Football: Cologne relegated, Stuttgart playing internationally: Our advice for this season has been very poor

Ahead of the season, sports editors predicted the final table. Critical analysis is necessary – but not in one’s abilities.

After all, the sports section of this newspaper is in good shape. “Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers will not be able to breathe and will suffocate,” said Irish physicist Dionysius Lardner. He must be wrong. Only the delay leaves breathing when traveling by train. Those who make predictions are wrong. Therefore, predictions should be avoided – especially when they pertain to the future. Mark Twain said again. But since journalists generally do not lack in self-confidence, they are sure of their strong experience and communicate only from a professional point of view, they like to look to the future.

Who implements how? Our predictions before the Bundesliga season

Unlike election researchers, who make their (sometimes inaccurate) predictions based on opinion polls, sports reporters draw on their highly personal experiences and insights, mix them up and then come up with verbal justifications for why an event occurred. So did the author of these lines, who was sure before the Bundesliga season that he could anticipate the final schedule. The result: see Mark Twain.

If investigative research is the supreme discipline of journalism, then prognostication is a fool—with the caveat that a fool’s mouth doesn’t always tell the truth. Of course, not all predictions contradict reality. Who is the tenth tournament Bayern Munich He predicted it was true. But even a blind chicken cannot avoid a grain the size of a rock.

There are mathematical methods for checking the quality of predictions, explains Professor Martin Lamis, Head of Mathematical Informatics at TU Munich. In order to prove the connection mathematically, one uses what is called a correlation. If the prediction is correct, it is one. If just the opposite happens, the correlation is -1, and if one does not infer the other variable, it is 0. For the mathematical editors’ predictions, Lames calculated a correlation of 0.598. It sounds good at first, sports an inexperienced sports editor thinks.

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“If you’re happy that you found a connection at all, you’re happy with a value over 0.30,” Lames confirms. But only for a short time. “However, if this is a diagnosis, you need to be a bit more strict,” Lames said. A value of 0.30 is good when it comes to identifying connections. For example: If there are more red cards, more goals will be scored. However, the editorial advice is about “essentially anticipate the outcome with good anticipation,” says Lams. A value of 0.90 would be very good for this. Not even that close.

Who would have expected such a Hertha season?

Responsible for the difference: others. This unites the editor and the football player. Self-criticism is good, but it is easier to blame others. Herthaner played a season that led to a coaching appointment with only a few games left who has been out of German professional football for nearly a decade. Wolfsburg have signed Marc van Bommel Florian Kohfeldt, once happier at Bremen, in order to play a season off any luck.

Video: SID

On the other hand, the union of Berlin and Friborg surprised not only the sports editors, but also the whole republic and themselves.

But betting on Cologne in 17th place before the season and on FC Stuttgart in seventh indicates either a long working day or a jump in the opening crystal ball.

The sports section belongs to the Champions League

But at least one mandatory victory was achieved at both ends of the scale. Bayern, Dortmund and Fürth finished as expected, while Bielefeld, Leipzig and Augsburg did not miss much. The editorial team is formed for the Champions League. Or at least fight for landing. It can’t be average.

Whoever dares wins. Or you just lose. Just like Dionysius Lardner, a railroad skeptic. In contrast, the expected relegation of 1. FC Köln looks inoffensive, Gladbach Champions League participation: Yes, why not? The same goes for predictions from the department: most predictions are good, but the future doesn’t care much about them. Says German chemist Hans-Jürgen Quadbeck-Seger.

After the season before the season. But reading ground coffee will be easier than making a prediction. Of course, that won’t stop us from writing with conviction again soon about who he’s going to end up with. Always follow the Klinsmann language of improving a little each season. And when it doesn’t work out, journalists are very good at analyzing why things happened the way they did.

We want to know what you think: So Augsburger Allgemeine is working with the opinion research institute Civey. Read here what representative surveys are all about and why you should sign up.

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