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FM22: THE MINERS — BUILD A NATION SAVE


MattyLewis11
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FM22: THE MINERS — BUILD A NATION SAVE

After spending a morning on Transfermarkt delving through a range of European leagues, searching for clubs which could have potential for a new FM save, I stumbled across Polish side Górnik Zabrze.

Górnik Zabrze have the second youngest squads in the PKO Ekstraklasa with an average age of 23.6, they also have a 36 year-old World Cup winner in the squad, Lukas Podolski.

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These initial findings had me inquisitive to find out more about the club…In 1948, four smaller clubs that had been operating in Zabrze (pronounced Zábzhe, the “r” is not pronounced, instead “rz” sounds like a heavy “z”) an industrial city in Silesia in southern Poland, got together to form KS Górnik (Klub Sportowy, Sporting Club). The founders of the club chose the Polish name for “Miner”, inspired by Zabrze’s status as a major coal-mining centre.

‘The Miners’ are one of the most successful Polish football clubs in history, the club was a dominant force in the 1960s and 1980s in a period in which they secured five consecutive Polish Championship titles, which is still a record today.

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League History

The last time Górnik Zabrze were crowned the best team in Poland was back in 1987/88, their best finish in the Ekstraklasa was in 2017/18 with a fourth placed finish.

This certainly gives the save an element of a sleeping giant as I look to roll back the years and bring glory back to the city of Zabrze. However, this save is much more…

BUILD A NATION CHALLENGE

The aim of the save is simple, to attempt to raise the co-efficient of the league and in turn Polish football.

There are many ways to go about achieving this outcome, the majority involve building the league around you to make it more competitive. This can be done through selling and loaning players to domestic clubs, ensuring that recruitment strategies focus on national players and ensuring that all deals include a significant sell-on fee to ensure the spread of wealth is shared when the foreign sides come in with bids.

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National Club Coefficients

Poland currently find themselves ranked in 30th place when viewing the nation club coefficients in FM22, this by no means is a San Marino challenge (55th). However, with 29 nations in between Poland and England (1st) there is no doubt a significant challenge ahead.

With reference to the recruitment strategy, building a nation has connotations to the mining industry.

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Zabrze Miners

Mining is associated with extracting a nations natural resources, once they are acquired both the nation and its economy tumble.

In a build a nation save there is a need to weaken those nations both above and below your own in the rankings. Scouting assignments will prioritize these nations with a view to extracting their talents and in turn make them weaker.

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Górnik Zabrze Culture

Coincidentally, the club vision has a focus of signing players from lower levels of the domestic game and a preferred focus on the acquisition of players who are under the age of 19, which fits well with the methodology of the build a nation.

GÓRNIK ZABRZE INFRASTRUCTURE

Arena Zabrze is a modern, fully functional football stadium. The only facility of this type in Silesia with a total capacity of 24,563 places. This ranks the club sixth in relation to stadium size in the Ekstraklasa.

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Being a part of the heavily sought-after Silesia region during world War Two the city was actually renamed Hindenburg when under German rule and the biggest stadium that resides in Sabbats was known at the Adolf Hitler Kampfbahn.

In 2005 it was given the new name of Ernest Pohl, a famous Polish footballer who played for Górnik Zabrze. In 2016 the stadium was named “Arena Zabrze”, although the formal name is still “Ernest Pohl Stadium”.

The club have average training facilities and need to improve their youth facilities which currently in -game are labelled as adequate.

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Strangely, the club sits rock bottom of the league in relation to commercial revenue. To me it seems a little strange that a club with such a rich history in Polish football aren’t drawing down sponsorship income, maybe a reader can help to shed the light on this area.

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GÓRNIK ZABRZE SQUAD

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2021/22

GÓRNIK ZABRZE ATTRIBUTE COMPARISON

In order to establish the brand of football which I will operate as my core style in Poland, I first need to assess the key attributes of my playing squad to assess which brand of football is appropriate to my team. There are no plug and play tactics here my friends.

The following few screen shots will help any FM player to assess if they should adopt a swashbuckling brand of high risk football, applying pressure to opponents in more advanced areas, or adopt a lower risk approach, retaining compactness in deeper areas while inviting pressure to free up space behind the opposition.

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Defence Comparison

Firstly, looking at my defensive unit it becomes apparent we have the slowest backline in the league, who aren’t adept at marking. It would be foolish of me to set the team up with anything more than a standard defensive line as our opponents would easily accelerate into the vacant space in behind.

The unit is however blessed with exceptional jumping reach and positioning which in my opinion leads me to believe that we should adopt a cautious style of defending when out of possession, the team can protect space and remain compact in deeper areas, forcing the opposition wide to cross. (Playing to our strengths).

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Midfield Comparison

Moving onto the midfield, you can see that our current squad are lacking in both technique and decisions. This indicates that players will struggle to conduct some of the more challenging technical actions such as controlling the ball in tight spaces (Technique) and are more likely to play with their heads down, lacking the cognitive skills of scanning the field of play to assess his options (Decisions).

