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FM17 - Bayer Leverkusen


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Bayer 04 Leverkusen
  Bayer Leverkusen | RB Leipzig | Huddersfield Town
My Bayer Leverkusen Story


This year, Football Manager went a step further into the world of prediction and brought us the 'Brexit simulator', opening our eyes to the possible repercussions and forcing us to prepare for the chance that English football might suffer. As a result, many FM addicts will find themselves looking outside the Premier League for a more consistent playing experience, and to you I say, "look no further than the German Bundesliga!" A league invigorated with world-class youth prospects and established talent, no longer commanded by the Bavarians and very much open to competition; you wouldn't be too far wrong to predict that the Fußball-Bundesliga could well be the next Premier League.

Just like the top tier of English football, every team in the Bundesliga is unique and has different circumstances that might appeal to you. For those of you who are looking for a club with enough quality to start winning things from the off, but still give you a rather significant challenge, I suggest to look no further than Bayer Leverkusen.



Bayer 04 Leverkusen were formed in 1904 by employees of the German pharmaceutical company "Bayer" whose headquarters are in Leverkusen and from which the club gets its name. It was formerly the best-known department of TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, a sports club whose members also participate in athletics, gymnastics, basketball and other sports including rowing, tennis and hockey. In 1999 the football department was separated from the sports club and is now a separate entity formally called "Bayer 04 Leverkusen GmbH".

Despite over a century of existence, they have never won the Bundesliga - in fact, history remembers them for the infamous "Neverkusen" season. They reached the final of the Champions League and DFB-Pokal, and sat atop the league table with just four fixtures remaining, only to lose it all in the closing moments of the season. Aside from this, the club have a fairly proud collection of trophies. After winning a small collection of German regional trophies in the 1970's, Leverkusen took their first major trophy in 1988 when they won the Europa League, and their second when they clinched the DFB-Pokal in 1993 - the last time the club won a competition.

Today, they participate in the German Fußball-Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League and the DFB-Pokal, or German Cup. They are widely regarded as the third best club in German football, behind giants Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund. After ending the last season in 3rd, Bayer have been rather unsuccessful and currently find themselves in the bottom half of the Bundesliga.




Leverkusen is one of the smaller cities in Germany, and is home to just over 160,000 people. This makes it hard for the club to progress in German football due to the lack of fans who attend the stadium, making any idea of expansion baseless. The BayArena stadium was going to be a venue for the 2006 World Cup until Leverkusen withdrew their bid due to FIFA capacity regulations.


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The Squad

First Team (Overview)

When you first take over, you'll notice immediately that a lot of your players are on holiday until mid-August. You still have enough players to make it through the first couple of friendlies, and I would recommend that you use this chance to test some unorthodox tactics that seem to be popular at Leverkusen at the moment. This can include playing Lars Bender in defence, and Benjamin Henrichs at left-back.

Roberto Hilbert and Robbie Kruse will automatically start the game transfer-listed. You should always sell Kruse, as there is already fantastic depth on the right wing and he's not going to get any better, but I prefer to keep Hilbert around so he can tutor players and provide cover.




The #1 jersey belongs to Bernd Leno, and you should look to keep it that way for at least another 10 years. He's only 24 which means he still has room to develop, but is just old enough to start tutoring. You can choose to play him in every single game, or allow new signing Ramazan "Rambo" Özcan to cover the cup games. The Austrian has represented his country at international level and helped FC Inglostadt to promotion last season, so he's definitely solid cover.

During the pre-season friendlies, you'll have to resort to using Niklas Lomb until the 18th August, so it's advised that you hold off loaning him out until then.





This is by far the weakest area of the team, lacking in decent strength and aerial ability. Covering the centre of defence first, Ömer Toprak and new signing Aleksandar Dragovic are both solid enough options and should probably be rotated alongside Jonathan Tah. This kid can be a fantastic player in the future if you make sure to tutor him properly, as his Determination and Work Rate are both very poor. Tin Jedvaj is good enough to provide cover in the middle and at right-back, but don't expect any fireworks, as he's largely failed to live up to his once-exciting potential.






Wendell is your only natural left-back, but he has the potential to be one of the best in the league. Over at right-back, you can opt for the experienced Roberto Hilbert or new signing Danny da Costa, who is lightning quick and very hard-working. You also have the versatile Benjamin Hendrichs, who can play at right-back or in central midfield. He's only 19 and and is pretty good with either foot, so you can pretty much develop him into whatever kind of player you wish.







