Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Physicists confirm home ground advantage

New Scientist reports: [edited]

Physicists Andreas Heuer and Oliver Rubner at the University of Münster in Germany analysed over 12,000 soccer matches in the German Bundesliga between 1965 and 2007. Goal difference was used to gauge team performance, rather than games won, because it arguably gives a more reliable picture.

Heuer and Rubner confirmed teams have a home advantage over away sides: on average, home sides scored 0.7 more goals per game than visitors.

Many pundits argue that vocal fans or daunting stadiums lend some teams a greater home advantage than other sides with quieter fans or smaller grounds. Though some teams may appear particularly strong at their own ground, this assumption is often based on wins from a limited number of games.

Any extra home advantage disappeared when the researchers extrapolated to an infinite number of games. This apparent bias can be seen when a coin lands on heads more than tails after a set number of flips.

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