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[FM20] Lambs to the Slautern

Earnie is God!

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After a 20-season stint with Dronfield Town over the course of seven months, taking them from the 10th tier of English football to European giants (of which the story can be found here:
https://community.sigames.com/topic/519248-fm20-bringing-her-home/), you could have been forgiven if you expected me to have had enough of lower league football.

If truth be told, so did I.

My intention was to start a new save, a different kind of save with a solid if not a top team. I'd written down a few options: Rangers, BMG, possibly Lyon. The type of team that perhaps wasn't as good as it once was but, with perhaps only a month of playing time available to me, I was looking for a club that didn't need a great deal of work to get them back up there again.
My mind drifted also to the likes of Malaga and Deportivo who had slumped into the 2nd division in Spain; both were interesting projects but wait, what am I doing? I don't have time for a lower league team...
Back to the likes of Fiorentina then, maybe Lazio, Valencia, Schalke? Hmm, I thought, as my eyes started shifting towards the German 2nd division and what titles I could give to my career...
"That Hamburg looks delicious" was a bit naff. How about "Bochum Danno" or "Heidenheim... Ho-de-ho"? They both brought a smile to my face but it was only fleeting.

It was, however, too late to go back. My mind was made up - it was to be yet another lower league team but I required a little inspiration and for that I went back to this excellent little site talked about here...

I went with the new 'club culture' option and it provided me with a few possibilities. The one that really stood out was Kaiserslautern. These days they are down in the 3rd tier of German football but they do have a fair bit of history behind them and seemed a good fit.
So after telling myself not to pick a lower league team, I end up doing just that 🤷‍♂️
Confucius say... "Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change." I'm yet to figure out which one I am 😁

Now if only I could think of a snazzy title...

Edited by Earnie is God!
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The club is 120 years old and one of the founders of the Bundesliga. They have enjoyed some success in the past, mainly in the 1990s, but in recent years they have fallen into the 2nd and now 3rd division.

In real life, they are struggling in tier 3 and only have a solitary win to their name so far this season after two mid-table finishes in the previous campaigns.
That doesn't stop the board from expecting me to take us at least into the playoffs though

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A 50k stadium always helps and we have excellent facilities too so we'll need to keep them going. At least they'll help with the club's vision of using our youth system to develop players for the first team

There are 20 teams in this division but Bayern II are one of them and cannot be promoted. Top two promote with the team in 3rd going into a playoff against the 'playout' team in 2.Buindesliga.
Rules also state we have to have at least four U23 German players in each matchday squad so I'll have to keep my eye on that and identify our best young talents who fit into that criteria and make sure we keep them here and nurture them as much as possible. At least three U23 players, of any nationality, must be in the starting XI each game as well. Not really an issue for me because I generally like to buy young talent anyway so I'm fine with that.

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OK, I've figured out where all our transfer budget has gone...

Initially, I was baffled as to why our 'top young prospect' Ciftci isn't listed in our transfers even though he apparently joined us this season and I had to go to google to discover the answer.
He's one of those who who has since joined IRL (Jan 2020) but with the transfer patch update he's already in our squad.
That makes sense.

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My philosophy is to play fast, attractive, attacking football which the fans will love, and to develop youngsters and bring them through into the first team.
Keeping it pretty simple really and it goes hand in hand with what the club expects.

I also want to use the criminally underrated and underused underlapping runs in the game, with a bit of vertical tiki-taka thrown in :)
I'll probably tinker with it as the season progresses but it'll be something like this

We seem to have suitable players for most of the roles but, upon further inspection, we may have an issue at RB, with only one suitable player who isn't that great either

We also have a few decent strikers I should probably try and make the most of. So, with that in mind, the lack of RB options and my underlapping runs desire, I've also brought in my own version of Cruyff's Ajax system and a variant with 2 strikers
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Staffing levels are pretty poor right now so that's my next port of call. Have placed adverts for all the vacant roles we currently have.
Hopefully bring in a few decent coaches, scouts, etc to get us off to a solid start.

Friendlies had already been arranged before I arrived so it'll be a good chance to see how we are shaping up by the time the season starts.
I'm probably looking at selling at least a few players once the transfer window officially opens up on July 1st. I've identified a few who might bring in some much needed funds and may release some more, depending on how they are progressing in these opening weeks.