There is so much quality here, you may struggle to keep everyone happy. Lars Bender is your best midfielder, club captain, and the first name on the team sheet every single game. After losing Christoph Kramer to Borussia Monchengladbach for €15m in the summer, Bayer Leverkusen made a fantastic business deal in signing hard-working Julian Baumgartlinger from FC Mainz, for less than a third of the price. Then you have Charles Aránguiz (who spent over half of last season out with achilles tendonitis), the skilful Hakan Çalhanoglu, and the versatile Kevin Kampl who can play just about anywhere in midfield. To finish off the centre of the park, Vladlen Yurchenko is a reliable cover option who is basically a less skilled version of Çalhanoglu.

In addition to playing Bender every game, I would recommend starting Baumgartlinger and Aránguiz alongside him as much as possible. These three players have exceptional work rate, and the versatility of Kampl means that he can fill in practically anywhere when required. Çalhanoglu is a tad inconsistent, but you can choose to play him in attacking midfield instead of Baumgartlinger if you're using more of a 4-2-3-1 than 4-1-2-3.








Out wide, there's still no shortage of talent. The aforementioned Çalhanoglu and Kampl can also operate on the wings, but they won't necessarily be needed because there are already three fantastic players here. The player who stands out straight away is Julian Brandt, who is good enough to be starting games already and he's only 20. However, you might struggle to get him playing time alongside both Karim Bellarabi and new signing Kevin Volland. Admir Mehmedi is a very versatile and reliable cover option, and you should have sold Robbie Kruse by now! But in case you haven't, he can cover the only position Mehmedi can't naturally play, out on the right wing.

Providing you're only playing with two wingers and a single striker, you might be best off selling another player besides Kruse. The choice is a hard one, but I would suggest Bellarabi as he's a very one-dimensional player who is all about the speed and dribbling, and not much else. If you're playing two men up front, you should be able to retain everyone else though, as Volland can play nicely up front alongside Chicharito.








Manchester United fans such as myself should know only too well that while we are struggling to win games, Javier "Chicharito" Hernández is wreaking havoc over in the Bundesliga. You should look to play him as much as possible, but as well as Volland, you have a second reliable backup option up front in the form of club icon Stefan Kießling. While he doesn't have great finishing ability, he's very determined and useful for tutoring your young strikers in the future.

Mehmedi can also cover in this role as a Deep-Lying Forward or Complete Forward, and former wonderkid Joel Pohjanpalo is definitely one to watch!



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Under-19 Squad

Niklas Lomb and Joel Pohjanpalo have been moved here purely for the sake of fitting all the important players into the First Team Overview, but I would strongly suggest that you give Joel some playing time. He's rocked the Bundesliga in real life by scoring four goals in the first two games of the season, and if you think that isn't impressive enough, he featured from the bench in both games. That's 4 goals in just 30 minutes of match time!

You may need Lomb, Boeder, Akkaynak and Havertz to make it through the first few pre-season games, which should give you the perfect opportunity to test their abilities in the first team. Ole Päffgen also starts the game in the First Team, but this is more to do with his age than his ability.



Players On Loan

Ramalho and Papadopoulos are both being loaned out due to the abundance of centre-backs in the squad, but depending on your preferences, can both play a part when they return. Andre is versatile enough to cover most of the defensive positions, and will put his body on the line for the club should you call upon him. Kyriakos however, is a fantastic defender but not much else. Expect him to work hard and win the ball often, but don't expect anything special after that. Seung-Woo and Frey are nothing more than backup players, and you should probably get rid of them upon their return.










The club will assign you just £3.4m with which to improve the squad, and a wage gap of £64,000 a week. Given these figures, you may decide that it is best to start without a wage budget for the first window. There are plenty of ways you can fill in the gaps in defence - Lars Bender can make up for the Leadership void in the middle while Benjamin Hendrichs, Aleksandar Dragovic and Joel Abu Hanna can all be re-trained to operate as a left-back.

If you do decide to start with the €4m transfer budget, you will have to keep to tradition in order to compete in the market. Looking back at previous transfer windows, you will see that the majority of Bayer's financial gain has come from impressive bargain swaps - selling Son Heung-Min to Tottenham for €30m and Christoph Kramer to Monchengladbach for €25m brought in a lot of money, but instead of dishing out big dollah for replacements, Bayer managed to sign the impressive Javier Hernandez and complete monster Julian Baumgartlinger for just a third of the price! These transfers have made the club a lot of money whilst retaining the same level of talent, and this is something you will have to continue to achieve at the club in order to succeed.



If you opt to fill in at left-back, you may want to have a look at 29 year-old Park Joo-Ho from Dortmund. Transfer-listed at the start of the game and available for only £1.5m, he can provide solid cover for Wendell and will do so gladly - however he will demand around £50,000 per week for his services.



There's a more youthful alternative at Valencia - Toni Lato is the next José Gayà, and at just 18 years of age, he's already solid enough to provide defensive cover for Wendell and feature in the odd cup match or two. For just under £1m, you should at least try and beat the other big European clubs battling for his signature.