Despite not being able to perform technical skills to a high level, the midfield unit can perform the basics well, scoring close to the highest in the league with respect to their ability to win the ball back without committing fouls (Tackling).

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Attack comparison

The attack are only above average in three categories, finishing (Thank God), anticipation and long shots (Excelling). This really doesn’t give me much to work with, both attack and midfield are great at long shots, so a shoot on sight policy could be adopted if later down the line we aren’t having enough attempts on goal.

The poor heading ability and immobility has lead me to make the decision to play Lukas Podolski as a Trequartista, allowing him to drop into the holes between midfield and defence in the search for space.

He is probably our best technical player (Passing 16, Technique 15 and Vision 14) and has a cool head (Composure 18), I am hopeful this role enables him to play on these attributes.

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Finally when comparing our squads physical attributes (those which are not effected by consistency, morale etc.), you will see that we have good stamina. This will allow us to press more often with the view to winning the ball back from the opposition.

We also possess good strength and jumping which I feel is a good combination to select the ‘Play for set pieces’, this will be another method of getting play to advance up the field, allowing us to play closer to goal.

GÓRNIK ZABRZE KEY PLAYERS

We all know the importance of a solid spine and the players identified below should absolutely make the difference between a successful season and a failure.

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Erik Janža — at 27 years of age the Slovenian left-back enters his third season for ‘The Miners’, after joining for an undisclosed fee from Croatian side NK Osijek. Janža will operate as a full-back on support duty, this will allow him to focus primarily on his defensive duties (Tackling 13, Marking 12 and Positioning 13), providing extra width in possession, looking to utilise his crossing ability (13).

Hidden Attributes: Fairly consistent performer

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Alasana Manneh — with seven caps for Gambia to his name the 23 year old central midfielder is a key man for the club. Alasana historically was on the books at Barcelona, despite not making any appearances for both them or their B Team, it goes to show that the Gambian has ability.

I will look to play Manneh in the role of a central midfielder on attack, hoping that he can make an impact in the final third by supporting our forwards in and around the box (Long Shots 12 and Acceleration 12).

Hidden Attributes: Enjoys big matches, Fairly consistent performer

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Jesús Jiménez — last but by no means least Jesús at 27 years of age will carry the burden of the teams main goal scoring threat. Naturally an inverted winger, I will look to play the Spaniard as and advanced forward.

Jiménez I believe has the attributes to be the focal point of our attack, he is comfortable running with the ball (Dribbling 13) is quick off the mark (Acceleration 13) and is a good finisher (Finishing 13 and Composure 13).

Hidden Attributes: Fairly consistent performer

GÓRNIK ZABRZE TACTIC

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Edited by MattyLewis11
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I appreciate that @karanhsingh carried out this save during the beta, by the looks of the engagement from the likes of the usual suspects @SixPointer, @Rikulec, @13th Man, @DefinitelyTaylor, @Hootieleece I hope you all can give my attempt at building the nation of Poland a follow as I look to carry on what @karanhsingh started. 

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4 minutes ago, rich ruzzian said:

Interesting project. Leverkusen is put on hold? 

How did you guess? Apologies as I do appreciate everyone's time reading...I will get the Wirtz post out, but after a week think the save wasn't right...maybe Germany is for FM23. I have deleted all my historic saves to explore Poland and have a real good go at this challenge. I spent all day today carrying out the research (before the Six Nations games) and do not want to write a bloody intro post for a long time. 

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Ohhhh Ruch rivals!! The team I was wanting to dislodge in FM21 but started my task to late. Although I only done two seasons in the lower leagues it’s one of my favourite ever saves I just wish I never ran out of time. Silesia is has great football history but has some what declined recently this is a great challenge I’ll be following closely. And it’s a 442 not a 4231 are you feeling okay. Is this the main save and Bayer and PSV dead?

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Polish Miners for a win! Let's hope this save lasts until March!

Germany is fun much like France with a giant to tame! I made it there in my annual journeyman save, I am leading Hertha after spells in Wales and Ireland. (2033, 4rth club started unemployed with National C license) It is my first big job and I am still not making $1M/year salary!

 

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7 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Although I only done two seasons in the lower leagues it’s one of my favourite ever save

This brings me hope, I was saying to @Shrewnaldo that I am going to give this save a minimum of three seasons (no tapping out) at which point I am hoping it will have consumed me. Bayer is 💯 dead buy the PSV file is saved in a separate folder. 

The 442 is a formation which I think is well suited to the team in their current state. However, I think this will morph into something different as time/recruitment goes on.

It also gives enables me to start 'An ode to four four two' by John McNicoll 

7 hours ago, Hootieleece said:

Germany is fun much like France with a giant to tame!

