Tracking Data - Speedy Matchups at Klagenfurt

The European League of Football and Kinexon joined forces at the 2022 Championship Game in Klagenfurt. What do these new metrics tell us?

November 7, 2022
Author:
Nils Rosjat
reading time:
00:00
minutes : seconds
Tracking Data - Speedy Matchups at Klagenfurt
The Hamburg Sea Devils and Vienna Vikings battled in the Championship Game. © European League of Football

The first results of the cooperation with Kinexon could already be displayed live during the Championship Game. But now we want to dive a little deeper into the data and see what additional insights we can gain from those advanced metrics. What factors could have contributed to Championship Game MVP Kimi Linnainmaa making his mark on the game?

Hamburg Sea Devils

On offense for the Hamburg Sea Devils, Lamar Jordan II (30.28 km/h maximum speed) stood out as the team's speedster. Jean Constant, Benjamin Mau and Jean-Claude Madin Cerezo trailed with more than 2.5 km/h. The acceleration and therefore the take-off speed, on the other hand, was at an upper level of around 4 m/s² for all WRs of the Hamburg Sea Devils. This indicates a better chance of separation especially on shorter pass routes compared to deep route threats.

The Sea Devils' defense showed a completely different picture. Led by Justin Rogers (32.32 km/h maximum speed) the fastest man on the field, the other players in the backfield were also on a consistently high speed level of just under 30 km/h on average. The explosiveness in the get-off was a bit lower than with the WRs, but still on a very high level with an average of 3.76 m/s².

Vienna Vikings

In contrast, it was almost the other way around for the Vienna Vikings. The Vikings have a WR corps full of speed. With Jordan Bouah (31.35 km/h), Johannes Schütz (30.93 km/h) and Michael Breuler (29.91 km/h), the offense had three exceptionally fast receivers at its disposal. Even Kimi Linnainmaa, who comes in only fourth in this offense, would still rank second for the Sea Devils. The speed alone would probably provide plenty of threat in the passing game. With that being said, the Vikings WRs also feature players with the Top 3 acceleration ratings Jordan Bouah (4.34 m/s²), Kimi Linnainmaa (4.29 m/s²) and Michael Breuler (4.2 m/s²).

The Vikings backfield could rely on two very fast players in Leonhard Gerner (31.6 km/h) and Nikolaus Huszar (31.2 km/h). Overall, however, the average of about 28.5 km/h was clearly behind that of the Sea Devils (-1.5 km/h). The players were also not quite as convincing in acceleration with an average of 3.65 m/s² they were clearly behind their own offense.

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Matchups

Now let's get to the interesting part. The question is: How do the individual position groups perform when compared to the corresponding counterpart of the opponent?

The Hamburg Sea Devils' WRs averaged nearly 1 km/h behind the Vienna Vikings' DB. Even if you only look at the top matchups, there was still an advantage of about 0.5 km/h in favor of the Vikings.

This fact makes it, apart from potential strong route running, extremely difficult to achieve a great separation on deep routes. However, as mentioned earlier, the Sea Devils' receivers have above-average acceleration on the first few yards, which is clearly superior to the Vikings' backfield. As a result, the advantage is more in short to medium distance and does not offer major deep threats, which is also reflected in the Sea Devils' longest receptions in the game.

Therefore, since the Vikings defense has had to pay less attention to deep routes, they have probably been able to focus much better on shutting down the run game.

For the Vienna Vikings it was a different story. Although the DBs of the Hamburg Sea Devils had extremely impressive top speeds, they were able to match them with their fast WRs and even beat them in some cases. As already mentioned, there is a second dimension that adds to the advantage of the Vikings which is the acceleration that was clearly in favor of the Vikings (+0.3 m/s²).

This was already reflected in the third play of the game when Michael Breuler was able to pass the fastest player of the game due to his strong acceleration and generate a big separation. In the end, Justin Rogers was able to catch up to him and prevent the TD for the time being. Still, the Vikings ended up standing in the Sea Devils' redzone after a big play. This shows that the Sea Devils had to bring up their fastest players to keep the threat from the Vikings speedsters low. This is where Kimi Linnainmaa comes into the equation. While not the fastest player among the Vikings, he still had some of the best acceleration of any player in the game.

Now that the Sea Devils' fastest DBs were tied up, he was able to play to his strengths and also create danger on deeper pass routes, becoming the receiving leader of the championship game.

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