Why Derby will hope the Bundesliga effect doesn’t spread to the Championship
Derby will have to play behind closed doors when football returnsby Tom Victor
The return of the Bundesliga behind closed doors has taken its toll on the concept of home advantage, and if the pattern is reflected in the Championship then there’s reason for Derby County to be worried.
In the 27 games played in Germany since the return of top-flight football in empty stadiums, we’ve seen just five home wins. Teams in the bottom six have been affected even more drastically than others, winning just 10% of home games compared to 30% before lockdown, as it seems home advantage isn’t just about location but also about fans giving their teams a boost.
Why does this matter so much for Derby? Well, the Rams have a bigger difference between home and away results than any other club in the Championship.
Only Fulham have more points at home than Phillip Cocu’s team, while only the bottom three sides in the division have earned fewer on the road than the Rams. The difference between Derby’s home and away return is a monstrous 23 points.
While their current tally of 51 points means relegation shouldn’t be too much of a concern - the highest tally for a relegated team at this level this century is the 54 earned by Peterborough United in 2012/13 - the loss of home advantage could put paid to any lingering play-off hopes if the Championship follows the pattern we’re beginning to see in the Bundesliga.
Two of the Rams’ remaining home games are against sides who already have more than 50% of their points on the road (Nottingham Forest and Reading) while another is against league leaders Leeds United.
On the road, meanwhile, there may be some benefit from playing Preston behind closed doors, given North End’s 16-point gap between home and away tallies, but a trip to second-place West Bromwich Albion is the sort of game you’d expect to be challenging in any circumstances.
This is the second straight season in which Derby’s home points tally has far exceeded their total on the road. Last year, they helped ride their strong home form to a play-off spot, but the lack of this advantage in the home straight could take its toll.