Stathursday: Deniz Undav, a goal-oriented 'Player of the Year'


Every Thursday, we zoom in on some interesting statistics provided by our data partner Stats Perform in the 'Stathursday' section. This week, we focus on the star of last Monday's Pro League Awards: Deniz Undav, voted ‘Player of the Year’ by his peers. If you read this article thoroughly, you might win a signed shirt of Union Saint-Gilloise’s top scorer.

For a full recap of the Pro League Awards with an overview of all the winners, click here.

Deniz Undav took home two trophies after the annual Pro League Awards in Schaarbeek on Monday evening. Besides the prize for being top marksman in the Jupiler Pro League, he was also voted ‘Player of the Year’. The German has been recognised with the prestigious award after an outstanding campaign during which he has played a key role in Union’s surprising season. 

Both awards will soon be displayed on the mantelpiece of his new house near Brighton, home of his next football club. Of all the players and trainers in the Jupiler Pro League, Undav received almost twice as many votes as first pursuer Tarik Tissoudali (KAA Gent). Casper Nielsen, Union’s tireless midfielder, finished third in the voting.

To explain Undav’s decoration, we take a look at his impressive statistics. Nobody scored more than Undav (26 goals), who also handed out 12 assists. In total, the German was directly involved in 38 goals for R. Union SG, good for an impact score of 48.72 percent. Only Youssef Maziz (53.33 percent) was more important for his club, but RFC Seraing only scored 30 goals (compared to 78 in total for Union). Maziz saved the Liège side from relegation, but Undav had a big part in R. Union SG's barnstorming year.

Undav particularly excels in positioning and efficiency. The xG statistics expect at least 22.78 goals from him. Only Nigerian Paul Onuachu (25.25) had a higher figure last season, but unlike Undav he did not live up to expectations. That shows the top marksman's impressive scoring ability. The R. Union Saint-Gilloise striker scored 3.22 goals more than the Stats Perform algorithm would have expected. Only seven players - including Nikola Storm (KV Mechelen/+8,49) and Jelle Vossen (Zulte Waregem/+7) - were more efficient. 

And the final tally could have been even more staggering, as Undav has been one of the more 'unlucky' players. Together with fellow striker Dante Vanzeir, no one hit the target more often than the German (5). Moreover, he left 20 big chances unused. Only Vanzeir did 'better' in that respect too, with 23 missed big chances. Another note: except Onuachu (53) no one shot off target more often than Undav (50). So there is still some improvement left for the R. Union SG phenomenon.

While goal scorers like Michael Frey (24 goals), Paul Onuachu (21) and Jelle Vossen (17) limit themselves to finishing chances, Undav also puts his teammates in scoring positions. The German pocket striker created a total of 78 chances last season. In that regard, he’s in fifth place in the table: no other striker has done better. By comparison, assist king Junya Ito is second with 96 chances (after Xavier Mercier - 115 chances). The fact that Undav had 12 assists is clearly no coincidence.

This article was created with the insights delivered by StatsPerform. Our exclusive partner collects the most diverse performance data from all the matches in the Jupiler Pro League and 1B Pro League. The agreement with StatsPerform has three goals: technical support for our clubs, better quality reporting on Eleven Sports and stronger communication.

Among other things, our clubs will be able to rely on live tracking data, so trainers can make adjustments based on data during the matches. As for the television and communications part of the partnership, the Pro League and Eleven focus on creating added value for fans. The official data from StatsPerform offers fans a unique insight into the performance of their favorite club or player.

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