 78.76%.
Mads Thychosen – The Nordsjaelland CB has 53.23 passes per game on average and a lion share of that are passed into the final third with 11.61 per game. He also completes them with an accuracy of 65.63%.
Teams like Real Madrid and Liverpool have thrived on the attacking contributions from their defenders. Players like Sergio Ramos have made vital contributions like in the 2014 UCL final to eventually guide Real Madrid to their 10th UCL title in clutch moments. So, defenders are a definite goal-threat in the modern games during set-pieces.
Mads Lauritsen – He has the highest xG per game of all the CBs playing in the Superliga with 0.17 per game and has 0.13 goals per game. Though he has underperformed his xG, he still is a valuable asset to his side in these situations.
Erik Sviatchenko – The captain of the defending champions is one of their tram’s primary set-piece targets and he has recorded 0.18 goals per game from an xG of 0.1 and usually at least 1 shot per game on average from these situations.
Lars Krammer – The 22-year-old Dutch youngster from Viborg has scored the most goals from a CB in the league as he averages 0.2 goals per game with a very less xG of 0.08 per game. This is also true due to his frequency of shots as he takes on 0.33 on average per 90. But despite that, his conversion rate is very good.
Saeid Ezatolahi – The 25-year-old Iranian CB from Velje has recorded 0.12 xG per game and takes 1.36 shots on average every game. Though he has slightly underperformed his xG, he still is able to get his head and take a shot during set-pieces for his team.
Young Players to Watch Out For
The AGF youngster seems to be regular for his team this season. Standing at 1.88m tall, he is very good in the air where he attempts a lot of aerial duels while also winning them at a very good rate. Apart from that he also contests a lot of ground duels against the opposition and seems to be winning that on a good basis. On the ball, he is one of the best in the league despite his age and progresses the play for his team very convincingly.
The Dutch youngster seems to be in the median level in most metrics showing that his style of play incorporates a very hybrid one and he can act both as a no-nonsense kind as well as a very ruthless defender. Apart from that, he has scored more goals than any other CB in the league, which shows that he is a great threat from set-piece situations.
He appeared as one of the best in reading play and making a huge amount of interceptions per game. We can tell that at a very young age, he seems to have developed a very good understanding of the play and defending. Though he doesn’t rank very high in other metrics, he has a very good scope for development in the future.
The Superliga possess some very good centre-back playing at their peak while some potentially young ones that we saw in the previous section. In this analysis, we have picked some of the in-form centre-backs who have started their 2021/22 campaign on a strong note and are currently doing very well for their club.