But yes, staffing levels are crucial and it may take me some time to get that right before I want to move on and start the season so I probably won't be updating this until tomorrow now

Edited by Earnie is God!
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To help speed things up, I only have the top 3 German divisions as playable but I've also made sure the database includes all players at all the top division clubs in England, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and a couple of other minor ones.
So hopefully when we get promoted and actually have some money to sign players, we'll be able to pick some decent youngsters up

Edited by Earnie is God!
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Plenty of staff chased down and set to sign

As usual, I started my search with too much ambition and nobody who was excellent wanted to join us which is to be expected but I needed to figure out where the imaginary line was and work my way down.
Far better than signing someone and then discovering I could have got better.
David Platt possibly the biggest name on that list but plenty of decent talent there, even though in the end two of them ended up turning us down for another team.
Still searching for scouts but the coaching staff was the most important to have in place before the season kicked off.

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We've started the season with 2-0 and 1-0 victories which is pleasing but we do lack a cutting edge from what I've seen so far. A bit of flair and creativity would be ideal.

As we aren't allowed to register any non-EU players in Div 3, all the South Americans who I know are in the game are currently beyond our reach. Besides, we have no cash right now so it'll have to wait at least a season.
To put some money into the coffers, I tried offloading about 8 players who clearly aren't going to be good enough but there was very little interest. Still, I left them out there and we did manage to sell one of them, although for peanuts.
Hopefully this will bring in a bit of cash but we really could do with moving all of them on tbh

With no money to spend, and still short of a midfielder, striker and possibly RB, I went looking for free agents. The problem I soon discovered is the calibre of player we needed inevitably wanted too much in wages.
I did manage to pick up a 15yo German RB who has never had a club, presumably released from someone's youth system, but little else was out there.
Normally I don't like going down the loan route but felt it was our only real option. I tried for a number of excellent young domestic players but their German clubs often wanted their wages fully paid and a monthly fee, neither of which we could afford.
So I looked to Europe and tried England first. We had loan offers accepted for two excellent youthies with only 10% wages paid...
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Very pleased they agreed to join and if I can get a striker too I'll be delighted


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We are now top of the league, unbeaten in 11 and have kept 6 clean sheets in a row, setting new club records
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So you'd think the board would be delighted, right? Not exactly

On a positive note, the youth intake shows promise

In other news...

Edited by Earnie is God!
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Transfer update

Aaron is a tricky winger with bags of talent for this level but he's not really done much for us so far.
Carolina can play LB or CB, mainly backup for us.
As a Cardiff fan, I remember McCormack doing well for us so when I saw him available on a free, I couldn't resist.

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With promotion virtually guaranteed, I decided to go without almost all our loanees for the remainder of the season. Billy Gilmour stayed in the side due to injuries to others but the original squad players all came back in.
We have to prepare for next season anyway and keeping our players happy is key, even if some of them will be moved on in the summer.
With 5 games left, promotion was ours and with it came plenty of club records: wins, points, clean sheets, etc
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A decent budget although no idea what that will get us in Div 2. I fancy I'll be going down the free agent route mainly

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Managed a number of youth signings though, always building for the future

They are 15 or 16 years old apart from Al-Marmour who, thanks to Omega Luke's video below, will also be joining us for less than £1,000. Needs a lot of work on his strength but could turn into an excellent playmaker



Edited by Earnie is God!
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A rather minor 3rd division title puts me on this list

Apart from Toshack, it's not exactly full of 'A-listers'. Still, if I can add to the one trophy in the coming seasons then I'll feel happier about being in any kind of hall of fame.
Season is almost over and the summer is going to be a long one, trying to find more of the right players to join us as well as being able to ship out those not good enough.

Promotion is a good start to my career though 😊

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It's been a busy summer of transfers so far and we aren't even past the end of May yet. Chelsea didn't want to extend Gilmour's loan but we did secure a further year for Sala and Jones
Sala's pleasantly surprised me with his development and has done well on the right side of midfield when he's actually primarily a CM.
I mainly utilised Jones as a striker although he's very versatile and may come back into midfield next season
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Shame we couldn't tempt Chelsea with another season for Gilmour though. We'll miss this
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I asked the scouts to search out a replacement for him in the centre of the park and they came up with this guy

Where they think we are going to get £12m from, I have no idea. Stupid FM 🙄

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Sponsorship good...

Contract negotiations bad...
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Kraus is my best CB too but there's no way we can pay him what he wants. It's very frustrating as he's not the only one we're struggling to seal a deal with.
It almost made me tempted to go for this but I resisted :)

New seasons fixtures haven't been kind, Stuttgart and Hamburg to begin with!

