World Champions Germany have invested greatly in a modern scouting programme and comprehensive match analysis on their hunt for a fifth World Cup title. The DFB Academy plays a significant part in that project.
The audience in the cinema room at Germany’s World Cup residence in Watutinki were scratching their heads. Big data. Artificial intelligence. Player dashboard and video cockpits. Clicks and stats. At the press conference, the DFB national team and academy director, Oliver Bierhoff, gave an intriguing insight into how modern technology is such an integral part of die Mannschaft’s preparation. One of the key driving forces in this development is the DFB Academy with its partners SPA and Adidas.
The introduction of a modern scouting programme and comprehensive match analysis with concrete data should enormously benefit Joachim Löw’s pursuit of Germany’s fifth World cup title. The topic is often “trivialised”, said Bierhoff, yet is in fact “becoming increasingly important. We are trying to find that leading edge over the competition.” He emphasises how even in Brazil in 2014, “smart data hugely benefited Germany.”
But how? “The matches are decided before kick-off”, so say the DFB scouts and analysts, Urs Siegenthaler and Christopher Clemens, who also took part in the press conference. Mainly, the analytical focus is on one’s own abilities, which data can really help to show in an objective light. Opponent analysis is also a crucial element.
In order to experience how it will feel to play the technically strong Mexicans in Germany’s opening World Cup match, DFB partner SAP have developed Video Cockpit for mobile to help die Mannschaft get to grips with their opponents. In the ‘Player Dashboard’, the team can look at data and watch clips on their phone to hone down their own personal game. “I think it’s very important”, said Joshua Kimmich on the use of this technology, “On the pitch, you often don’t get the same perspective of a match as you do when watching it on a screen. I really look to analyse my game and that of the team, because that’s absolutely fundamental.” Fundamental for success.
Bierhoff estimates that data and analysis makes up “five to ten percent” of the recipe for success. When Löw is choosing his starting XI, “of course a bit of gut instinct and current form comes into play.”