Agreed, nothing more satisfying than securing your first point, then three against the giant...a good way to track your progress, using those fixtures as a benchmark.

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4 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

Not a 4-4-2 man myself but will certainly enjoy your measured approach! Good luck. 

Neither am I mate but after analysing my squad I think it's the best fit for the personnel that I have in place. My reasoning is that if deployed correctly it should make us nice and compact without the ball with the two banks of four. 

Keeping all the roles pretty vanilla to start with and then will bolt on some PIs after analysing the ME. 

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11 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Neither am I mate but after analysing my squad I think it's the best fit for the personnel that I have in place. My reasoning is that if deployed correctly it should make us nice and compact without the ball with the two banks of four. 

Keeping all the roles pretty vanilla to start with and then will bolt on some PIs after analysing the ME. 

I like the banks of four aspect of it but I’ve just never been able to get two strikers to work together! That’s partly on me but also partly on the fact that some of the manager’s whose football I dislike, play that way. 

I’m sure you’re going to do a great job of building something special with it. 

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Pre-Season

After a mammoth pre-season schedule (just the 10 games) we are ready to play our first competitive fixture of the 2021/22 Ekstraklasa season. 

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Looking at the above key data metrics which I would like to bring to your attention, you will firstly note that this brand of football is diverse from what I am used to playing on the last few editions of FM. Possession is the first metric which stands out, we averaged 45% possession across the 10 fixtures, on five occasions we finished with 40% or below. Despite the low possession we managed to accumulate a higher xG than our opposition in eight games which really goes to show that you don't always need to see the majority of the ball in order to be in charge of a fixture. I feel the words of Philippe Rochat in the book 'Origins of Possession: Owning and Sharing'  really captures this...

Quote

Human ball-playing like soccer is all about control: losing, gaining, transferring and regaining control. In a game of fetch, it is the dog who holds the majority of the possession, yet it is the master who controls the game.

The fixtures have also enabled us to work on our tactical familiarity, enabling us to become fluid in five of the eight categories.

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The Low block 

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A well-organized 4-4-2 should be vertically compact and narrow. The shape and compactness of this system – the two banks of four plus two on top – should be prioritized above all else.

In order to achieve the compactness within the first defensive line I had to place some additional player instructions on both wide players and strikers in order to ensure that the structure stayed compact.

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Both wide players have been instructed to mark the opponents RB/LB to ensure that defensive cover is provided when opponents look to overlap. The strikers have also been instructed to mark the oppositions central midfielders to ensure there is no vacant space in zone 11 aiding the opponent to play the ball out wide. 

I do have one concern surrounding the potential collapse in the first line of the block, this is due to having a CM on attack and the other on defend which often leads to the central midfielder on defend having a slight dog-leg in the structure (due to holding his position). As a rugby player I full understand how a defensive line needs to work in tandem and any dog-legs are easily exploited by an attack. Therefore, in order to compensate this I have instructed the CM on defend to close down more , hoping this will keep him parallel with his teammates. 

You will note from the above image that we are doing a great job at protecting the most perceived dangerous areas on the pitch, as well as covering conceivably the most pitch area.

The below is my schedule for the next ten fixtures, playing these will give me a greater feeling on how effective the tactic is, especially given the fact that the level of opposition will be higher (excluding Augsburg...what a result by the way). 

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Edited by MattyLewis11
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1 hour ago, SixPointer said:

Have you built the system around padolski or is he having to fight for his place 

No mate, given the fact he is 36 it wouldn't be wise to look to build our system around him. I have just selected him as a Trequartista due to his ability once he ha received the ball at feet.

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Vamara Sanogo will more than likely feature more than Lukas due to being a decade younger. However, as you can see from the player comparison above, he is less of a technical player, relying on his physical attributes to mould his game around. 

 

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900 Minutes

I am at the usual point in the save (900 minutes of league football) where I like to put my thoughts down on paper in relation to my initial progress. Yes, we have tweaked the tactic and our initial expectations in relation to the starting XI have been pretty accurate. However, all will be revealed later on in the post.

Starting off with the initial few fixtures, we opened the season with an away fixture in Szczecin against Pogon Szczecin, keen to start the season with three points to start us off with our best foot forward. 

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Looking at the shot map and xG (1.25) we certainly should have walked away with all three points, creating a high number of clear cut chances but lacking shot quality, Jesus Jimenez was the main culprit, his five shots had an xG of 0.80. 

Pogon struggled to break down the double block, they managed a measly four shots across the 90 minutes, their highest xG value was 0.07 which shows how well we managed their attacks. 

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Lech Poznan would be the first visitors to the Ernest Pohla, the side from Poznan are predicted to finish second in comparison to the media’s early prediction of our 12th. Again, we showed our grit and resilience by limiting the opposition to any high-quality shots or clear cut chances, their highest xG was 0.09. Despite our 33% possession, we had an xG of 0.8 of which 0.4 belonged to Jimenez, the Spaniard despite his ability to hit the back of the net is showing that he can get his shots off in good positions (a positive). 

