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Interesting article on Jens


Globe Trotter

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3 minutes ago, The King of Spain said:

For those who can't stand the hideous adverts on that site:

Former Bristol City defender or midfielder Jens Hegeler is not someone to question about maths.

The Bayer Leverkusen academy graduate is a man with a plan despite leaving Ashton Gate after he agreed to mutually end his contract with the Robins in December to focus on his football analytics company. He knows his way around an algorhythm.

Hegeler is one smart cookie and he has helped to found a company that delivers football statistics.

Their main metric is known as 'Packing', which helps clubs to measure the game and possibly see things differently.

The now 31-year-old believes that his method is a better than xG-based models when it comes to evaluating matches at professional analytics level and the German hopes to now convince clubs across the world to his way of thinking.

Huddersfield Town are signed up as one of the first three overseas clients, along with French giants PSG, after 14 German clubs took it on in the Bundesliga, and Hegeler will meet former boss Lee Johnson soon to try and convince Ashton Gate officials that his 'Packing' - an analytics system that calculates how many other players are bypassed per football action by each player to find the most effective players - should be taken on.

If successful, clubs might not need to 'push the thumbs' [German for 'cross the fingers'] in so much during games.

"Packing is the core of it - the main thing. It's a unique approach to the game that we came up with. It helps evaluate players and teams," says Hegeler.

"It's is basically how often a team is able to bypass the opponent. Because at some point you have to progress past the opponent's defence at some point to score goals. The data accumulates the number of bypassed opponents as well as the amount of suffered bypassed teammates. And you can break that down to an individual level as well."

The process helps to weed out players only passing sideways or backwards and rewards those pressing high and winning the ball up the pitch as well as players able to take out many opponents via dribbles or passing.

We ask who the 'Packing' analytics might pick out at Bristol City as a standout player.

The suitably monikered (easy for this writer to say) Marlon Pack would likely be one standout performer with his excellent passing range, explains Hegeler.

"Webby is very good too" and we agree that the summer recruit is proving to be a fine piece of business that Lee Johnson recently thanked Mark Ashton for completing last July, with Aden Flint on his way out.

We've met Hegeler for a swift coffee down at City's harbourside as he awaits relocating to Germany as soon as his girlfriend can leave her job as a teacher in one of the nearby primary schools teaching German.

The playing days have drawn to an end but Jens says he might consider joining a 'Gasthouse' [ German for 'pub'] team in the future like Scotty Murray has done with the Three Lions pub. Or then again Funf-a-side.

"The company is one of the main reasons why I've retired from football," explains Hegeler.

"By the end of February I will have relocated to Germany - the company has its main offices in Cologne. It's also my home town."

Koeln - its German name - is a wonderful City in the North Rhine West-Phalia area of Germany.

The local football team's biggest rivals are Bayer Leverkusen, where Hegeler came through the ranks and met Stefan Reinartz, a holding midfielder with three caps for the senior Nationalelf.

It was with away game room-mate Reinartz that Hegeler started their company Impect with after the former spotted a gap in the market - and they are hoping to revolutionise the world of football with their way of measuring the game.

"We're always told to run more, win your physical battles and get on the ball more. It's not bad to do that, of course, but it doesn't increase your chances to win the game. That was our starting point. We always got told to break the lines by gaffers and that's how we came up with the idea" he explains, saying that originally they drew out lines by hand from matches for the first data before software alternatives were sourced.

Defensive actions are measured by interceptions and tackles taking players out of the game.

Through football analytics a club might find that elusive edge on a rival - something Lee Johnson is always keen on finding.

And the head coach is a confirmed fan of 'Packing'. He also kindly offered Jens the opportunity to do the opposition analysis for one of the tour matches in Marbella during last summer - something Hegeler enjoyed, even if his analytics system wasn't deployed.

"He said to me, 'Do you want to do the opponent's analysis for this game? Instead of our guys doing it you can study the opposition's last two games then speak on their strengths and weaknesses.' I was really grateful. It was good to see how much time it takes to come up with a five minute opponent report and to deliver a talk in front of the whole squad."

Hegeler rates Johnson highly and appreciated the gesture. "It's something that he must have thought about that he would have liked to have done himself when he was a player."

Johnson signed Hegeler from Hertha Berlin in 2017, and the former boss has left a very good impression.

"He's young, he's modern, he's quite open-minded," explains Hegeler.

"He knows about our stats and likes it. We said we would meet and discuss it after the transfer window closes."

"He's the main reason why Bristol City has developed so nicely. For the last two seasons the team has been fighting for the play-offs. In the last two years he has learnt a lot and has improved different things.

"I feel that with Lee he might make the wrong substitution but he's learning from it and he doesn't make the same mistake again. I don't know all the Championship coaches but Bristol City are lucky to have Lee Johnson," he says.

