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(FM21) The Ultimate Nearly Men


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One thing I love on Football Manager is winning trophies with clubs that have never won a major trophy before, whether that's a club from the Swiss 2nd tier who have never even ventured into the top tier let alone won a trophy, or winning a major European trophy with my beloved Leicester City (I used to just say the Premier League but we have won that one now!).

Some of you on the SI Forum will have heard of "The Nearly Men", the challenge was started by @smp20 on this very forum way back on FM15 but I found it via FMCheapSeats or @ManUtd1 as he is known here. Ian and I have chatted lots over the past few years and I have loved conversing about his Nearly Men saves, whether that be in Europe or Africa as it has been on FM21.

The challenge aforementioned is basically to win the Champions League with the teams that have got to a Champions League final but have never won it. Currently there are 19 teams in Europe that have this on their CV.

Now I want to take this challenge one step further! Those that follow my blog, saves, whatever it may be know I love a stupid challenge, one that is near-on impossible and takes seasons and seasons to play.

So my aim is to "try" and win the Champions League with clubs that have got to a major European final, whether that be the Champions League or Europa League (or UEFA Cup as it was known) but have failed to win either.

Here are the clubs on that list:

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The * next to Red Bull Salzburg denotes they were Austria Salzburg at the time but have since changed names (been franchised!)

As you can see there are 35 clubs over 15 nations that have never won a European trophy even though they have reached a final. Some, like Arsenal have got to finals in both trophies but have lost all of them!

So my aim is to turn these clubs tide, I want to make sure these clubs have a Champions League trophy to brag about so the aim is to attempt to win the Champions League with every club listed above, or as many as possible.

Now for the extra caveat, IF one of these clubs wins either the Champions League or Europa League in-game via the AI then they are removed from the challenge, whereas IF a club who has never even got to major European final before gets to a final but loses they will go onto the list. This makes it even more fun as the list will be ever changing!

So welcome to "The Ultimate Nearly Men"!!! Wish me luck!

More details on the game setup and starting club will be in the upcoming posts.

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Game Setup, Starting Club and Nations Choice

Most who know me will know that my laptop isn't the best, at most it could probably run 5 nations and around 10-15 leagues. So here lies the first problem, there are 15 nations to travel around in this challenge. 

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So I need to decide on a club and nations before I load the game but how the hell am I going to pick out of those 35 sides?! I could just go with the smallest, or the biggest, or I could just make it totally random! One the club is decided I can then pick that Nation and then decide on the other 4 to start with, which, again I could do randomly. 

So let's go with the random idea! It's much more fun isn't it?!

The wheel spins and my word it was close to PSG!!! But I end in a decent nation with a decent-ish club 

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Stuttgart is my first destination. I will talk about the club in the next post.

Now to decide on the other 4 nations which will be loaded. My aim is to load Germany and these 4, once a nation is ticked off, I'll spin the wheel and load one more.

The 4 nations that come out are:

  • Ukraine (Dnipro)
  • Sweden (Malmo)
  • England (Arsenal, Fulham, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Wolves)
  • Portugal (Sporting CP and Braga)

add to that

  • Germany (Koln and Werder Bremen)

A nice selection there!

Let's get the save loaded and then I shall talk a little bit about my starting club!

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Welcome to Stuttgart

So here we are, my first club in this rather insane challenge and this isn't a bad place to start, yes we have Bayern and Dortmund to overtake but I have faith we can push up the league quite quickly and get that Champions League spot!

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A very nice welcome there and the next slide gives me a little bit of history about the club.

CLUB OVERVIEW

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The club have just been promoted to the Bundesliga after ending 2nd in the Bundesliga-2 last season. We have a decent capacity ground (best start filling it now)and really decent facilities!

CLUB VISION

Next is the club vision. Not much to speak about here, as a newly promoted team they expect us to avoid relegation this season and then work towards becoming established in the Bundesliga.

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THE SQUAD

The next thing to do is take a look at who I have at my disposal...

Here is the first team squad

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And here is the U19 squad:

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And we also have a Stuttgart II squad!

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So a LOT of players at my disposal, I won't go into too much detail about who I see as my key men right now but I will speak about the players during the posts which I will more than likely do monthly or bi-monthly if there aren't many games.

THE FINANCES AND BUDGETS

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A £5m transfer kitty is nice to see although it may be a little low, the worrying thing is the wage spend, we are over-spending and by a considerable amount. This HAS to change. A few player sales may be on order which can be done seeing as we have a large overall playing squad.

The nice thing to see is our bank balance which sits at £75m, this is actually projected to increased by around £10m a year as well. Maybe, once I'm settled in, I may be able to ask for an increase to my budgets but for now I need to look at selling a few players to bring the wage budget down before I look to sign anyone.