Erik Janza also stood out in this fixture, the full-back completed 100% of his tackles winning six from six. He also completed three interceptions along with making four clearances and winning 100% of his aerial duels (4/4), fully justifying my initial labelling as a key player from my earlier post. The draw clearly showed that we have what it takes to be competitive in the Ekstraklasa, there is hope that I will get to see my side score their first competitive goal.

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We didn’t have to wait much longer (33 mintes to be exact), any guesses on the scorer? Jimenez grabbed our first goal in the next fixture against Stal Mielec, this time converting a shot with an xG of 0.2, his only chance of the match. The Spaniard was subbed off in the 59th minute after playing every minute of football to date, his replacement Alex Sobczyk should have doubled our lead after missing a chance worth 0.6xG. 

The trend of the Advanced Forward generating out highest xG per game shows me that we do indeed have the personnel to play the role and more importantly that the system is indeed working. Bartosz Nowak completed the scoring in the 75th minute, we had secured our first three points of the season. 

A 2-1 victory against Jagiellonia Bialystok (Jimenez and Nowak) followed by a draw away in Czestochowa had seen us now go five games without defeat. Our combined xG for all games was 4.82 compared to an xG against of 4.33, the defining factor being that we had scored 5 goals whilst conceding just the two. 

At some point, the luck would run out, we conceded far too many chances in the last two fixtures and on many occasions after winning the ball back played an audacious pass or hoofed the ball upfield allowing the opponent to intensify the pressure.

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It was time for a tweak, I flipped the passing directness down a notch from more direct to standard in the hope that this would still enable us to play an expansive passing game but at least reign it in a little. Hopefully the before and after pass-maps will help you to see just how a little fine tuning actually makes for a more well balanced approach in our build-up play.

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Our best result so far of the season came away in Krakow against Cracovia, the home side opened the scoring in the ninth minute before we scored three on the bounce, a late own goal by Wisniewski (74th minute) left for a tense final flurry of activity but we held on to secure a massive result. 

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The good luck continued along with now free-scoring Jimenez a goal against Warta Poznan before walking away with the match ball against Bruk-Bet Nieciecza. The Spaniard now has scored seven goals in the 10 games and is outsourcing his xG of 4.08. It is no surprise he has just sealed a deal to play in the MLS with Toronto, he now has Slavia Prague as a major interest in the save. 

In our tenth game after 478 minutes of football, Lukas Podolski managed to get himself his first goal for his new club, albeit coming from the penalty spot. Those who say lightning doesn’t strike twice were proven wrong as less than one minute later the German scuffed a shot which trickled past the goalkeeper to double his tally for the season. 

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Amazingly, somehow we are the only team left in the league who have yet to suffer defeat, although we have got away with it on a few occasions. I am under no false sense of security that this most definitely will happen as at the current stage we have secured 7 more points than our expected points total. We are indeed in good company with Cracovia in second place securing six more points than expected and third-placed Wisla Krakow two more.

Legia Warszawa and Lech Poznan, in theory, should be in first and second place, they are both performing as expected and given the rule of averages, we should see them both return to their rightful positions in the league in due course. 
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One of the stand out metrics to date is our tackles won, which no doubt is having a positive impact on our performance. As you can see we have completed 40 more tackles than second-placed Legia Warszawa, Erik Janza leads the player stats with 33 tackles won and team-mate Mateusz Cholewiak sits in fourth with 24. This shows the effectiveness of forcing the opponent outside and the added player instruction for Cholewiak to mark the oppositions right-back. There is no luck that both these players operate down the flank and are performing their defensive duties/responsibilities well.

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Looking briefly at the top layer attacking data, 59% of our goals scored in the league have stemmed from through balls, again highlighting how the lower defensive line is leaving free space for the attack to exploit. 58% of our goals have been scored by placed shots, showing the composure of our attack once presented with a chance.

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Finally, due to Podolski being ineffective (I agree with you @karanhsingh we have tweaked the tactic to play a target forward on support to support the advanced forward. Ideally it would be grand if I can replicate the little and large partnership which we have seen become so effective over time, I just need to recruit someone who is over 6’2’’ to play in this role, but for now Vamara Sanogo gets his chance to shine. 

Yes @Timetxu 'The Miners' have arrived! 

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The next update will be provided after the above run of games :cool:

Edited by MattyLewis11
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We start the update with a fixture against Wisla Krakow in a match which sees 1st play 4th.  

It didn’t take long for the paper to ignite. We opened the scoring after three minutes and 49 seconds, there was some excellent link up play between the central midfielders duo as Manneh played a perfectly weighted through ball to Nowak for him to score. 

If you aren’t already using a CM on attack duty in this save I would really suggest you look to include the role which seems to be a little OP in this year's edition. For a bit more context if you find my PSV thread in the forum there is a deep dive for you to read. 

