Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC will commence their respective Asian Champions League campaigns this week – but how will it impact their league form?
The travel is often seen as the biggest burden for A-League clubs – but is this impact as negative as we’re led to believe?
Surprisingly the A-League clubs across the board have won more games coming back from Champions League fixtures overseas than when hosting and travelling domestically for the next league game.
Since 2008 there have been 80 Champions League matches that A-League clubs have been involved in during the A-League season.
Adelaide United was the first to deal with the dual commitments after their run to the Champions League final in 2008 overlapped with the start of the 2009/10 A-League campaign.
Despite A-League clubs participating in the Champions League between 2009 and 2011 it did not clash with the A-League campaign – due to the season starting in August and ending in March the following year.
But this changed once the start of the A-League season was delayed to October in the 2011/12 season and the Grand Final to either April or May.
During this time where teams have been forced to balance both – the results indicate A-League clubs are more likely to win their next league game when travelling back from overseas.
A-League clubs have won 19, drawn 12 and lost 9 when playing days after travelling from overseas.
Alternatively, when A-League clubs host Champions League matches they have gone on to win 17 times in their next league game, but have lost 16 times – seven more than when coming back from overseas.
Melbourne Victory has won three out of seven – drawing two – after playing Champions League matches overseas.
Though Victory have also suffered a significant defeat to Melbourne Heart after their loss to Guangzhou Evergrande in China.
Sydney FC have meanwhile only lost once with this coming last season after they lost to Brisbane Roar after returning from their Champions League Group Stage match with Kashima Antlers.
A-League clubs – on average – claim 1.73 points in the league game following their midweek return from overseas.
Whereas clubs claim 1.45 points in the league game after they have hosted a Champions League match – dispelling the travel myth to a degree.