That's it for this update, the next one will be at the end of pre-season where we will talk transfers, friendlies and tactics.

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2020/21 Season - Pre-Season - Transfers, Tactics and Much more!

Pre-season is over and it's been busier than I expected! 

The first thing I ever do once I've covered the usual bases is go to my "squad builder" spreadsheet, this gives me chance to check out my whole squad and what their agreed playing times are, it also gives me an easier way of seeing where any gaps lie.

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One player is missing from this and that's CB Mavropanos, he was on loan from Arsenal and on £25k per week, seeing as we were over £40k per week over budget it felt right to get rid.

Now I can see two glaring gaps and that's both full backs. I need to bring some players in there, for as cheap as possible.

One thing I did do was alter the budgets, I moved nearly all of my £5m transfer kitty over to the wage budget meaning we now have £80k per week spare! Nice!

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TRANSFERS

I said I needed two new full backs and that's exactly what I brought in, with transfer budgets tights I decided to bring in two players on loan.

Mitch Clark - Season long loan from Leicester

 

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A decent looking full back who can play on either side. He will be a good backup and I'm only playing £2k per week.

Thierry Correia - Season long loan from Valencia

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Another quality looking full back who, like Clark can play on either side, comes on on a season loan for £8k per week

And so far that's all the players that are coming in. To be honest the squad looks decent enough, we are only expected to be fighting relegation and I feel we have enough in us to do that.

TACTICS

I'm not going to waffle on too much about tactic as, to be honest, I'm useless at explaining my thoughts.

I've decided to create a 4231 and a 4141, the 4231 is the more attacking tactic, the 4141 will be used in away games where we are facing the likes of Lewandowski or Haaland!

The 4231 will use the base Gegenpress instructions, the 4141 is using fluid counter attack

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PRE-SEASON RESULTS

As expected we had a decent pre-season, we mainly faced easy opponents with a couple of tougher games as the season got nearer. We only lost one game and that was to Barca, the best result was clearly the 3-1 victory over Espanyol

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The one player who took my eye was my front-line Striker Nicolas Gonzalez, he performed well over the games he played and was instrumental in our win over Espanyol, scoring 2 second half goals to secure the win.

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SEASON PREVIEW

Finally, is the season preview, as expected we are predicted to end near the bottom end of the league.

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All we have to do this season is steer clear of the bottom 3, 2 go down automatically and 16th ends in the relegation play-off. I have full faith we can do it!

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2020/21 Season - September and October

What an absolutely incredible start it's been! OK our opening run of games weren't against any of the big boys but we kicked off in some style!

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A comfy win in the DFB Pokal against lower league Elversberg got us off and running and after that we were amazing. With injuries on the left wing I had to move Gonzalez there from up front and put Kalajdzic as the lone forward, my word did it work well! A hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Mainz and a brace in a shock 2-1 win at home to Leverkusen! He currently has 6 goals in 5 starts.

Form did drop away at the end, Schalke I can take, they are much better than us but Koln was a disappointment, we did have 2 goals ruled out for offside however.

So 6 Bundesliga games in and we already 13 points, sensational but games are about to get a lot tougher, Bayern and Dortmund are looming!

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WHAT A START!

 

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2020/21 Season - November and December

The amazing start continues although it's tailed off at the end! Bar one defeat in the league to Dortmund which was kind of expected and an extra-time defeat in the cup to Werder Bremen we have been sensational. We even managed a 0-0 draw against Bayern!

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I really can't put my finger on why it's going so well, I mean we were expected to end near the bottom of the league, currently we're challenging for the Champions League!

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In other news, the youth intake preview has arrived and it looks rather good!

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A potential golden generation could be coming!

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2020/21 Season - January/February

Form has slowly dropped away but to be honest we are still doing so much better than expected. We've had a couple of hammering but over all I'm happy.

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17 points from 10 games keep us in the hunt for the top 4 and a Champions League place! We need to improve our away form though.

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11 games to go, not bad for a team expected to end near the bottom!

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2021 Youth Intake

It's that time we all love, it's intake time!

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It looks good on the face of it! But lets delve deeper.

Armagan Baydemir - Left Wing/Central Midfield

The highest rated player and he looks OK, his natural position is LW but for me he lacks the ability to be a decent winger with poor crossing and quickness. I'm not sure I see much in him but his PA means he will be signed.

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Helge Koch - Attacking Midfield/Striker

Now this guy excites me! Yes he has 7 for finishing but just look at those mental for a 15 year old! Main thing is improve his physical attributes but wow what a player!

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Matthias Ruhle - Central Defender/Defensive Midfield

Clearly he has some areas where he needs to improve but he has all the basics to be a top quality CB. Plus he has great Bravery, Natural Fitness and Work Rate. Another exciting one!