Aside from the glaringly obvious left-back position, you may wish to heed the advice given to you in your Assistant Manager's Team Report and reinforce your central defence with strength and height. The player of choice for me is 20 year-old Ionuț Nedelcearu from Dinamo București - he's still got the talent required to step up and be a decent player for your squad, and even adds that aerial threat you're after!



Finally, you may prefer to invigorate your squad with youth instead. Again from Dinamo București, 17 year-old Robert Moldoveanu has all the makings of a future first-team striker. He won't ask for too much, and is definitely worth the £800k you'll have to spend in order to land his signature.

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It doesn't matter what team I'm managing, as soon as I have the right players I will implement my own style of play. This tends to revolve around slow, steady attacking football using Advanced Playmakers that cut inside to control the attack from outside the box, and full-backs that cover the entire length of the pitch, overtake the wide APs and whip crosses in the area. Through this section, I will however show many possible formations that can suit a wide variety of tactical styles.



Usually the pre-season friendlies are a good time to experiment and give youth a chance. With half of Leverkusen's squad at the Euros, this is now mandatory. If you plan to try out players in different positions over the course of the season, make sure you start as soon as possible. This should include trying out Lars Bender in the centre of defence, Benjamin Hendrichs at left-back and Kevin Kampl on the wings.

Strongest XI                                                                                        Experimental XI
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During Season

Throughout the season, you will most likely struggle to keep everyone happy. The best you can do is rotate regularly, and perhaps the easiest way of doing this is to play a slightly weakened squad for Champions League matches, and a completely different squad for the DFB-Pokal.

For example, this is my regular squad                                          and this is the squad I use for the last Champions League match.
UEHDWkQ.png?1 NzVSfWR.png?1

Notice that I've made no fewer than 6 changes (8 if Yurchenko and Kießling weren't injured) to my Champions League squad whilst retaining a team talented enough to compete. It's all about prioritising players. As you can see here, I've prioritised the likes of Aranguiz, Kampl and Çalhanoglu over Yurchenko because frankly, I don't care if Yurchenko complains about the lack of playing time.

The formations Leverkusen are currently using in real life look good too, but remember that they're 10th in the table, so depending on the realism of Football Manager, copying them may not be the best idea.

4-2-3-1                                                                                                 4-4-2
XHOBBNu.png?1 AowPy53.png?1

Having said all of this, the most important thing to remember when it comes to tactics, is to do what you are most comfortable with. Don't let anyone influence your tactical decisions, especially when it comes to preferring certain players. That player might suit your style more than he suits theirs!


Full Time

Thanks for reading this guide, I hope I have convinced you to try out Bayer Leverkusen. Feel free to share your progress with the club and recommend signings for others!

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Mehmedi was immense for me in FM16 as an IF on the left.

The "problem" with the 433 is that you can't really have Hernandez, Hakan, Bellarabi and Mehmedi in the side all at once, unless you play Hakan as MC.

Of course, you now also have Kevin Volland who is also a great player and then the always hard working Kiessling.

I haven't seen them play in real life but just by looking at the squad and injuries I assume they are having problems identifying who to play where and finding a balance.

I am not sure why they let Kramer go but it is definitely an interesting option to try to finally get Leverkusen the title and figure out how to use their squad properly.


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Mehmedi was fantastic :D in my FM16 run, Hernandez spent a lot of the season injured so I played Mehmedi up front as a Complete Forward. He was the joint top goalscorer in the Bundesliga! I also did in fact play Hakan as an Advanced Playmaker in CM. Sold Bellarabi to Bayern in the first window, as I saw him as a rather one-dimensional player.

As for Kramer, I mentioned in the guide that the club very much relies on making profit from buying and selling players. As fantastic a player he was for me in FM16, you'll soon find that Julian Baumgartlinger is an absolute beast, especially given that he cost just a third of the price that the club made from the sale of Kramer.

It's going to be really interesting trying to balance all their midfield players, but be sure to let me know how you get on!

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Nice thread. Currently on a Bayer save myself. Just turned December in the first season, and so far so good, well in the league anyway. Sitting top of the league after 13 games, 10 wins, 1 draw and two defeats. Only defeats in the league have been a 1-0 against Bayern (Not too bad) and a 3-0 defeat at Frankfurt where everything just went wrong. :lol::lol: Highlights have been a 5-1 win away at Monchengladbach, 5-0 away to Freiburg and a 6-1 win at home against Schalke (who were top of the league at the time). Hernandez also scored two hat-tricks in three league games. 


Europe has been different, two draws, two defeats and a victory means that I'm hanging on to qualification. It'll depend on Juve doing me a turn in the final game though.

