Data Analysis in Handball: SAP Sports One Keeps Rhein-Neckar Löwen Roaring

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Handball is a fast and furious sport. Every movement counts, every pass is crucial. And matches are sometimes decided in seconds. Instinct and energy are vital player qualities.

But to be successful, teams must also prepare their players individually, analyze their opponents, and devise the right match strategies. To do that, what they need most is data: data on player performance and training status, data from post-match analyses, and data about an opponent’s playing style, attacking strategies, strengths, and weaknesses.

The Rhein-Neckar Löwen, reigning German Handball Federation Cup holders and twice winners of the German handball championship, have been using data-driven insight for match preparation for some time. In the 2017/2018 season, they began using SAP Sports One for data analysis as well.

“You can’t plan titles or victories. But you can plan your own performance. And the SAP Sports One app gives me crucial data to help prepare for matches,” says Andy Schmid, who is captain of the Löwen and, in the eyes of many experts, one of the world’s greatest handball players. “No matter where I am, I can grab my smartphone and have a quick look at a few match scenes my coach has sent me as preparation. They help me work out tactics for the game and anticipate how our opponents will respond to them. What I’m looking for is a good balance between preparation, knowledge, and intuition. So I don’t get hit by the unexpected.”

As well as various tools for analyzing match data, training information, and player health, SAP Sports One offers the Rhein-Neckar Löwen another benefit: All the information is stored in a central repository and is accessible to everyone.

Summing up his club’s enthusiasm for the solution, Oliver Roggisch, sporting director for the Rhein-Neckar Löwen, says: “SAP Sports One quite simply gives us the ideal platform for creating a huge competitive advantage. All of us — the medical team, the coaching team, the managers, and the players themselves — work with the same application. Before that, everyone used their own Excel tables. Now there’s a single platform for all the data, which everyone can access. And that means we can exchange data directly and work much faster.”

Roggisch, himself a former German Handball Bundesliga player and world champion, sees technological tools like SAP Sports One as a key ingredient for future success.

“We’ve celebrated a string of triumphs over the last three years,” he says. “We’ve been German champions twice and are the reigning German Handball Federation Cup holders. We want this winning streak to continue. And SAP Sports One gives us the comprehensive data technology framework we need to stay on top.”

Andy Schmid agrees: “It’s fantastic to have a partner like SAP, who is so much more than a sponsor. Thanks to SAP, we have access to the latest technological expertise to lift the team to ever greater heights. It’s great that ours is the first handball team to use SAP Sports One!”