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Mario Masic - Defensive Midfield

And finally, this lad. Again he looks really good but his physicals need improvement. Clearly he is only 15 so has plenty of time to do that. His mentals are insane for someone so young and he has good passing and first touch. A possible DLP on the cards.

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Edited by TheLutterworthFox
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2020/21 Season - March and April

We're closing in on the end of the season and form has become increasingly patchy, especially against the teams in and around us.

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8 games, 13 points is still fantastic for where we should be but those last couple of games mean we have dropped out of the top 4 with 3 games to go.

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The good thing though is Europe is guaranteed for next, let's hope we can somehow push on in the final 3 games and nab a top 4 spot.

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There two easy-ish games there and a massive with against Gladbach who are in 3rd currently.

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2020/21 End of Season Review

Three games to go and we really needed to win all of them, could we do it?

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Unfortunately we won 2 and lost 1 and that loss was what cost us.

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We miss out on the Champions League by 1 point from RB Leipzig. Still, what a season it's been! We were forecasted to end 16th, we came 5th and with that Europa League football next season. A whopping pay day as well with us getting £62m in prize money for our 5th place finish in the Bundesliga!

Lets take a look at a few players who excelled this season.

First up is Sasa Kalajdzic. He was sensational all season ending with 23 goals in 30 starts, he also ends as the fans player of the season, young player of the season, top goalscorer and ends with the most POTMs and highest average rating! Stunning! 

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Another player who has a great season was 21-year old Right Winger Silas Wamangituka, 30 games, 12 goals and 7 assists for the lad

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Goalkeeper Gregor Kobel was another who had a good season, 14 clean sheets 33 starts, not bad for a GK apparently playing in a lower end of the league team.

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So first season over and it's gone way better than expected. Europa League next season isn't as good as we could've had but it's a start and I do feel now, with the right transfers in we can push that top 4 in the League and gain Champions league football.

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In other news the Europa League final was won by Lazio, meaning they have won their first European trophy (yes they won the CWC but I'm not including that), this mean they will now be removed off the list. They beat Spurs in the final who have previously won the EL. 

The Champions League was won by Juventus who beat Liverpool, both have previous won the trophy before.

So one club removed off the list already

Edited by TheLutterworthFox
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Nice work so far!  Sasa is looking quality. Does Churlinov still have as good PA as previous games or did they downgrade him?

 

Koch looks quality btw, definitely the jewel of the intake even if he's not the highest rated

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5 hours ago, wynter said:

Nice work so far!  Sasa is looking quality. Does Churlinov still have as good PA as previous games or did they downgrade him?

 

Koch looks quality btw, definitely the jewel of the intake even if he's not the highest rated

I actually sold Churlinov midway through the season, got £1m for him. He wasn't anywhere near my plans and really didn't look good enough.

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2021/22 Season - July 1st Transfers

Here we go, with a lot of money burning my back pocket I went out and attempted to strengthen the squad.

Cameron Carter-Vickers - Central Defender - Free Transfer from Spurs

I had this one planned a few months back. I needed a decent back-up CB and Cameron fits the bill.

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Antonee Robinson - £4m from Fulham

Top quality for a relatively low fee. I needed decent competition at LB with only Sosa in my first team squad. I like the look of Antonee.

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Amer Gojak - Attacking Midfield - £5.5m from Dinamo

With me getting rid of all my first team AMs bar Ryan Gauld I needed to bolster the ranks. Gauld is good but has been inconsistent, this lad will give him good competition

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Pierre Kunde - Central Midfield - £2m from Mainz

We struggled last season with decent quality back-ups in midfield, with only Endo and Mangala proving to be half decent. Kunde comes in for a low fee and will add some quality to the ranks.

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Nany Dimata - Striker - £4m from Anderlecht

Sasa was great last season and we did have Gonzalez as well but he spent most of the season playing LW so we did have a severe shortage of front-line Striker. This lad looks really really good and will start as back-up to Sasa

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For now that's it but there are a few irons in the fire. I will do another round-up at the end of pre-season

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2021/22 Season - Pre-Season

More Transfer News...

Daniel Amartey - Right Back/Central Defender - £4m from Leicester

I went back to my supported club to bring this lad in. He offers good versatility but will mainly be deployed as a back-up Right Back

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That was my only other signing. Some really good business overall in my opinion, we proved last year we have a good enough squad and these small additions should help us even more. Here is the squad for the upcoming season.

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Good depth all over the park. I've also brought Youth Intake player Koch into the first team to just give him the experience and he can get mentored by some of the older players in the squad.

Friendly wise it's been good once again, I've mixed the team about but overall we have had positive performances and results.

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Finally, let's take a look at the Bundesliga Season Preview.