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Your thread and Leverkusen's position in real life made me start a save with them.

I had an initial idea of who I wanted to play where but after analyzing the players I changed my mind on some. Still in the set up stage and let's see how it will go.

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Going through pre-season. Settled on a 424 wide and 4231 wide (as in real life) because I have used the 433 in other saves and wanted to try something different.

Most first teamers are still unavailable, but we had a friendly against Galatarasay and we played really well (they had most of their starting 11 actually).

Expected Starting 11:

GK: Leno

DR: Da Costa

CDR: Toprak

CDL: Dragovic

DL: Wendell

MCR: Bender

MCL: Aranguiz/Kampl

AMR: Bellarabi

AML: Brandt

STL: Chicharito

STR: Volland


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Fantastic to hear! The only reason I made this guide was so that I could encourage people to try out the club, and share the same enjoyment that I experienced throughout last year. Good to hear you're having such success with the club, especially keeping to the real-life tactics!

Don't forget to play Tah often, he's such a talent! I find the best way to achieve this is by rotating the middle three or by rotating Wendell/Dragovic.

Besides that, your lineup looks rather similar to my own. Got Aranguiz and Kampl both playing in the middle instead of my less-favoured Bellarabi who happens to be injured anyway :D massive fan of Kevin Volland in the last FM and he's doing well replacing Bellarabi out wide, it's a real shame he isn't clicking at Leverkusen inrl.

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Having a hard time fitting them all in :)

I am a fan of teamwork and work rate so some of the players are excluded or less used because of that (looking at you Hakan...possibly Bellarabi).

I am still undecided on what to do with Henrichs. I have plenty in midfield, at the moment I have plenty on DR - Danny and Hilbert but DL has no depth, so I might play him there, maybe develop him there as Wendell's replacement.

Tah needs to improve his mentals then he is a beast.

Their players are really well rated. Hope they will improve IRL. They just beat Tottenham in the Champions League, so maybe they can carry over that form.

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I'm starting to find (inrl) that when Bayer Leverkusen play with a single striker as opposed to their more comfortable 4-4-2, they are using a tactic very similar to Chelsea.

They seem to be playing Bender as a fake-RB in a more central role, similar to Azpilicueta, and Bellarabi covering the length of the pitch out wide on the right. Bender is more central to stop the opposing left winger cutting in on the inside (common tactic atm).

Then you have Wendell (in place of Marcos Alonso) who stays wide when he defends, to counter the opposition right-winger who stays wide when they attack in order to whip in a cross (common tactic atm i.e. Bellarabi).

Leverkusen also use an Inside Forward on the left (usually either Brandt, Çalhanoglu or Mehmedi, all right-footed players) and a wide winger on the right (Bellarabi). Perhaps why Volland has scarcely been used out wide so far this season? (Think Hazard and Moses).

Food for thought. I may add this to the tactic section in more detail, when I get home from work. Noticed this while watching the Tottenham game last night (handy to work in Ladbrokes) :D

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Currently doing Leverkusen as my first "real" FM17 save (3 Austrian players, and I still love Ramalho/Kampl from their Salzburg time) and this is my lineup.

GK: Leno/ Özcan is playing CL and Cup games

FBR: Hilbert/Heinrichs

DCR: Toprak/Tah/Jedvaj

DCL: Dragovic/Tah/Jedvaj

WBL: Wendell/Lato

WR: Bellarabi/Kampl, playing them as a midfield winger

CM: Bender/Aranguiz, while Bender has the better stats, Aranguiz did perform better so far, rotating between them constantly

DLP: Baumgartlinger/Aranguiz/Kampl

WML: Volland/Brandt, both can fill the Wide-Midfielder role pretty good

AMC: Calhanoglu/Mehmedi, will certainly need a better backup, Mehmedi is just lacking so much

CF: Kießling/Chicharito, I currently favore Kießling over Chicharito, same as Bender he is absolutly not performing so far.


Lost the first game to Wolfsburg away 0-1 but marched on to beat RBL 6-1, APOEL in the CL 5-0 at home, slapping Werder 3-0 and a pity 1-1 against Ingolstadt away. Currently 1st in the Bundesliga and 1st in the CL group after 2 games (Leicester, APOEL, PSV, Leverkusen).

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Welcome Alerion. 

Nice observations BanOly. I need to see how they were playing.

I'm done with pre-season and have settled for my first team squad and formation. Had to change some of the squad status - 4 key players and 10 first teamers just screams rebellion after a while. 

I settled for the 4231 and using Vorland on the right, and Hakan in the middle with Henrichs as right back starter. The rest is as outlined before. 

I'll let you know how we do in the league after a couple of games, maybe a month or two in.


