Do English clubs have the heaviest fixture workload in Europe?
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 11/01/16 11:22pm
Jurgen Klopp has bemoaned the volume and frequency of matches in England.
"The number of games is the biggest difference," Klopp said this week, when asked about Pep Guardiola following his move from the Bundesliga to the Premier League. "Football, football, football."
But do the stats back up the perception of the Liverpool boss?
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Clubs in Germany are currently enjoying a five-week winter break, while England's leading sides plough on into the New Year after a packed Christmas schedule. There have been 17 Bundesliga matchdays to the Premier League's 20 so far.
Indeed, Premier League clubs have, on average, played more games in all competitions than teams in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A or Ligue 1.
Average number of games played so far in 2015/16 (all comps)
|League||Avg no. games played|
However, the 31 matches played by Klopp's Liverpool in 2015/16 is only one more than his former side Borussia Dortmund.
Both clubs have successfully negotiated the six-game Europa League group phase but Dortmund kicked off their season in July, playing four qualifying matches to reach that stage.
In addition, while Liverpool have had five domestic cup ties, Dortmund have played three German Cup games.
Like Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have also played 31 games so far this season - but that doesn't even put them in the top five of the busiest clubs across Europe's top five leagues.
Spain's Athletic Bilbao have played the most games, with 34 fixtures so far this term. Barcelona, Monaco, Bordeaux and St Etienne are next on the list with 32.
Even teams in the notoriously hectic Championship have played fewer times than that. Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, who have both enjoyed Capital One Cup runs on top of their 25 league fixtures, have been in action 31 times.
In contrast, Bundesliga clubs Ingolstadt, Hoffenheim and Hamburger SV have had the fewest games of leading teams in Europe's top leagues so far this season, playing just 18 matches each in all competitions - 10 games fewer than the average workload for teams in the Championship.