I just hope we can get these players settled in asap

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@Carambauthanks :)

We have been very busy in the transfer market, I swear I spend as much time on the summer months trying to sort out the squad for the next season as I do on the 9 months the season takes 😏
It's an enjoyable yet frustrating occasion all at the same time.
For example, Aaron Niguez was already our top earner on £9k a week when I signed him last summer. He might be 31 now but still probably our most technically gifted player so I tried to tie him down past the end of the season.
This, however, is how much he wanted

20201127040740_1.thumb.jpg.2573145bdc81a16227b69cdd75e79cc3.jpg I mean, seriously? No doubt he'll be gone at the end of this campaign then.

New signings complete...20201127060230_1.jpg.370ea53628a08e1bddbbe30660c75340.jpg and I especially like this guy 20201127090248_1.jpg.4d0b05ca2d8ce919525ba47e7d26097f.jpg


The new players have moved our predicted finish from relegation fodder to mid-table mediocrity. I'll take it 😊


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We now had quite a bit of attacking talent and, wanting to make the most of it, I thought about how our formation and tactics could best utilise that without being irresponsible at the back.
I considered the way that the two top teams in the land played: Dortmund and Bayern.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the way Dortmund play and how they attack teams, but I felt that if we tried that here it would leave us far too open as we simply don't have the personnel to copy their 3 at the back formation.
Although, having said that, they have played 4-2-3-1 quite a bit this season so there are elements there that I like.
Bayern, however, do tend to play the 4-2-3-1 regularly. Hmm, plenty to ponder so off I went (google is my friend) to discover more.

I needn't have looked far though as Rashidi has recently produced a youtube video for FM21 about replicating Bayern so I watched that and used what I'd learned for my own version of the tactic.
We are only two games in so far but we beat Stuttgart 3-1 away in our opener and repeated that scoreline at home to Erzgebirge Aue in the next game; a great start!

We play Koln in the cup and then Hamburg in our next two matches so we'll see if we can keep this up against quality opposition.

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In a thrilling cup tie full of incident, we ran out 5-3 winners against Koln. Undoubtedly aided by an early bath for striker Jhon Cordoba, we bounced back from going 1-0 down to first equalise and then take the lead, both goals from Aaron Niguez.
Just before halftime, Koln caught our defence napping to equalise but 2min after the break, Niguez completed his hattrick to put us back into the lead.
Another equaliser for the visitors, this time with merely 13min left, meant the score was now 3-3 and possibly heading to extra time and penalties.
But a penalty from Curtis Jones followed by a goal from Sala in the 88th minute sealed the game for us and we were into the hat for the 2nd round

The players were soon brought back down to earth though with back to back defeats in the league but that was followed by a 5-match winning streak where we scored 18 goals!
A draw in our latest game means we lie in 3rd place, one point off the top
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Transfers and we've hardly spent a bean

I spotted Al-Marmour's Syrian teammate Kamel who looks decent enough so I bought him too :)

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I must be doing something right :)

At the halfway stage, we'd suffered a few injuries but were doing far better than expected


With my GK out for 5 months, I went searching the free market and found Karl Darlow who is actually better than Uphoff and now we have two excellent keepers for this level.
Will be interesting to see which one fairs better next season when they are both fully fit.

5 more kids joined us in January. We should have an excellent U19 squad next season and I'm hopeful quite a few of these will make it through to be 1st team regulars

We didn't just buy players of course, a few left for pastures new too. Our main one was our backup GK when a really good offer came out of the blue

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Youth Intake

The preview showed some, if limited, promise

And so it proved this week when they finally arrived

The 3 I like the most are Gareili, Bibi and Forthmann. I'm training the two strikers as Complete Forwards to start with and see how they develop



Looking forward to seeing them hopefully make the step up in a few seasons

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In February, we were still clinging onto the hope of what would be a shock promotion

And this pleased the board

We score loads but do have an issue at the back. I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with it overall as we've shipped too many goals, quite a few of them pretty awful ones too.
But I've got to be happy with how many we've scored. I got a bit trigger happy in the January window and thought that Liverpool loanees Hoever, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams might like more familiar faces around, and so I also brought in fellow Liverpool U23 players Taiwo Awoniyi and Liam Miller; it's like we are now Liverpool's little nephew 😁

Taiwo's a bit of a beast and scored 7 goals already. Miller's lightning quick and been eased into the side but done well so far
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I think the loan system is a bit too easy to exploit, and no doubt part of the reason we have done so well this season, but with next to no money to spend and the majority of current players refusing to sign new contracts unless they are paid ridiculous amounts, I didn't have many other options. The youth setup here is pretty decent for this level but none of the kids I inherited were up to much so it will be some time before we can make that work as well as it should. We've lost a few of our squad to Bosmans and so I've just demoted those to our reserve team; I don't want any players here who would rather be somewhere else.

