Bundesliga Teams Could Be Using More Substitutions. But They Aren’t.

Compared to football, baseball and basketball, the “big three” American sports, soccer is a uniquely fluid game: no set possession length, a continuously running clock, a tiny number of actual scoring attempts and constant transitions that blur the line between attack and defense. That’s made it much more difficult to quantify. Lionel Messi is better than everyone else, and shots from close to the goal are better than attempts from farther away, but otherwise data-minded truths have been hard to come by. However, there are a few static aspects of the game that have proven much easier to pin down and resemble those of other major sports. One of them is substitutions. Per Stats Perform data, starting field players in the German Bundesliga were averaging 0.

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