Thursday, May 24, 2012

Uli Hesse in Germany

It's become a heart-warming tradition to open the end-of-season column with what football is all about - goals. Those among you who've been following for a while know very well what's coming now, but let's spare two sentences for the new kids on the block. Once the season has ended in the five major European footballing countries - England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain - I calculate how many goals per game those leagues have produced and compare the numbers.

It's partly just a habit I accidentally picked up and now can't kick, partly a perplexing puzzle, as the result never seems to change: the German Bundesliga has the most goals per 90 minutes of football, the French Ligue 1 the fewest. Yes, for the 22nd year in a row, to be precise: since the 1989-90 season (when England topped this particular chart by the narrowest of margins), the Bundesliga has again outscored the other major leagues. Taking into account how often I have typed a sentence like that over the past ten years, you'd think I expected this result - but no, not this time.

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