Empty stadia cut home advantage by half, say stats

June 15 – Matches may be severely lacking in atmosphere when the Premier League returns on Wednesday but  playing behind closed doors could prove a great leveller in terms of significantly helping away sides.

With fixtures played at clubs’ own grounds rather than neutral venues, as some police chiefs had called for, home advantage seems almost certain to be negated if Germany’s Bundesliga, which restarted last month, is anything to go by.

Until a couple of weeks ago, relegation-threatened teams were moaning about the possibility of having to play at neutral venues saying they were missing out on playing at home.

But it works both ways with away teams potentially enjoying far more success without having to take on a raucous home crowd .

According to the stats, since the Bundesliga returned on May 16 home teams won only 11 of the first 55 matches – just 20%. To put that into context, the lowest-ever win percentage for home teams across an entire Bundesliga campaign is 40.2% – in 1990-91 and 1995-96.

“I don’t think that is a coincidence,” Bayer Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz was quoted as saying. “It’s easier for the away teams when there are no fans in the stadium.”

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