On 33 minutes a similar ball was again played by Manneh, splitting open the defence and playing in Nowak again, who was one on one with the opponents rushing goalkeeper.

The onrushing goalkeeper made a great block with his body outside the area. However, the rebound fell into the path of Sanogo who couldn’t miss the open net. 

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Nowak added another goal later in the game, in total we had five shots and three on target whilst the opponents had 16 with only two on target. (Precision)

 

We then travelled the 520km north via the A1 to Gdansk, to face Lechia Gdansk (7th) at the PGE Arena Gdansk, a stadium where to date only Cracovia had left with maximum points.

I opted to make three changes to the team from our last outing, Daniel Liszka, a 21 year old winger who has been promoted from the second team. Whilst Alex Sobczyk replaces Vamara Sanogo who has just returned from a pulled thigh and Adrian Gryszkiewicz returns in the centre of the defence to partner Przemyslaw Wisniewski after his rotation for Rafal Janicki.    

One thing which I forgot to mention in my last post was that there is a rule in the Ekstraklasa that there must be at least one Polish under-22 player in the playing 11 at all times. Surely as nice move by the PZPN to ensure that youngsters develop and get exposure at the top level of the Polish footballing pyramid.

 

The game itself was no classic, when looking at the statistics there wasn’t much to separate the sides. 

Possession 52/48

Shots 13/11

Shots on Target 6/6

Passes completed 89%/88%

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As the xG match story shows the home side managed to secure a two goal victory, both coming in added time (90+1 and 90+7). ‘The Miners’ had succumbed to their first defeat of the campaign, let’s hope the boys can bounce back! 

 

Next up was a home game against Rakow Czestochowa in the second round of the cup, a chance to rotate on mass and give the first team a chance to rest and clean their wounds. This also provided me with the opportunity for some of the fringe players and Podolski to show me what they are capable of. 

Two first-half goals from Piotr Krawczyk and Alex Sobczyk were enough to secure the victory, the visitors did score to leave a nail-biting finish. Liszka completed the game with 99% pass accuracy from attempted passes, proving he can operate as defensive cover at left full-back. 19-year-old Jakub Szymanski put in a commanding aerial performance winning 18 aerial duels, he also contributed with the highest number of interceptions (3) and clearances (11) giving me the food for thought that I requested. 

 

Eighth placed Zaglebie Lubin were to visit the Ernesta Pohla next, I opted to make a few tweaks in relation to the starting XI, Szymanski coming in at LCB with Gryszkiewicz moving to left-sided full-back and Janza trailed in the wide midfielder role.

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Despite only showing as competent on the player positioning visualisation the Slovenian’s lowest attribute on both the preferred and key is 10, when compared to Cholewiak (our regular) he scored 35 more points across the criteria.

Manneh showed his creative qualities by playing his trademark through ball to Jimenez in the 13th minute, the Spaniard getting his name back up in the flashing lights. We had chances to extend the lead, dominating shots 13 to seven and xG 1.4 to 0.45, but it wasn’t to be. 

As others have experienced in this forum, we are showing early signs of fatigue with a large proportion of goals being conceded in the late stages of matches, today no different. Fortunately, teams on either side of us in the table also drew (Cracovia and Legia), whilst all three of the chasing pack (Lech Poznan, Lechia Gdansk and Wisla Krakow) all picked up victories on the road to close the gap. 

Spotlight on Janza - the Slovenian completed 95% of his passes, creating two shot-creating actions on two occasions. His crossing wasn’t on point, attempting nine on the day with a 22% success rate. He still showed his ability to impact the game in the defensive phase by making four tackles, two interceptions and two clearances, he finished the game with an average rating of 6.9. 

 

A journey to Radom to face RKS Radomiak Radom, the pre-game challenge was set, I wanted our midfield to dominate.

Jimenez scored either side of Alex Sobczyk, the brace taking him to ten league goals from 14 appearances. Sobczyk provided one of the assists, staking his claim to secure the target forward position, he may well get his chance given the fact that Sanogo has picked up a 6.3 and 6.5 in his last two appearances in the role.

Rafal Janicki unnecessarily picked up our first red card of the season in the 93rd minute after going in two-footed for a 50/50. Despite the last-minute drama we managed to keep a clean sheet something we have failed to do in the last three games. The result puts us back on top of the table, although the gap now between first and fourth is three points and five points to sixth. 

 

Legia Warszawa was up next, the side from  Warsaw are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run in the league, showing their ambitions to be likely title contenders. This will no doubt be a tough match given their form. 

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The first goal will no doubt be a crucial factor with respect to who picks up the three points, as you can see from the historic records neither side has lost when scoring first. 

It didn’t take long, with the clock yet to show four minutes Gambian International Manneh played his trademark pass through to Nowak who sent the home fans into pandemonium! I am telling you the CM role on attack duty in this edition of FM is the one. 