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We're predicted 9th, a big jump on last season but also a drop on where we actually finished. Fingers crossed for another successful campaign.

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2021/22 Season - August

What an amazing start to the season it's been!

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Sasa has been utterly incredible, 8 goals in 4 games! 

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There's also been the Group Stage draw of the Europa League and it's pretty decent.

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Man Utd will obviously be a toughie but we definitely should be coming 2nd.

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2021/22 Season - September and October

It's been an interesting few months. We've had some great wins, including wins over Schalke and Leipzig but overall we have struggled in some games. 

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The 3-3's to Man U and Koln were total collapses in the final few minutes after being 3-1 up. We also lost to Sparta Prague in the Europa League and consecutive league games towards the end of October. I have to be happy though still as we are massively outperforming in the league, the win over Apoel in the Europa League has kind of got us back on track in that competition.

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We still sit in 3rd though even after those 2 defeats and are well on track (as long as we can turn our form around) for a top 4 push.

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The struggle is real in the Europa League though, we are going to need to beat both Sparta and Apoel in our final games at least to qualify for the knockouts.

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2021/22 Season - November and December

The struggle is real! Actually it's not been too bad but there have been way too many defeats if we really want to push for those Champions league spots.

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7 league games, 10 points is just about good enough and in those games we have lost to Dortmund and drew Bayern. Can we do better? Hell yes.

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But somehow we still sit in 3rd, it's getting close behind us though.

The good news is we qualified for the knockouts of the Europa League courtesy of a final game hammering of Sparta Prague.

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As expected really, we qualified in 2nd behind Man Utd.

In the 1st Knockout Round we will play Benfica.

So a strange first half of the season, all in all I've been frustrated but somehow we sit in 3rd in the league! We do need to improve though, we have struggled with fitness issues all season and little niggly injuries. I will be looking at a couple of players to bring in. The transfers in the Summer were all safe signings, decent players who would be good squad players but really none of them have done well enough. I need to sign a couple of top quality, £10m+ signings to push this squad on. I still have £23m transfer budget to spend over nearly £600k per week in spare wage budget and with £100m sitting in the bank I think I can splash out!

Stayed tuned!

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2021/22 Season - Mid-season transfers

So I've been busy and there could be more as I move through January, I will continue to update this post as and when players come in!

Jordan Torunarigha - Central Defender - £3.5m from Hertha Berlin

A new CB joins to add competition. This guy looks really good and I'm shocked at how little I paid for him. He will more than likely walk into the first XI

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Peter Olayinka - Winger - £3.2m from Slavia Prague

Another crazy cheap signing, £3.2m and he is already valued at £15.5m! I needed a back-up LW, Gonzalez is my first choice but he is also my back-up Striker so the ranks really did need bolstering

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Scott McTominay - Central Midfield - £15m from Man Utd

What a deal! When I saw him on the transfer list I had to go for him, he is one of my favourite players in real life and looks sensational, he is miles better than any midfielder I've got. A high fee but I've got the money there so why not spend it!

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Anthony Musaba - Winger - £7.5m from Monaco

Another Winger, I really needed to bolster both sides, this lad will be backup on the right to Wamangituka. 

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Edited by TheLutterworthFox
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2021/22 Season - January and February

After a shaky start to 2022 with 2 defeats in the 3 January games we have turned around our form and have been playing amazingly

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We end February unbeaten winning all 3 of our league games and we have also progressed in both the German Cup and the Europa League.

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With 11 games to go in the League we sit 3rd, in a very similar situation to last season. 

Lets also take a quick look at the cup draws...

In the German Cup Quarter Finals we have been handed one of the more easier tasks, avoiding all the big buys and we face Heidenheim who currently sit 4th in the Bundesliga-2

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In the Europa League Last 16 we have been handed a tricky task with Lyon standing in our way.

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This is going to be an exciting final few months of the season with chances to win 2 cups and also a big chance of ending in the Champions league spots in the Bundesliga

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2022 Youth Intake

We were promised a "Golden Generation" but unfortunately it hasn't turned out that way...

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One decently rated player and this is him..

Erico - Attacking Midfield

He looks OK but needs a lot of hard work. Disappointing!

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And that's it, everyone else was pretty awful!

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2021/22 Season - March

March is over and it's been a pretty good month with more Ws than Ls!

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Let's start with the one big negative and that's the fact we were knocked out of the Europa League, we lost the home leg 3-0 which was bloody awful but regained some respectability with a 3-1 in the away leg but the damage was already done.

We are into the Semis of the German Cup though and will face Monchengladbach, the other Semi being Bayern v Dortmund!

In the league is gone pretty well, 3 really good wins including an amazing 2-0 away win over Leipzig, there was only one slipup and that at home to Gladbach.