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@tyro I was ultimately wrong though, Bender does play more wide and pushing up when Leverkusen (typically) press :D

First thing I do is change the Squad Statuses. I would recommend lowering Henrichs, Baumgartlinger, Kampl, Çalhanoglu, Mehmedi and Bellarabi all to Rotation. If you're using a lone striker then I'd also do the same with Stefan Kießling when he returns from injury.

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@tyro I always get that. He's a fantastic player if you're using a winger on the right, but if you use an Inside Forward/AP such as myself then you're going to have him on Rotation and Volland as a First Team player. Sold Bellarabi straight away to Bayern on FM16 and it never came back to haunt me :p

I've decided to do what most other people do when creating a Team Guide, and write up my own walkthrough of my career save. Hopefully this will generate more interest in the club and encourage people to take on the challenge! The "story" of sorts, can be found here.

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I will be following your team guide. This team is really intriguing me and I have played my first 3 competitive games (I know a bit slow but enjoying it).

First game against Dortmund (away) we drew 2-2, which I was actually happy about. Aubemayang almost couldn't be stopped. I changed from my 4-2-4 to my other 4-2-3-1 as it seemed a bit less attacking and provided more control.

Second game against Wolfsburg (away). Again, we were written off as underdogs but we scored first (Chicharito), then they came back after Tah (I played him instead of the tired Toprak) made a mistake (he kept making many mistakes and 2 key mistakes) and Gomez finished it off after taking the ball from Tah who stood there ... wondering what his job was... Max Arnold put them up front with a free kick in between my wall and it seemed all went wrong until Volland decided to take the game into his hand and single handedly put them ball past Benaglio for a 2-2. With 30 seconds to go, they tried a long shot from far out, Leno parried it but it bounced off him and Gomez was in place, while Tah preferred to be a spectator once more. 2-3 loss away from home - good performance, we should actually have won but Tah made it impossible for us.

Third game was against Shaktar in the Champions League again away from home. I immediately put Toprak back in the team and left Tah at home. Bellarabi started instead of Volland to give him game time as well as Da Costa, otherwise my team remained the same. Eduardo scored first but then we pinned them back. I replaced Bender with Baumgartlinger due to a yellow card and then put Chicharito on the bench and brought in Volland. Within seconds, Toprak's long pass found Volland who had an excellent first touch, controlled the ball, and put it past Pyatov's hands for the 1-1. Just when I was contemplating taking off Hakan and putting on Kampl, we had a free kick and Hakan didn't miss. We won a much needed first victory.

Current Starting 11 and Formation:

GK: Leno

RB: Henrichs

CDR: Toprak

CDL: Dragovic

LB: Wendell

MCR: Bender

MCL: Aranguiz

AMR: Volland

AMC: Hakan

AML: Brandt

ST: Chicharito

Next up is Freiburg.

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@tyro  For goodness sake, Tah! He's definitely not that bad realistically :/

You're not going as slowly as I am, don't worry! Work and the release of Battlefield 1 have held me back, and I'm yet to play my 3rd friendly :D I'm also using the 4-2-3-1 for now but occasionally use my favoured 4-1-2-3 when I want to use Baumgartlinger or Volland. The space in the middle is fantastic for a Box-to-Box Midfielder and Inside Forward (respectively) to make the most out of.

Sounds like Volland has done well for you, I've had moderate success with him at best, always out wide on the right as an Advanced Playmaker or Inside Forward. Seems to be useless up front. Also seems like you're doing well with Çalhanoglu. Should be interesting seeing how well he does for me - in fairness, I've yet to be able to use him, instead playing Yurchenko in CAM with truly fantastic results!

Feel free to keep us up to date with your progress, I'm always interested in how others are doing!

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Freiburg and Mainz were next.

Freiburg (away, I seem to only have away games)

Another one of my defenders decided to help out Tah and play a miserable game to get him back into my team. Within minutes of the game starting (I think minute 8) Dragovic fouls Petersen in the box and it was a penalty. After that we were just chasing the game but managed to get one back. Within seconds to go, they scored from a corner. The whole game was a pain to watch as we had waves after waves after waves and they just absorbed everything. So many chances that I couldn't understand how they didn't go in.

Mainz (home, finally)

Dragovic was not named in the squad but Tah was back and he almost made Man of the Match. But he was outdone by Aranguiz and Chicharito. The game started well when Aranguiz hit a free kick inside the goal and we were 1-0 up. Then one of Mainz' defenders got himself sent off for a foul on Hakan (who had to be replaced by Kampl - out for a couple of weeks). With 11 vs 10 I pressed high up, compressed my whole team and controlled the ball. Chicharito found the net twice and we could have scored more but it was a great display.