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Looking at the match momentum you can see that there were two spells in the game in which Legia flexed their muscles and showed their dominance. The first spell was in the first half between 32-42 minutes. The away team clearly received some stern words in the dressing room, dominating after the break before hopes faltered and we come back into the game. 

Manneh was a beast in the midfield, his assist to set up the winning goal was the cherry on the cake. His defensive output was immense winning five tackles to break up play in the centre of the park. 

 

The final game from this block of fixtures was away in Leczna (roughly 500km east) as we travelled to face Gornik Leczna who have lost their last four games. 

Sobczyk continued his fine run of form (four goals and an assist in his last four games) by scoring a brace as we ran out winners, he did fluff his chances of claiming the match ball after missing a penalty and having the rebound saved in what was an excellent show of reflexes by the opponent's keeper.

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Association coefficient 

The season coefficient of an association is calculated by adding up the points obtained by all its clubs in a given season in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), UEFA Europa League (UEL) and UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) then dividing the total by the number of clubs from that association that took part in the three UEFA club competitions in question.

Points are awarded as follows:

2 – All wins from group stage (UCL, UEL, UECL)

1 – All wins in qualifying and play-off matches (UCL, UEL, UECL)

1 – All draws from group stage (UCL, UEL, UECL)

0.5 – All draws in qualifying and play-off matches (UCL, UEL, UECL)

4 – Group stage bonus participation (UCL, UEL)

4 – Round of 16 bonus participation (UCL)

4 – Group winners (UEL)

2 – Group runners-up (UEL)

2 – Group winners (UECL)

1 – Group runners-up (UECL)

1 – Each round clubs reach from the round of 16 (UCL, UEL, UECL)

 

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Legia Warszawa (Ekstraklasa 2020/21 Champions)

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The strongest side in Poland and the likely candidate to secure the majority of coefficient points. Legia made a great start in Champions League qualifying, palming off Luxembourg semi-professional side 5-1 over the two legs. 

Kazakhstan side Klub Kairat then secured a massive upset by progressing over the two legs seeing the chances of having a representative in Europe’s finest competition wiped for another year.

Irish side Shamrock Rovers felt the backlash in the Europa League third qualifying round, before justice was served as Legia were again drawn against Kairat after they were defeated by young boys in their next Champions League fixture. 

This victory provided Poland a place in the Europa League. However, looking at the results from the group stage it looks as if the UEL is a step too far for any Ekstraklasa side. 


Coefficient points: 10



 

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Raków Częstochowa (Runner up 2020/21)

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The reward for being runner up was a bye in the first qualifying round of the Europa Conference League, the opponents in the second round was slovakian side FC Spartak Trnava.

Unfortunately, a red card in the 36th minute from Milan Rundic spoiled the chances of success and despite scoring first in the away leg the lead was only maintained for six minutes. A real poor showing in Europe from the second best side of 2020/21 which will impact our chances of improving in the national rankings. 

 

Coefficient points: 0.5


 

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Pogoń Szczecin (3rd Place 2020/21)

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Third place also provided a bye in the first round of qualifying in the Europa Conference League, the opposition were Hungarian side Fehervar FC. After drawing the home leg and opening the scoring away at the Arena Sosto things were looking grand for the Polish side. Two goals conceded before the break, followed by a red card for Kamil Grosicki put another dent in the Polish sides ambition in this build a nation challenge. 

 

Coefficient points: 0.5



 

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Śląsk Wrocław (4th Place 2020/21)

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Having finished in fourth place in 2020/21 the side from Wroclaw entered the Europa Conference League qualifying from the first round. They easily dispatched minnows Sileks Kratovo from North Macedonia, their reward was a trip to Belarus to play FC Bate Borisov. A dominant home performance was enough to secure the victory as the club needed a late penalty in the 82nd minute from Erik Exposito to advance. Unfortunately the club couldn’t progress any further after losing on penalties to the Serbian side.

 

Coefficient points: 4


The next run of fixtures before the winter break and my next mini update.

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Edited by MattyLewis11
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Tight at the top! But you look to have hit the ground running in Silesia! It pains me now I am forever a RUCH CHORZOW fan! You mention the CM(A) I think the MEZZ(A) is pretty similar with output. I might have a play with the CM(A) if I ever get round to a third system. 

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Winter Break 

We kicked off the final block of games leading up to the winter break with a trip to Tychy where we would face off against one of our affiliate clubs GKS Tychyin the third round of the cup.

The side are based in Silesia, the same province as ourselves making this an easy commute for the fans. The fixture also provided me with the opportunity to rest the majority of the squad, bringing in a few players from the reserves, fielding seven players under the age of 22. 

Despite being under pressure for the majority of the match, with the opponent dominating throughout, we still managed to snatch the all important goal and progress deeper into the competition. 