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So that win over Leipzig has put even more distance between us and the chasing pack for the Champions League spots. 7 games to go!

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Cool challenge, actually one I would do myself!

If you manage to win CL with Stuttgart, how do you get the job at next club? Create new manager or wait till a job gets available?

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12 hours ago, Monocromo said:

Cool challenge, actually one I would do myself!

If you manage to win CL with Stuttgart, how do you get the job at next club? Create new manager or wait till a job gets available?

Thanks for the kind words mate.

As for the next job it'll be resign and wait until one of the jobs I need becomes available

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2021/22 Season - April

This has been a strange month, form wise we have been really inconsistent, we've lost 2 of our 5 Bundesliga games, drew 1 and won the other 2 including a 1-0 win over Dortmund!

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So 5 games in the League, 7 points gained which in my eyes isn't enough. Luckily though the sides below us have also not been great.

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Because of that we still sit 3rd, 2 games to go and we are 4 points clear of 5th placed Wolfsburg, the Champions League places are within sight but we still have tricky games to come.

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Bayern away is a given that we will lose so we have make sure we win that final match. Then we have the cup final to cap off the season!

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2021/22 Season - End of Season Review

Wow what a poor end to the league season it's been!cc8cf8fc700e29c09f8292750470593a.png

I mean the Bayern defeat I expected but we just had to win that final game and we blew it. So now we just had to rely on either Leipzig or Wolfsburg to bottle it to give us Champions League football next season.

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And somehow they both did. Both of them had winnable home ties but both drew meaning we ended in 3rd place and in the Champions League spots!!

Way way too many defeats this season, we actually ended 3 points worse off than last season, we really need to improve our consistency and performances next season.

German Cup Final

So the league campaign is over but there was still one more game to go and that's the German Cup final against Bayern, after losing the last game to them 3-1 I decided to bin off my defensive tactic and just go for it and it did not start well! 55 seconds in, we failed to deal with a corner and Lewandowski tapped in to make it 1-0. That was the only highlight in the first half, Bayern had dominated though and we failed to register a shot!

It took until the 74th minute for us to have a decent highlight and it was to be the leveller, Gauld strode forward and laid a lovely ball through to Kalajdzic who chipped Neuer to make it 1-1! Totally undeserved but who cares!

After the goal Bayern took total control once again but wasted so many chances to win the match, the whistle blew and it would go to extra time.

Where nothing at all would happen for the whole 30 minutes. Somehow, even though we had been absolutely hammered throughout the whole game we had taken the tie to penalties!

After 5 penalties each it was 4-4, up stepped Pavard for Bayern and it was saved by Kobel. New signing Masuba stepped up for us and calming slotted it away!!!!

Somehow we had done it! GERMAN CUP WINNERS!!!!!!

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After such a poor ending in the league we had finished the season with an epic cup final win, hopefully that gives us hope we can push the big 2 in the league even more next season!

End of Season Awards

It was another amazing season for striker Sasa Kalajdzic, a second successive Player of the Year award, he also end with 34 goals in 40 games and 22 in 27 in the Bundesliga.

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Ryan Gauld also had an amazing first full season for us. 18 goals and 16 assists in 38 starts, absolutely brilliant! He end with the most assists and the highest average rating in the squad.

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And here for your perusal is the whole squad.

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It's really amazing to see a team who ended 3rd and won the cup final have only 3 players averaging over 7!

So my 2nd season at Stuttgart is over, in the league we have done well to qualify for the Champions League but our points tally has actually gone downwards, we really need to improve next season to keep challenging the top 4. We can, however, look back on pride with some great wins and not to forget a German Cup final win!

The board have been really generous with their budgets, giving me £76m to spend but no extra wage budget so if I want to buy anyone I need to transfer some of that transfer budget over.

The squad is already quite big but I do want to bring some ne players in, that means shifted out some of the under-performers first. I have no specific targets but a new GK would be nice. Expect quite a bit of business overall!

Finally, let's take a look at the major European finals. 

In the Champions League Juventus beat Atletico Madrid to win it for the second successive time. As both have already won a European trophy before the list doesn't change.

In the Europa League Man United beat Spurs 1-0. Both of these have already won a European competition so there is no change to the list.

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22/23 Season - Pre Season Review

Here we are, my 3rd pre-season is over and it's been very busy. I said I'd make a few signings and I've done exactly that. So here we go..

Antonio Rudiger - Central Defender - Free Transfer

I had this deal tied up last season, signed on a pre-contract after his contract with Chelsea expires. I'm really happy with this one. The one thing I wanted to do was massively improve the defence and this lad is the first of a few new defensive signings.

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Bosko Sutalo - Central Defender - £15m from Atalanta

Another centre back joins, I'm really happy with this one, young and already has incredible looking attributes.

