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The ups and downs of soccer – illustrated by sparklines

German soccer fans don’t often agree on much. Few, however, can deny that the 2006/2007 Bundesliga season was more exciting and suspenseful than it had been for years. The following chart illustrates the ups, downs and overall drama of the season’s 306 matches.

1VfB Stuttgart34217661:372470Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for VfB Stuttgart
2Schalke 0434215853:322168Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Schalke 04
3Werder Bremen34206876:403666Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Werder Bremen
4Bayern München341861055:401560Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Bayern München
5Bayer Leverkusen341561354:49551Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Bayer Leverkusen
61. FC Nürnberg341115843:321148Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for 1. FC Nürnberg
7Hamburger SV341015943:37645Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Hamburger SV
8VfL Bochum341361549:50-145Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for VfL Bochum
9Borussia Dortmund341281441:43-244Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Borussia Dortmund
10Hertha BSC Berlin341281450:55-544Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Hertha BSC Berlin
11Hannover 96341281441:50-944Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Hannover 96
12Arminia Bielefeld341191447:49-242Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Arminia Bielefeld
13Energie Cottbus341181538:49-1141Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Energie Cottbus
14Eintracht Frankfurt349131246:58-1240Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Eintracht Frankfurt
15VfL Wolfsburg348131337:45-837Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for VfL Wolfsburg
161. FSV Mainz 05348101634:57-2334Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for 1. FSV Mainz 05
17Alemannia Aachen34971846:70-2434Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Alemannia Aachen
18Bor. M’gladbach34682023:44-2126Sparkline: Season 2006/2007 for Borussia Mönchengladbach

In the last column of our chart, we used sparklines to visualize each team’s complete record for the 2006/2007 season. A blue upward whisker stands for a win, a red downward whisker for a loss and a black dash in the middle for a draw. The first horizontal rule shows which teams will automatically play in the Champions League, while the second reveals which team can still qualify. The third marks which teams will play in the UEFA Cup and the fourth lists the “unlucky losers” who are headed down to the relegation for the upcoming season.

Do you remember when Schalke lost in week 31 and 33 (to Bochum and Dortmund – local rivals, no less!) which ultimately cost them the title? Or Hamburg’s weak start (or bad luck streak – the jury is still out on that one) that made Hamburg fans fear that their team might be forced into the minor league? Hamburg, the only team that has been in the Bundesliga every year since its inception and has never been demoted to the relegation in the history of the Bundesliga! And we in Nuremberg certainly won’t forget the long series of ties at the beginning of the season or the 3:0 dream win against record champion and local rival, Bayern Munich. When you see a complete record of the season in front of you, it is amazing how these and so many other stories quickly come back to mind.

As we already discussed in a previous posting, sports fans in general tend to be fans of dense information. Today’s example demonstrates that you don’t even need much space to post a game-by-game account alongside the usual statistics of a soccer season.

The the sparklines in this chart were generated using SparkMaker, our add-in for Excel.

We have even saved a PDF copy of this table to ensure that you or other Bundesliga fans have plenty to talk about until the 2007/2008 season starts in August.