Bayern playmaker Thiago In his own league

This summer it was said that FC Bayern was open for a change from Thiago. Meanwhile this seems almost absurd. An exit of the Spaniard would be an immense weakening for the Munich team. Under coach Niko Kovac, he has developed into a key player.

The past match day, it runs the 35th minute in the game of Bavaria against Bayer Leverkusen. Guest coach Heiko Herrlich challenges his players to attack the Bavarians earlier. Appearance Thiago: The 27-year-old receives the ball at the middle line, turns with a body deception around Kevin Volland and lures Kai Havertz to himself. Just when Leverkusen’s Thiago wants to steal the ball, he flies it to the free-standing Thomas Müller. With only four ball contacts, he cancels out the entire Leverkusen pressing. Typical for Thiago.

According to SPIX, who evaluates footballers on the basis of match data, Thiago has been one of the strongest Bundesliga professionals for two years. He regularly performs to an SPIX value of 95 or higher. The algorithm works relatively: Using statistical parameters, the SPIX compares a player’s performance with the performance of all Bundesliga players who have played on his position in the past two seasons. An SPIX of 95 therefore means that a player has achieved a higher score than 95 percent of all Bundesliga players on his position.

Kevin VollandHonours


  • UEFA European Under-21 Championship Silver Boot: 2015
  • UEFA European Under-21 Championship Team of the tournament: 2015

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What is the SPIX?

SPIEGEL ONLINE has developed a tool to evaluate the performance of football players beyond personal impressions: the SPIX. It is based solely on game data. The individual performance as well as that of his team is included in the calculation. The special thing about SPIX: The SPIX not only collects data, it also directly assesses its relevance and quality.

Almost all of the top scores in the defensive midfielder’s position come from Thiago. He set the record on the 26th matchday of the 2016/2017 season when he broke the SPIX 100. In this season’s 3-0 victory over VfB Stuttgart, he reached a score of 99.1, and in his 3-1 win over Leverkusen, his score was 98.9. Thiago is scratching his own record again and again. He plays in his own league.

His high SPIX is guaranteed by his values in the area of game construction. Hardly any other Bundesliga professional plays as many passes as Thiago. The SPIX not only evaluates the quantity, but also the quality of the passes. A pass in the opponent’s third that leads to a goal shot is weighted higher than a cross pass in one’s own half.

This is Thiago’s true strength: he has an enormously high success rate in the opponent’s half and hits many shots on goal. He also crowned his performance against Leverkusen with a goal preparation. Thiago has mastered the simple pass of a few metres as well as the deadly pass behind the opponent’s defence.

Profiteur under Niko Kovac

Surprising are his high values in the area of ball conquest (80 against Bayer Leverkusen). The defensive game is not really the strength of the rather slim Thiagos. Nevertheless, Kovac Thiago are the only six players to start in front of the defence. The two midfielders in front of him will aggressively press the ball and secure Thiago in the space behind. In view of the high pressings, he rarely has to go into duels, but defends with an eye.

The strategy works: With twelve second balls won, Thiago provided an outstanding value against Leverkusen. That’s one of the reasons why he currently has the advantage over Javi Martínez, who is stronger in two battles: in Kovac’s system, the six-man is supposed to shape the game more strongly and secure it in space; the two battles are the responsibility of the more offensive players. Thiago thanks Kovac with top performances.

Thiago’s critics, however, are unlikely to convince even the likes of Leverkusen. Their accusation is that his game works against the weaker teams in the Bundesliga. In the decisive games of the Champions League, however, he dives down. BetVision offers great visiual experience and one of the best online gaming site.