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Victor Kornilenko - Left Back - £12.5m from Shakhtar

I struggled with this position last year, Sosa didn't perform and is to be sold and Robinson has numerous niggly injuries. This guy is probably the best I could find for a decent fee and looks brilliant.

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Roman Burki - Goalkeeper - £12m from Dortmund

I high fee for a 31-year old but he was by far the best keeper I could get in. I wanted a new first choice keeper and this guy is a major improvement on what I have already.

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Liam Delap - Striker - Season loan from Man City

I really wanted a new back-up Striker but every player I looked at that I felt was good enough was going to cost way way too much. So Delap comes in for a cheapish loan deal and that gives me another season to find the perfect back-up Striker.

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And that, so far, is all my business. I've pretty much rinsed the budgets and with no players looking like they're leaving I think that's all I'll be doing.....for now

Pre-Season Friendlies

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There's been a good mixture of games and to be honest we've played well in all of them. There's been lots of lots of little niggle injuries throughout which has been a bit of a pain. 

Bundesliga Season Preview

Finally, let's take a look at where we're expected to end this season.

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A massive jump from last season, we are now expected to end in the Champions League spots! Hefty expectations!

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2022/23 Season - July and August

The season started but before I go through the results I have signed one more player.

Gabriele Zappa - Right Back - £5.5m from Cagliari

My first choice right back Stenzel moaned when I turned down an offer for him and he tried to kick up a load of sh*t so I gave him his wish. He moved to Hertha for £15.25m, a great deal and this lad is actually better than him attribute wise. He looks so good and all for a low fee as well.

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To say it has gone well would be a total understatement, yes we lost the German Super Cup to Bayern, but it was a tight game and we were undone by one good goal but since then it has gone crazy!

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A German Cup win followed by 7 straight wins in the league, that includes a 2-0 win at home to Bayern and a 6-0....SIX NIL!!!!!!!! Away to Leipzig!

This is just crazy, the lack of goal conceded is the one really pleasing thing, I signed a whole new back 4 and GK and it's worked a treat with only 2 goals conceded in those 9 games. What a crazy mental start to the season, let's hope we can keep it up!

And as you would expect, we sit top of the league!

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There has also been the Champions League group draw, we were seeded 4th and we were handed a shocker of a draw!

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I'm not sure it could be much tougher!

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Just a quick one. I've been looking into Dnipro, the Ukrainian team in the Challenge and unfortunately it looks like it's impossible to be them.

According the Wikipedia the club were dissolved in 2019, there was an appeal to recognise SC Dnipro as the old FC Dnipro but it was refused. So I am going to have to remove them from the challenge, this means removing Ukraine as well which are currently one of the 5 nations I have loaded. 

So to keep it at 5 like I wanted I will spin the wheel again..

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So Scotland will be added at the end of this season meaning once I've won the Champions League with Stuttgart there is the possibility of managing either Dundee United or Rangers

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2022/23 Season - September to December

I was going to just update you on September and October, then I realised it was the World Cup 2022 and that meant only 2 games over November and December!

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As you can see form is still pretty decent but we have fallen away of late. In the league we have played 9, won 6 and lost 3 so still really good going. This means we sit top by 3 points ahead with a game in-hand.

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We are also through in the German Cup, as for the Champions League it went so much better than expected. Quality wins home and away against AC Milan and also home and away draws over Real Madrid meant going into that final game, home to Man City we knew we only needed a point to qualify for the knockouts, we played out a 0-0 draw and we were through! 

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Not bad for such a tough group.

In the knockouts we have a really tough tie, we will face PSG!

Finally, is the youth intake, it's another "Golden Generation"!!!

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2022/23 Season - January

Before I go through the results there is one signing to talk about.

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There were so many bids coming in for my midfielders, I accepted bids for both Mangala and Gojak, I accepted but both rejected the offers. Because of the uncertainty I went out and signed myself a new midfielder. Mady Camara joins from Olympaikos for £11.25m.

Now to the results and overall it's been good.

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By far the worst result was the German Cup loss to Hannover, after taking an early I expected a breeze, but they levelled and won the game in extra time. Really annoying. 

In the league though it's gone really well. Only 1 defeat and that was at home to Dortmund, we've won the other 5 and that includes a sensational 3-0 away over Bayern who, at the time, were chasing us down.

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Surely we can't bottle this from here? 11 clear with 12 games to go!

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2022/23 Season - February and March

Firstly, the youth intake, a golden generation? Yeah right, it was woeful with not one player worth mentioning!

Now to the results.

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It's been a strange 2 months, before February we hadn't drawn a league game, in the 7 games over Feb/March we drew 3! We also lose to Dortmund but wins over Leipzig, Koln and Gladbach keep us on track for the league title.

