Kai Havertz

Project 04 Individual Report: Kai Havertz

Alleskönner is the German expression to describe a footballer with contribution to both ends of the field; a player that has the ability to do almost everything with and off the ball. Kai Havertz, who is touted as the next Michael Ballack, plays as an attacking midfielder for Bayer Leverkusen and is a bright example of the above mentioned term.

 

Introduction

 

Born in Aachen, Germany, Kai Havertz had his first experience in football with Alemannia Mariadorf. In 2008, he was signed by Alemannia Aachen, where he spent two years before joining Bayer Leverkusen’s youth squad at the age of 11. 8 years later, he made his debut becoming, at the same time, the club’s youngest ever debutant in the Bundesliga. During this year he was also awarded the silver U-17 Fritz Walter Medal. In 2018, he became the youngest player to reach the milestone of 50 Bundesliga appearances.

 

Havertz has achieved a lot during this period, despite being only 19 years old. His greatest strength is his technical skills, as he is capable of surpassing almost every opponent on his way and can easily use both of his legs. Havertz is also very versatile. He might play as a six, eight or ten. His technical along with his physical attributes (his height is 188 cm) enable him to do so, being highly effective with his head, too. Last but not least, even though he is under 20, he has the required mental skills to identify the right moment to push forward or simply take the pace out of the game by circulating the ball.

 

* For a broader display of his attributes and performance portraiture over season 2017/2018 please follow this link.

 

Data Collection & Methodology

 

For the purpose of the current report, data from Statathlon’s 04 Project was used and analyzed. Information presented below concerns all 34 Bundesliga games from season 2017/2018, without taking into account any European or cup games. Advanced Indexes illustrated in this report are a trademark of Statathlon.

 

Analysis

1. Group Comparison

First of all, it is critical to evaluate Havertz’s performance with the various groups in which he belongs. Specifically, Havertz is compared to Age Group 1 (players younger than 22 years old), athletes that grew up as footballers via the youth system of Leverkusen, players that share the same position in the field, as well as with the rest of the German players in Bayer’s squad.

It may be seen that Havertz is the best among the 8 midfielders of Bayer’s squad when it comes to headers won. Last season, more than 65% of aerials won by midfielders belong to Havertz while this percentage surges up to 80% if he is compared to the other 5 players that come from Leverkusen’s academy (such as D. Kohr and B. Henrichs).

 

Havertz often exploits his dribbling skills, having 1.1 successful dribbles per game as a season average. This value stands for 41% of the total dribbles won by youngsters (i.e. players not older than 22 years old) competing directly with Leon Bailey, one of the best Bundesliga wingers last season. Moreover, almost 1 out of 5 shots of the native players (who constitute 48% of the team) is taken by Havertz. The two-footed midfielder often tries his luck and has the full support of his teammates and manager.

Incursion is one of Statathlon’s advanced indexes and expresses whether or not a specific player participates in the attacking phase of his team, either in a support or an execution role. His average value of the Incursion index is around 2.1, while German athletes altogether have a cumulative seasonal value of 12.45. Therefore, Havertz possesses double the average value of a German player, which corresponds to 0.96.

 

2. Individual Comparison

At this point it would be interesting to compare the performance of Havertz with the other 2 star players of Bayer Leverkusen, Brandt and Bailey. The two Germans along with the Jamaican winger shared their time on the pitch, having 63, 69 and 65 minutes on average, respectively.

Defensively, Havertz contributes in a greater extent, as he performs at least 3 successful tackles per 2 fixtures, while it takes around 3.5 matches for Bailey to reach the same value. His contribution in defense could be also implied by the large amount of fouls he committed as well as the times he was booked by the referee, especially in contrast to J. Brandt.

 

Offensively, the results are quite debatable. On the one hand, Havertz and Brandt tried around 1.5 shots per game, while Bailey was the teams’ main attacking outlet, having more than 3 shots per game. Havertz also had fewer fruitful dribbles, especially when is compared to L. Bailey, who managed to outpace his opponents at least 2.4 times in each game. On the other hand, the 19-year old Attacking midfielder contributes more to Bayer’s offensive deployment with his accurate passing skills and ability to read the game and provide his teammates with clear scoring opportunities (highest passing accuracy and assists out of these 3 athletes).

 

Summary

 

  • Havertz is undoubtedly considered as the next big thing of German and European football, as he possesses both technical and physical attributes in a great extent.

 

  • The two-footed attacking midfielder has the German nationality and coupled with the fact that he grew as a footballer inside Bayer04 (member of the youth squad), he might be as well the missing parameter for Leverkusen to return in domestic success.

 

  • Havertz contributes significantly both offensively and defensively. His performance is well above the average in every group he is a part of (Age, Nationality, Position,etc) and it is not a common secret that he is considered as a key player for Bayer.

 

  • Even when compared with the two star players of the squad, Brandt and Bailey, Havertz still manages to stand out. His playmaking skills are one of the finest among the team, while his attacking attributes, such as scoring and dribbling, are a constant threat to the opposition defense.

 

 


Bibliography

bundesliga.com – the official Bundesliga website. (2018). Kai Havertz becoming the real deal at Bayer Leverkusen | bundesliga.com. [online] Available at: https://goo.gl/ZfpVRN [Accessed 18 Oct. 2018].

UEFA.com. (2018). UEFA.com’s weekly wonderkid: Kai Havertz. [online] Available at: https://goo.gl/m7gsbx [Accessed 18 Oct. 2018].

bundesliga.com – the official Bundesliga website. (2018). Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz: The next Michael Ballack? | bundesliga.com. [online] Available at: https://goo.gl/zCZaD1 [Accessed 18 Oct. 2018].

{{ vm.common.getSiteName() }}. (2018). {{ vm.common.getPageTitle() }}. [online] Available at: https://goo.gl/ZiawSk [Accessed 18 Oct. 2018].

As an engineer I have learned that it is not only about deriving the result but also explaining it. In Statathlon I found the unique opportunity to combine mathematics with my other passion, football, and strive to describe the phenomena that rule it.

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