The new loanees did pose a dilemma for me in terms of formation but I've ended up with this one

If we are going to ship goals anyway, may as well have exciting 4-2 scorelines eh? 😏

With 7 games to go there are 6 teams in the promotion hunt. We still have to play Paderborn (2nd), Bochum (3rd) and fierce rivals Karlsruher (7th) away from home but our other four opponents are all in the bottom half.
If we could somehow win promotion on the last day of the season away to Karlsruher, what a day for the fans that would be!
But I'm gettign a little bit ahead of myself here. Our recent form has been sketchy, just 7pts from our last 5 games, so we need to focus on the next game at Paderborn first.

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Title Run-in

Six teams still in the promotion race

Hamburg were the team in form until they lost at Stuttgart this weekend. No other team has found any consistency in recent weeks, including ourselves.
Bochum have slumped and with them having the toughest run-in of everybody they are probably the outsiders right now.
I'd say Dusseldorf are the favourites due to their upcoming fixtures and being top already. I reckon Paderborn will finish 2nd with Hamburg pipping us to the playoff place, with Ingolstadt finishing 5th and Bochum 6th.
I'll obviously be disappointed if we miss out on the chance of going up for the 2nd successive season but perhaps the step up this early would be too much for where we are right now.
I'd rather smash the league next season instead and win another trophy although wouldn't say no to promotion this time obviously.

We bounced back from a defeat to Padders, and they were far too good for us tbh, by comfortably seeing off Hi-de-Hi and Holsten Pils 😉

As I'm a little tinkerer (and have been called far worse) I've scrapped the 4-2-4 formation as it left us far too open and I've gone back to the 4132 tactic that served us so well last season...
But with a tweak of being more direct in our passing to try and take advantage of the great pace we now have in our attacking players.

Edited by Earnie is God!
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Penultimate game and shock results all around... except for us :D We were the only team in the top half to win and it puts us up into the automatic promotion places for the first time since September!


We now know that a win at our hated local rivals Karlsruher will see us return to the top flight for the first time since 2011/12

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At HT in our game, we were drawing 0-0 and had slipped down to 3rd :( Dusseldorf were leading 2-1 to go top, with Paderborn drawing and in 2nd.
I tried changing things up but nothing was going right for us as we had two goals disallowed, one for offside and the other for a push. We'd also hit the woodwork, it looked like it wasn't to be.
Still, 3rd place and a playoff was a great achievement after promotion last season.

And then, just as we were approaching the final minute of the game, it happened...

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I was jumping up and down celebrating 2nd place and promotion but when I checked the table afterwards, we hadn't finish 2nd after all 😨🤬


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Our wage budget has gone up by £35k which might not sound a lot but it is more than a 25% increase. I didn't really expect much more.
Still, a total wage budget of £170k really isn't a lot. To put it into perspective: Kimmich, Sule, Thiago, Lewandowski, Alaba, Coman, Neuer, Muller, Hernandez and Boateng all individually earn more than our entire budget 

Looks like the loan system will be my friend again next season then

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New season expectations and they have added in a whole load of new ones

So they want us to fight bravely against relegation i.e. finish bottom but not with a record low number of points.
But at the same time they want us to play an attacking, entertaining, high tempo pressing style of football?
Challenge accepted! 😊

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  • 2 weeks later...

Returned to work after lockdown and had just one day off yesterday (my only one in an 11-day stint) to play FM.
I'm still stuck in pre-season as I spent ages trying to sign the right striker to partner Vergani up front. I wanted more of a complete striker and the best I could find was this guy on a free

Pretty good although would have liked him to be a bit younger.
Sadly, he didn't even want to entertain a contract offer.

As we seeped into June, I'd still not found the answer but I decided to try again for Taiwo who had done so well with us on loan since Jan and this time Liverpool agreed to an extension :)
Very pleased but at the same time annoyed I'd wasted hours looking for the right player when he was there all along.

Still, the new season is looming and I'm looking forward to it. What I'm not looking forward to is the difficult start they've given us

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Transfer Round-up


Schalke spent big, we spent nothing 😏


Luang and Marcondes are a couple of kids with promise, the other three I've already mentioned a few posts earlier.
We did of course extend the loans for a number of players this season but no money spent on permanent transfers.
Our wage spend is by far the lowest in the league

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