Next up is Bayern away (my assistant manager is suggesting I play counter but I am inclined to just go out attacking and see if I can use some space while they try to attack).

We really need to start winning. Still early days but the media is already questioning my 4 game record in the league (1 win, 1 draw, 2 losses) putting us at 13th. We seem to play well and the losses were really bad luck but I also seem to have relatively many away games. Hopefully, we can take away 3 points from home games.

I have set up a 433 to be able to use a DM instead of the AM to have more stability. I am still not abandoning the 4231, however.

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Another two games:

Bayern (away)

As mentioned previously, I went with my regular 4231 in order to attack them when they attack me while at home. They played their 433 and scored early on - Badstuber from a corner. I kept pressing them, however, and Chicharito got one back for us after a brilliant pass from Kampl. Lewandowski scored another but Chicharito connected with Yurchenko and equalized. 2-2 away from home against Bayern - I take it any day.

Rosenburg (home)

I gave most of my first team players a chance to rest, except for Volland, who seems to be unstoppable. Pohjanpalo made his first appearance as well as Oczan and Constantin Djakpa (who I signed for DL backup). Some other rotation players - Mehmedi, Baumgartlinger, Kampl, Yurchenko, Tah, Jedvaj - were all playing. It was really an easy game with Yurchenko scoring 2, Volland another, and Tah the last. They came back with one shortly before it was over (I guess my players got a bit complacent).

We are now top of our group with 6 points, followed by Barcelona on 4 points (they drew with Shakthar). 

In the Bundesliga we are still at 14th but I can feel the next game against Werder will be a win as we are clicking. More home games will translate to more wins I hope.


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How deadly has Hernández been for you all so far?

Been playing him as a lone striker in the Complete Forward role, with the exception of one match where I used the 4-4-2 with him as a Poacher (and Volland next to him as a Deep-Lying Playmaker). He's been sensational and in just 6 appearances, he's got 11 goals, 2 assists and 3 Man of the Match performances so far.


Pohjanpalo is also doing good, with 5 goals in 2 games.

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I personally think that any tactics can work with Bayer. There are so many different types of player that, as long as you favour control/attacking football, you can play pretty much however you want and still have the players you need.

Although the club tends to rely on fast-paced attacks and heavy pressing when on the defence, I've been using my own tactic which focuses more on slow, steady controlled attacking play and keeping possession, which so far has got me great success.

Feel free to let us know how you get on! I gave up with my career story in the end, as time is an issue for me. But there's no reason you can't all follow in @tyro's footsteps and walk us through your success with the club.

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I'm stuck between choosing Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig or Schalke as my next save. I've never managed in Germany on FM before so this is definitely where I want to be. All 3 clubs have good young prospects. Leverkusen and Leipzig have lots of similarities. Schalke are pretty different from those 2 though. They are the biggest out of the 3 clubs by a decent margin, bigger support, better finances, more income and more trophies won.

I like the idea of waking up a 'Sleeping Giant' like Schalke. Mönchengladbach fit that mould as well but I hate the colour green and they are too much associated with that colour so they're a definite no lol. I also like the idea of winning trophies for a club who hasn't won many but has great potential to like Leverkusen and Leipzig.

Leverkusen and Schalke are predicted 3rd and 4th respectively with the former in the CL and the latter in the EL. Positives are prize money and the stature of playing European football for the upcoming season. Negative is there will be relatively high expectations of both clubs. Leipzig are predicted 15th with the negative being no European football for the 1st year. Positive is that the expectations will be low so less chance of being sacked. It's a tough choice as I like all 3 of their squads as well.

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All good clubs. As well as my Bayer Leverkusen save, I've just started an online game with a mate, and I'm playing as Stuttgart. You could try out them or Hannover for a bigger challenge. To say that Schalke is a "bigger club by a decent margain" might be a slight overstatement. The amount of money Bayer bring in doesn't stop them from being a big club, and their lack of support is due to their home being an industrial city, therefore not as many potential supporters.

Nonetheless, all three are good clubs to manage but I'd say it depends on your preferences. If you want instant success and a strong team off the bat with which to build from, pick Bayer Leverkusen. If you want a tad more of a challenge at a squad which still needs a bit of work, but already plays some sort of European football, Schalke are perfect. If you want to try and replicate RB Leipzig's surprise start to the real-life Bundesliga, go for it - but it will take time and patience. I'm not a very patient person and I like to have a chance of winning it all in the first season, which is one of the main reasons why I like playing as Bayer.

