Being a football player – how do you sort out nutrition on match day for the best performance?

Today we have another guest blog post by Jessie Schmidt, a sports nutrition practitioner and the owner of She is offering an online course on practical sports nutrition ( We have a promo code for you. You can use DEEPSPORTS10 at time of checkout. Jessie is talking about the basics of sports nutrition in her first blog post on Deepsports.

It’s match day and of course you want to be in the best shape possible. Certainly focused physical and mental training are preparing you very well. But what about food? What should you eat before the match? And how can you ensure to regenerate as well as possible? I will answer those questions for you within the next lines. 

The evening before match day (aka match day-1)

90 minutes intense movement is quite a challenge for your body and you need enough energy to run across the pitch for the entire match. Therefore you do need carbohydrates. In order to refuel your battery, the game already starts the evening before the match. You should fill up on complex carbohydrates. Try to avoid rice on that evening, as it has a draining effect.

Possible dishes: Pasta with veggie bolognese or lentil dal with potatoes.  

Breakfast on match day

There is one rule you definitely should follow: Never skip breakfast on match day. It is the start of your day and will set you and your body up for the upcoming intensity. Your breakfast should consist of a combination of complex carbohydrates and high-quality protein. The golden rule is that your breakfast is NOT very fatty or deep fried. So make sure that it is light and not heavy in the stomach. 

Possible dishes: Overnight oats with banana or muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruits. 

Lunch on match day

The rule for your breakfast is the same for lunch. Make sure it is light and provides you with energy. 

Possible dishes: Pasta with tomato sauce or vegetable soups

Snacks before and during the match

If you want you can have some fresh fruits an hour before the match. Directly before the game, you should avoid eating anything to be able to go all in on the football field. You can drink a glass of still water 10 minutes before the match starts. That increases your fluid reserve as well as your energy out of carbohydrates, amino acids and sodium. During the halftime break, you should rather drink something than eating. Besides water, isotonic drinks are also a good option or apple juice with water in order to fill up your carbohydrate stores.

Food after the match

Coming back from the match, still super excited, food is probably not the first thing which comes to your mind. However in order to refill your carbohydrate stores you should eat something after 2-3 hours. Combine carbohydrates with protein. 

Possible dishes: Pasta with Lentil Bolognese, Spelt Pizza Verdura

Don’t forget to drink 

Not only the right food is important for your performance, the right drinks play a role as well. Certainly water is always the best choice. However, during and after the match it makes sense to add some salt to the water to replenish the sodium stores, especially if you sweat a lot. Water with a pinch of apple juice is also a good option in order to refill your carbohydrate stores. 

Tip: Weigh yourself before your training or match and afterwards. The difference is the loss of fluid, provided you have not eaten or drunk anything during the exercise. 


Modern football analysis is all about data science. Therefore, different models have been developed to describe and analyse the game properly. Last time, you got a little introduction into the pitch control model  to understand how you can manage to get in possession of the ball. In order to achieve your target, scoring a goal, you have to make progress with your possessions. One metric to measure the efficiency of your ball possession is the packing.

Packing was invented by the former German football players Stefan Reinartz and Jens Hegeler[1], who developed the metric with their start up IMPECT. The statistics was first recognised by a bigger crowd, when different, mainly German, TV stations used it in their daily match analysis in the European Football Championship 2016. The idea to it had its origin in Germany’s 7-1 defeat versus Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semi final, when Brazil dominated the game due to the “classic” football statistics, such as ball possession, but did not stand a chance.

A short definition of the need of packing is brought by the co-founder Reinartz: “It’s ultimately about retaining possession whilst getting past the opponents. The opponent is our problem and to solve it, I want to get past the opponent with the ball.”[2]

Packing measures the number of opponents that are passed through with a specific action, either with a pass or a dribbling. This means that in packing, ball possession and success are not necessarily related. With one good action, be it a well-formed pass or a powerful dribbling, you can surpass many opponents. On the other side, you can play hundreds of horizontal passes or dribblings, which means a high ball possession without any outstanding success. On the side, you can see an example of successful packing in a specific situation. With one well-timed pass to his teammate Harry Kane, John Stones bypasses eight opponents, gaining a packing ratio of +8.

The 2018 World Cup is a good example for the power of packing, when eight of the nine most successful teams in packing during the group stage made the cut to the quarterfinals.

Some experts like Mehmet Scholl even considered packing to be the “holy grail” of tactics and the key to unlock a successful game plan[3]. Surely, this is too much eminence for this analysis tool, but it is another puzzle piece which can help making you successful. But no pass or dribbling in this world has any value, if there isn’t somebody at the end of the pass or the dribbling who is able to finish the job and score the goal. How efficient somebody is can for example be measured with the xG model, on which you also can find some explanations on our blog. Only if you know how to connect all the statistics in a senseful and proper manner, you can be successful. But this is a whole art and science on its own. And all this to bring the round one into the squared more often than your opponent…




Get the power you need with the right food

Today we have a guest blog post by Jessie Schmidt, a sports nutrition practitioner and the owner of She is offering an online course on practical sports nutrition ( We have a promo code for you. You can use DEEPSPORTS10 at time of checkout.

It is not a secret anymore that you can boost your performance with the right food. But what does it mean eating healthy as a sports professional? Do you need to follow different rules than people who just work out 2-3 times per week? Whether you want a greater energy level or if you’re looking to adopt a healthy diet in order to decrease the risk of injuries, I’ve got your covered. Below you can read 5 rules about eating for sports professionals. 

Eat the rainbow

Colorful food not only looks good, it also contains many different nutrients. Try to eat as varied as possible by choosing fruits and veggies of different colors. Then it is easy for you to enjoy all important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Tipp: Everytime you go for groceries, choose one new fruit or vegetable to try. 

Find more details on SchmidtchenEats:

5 a day

The German Society for Nutrition recommends five portions of vegetables and fruit a day, three as vegetables, two as fruit. One portion is one handful. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of minerals, vitamins, natural fiber and other compounds that your body needs to perform as its best. 

Tipp: Try to eat fruit and/or vegetables at each meal. Both are low in calories and contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Combine carbohydrates with proteins

Carbohydrates are an important part of sports nutrition. They should make up a good 55-60 percent of the diet and are your main source of energy. Many of us however rely on simple carbs, as in sweets or processed foods. Instead, you should focus more on vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Further in order to supply the muscles with sufficient new energy, you should also eat enough protein. Proteins are needed to help your body grow and repair. Depending on your activity intensity you need 1,2 to 2,0 g protein per day for every kilogram of body weight. 

Tipp: In order to get the most out of carbohydrates and proteins, try to combine them in one meal. Tasty and healthy combinations are, for example, beans and corn or egg and potatoes.

If you want to learn more how food can help with building up muscle power:

Eat the healthy fats

That is not the part I tell you that fast food is prohibited. However it is about the right amount. Try to eat more food with unsaturated fats (e.g. nuts, avocados, olives) in order to get essential fatty acids and energy that keeps you moving. 

Tip: Try not to eat fatty food right before your training or competition. Fat is heavy to digest and hence will hinder your body to spend your energy on your performance. 

Drink, drink, drink

The body consists of 60 percent water. During training or competition, mostly a lot of fluid is sweated out – this must be returned to the body as quickly as possible. Try to drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day. On match and training days, drink correspondingly more, which means 1.5 litres of fluid per kg of body weight loss. 

Tip: Weigh yourself before and after your training. The difference is the loss of fluid, provided you have not eaten or drunk anything during exercise.