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I feel that the above image really highlights just how effective our tactic is, yes we had less of the ball, yes they doubled our shots at goal. However, we still were victorious, as you can see from their 12 attempts at goal, only two were with feet, meaning the majority came from crosses (10 with head). Dividing the attempts by the xG value, each shot averaged a xG of 0.07 (compared to our 0.11), which highlights just how effective we were at nullifying their attacks. 

 

A strong line-up was fielded as we returned to league football to face Slask Wroclaw, within two minutes of the whistle Jesus Jimenez had headed home a cross from Dariusz Pawlowski

Slask Wroclaw began the second half in the same manner as we started the first, scoring a well worked goal after three minutes, it was game on. I decided to bring on Sanogo and Cholewaik for Adrian Dziedzic and Alex Sobczyk but within minutes we conceded again.

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Their lead didn’t last long, fortunately we scored from a corner to restore parity, with five minutes on the clock Alasana Manneh showed his composure when working in a tight space to play in Sanogo who scored, the goal was to be reviewed by VAR who decided that it should stand. 

 

The only way is up: the fight to be crowned ‘Ekstraklasa Champions’ 

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With another 17 games to play for the teams in the Ekstraklasa top six there is still so much to play for. We  are top but are only five points off missing out on European qualification.

I thought this would be a great point to take a deeper dive into some of the underlying attacking/defending data to highlight what we can expect if the trend continues. 

 

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LEGIA WARSZAWA: Czeslaw Michniewicz side are creating the highest quality chances in the league per 90 (xG 1.65), which at present they are scoring more than when looking at their actual goals. One of the key contributors to the figure is Lirim Kastrati who has currently scored five goals against an xG of 3.36.Legia are the volume shooter of the group which is another factor to the inflated xG per 90 figure.

Looking at their defensive performance, they are currently conceding more goals than expected (0.05). They face one of the lowest shots against, could this be a concentration issue? Looking at their Goalkeeper Artur Boruc, his save percentage sits at 77% placing him 10th in the rankings, which could be where the fault lies.

 

LECH POZNAŃ: Under Maciej Skorza, Poznan score on average 1.35 goals per game which does not match up to the quality of chances they are producing (xG 1.62). If this can be corrected, they should be able to build on their impressive form and provide a real title challenge. When exploring their player data the main culprit looks to be Spaniard, Dani Ramirez who has only hit the back of the net once from an xG of 3.73. You will note they hold the joint highest xG per shot which shows the quality of chances they are able to carve out.  

Defensively they have a strong foundation, although some of their recent success could be down to luck as opponents are still creating an xG per shot of 0.11. 

 

WISŁA KRAKÓW: Adrian Gul’a’s side again are scoring slightly less than they are creating, although their quality of chance isn’t as high as Lech Poznan.

The side from Krakow are also conceding more goals than they should (0.03), their performances align closest to their expectations against other members of the group which shows efficiency. However, given that we all know that a little luck is needed to win a championship, I would guess that this factor could see them miss out.  

 

CRACOVIA: Michal Probierz side are significantly outperforming their xG (+0.51) this has been down to the finishing of Kamil Ogorzaly (+2.02) and Pelle Van Amersfoort (+2.01). The club are creating chances with the lowest quality when compared to the rest of the group, it is their ‘shoot on sight’ policy that is pushing the numbers. 

Again, they are conceding less than expected, allowing opponents the time/space to get shots off in positions of the highest xG value. This is reflected in the overall xG per game value with Cracovia conceding the highest chances against. 

Considering both of the points I would again expect their form to take a dip at some point in the season. 

 

LECHIA GDAŃSK: For me, Tomasz Kaczmarek will need to improve his side defensively as they are conceding a high amount of expected goals per game. Yes, they are performing above expectation in relation to chances conceded, they can thank Dusan Kuciak for his 80% save percentage for his contribution. 

 

GÓRNIK ZABRZE: We are generating the lowest xG per game, yet scoring the highest number of chances per 90. Given the fact that I have had the luxury of watching every game (Comprehensive), I can tell you that this is mainly due to our efficiency when in front of goal. 

We often finish games with significantly less shots than our opponents, reflected in the lowest shots per90 (11.6). However, you can see from the xG per shot we are creating the best chances, is it the lower line of defence, providing all those one on ones? 

Defensively we are conceding less than we should, Goalkeeper Grzegorz Sandomierski tops the save percentage rankings with 84%, his figure is probably higher than others due to the xG per shot he is facing (0.07), which is the lowest in the data set. 

 

I hope my fellow stats men @_Ben_ @Shrewnaldo and enjoyed that bit...don't worry @crusadertsar I will endeavour to get some tactical analysis in later, maybe look at the MEZ vs CM (A) for you @SixPointer

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We enter the winter break joint top of the league, a dramatic late goal from, you guessed it Dani Ramirez was enough for the home side to secure all three points (2-1). With six teams well and truly in the mix it leads to an exciting close to the season.