A bonus of managing Leverkusen is that there seems to be a lot of injuries in the game at the moment, and if you prefer to pretend that's realistic and roll with it, then managing them will make it a lot easier, as you could probably have around 10 different players out injured and still have people who can play in every position :D

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Really enjoying my save as leverkusen so far, only half way through Oct but so far so good. Unbeaten in both the bundesliga and champs league so far, drawing only against Bayern and Barcelona. Done quite a bit of transfer business even though I wasn't really looking to do so. Bayern bid 28 mil for bender couldnt say no. Toprak had a release clause of 10.75 mil and City bid before I could give him a new deal. Kampl went to PSG for 23 mil and managed to flog Mehmedi and Kruse. Brought in Rugani, Correa and Origi all looking class so far. Also added Thiago Maia, Afonso Sousa and Zeca Carlos Soler all getting sub appearances coming along well. Bundesliga is such a competitive league now with so many decent to good teams, hope I don't get bored too soon and win the title for the first time!   

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I'm playing as Leverkusen and really liking it but man these finances are something else. Losing about 4m every month, predicted to fail FFP. Tried to sell players to cover it, but no one would buy.


I'm winning the league fairly comfortably, so hopefully that'll help turn it around a bit but going to have to clear out in the summer and rebuild the squad I think on cheaper wages

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Just now, BoobyBlah said:

I'm playing as Leverkusen and really liking it but man these finances are something else. Losing about 4m every month, predicted to fail FFP. Tried to sell players to cover it, but no one would buy.


I'm winning the league fairly comfortably, so hopefully that'll help turn it around a bit but going to have to clear out in the summer and rebuild the squad I think on cheaper wages

Oh really? That puts me off a bit tbh.

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Currently mid October and all green for FFP but I haven't looked in detail if I'm making losses that it might come to problems. 

As for my save , the mediocrity continues. 

Bremen (home) 0-0 

Not much to say here. We had some chances but all in all boring game. Tried Holland in the AMC role with Bellarabi out wide. Chicharito had a really horrible game with lots of off sides. 


Augsburg (away) 2-2

Chicharito found his scoring game again and scored early on and it should have been 2-0 early up but he missed and absolute sitter after Volland played an amazing through ball to him. They equalized in the second half and as usually is the case added another. I did some changes and Chicharito scored shortly before the end to bring us home with a draw. 



This means we're still sitting 14th not even with two-digits on the point chart, however, two wins and we are back with the top 5. I'm slowly considering abandoning the 4231 and going to the 433 for stability. 

My system is build around Chicharito to be able to play AF but I am not sure with Volland as AMR as a winger, he should be cutting inside as an IF or RMD. Then I would probably need to remove the AMC to provide space and the 433 would give that, unless I move to a 4411 or some assymetric type of formation. Not sure if a RMD and AF would work out either, then I might lack support. We're not playing bad but the last little luck or oomph is missing to win games.

Next up is Barcelona in the champions league. 


Recap of games:

Bundesliga (7 points from 7 games: 14th)

Game 1: Dortmund (a) 2-2 (draw)

Game 2: Wolfsburg (a) 2-3 (loss)

Game 3: Freiburg (a) 0-2 (loss)

Game 4: Mainz (h) 3-0 (win)

Game 5: Bayern (a) 2-2 (draw)

Game 6: Werder (h) 0-0 (draw)

Game 7: Augsburg (a) 2-2 (draw) 


1 win, 4 draws, 2 losses (Dortmund has 14 points at 1st spot I believe)

Played most of the heavy hitters, however, except for Schalke maybe BMG and as it seems RBL and strangely mostly away games. I have a feeling we can turn this around if the board is patient.


Champions League (6 points from 2 games: 1st)

Game 1: Shakthar (a) 2-1 (win)

Game 2: Rosenburg (h) 3-0 (win)

Game 3: Barcelona (coming up)

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@BoobyBlah @Gee_Simpson

The finances mean you really have to keep an eye on them and have tight control over your wage budget. Selling players is ill-advised unless you have a replacement lined up that costs around a third of the price and demands AT THE MOST the same wages. While BoobyBlah's transfers might look solid and profitable, if Dani Ceballos is demanding more money than Kampl (which is likely) then it'll have a major impact on your finances. On another note, bringing in extra staff will affect the wage budget also, and so it's probably best if you stick to what you already have. The existing staff aren't too bad either so there's nothing to lose by waiting it out a year before bringing in anyone else.



Still looking fantastic, I would really recommend that you at least give Hernandez a try as a Complete Forward. You can get good results from him as an Advanced Playmaker for sure, but I can't reiterate the massive success I've had with him in that role (as long as you play him as a lone striker). If you play him with someone else then use him as a Poacher and the other striker (which in this case should be Kießling or Volland) as a Deep-Lying Forward. No player instructions are necessary, although I have any striker slots set to high pressing.

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I will try him as an CF.

