Goals Scored by Playing Style in the German Bundesliga in 2015-16

With 866 goals scored in 306 German Bundesliga games, SportsMatrix examined the playing styles favoured by particular teams for their goals during this current season.

Playing Style Definitions

Passing move – a team move involving short passes to bypass the opposition defence.

Long ball – a team move which starts from a long high ball used to bypass the opposition backline.

Individual – a move where a player dribbles the ball beating opposition defenders.

Counter Attack – A rapid move where a team gains possession with the opposition out of position.

Set Piece – a goal originating from either a corner kick, free kick or a throw-in, but excluding penalty kicks.

Other – a goal which follows a short attacking event, such as a second ball or a goal following a single touch.


As in all of the top leagues, the main playing style used by Bundesliga teams to score goals came from short passing moves (37.3%) with by far the highest percentage of goals playing this style scored by Borussia Dortmund (57.3%) and Borussia Monchengladbach (56.7%). Dortmund were the league’s top scorers (82 goals), scoring 47 times from short passing moves, whilst 38 of Monchengladbach’s goals came via this method. Schalke 04 (47.1%), Bayern Munich (43.8%) and Wolfsburg (40.4%) all scored at least 40% of their goals from short passing moves. Meanwhile, Ingolstadt (33) and Eintracht Frankfurt (34) were amongst the league’s lowest scorers, with fewest goals (8) and the lowest percentage of goals coming from short passing moves.

Frankfurt, who conceded a very late goal in their final league game of the season, fell into the relegation playoff spot and were the only team in the Bundesliga not to score the highest percentage of their goals from solely from passing moves, with 23.5% of their goals coming equally from passing moves and set pieces.

During the season Bayern Munich scored 80 league goals, with more than one in five (21.3%) coming from dribbles. Their 17 goals from dribbles accounted for 18% of all goals from this style in the league. The eight goals scored from dribbles by Mainz 05 accounted for 17.4% of their league goals and was the same number scored from dribbles as Bayer Leverkusen. At the other end of the dribbling table were Hamburger SV and relegated Hannover 96 both of whom scored only once following a dribble, with another relegated club Stuttgart scoring twice playing this style.


Hoffenheim, who finished one point and one place above the relegation zone, averaged the highest percentage of goals (25.6%) from counter attacks, but their 10 counter attack goals along with Mainz 05 and Monchengladbach was surpassed by Stuttgart, who scored 11 counter attack goals. In their first season in the Bundesliga, Ingolstadt 04 were the only team not to score from a counter attack, whilst Augsburg fared marginally better, scoring once from counter attacks.

Set piece goals, excluding penalty kicks, accounted for 17% of all Bundesliga goals, with Hamburger’s 12 goals accounting for 30% of all of their league goals, a slightly higher percentage (28.9%) than Darmstadt 98 who scored 11 times from set pieces. Stuttgart (12) and Bayer Leverkusen (11) scored the same number of set piece goals, but this accounted for a slightly lower percentage of their goals. Hoffenheim, FC Koln and Schalke scored fewest set piece goals (5); however the lowest percentage of set piece goals came from Borussia Monchengladbach (9%), followed by Schalke (9.8%) and Bayern Munich (10%).

Whilst Ingolstadt failed to score from a counter attack and scored amongst the lowest percentage of goals from passing moves, they scored an above average percentage of set piece goals. However their nine goals from penalty kicks was not only most in the league, but by far the highest percentage of goals (27.3%) scored from penalty kicks of any Bundesliga team. With one goal scored from a penalty kick, Mainz 05 scored the lowest percentage (2.2%) of their goals from penalty kicks.

A total of only 23 goals were scored in the entire season from long balls, with Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha Berlin, Darmstadt 98 and Hoffenheim all failing to score from this style, whilst FC Koln and Hamburger both scored three times from long balls.

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