"Maybe one day he'll be one of the coaches to work outside the country at some point," Hegeler adds after we discuss Johnson's recent trip to Germany to visit RB Leipzig himself.

As for Hegeler, what represents going forward and breaking the lines for himself?

"At the moment I don't see myself working at a club in any position but you never know what happens in the future. This is way more interesting for me as I founded the company," he explains.

The highlight of Hegeler's time at Ashton Gate must be helping the side through the Carabao Cup early rounds before that epic run fizzled out against Manchester City.

It was Hegeler who scored after just two minutes to set the wheels in motion in the first round with a 25-yard effort that wrong-footed Plymouth Argyle's Robbert te Loeke. "The cup run had to start somehow!" he laughs.

The former FC Augsburg player rounds up his time in BS3 as this.

"I really enjoyed my two years in Bristol. Obviously on the pitch it didn't work out that well for me personally and I had two surgeries on my knee, which was annoying. It put me out for nearly a year.

"I've learnt a lot about English football, and got on really well with all the boys, Lee Johnson and Mark Ashton ," he explains and includes that he will be "100 per cent" back to Ashton Gate.

Snow cancelled his flight stopping him from attending the 2-0 win over Swansea recently but Hegeler intends to catch one of the important upcoming games in the next weeks.

This could yet be a great season for Bristol City and if the Robins can hold their form they could finish in that top six, and even grab that 25 per cent chance of hitting the big time.

If that happens, how much of a role will Lee Johnson, football analytics and marginal gains have made? You do the maths.

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Why did our media department not do this on our web site and in a match programme?

A very informative article that gives fans an insight to his reasons for leaving the club, and especially highlighting his regard for Lee Johnson and the club.

Viel Spass Jens mit ihr neue Arbeit.

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2 minutes ago, cidered abroad said:

Why did our media department not do this on our web site and in a match programme?

A very informative article that gives fans an insight to his reasons for leaving the club, and especially highlighting his regard for Lee Johnson and the club.

Viel Spass Jens mit ihr neue Arbeit.

Because he was a poor signing that cost the club a fortune?

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"We're always told to run more, win your physical battles and get on the ball more. It's not bad to do that, of course, but it doesn't increase your chances to win the game."

Said the man who didn't do much running around or winning of physical battles.  🤔

Here's hoping his brain is of more use to us in the future than his boots were in the past. 

Good luck Jens.

 

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If successful, clubs might not need to 'push the thumbs' [German for 'cross the fingers'] in so much during games.

Not a great translation. Germans hold their thumbs clasped in their fingers, more like pressing the thumbs.

Quote

It was with away game room-mate Reinartz that Hegeler started their company Impect with after the former spotted a gap in the market -

How did this sentence actually published? GmcG seems like a nice chap but he needs to learn to write or get a subeditor. 

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1 hour ago, bristolcitysweden said:

Because he was a poor signing that cost the club a fortune?

He only cost 300k. Also he clearly has a great football brain so would’ve been a lot of help to the younger players in there development. I don’t think it was a bad bit off business 

 

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16 minutes ago, Woodsy said:

The cup run 'fizzled out' against Manchester City

**** me, who writes this shit? 

Indeed, I was going to flag that sentence up too. 

Going toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the world over 180 minutes, and only losing to a couple of last minute goals, equals 'fizzling out'? 🙄

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1 hour ago, Pugofwar said:

Not a great translation. Germans hold their thumbs clasped in their fingers, more like pressing the thumbs.

How did this sentence actually get published? GmcG seems like a nice chap but he needs to learn to write or get a subeditor. 

Corrected for you. People in glass houses and all that.......:shifty:

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3 hours ago, bristolcitysweden said:

Because he was a poor signing that cost the club a fortune?

Whether he was a poor signing or not, the article is very interesting and informative, and also very importantly shows a player who has left the club still retaining respect for his former employer.

As for costing the club a fortune, he was injured for a lot of the time, but he was hardly the only shit signing was he.

What's home loving Engvall doing these days incidentally ?

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2 hours ago, Ashton98 said:

He only cost 300k. Also he clearly has a great football brain so would’ve been a lot of help to the younger players in there development. I don’t think it was a bad bit off business 

 

I watched him play twice for under 23 side and he was excellent for the young lads. Got the ball to them quickly and always available to take a pass from them.

In my view, he would be a very good coach.

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18 hours ago, Loon plage said:

Fizzled out usually means extinguished doesn't it  which in turn can mean put an end to.

Maybe not the best phrase but hardly shit surely.

They could have mentioned how we pushed them all the way instead?

'fizzled out' was absolutely the wrong expression to use, so in my mind that makes it shit!

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Well they do say "those that can, do, those that can't,  teach!"  :whistle2:

On another note, I wish Jens all the best with his venture. Nice to read of yet another brainy player we've had at City instead of the stereotypical thickies.

 

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