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5 games left, 9 points clear. Our run-in isn't too bad either. All in all it's been a great campaign, we have already exceeded our points tally from the previous 2 seasons but I would suggest in 9 out of 10 seasons we would be nowhere near top. Dortmund and Bayern are having a pretty poor season seeing as last year they both had 75+ points at the end of the campaign.

In the Champions league we were knocked out by PSG. It was a really tough ask and after losing the home leg 2-0 we had an uphill task, we managed a 0-0 draw at their place which was great but unfortunately we were out in the last 16

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2 minutes ago, John Barley said:

Show us also sold players

If there were any interesting sales to talk about I would do. But for you here are this seasons outs

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As you can see there is nothing exciting. I mentioned Stenzel left earlier on. Anton, Kobel and Olayinka left for small fees as they fell out of favour. That's it 

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22 minutes ago, TheLutterworthFox said:

If there were any interesting sales to talk about I would do. But for you here are this seasons outs

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As you can see there is nothing exciting. I mentioned Stenzel left earlier on. Anton, Kobel and Olayinka left for small fees as they fell out of favour. That's it

let's bring this ucl

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Absolutely incredible! 2 games into April and we have won the title with 3 games to spare.

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It was helped with Bayern losing at home to Augsburg and then we beat Hoffenheim 6-0 at home. We then went into the Mainz game knowing a point would be enough to seal the title and we drew 1-1!

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The clubs first Bundesliga title since 2007 and we have eventually ended Bayern Munich's domination!!!

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Posted (edited)

2022/23 Season - End of Season Review

CHAMPIONS OF GERMANY!! I did not think I'd be saying that after 3 seasons at the club. It's been an amazing season but we have been lucky that both Bayern and Dortmund have both had poor seasons!

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We end the season 7 points clear at the top, 74 points last season would've got us 3rd place, 12 points behind the winners!

Anyway, we've won the league and I am delighted, we have top seed qualification for the Champions League next season which is the main competition in this challenge.

Let's take a look at who the key men were:

Ryan Gauld ends as the clubs player of the season, another amazing campaign from the Scot, who ends with 12 goals and 10 assists in 34 starts.

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Right Winger Silas Wamangituka ends as the clubs young player of the year and also the clubs top goalscorer. 17 goals and 8 assists in 32 starts, all 17 goals in the Bundesliga.

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Signing of the season goes to Goalkeeper Roman Burki, this guy was just incredible ending with 24 clean sheets in 44 starts!

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And here for your perusal is the whole squad:

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Some amazing performances.

Now the hard work begins, winning the league puts a big target on our heads and clubs will be taking us more seriously and also wanting to beat us. Like I said earlier we have won the league but on a relatively low points tally so I really need to work extra hard in the Summer to bring in the right players to move us to the next level.

Personally we don't need too many players, the signings this season and especially in the Winter window have really improved us but there are a few positions I need to look at, the main one of those being the Striker. Delap's loan is up and he will head back to Man City meaning I'm left with Kalajdzic and Gonzalez as my only striking option and the latter has played the season on the LW. Kalajdzic has had a pretty poor season scoring only 11 goals in 32 starts. I really need to find a 20-30 goal a season man.

The other position is a new Left Winger. Gonzalez has been good but our other options are just not good enough. 

At the moment the board have given me £59m to spend with around £80k per week of spare wages. With nearly £200m in the bank I am going to be pushing the increase those budgets.

What a season it's been though! CHAMPIONS!

In other news...

In the Champions League Man Utd beat Dortmund 2-1, both have already won a European Final so neither need adding/removing from the list.

The Europa League Was won by Atalanta, they beat Valencia. As Valencia have already won the Europa League they do not need to be added to the list. This was Atalanta's first European final and they won it!

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Edited by TheLutterworthFox
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2023/24 Season - Pre Season Review

Well here we are again. Pre-season seems to have flown by this time! 

Let's firstly take a look at the transfers so far.

Transfers Out

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£51m of outgoings and a couple of big first team names on there. Sosa and Endo had fallen out of favour and asked to go. Suver and Awoudja are B team players. The big two to leave are Gojak and Torunarigha. Gojak just hasn't done it for me and with Gauld doing so well as an AM and the fact that 2021 Intake player Koch is improving so much I felt I didn't need to keep him about. Signed for £5.5m, sold for £21.5m! Torunarigha was only signed mid-way through the 21/22 season and has been decent but with Rudiger coming in he lost his spot and has done nothing but moan. Signed for £3.5m, sold for £19.75m + add-ons! A great deal

Transfers In

Jean-Manuel Mbom - Central Midfield - Free Transfer

I didn't really need this lad but when he popped up on a free and for a small wage I had to snap him up

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Andrea Pinamonti - Striker - £3.1m from Inter Milan

The first of two new Striker. This lad seemed to be up for a really low fee, he looks really good but will have to settle for a place on the bench this season

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Luis Suarez - Striker - £40m from Granada

This is the guy I'm hoping can bag me 20-30 goals a season. Top top quality, I'm excited for him but he has a big price tag on his head so has to start well!

