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Original Article   Open accessopen access

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2022 Jul 11

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.22.14069-7

Copyright © 2022 THE AUTHOR(s)

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC BY-NC 4.0 license which allows users to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon the manuscript, as long as this is not done for commercial purposes, the user gives appropriate credits to the original author(s) and the source (with a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI), provides a link to the license and indicates if changes were made.

lingua: Inglese

Do players competing in the UEFA Champions League maintain running performance until the end of the match? Positional analysis between halves and 5-minute intervals

Michał KOŁODZIEJCZYK 1, Paweł CHMURA 1 , Toni MODRIC 2, Sime VERSIC 2, Marcin ANDRZEJEWSKI 3, 4, Jan CHMURA 4, Damir SEKULIC 2, Andrzej ROKITA 1, Marek KONEFAŁ 4

1 Department of Team Games, Wroclaw University of Health and Sport Sciences, Wrocław, Poland; 2 Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia; 3 Department of Methodology of Recreation, Poznań University of Physical Education, Poznań, Poland; 4 Department of Human Motor Skills, Wroclaw University of Health and Sport Sciences, Wrocław, Poland


BACKGROUND: This investigation aimed to analyze differences in running performances amongst playing positions between the first and second halves of soccer matches and at 5-minute intervals during matches.
METHODS: Data were collected from 179 soccer players during 20 UEFA Champions League (UCL) 2020/2021 group stage matches. Data were examined using the InStat Fitness semi-automatic video system. Eight variables were selected to quantify players’ running performance (RP). Players were categorized based on positional groups: central defenders (CD), fullbacks (FB), central midfielders (CM), wide midfielders (WM), and forwards (FW). Univariate differences in RP were analyzed using ANOVA and the t-test for dependent samples and multivariate differences were identified using canonical discriminant analysis.
RESULTS: The main findings were that all positions achieved significantly higher average speeds and walking distances in the first half of the match than in the second half. Furthermore, analysis of positions showed that CM covered more distance than CD in all 5-minute intervals. In addition, WM performed more high-intensity running than CD in all 5-minute intervals and FW performed more high-intensity running than all other playing positions.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings from the present study should help coaches design training exercises that are specific to parts of a match. Moreover, the findings can help provide better understanding of match demands and individualization of training. Analysis of 5-minute intervals may also help coaches understand the stages of a match where player substitutions will be most effective.

KEY WORDS: Soccer; Performance analysis; High-intensity; Halves; Player position

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