Switched to a 433

Barcelona (h) 1-1

Very happy with this game. We not only fought them off but we were equal. We scored first with Chicharito passing a ball to Volland who came in and put it past Ter Stegen. Luiz Suarez equalized in the second half after many attempts and offsides. Great game and with 7 points we're still 1st in group. 

Darmstadt (h) 1-1

Gutted by that one. We dominated. Chicharito scored early on and somehow they denied everything we threw at them. They had a total of 4 shots, all long shots. Their last one at minute 89 went from 40 meters out into the top left corner and impossible for Leno to hold. That was the draw. Grrr... 

Dortmund leading the table with 18 points and Bayern with 16 points second. No one really dominating. We're still with a chance. 10 points behind but a good run and we're there. 

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1 hour ago, BanOly said:

@BoobyBlah @Gee_Simpson

The finances mean you really have to keep an eye on them and have tight control over your wage budget. Selling players is ill-advised unless you have a replacement lined up that costs around a third of the price and demands AT THE MOST the same wages. While BoobyBlah's transfers might look solid and profitable, if Dani Ceballos is demanding more money than Kampl (which is likely) then it'll have a major impact on your finances. On another note, bringing in extra staff will affect the wage budget also, and so it's probably best if you stick to what you already have. The existing staff aren't too bad either so there's nothing to lose by waiting it out a year before bringing in anyone else.

Ceballos was on 34k for most of the season, just got bumped to 38k. But you're right, I actually bought him before I had looked at finances. Luckily I won the league so that helped the finances.

I don't like developing tactics so I used a plug and play tactic from the forums here called Ultimate. Worked amazingly.

Transfer window has been open a few days, Chicharito is gone. Probably in the top 5 strikers I've ever used on FM, but last year of his contract, already my highest earner, I couldn't afford to keep him. Wendell got a 40m offer from PSG which I couldn't turn down either. I'm probably going to turn the squad over completely and try get cheaper replacements.

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5 hours ago, tyro said:

Darmstadt (h) 1-1

Gutted by that one. We dominated. Chicharito scored early on and somehow they denied everything we threw at them. They had a total of 4 shots, all long shots. Their last one at minute 89 went from 40 meters out into the top left corner and impossible for Leno to hold. That was the draw. Grrr... 

Sounds exactly like the typical Darmstadt game. :D

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I'm finding it hard to stay interested in my Bayer Leverkusen game due to the seemingly broken match engine.

Anyone else finding that rather a large number of goals are being scored in your games? I mean, I'm only 12 minutes into a game and Hernandez has a hat trick...

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In my third year with Leverkusen now and enjoying it as much as all the previous games I've had in the Bundesliga over the years.

I created a 4-4-2 tactic full of fast, attacking, pressing football, so essentially how Schmidt sets up the team.

First season went as expected in the league, finishing third. Hernandez was obviously the star man and actually ended up coming third in the Ballon D'Or. 




My biggest achievement was, however, my run in the Champions League. After finishing second in my group I beat Man City 5-2 on aggregate in the first knockout round. Then, somehow, I managed to smash Barcelona 5-1 at home and draw 1-1 at the Nou Camp, before eventually losing by one away goal to Juventus in a 3-3 draw on aggregate in the semi final.

Second season I actually bought some players. The budget isn't huge and I only really needed some backup strikers, so I went with the Japanese duo of Muto and Okazaki. Also bought the Brazilian Jorge to compete with Wendell at left back.

Needless to say it was quite the nerve-wracking season. The title came down to the final day, and after drawing 0-0 with Bayern in the penultimate match, all I needed to do was better their result to win the title. They won, but so did I, squirming to the title with a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.


I forgot to get a screenshot but Hernandez was once again the star man with 36 goals and 12 assists. Brandt also came on leaps and bounds with 18 goals and 12 assists. He made a fuss about wanting to leave at the beginning of the season - because apparently Leverkusen could never win the league - but I kept hold of him, and he eventually changed his mind and decided to stay because of how well we were doing. As soon as the season ended, however, he made a fuss about leaving again, this time because he wanted to join a team that could win the Champions League. I didn't want to lose him but when Bayern matched his £74m buyout clause I was powerless to stop him. With that money I did manage to splash £38m on Pulisic, who should hopefully serve as a more than capable replacement. I also got Batshuayi for only £6.5m, and both Havertz and Akkaynak will be getting plenty of opportunities in the first team this season.

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When you get £74m for Julian, you sell :D interesting choice in Pulisic, but you kept to Leverkusen's habit of only spending a fraction of the initial transfer money on a replacement which is impressive. Batshuayi is a fantastic bargain, if I'm offered more than £40m for Hernández then I might go in for him as well.

Fantastic results in the first two seasons, especially considering you're using the 4-4-2. I've had little luck with it myself. Keep us informed! :)

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