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Yeremi Pino - Winger - £17.75m from Villarreal

I had this guy on my radar last season but the fee just seemed too much, this year I have much more to spend so I splashed out, a genuine wonderkid and will be vying for that LW spot with Gonzalez

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Ben Wilmot - Centre/Left Back - £19.5m from Watford

I big fee but I feel he will be a good player for us, brought as a replacement for outgoing CB Torunarigha.

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So currently a new spend of £30m. There are still numerous bids flying around for a few players. The likes of Rudiger, Amartey, Mangala and Sutalo are all wanted men but I'm trying to my hardest to keep hold of them.

Youth Squad Additions

I've decided to bring in a couple of the intake players into the first team this season to give them a chance.

GK - Benjamin Merk - Came through the 2023 Youth Intake and will be my 3rd choice GK.

CB/CM - Matthias Ruhle - Came through in 2021 and one of that amazing golden generation I got, he's bided his time in the youth team but with some of the big boys wanting him I think it's time to give him some game time to keep him about.

AM/ST - Helge Koch - The star incoming of that 2021 intake, he is improving massively and deserves a shot in the first team (although for some reason he wants to go out on loan!).

Friendlies

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A top quality pre-season, yeah OK we've played no-one of note (bar Ajax) but win's breed morale and that's what we need in what could be a tough season!

Season Preview

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Out highest expected finish so far but still a way off the big two!

Let the season commence!!!

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2023/24 Season - August

The first month of the season is over and it's gone pretty well.

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4 competitive game (let's ignore the friendly) and 4 wins with only 1 goal conceded. We've also won the German Super Cup, not against Bayern or Dortmund but German Cup winners Eintracht Frankfurt

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Luis Suarez grabbing the winner on his debut! A good start!

So a good overall opening few games!

In other news the Champions League Group Stage draw has also happened and it's a damn sight better than last season.

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We surely have a chance of 2nd out of that!

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2023/24 Season - September and October

So far, so good. We've played well but have also had some negative results.

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Bayern away and Dortmund away I can deal with, we played well but they just showed their quality. The poorest result was by far the defeat to Gladbach. 8 league games, 14 points isn't too bad but we need to improve. We still sit 2nd though which is pretty decent!

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The Champions league has also started pretty well, expected wins over Celtic and Sporting and a really good showing over Barca even though we lost the game 1-0 means we sit in 2nd place.

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2023/24 Season - November and December

I won't lie, this has been a tough few months, maybe the toughest so far. 2 defeat in the league and a poor 0-0 draw to Mainz means we are way behind the leaders. 7 games, 13 points in the league doesn't seem to bad but in some games we've really struggled. It seems to have coincided with a serious injury to Striker Luis Suarez, he will be out for 5 -7 months after an injury on international duty.

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So we sit 4th in the league, it's pretty tight in and around us with only 4 points separating 2nd to 5th but Dortmund are way clear at the top.

We also struggled slightly in the Champions league, a home draw to Barca was good but then we lost to Sporting meaning we went into the final game with Celtic needing to better Sportings result, luckily they lost to Barca and we got a poor home draw.

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2nd though is where I expected us to end, I guess I just expected it to be a bit easier. We will face Man City in the next round! Very tough!

The annual youth intake is here as well and one again it's a Golden Generation! This time though there is a lot of green on there, fingers crossed!

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One final thing to mention is I have signed a new player. Zinho Vanheusden popped up on a scout report and was available on a free transfer, yes please!! He looks brilliant.

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2023/24 Season - January and February

What an incredible couple of months it's been!

Firstly I managed to keep hold of all my players in the Winter window, this meant there were also no incomings.

But also the results have been amazing!

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After a long Winter break we came back and hit some sensational form! 6 league games, 6 wins including a 4-1 win over league leaders Dortmund! Just incredible. It's also nice to see a couple of "The class of 2021" coming in and grabbing some goals. 1 for Defender Ruhle and 3 for Forward Koch. These lads are improving so quickly and are now integral to the first team squad.

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Our win over Dortmund means the 10 point lead is now 7 but their form is still really good. 2nd is looking good though and we sit 9 clear of Bayern with 11 games left

We're also into the Quarters of the German Cup where we will face Eintracht Frankfurt. In the Champions League we got a respectable draw at home to Man City and also stopped them grabbing an away goal, it's going to be a tough ask to progress though as we go to the Emptihad needing to score!

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