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Denmark will win the 2019 World Handball Championship. This is the forecast made by scientists from TU Dortmund University, Ruhr-University Bochum and Technische Universität München using a statistical model. The team will know whether the forecast is correct when the tournament held in Germany and Denmark ends on January 27th.
According to the analysis, France, Croatia, Denmark and Hungary will win the four preliminary groups. Denmark will become world champion with a probability of 41.2 percent; the probabilities for a win by France or Croatia are 18.4 and 9 percent respectively. The model sees the chances of a German overall victory at 6.4 percent.
Similar method to predicting epidemics
Data analysis has become popular in sports – among other things for scouting or to determine odds. The bookmakers as well as the scientific model currently see Denmark and France in particular as favorites for the handball title. The team led by Prof. Dr. Andreas Groll from the Department of Data Analysis and Statistical Algorithms at TU Dortmund University created it together with the Dortmund graduate Jonas Heiner and the Bochum handball expert Jörn Uhrmeister as well as Dr. Gunther Schauberger from the Munich Department of Epidemiology.
The algorithm used by the scientists is similar to the one used to predict epidemics. After announcing the provisional squad of 28 players for the World Handball Championship, they modelled the course of the tournament and simulated hundreds of thousands of different outcomes, calculating a probability for each outcome. “In each individual simulation, each match in the group phase was predicted according to the model,” said Schauberger. “Building on this, we predicted the further course of the tournament up to the world champion.”
Many factors included
Numerous factors were incorporated into the model:
- the body measurements of the players
- the number of players who reached the final of the Champions League or the European Cup in the previous season
- the fact whether there are groups of nominated players from the same club who are supposedly used to playing well together
- the strength of the national league
- the number of players engaged abroad and their playing level
- the place in the world rankings
- the standing of the continental federation to which a nation belongs
- country population and gross domestic product
- the home advantage of the two host nations
- age and the contract duration of the coach and his origin compared to the country where he is engaged
Chance plays a lesser role than in football
Part of the research team had already used this methodology to make forecasts for the past two football World Cups, but similar forecasts for handball tournaments had not yet been made. “In handball, chance plays a lesser role than in football,” said Jörn Uhrmeister. “Since there are more countable events, i.e. more goals, the favorite usually prevails." Consequently, it should be easier to predict a handball world champion than a football world champion. “However,” Uhrmeister continued, “it is of course still unclear which players might get injured, whether an individual player is in outstanding form during a match or whether a team will go on a scoring spree.” It is also possible that the method is too strongly focused on individual variables.
According to Jörn Uhrmeister, it is particularly tricky to predict who will win out in duels between two European nations: “Handball is only popular in a few countries outside Europe, and so the continental federations there play a subordinate role behind the European federation,” he said. It was only once that a non-European nation won a medal at a major tournament: when Qatar finished third in its own country at the 2015 World Cup.
University Alliance Ruhr
Since 2007, the three Ruhr universities in Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg/Essen have been working closely together under the umbrella of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr). By bundling competencies, the services of the partner universities are systematically expanded. Under the motto “better together”, there are now more than 100 cooperative projects in research, teaching and administration. With more than 120,000 students and almost 1,300 professors, the UA Ruhr is one of Germany’s largest and most efficient science locations.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dortmund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dortmund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station ("Dortmund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station ("Dortmund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop "Dortmund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dortmund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dortmund Universität S".
Dortmund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dortmund Airport to TU Dortmund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dortmund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more information). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dortmund Airport.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dortmund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.