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5 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Very intense battle going down in Poland! 

Agreed mate, I have also navigated January and the transfer window...zero offers came in and we now have the window open in Poland (February). 

Bargain basement, here I come!

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We played three friendlies spanning across January, none of which were against opposition of significant value. The training schedule was amended to my pre-season schedule which includes many of the general training slots, focusing on both cohesion and physical conditions, given the period of rest, ensuring we are in a good place come the return of competitive fixtures.

 

Movement in the market

January, the month is a little different in Poland as the Polish transfer window doesn’t open until February, this I suppose is a bonus as it allows you a further month to run the fine line over any of your shortlisted players if an offer comes in from the rest of Europe.

We focussed our efforts in offering the majority of our squad new contract or triggering the one year extensions which were in the majority of players existing contracts. The added stability would ensure that wherever we finished up this year in the league the core unit would stay together. 

We did have one wobbly moment, Almeria were interested in Jesus Jimenez and with six months left on his current contract, each click of the continue button was in fear of an offer. Fortunately, one didn’t arrive and our free-scoring Spaniard committed to the club until 2024, albeit with a £525k minimum fee release clause to foreign clubs. 

We did bring in one fresh face and also secured two players via the bosman ruling who will join in the summer.

 

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Oliver Kragl: The 31 year old German was a free agent after Benevento decided to not extend his contract after a loan spell in 2020/21 with Ascoli of Serie B. The opportunity to sign an out and out left-footed winger was too good to miss, especially given the fact that Serie BKT is ranked two places higher in the competition rankings. With Kragl’s signature we would be adding value to the team along with bringing in some experience for a great fee of £1.1k per week. 

His acquisition also enables us to field two out and out wingers to stretch opponents, rather than our current tactic which sees a wide midfielder deployed on the left. 

 

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Filip Panak: the 26 year old has opted to switch the Czech Republic for Poland in a move agreed for the summer. Filip was a fringe player at former club Sparta Prague and had only made five appearances from the bench for them this season. 

The centre back will no doubt be a great asset to ourselves, he was given a scout rating ‘A’ with the recommendation to sign him whatever the price and his pro’s include that he enjoys big matches. 

The acquisition of Filip also see’s a systemic shift as he is our first ball playing defender (Passing 14, Technique 11 and Vision 13). 

 

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Fran Tudor: Last but by no means least, 26 year old Fran Tudor opted to move 70km south to Zabrze joining in the summer from Rakow Czestochowa. In Fran we have signed one of the in form players of the Ekstraklasa.

He has secured the second highest MOTM awards (6) whilst providing the fourth highest assists (6). He is a consistent performer who possesses great pace and enjoys big matches.

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February 2022

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The return of competitive fixtures seen us travel 230km east on the A4 to play Stal Mielec, the side in 16th place in the league had a good December, going undefeated (1W, 2D).

Unfortunately for the home side Robert Dadok decided to announce himself as ‘Miner’ scoring his first goal for the club in the 14th minute and following that up in the 33rd with his second as we ran out winners.

 

Jagiellonia Bialystok (17th) would visit Ernesta Pohla, our home has become a fortress (8W, 2D, 0L) as we remain one of three sides (Legia Warszawa & Wisla Krakow) who remain unbeaten when playing on own soil. 

The visitors had not won a game since the 18th of September, a spell of 12 games, we took the lead in a game we dominated (xG 2.53 to 0.22) in the 15th minute through some great play from both wingers Kragl assisting and Dziedzic scoring. 

Jesus Jimenez on another day would have probably scored a brace, today he walked off the pitch without a goal from his xG of 1.3.

Substitute Piotr Krawczyk ensured there was no slippage by scoring a header at the far post in the 89th minute. 

 

Oliver Kragl debut by numbers:

Passes completed 96% (49/51)

Key passes: 4

Successful dribbles: 3

Interceptions 3

100% aerial duels won 5/5

1 Assist 

MOTM (7.6 Rating) 

 

Another team with a poor run of form were up next in the form of Rakow Częstochowa, who are eight games without a win, sitting in 10th place. 

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It was the visitors who took the lead in the 54th minute through Vladislavs Gutkovskis after a period of sustained momentum after the interval. The reaction to the goal was priceless and the finish from Jimenez to put us in control of the game really could be a season defining moment for the side.

 

The final fixture of Febuary would be played away in Gliwice, the home side taking the lead once again through Michal Chrapek. Could we react two weeks on the bounce? 

Adrian Dziedzic scored in the 67th minute and I switched the mentality from cautious to positive, trying to urge the players on. Unfortunately, Jean Mvodo was too eager to win the ball back on two occasions (72 & 76) picking up two yellow cards along with his marching orders. 

mabr7qWLmdtDCIBgGp-mnNUWz_5zmCpJco8Shp_YaddWuWDTPbyMIeTtCC_w5oZOfHkNOC9cqw62v4S3TKew1dk3bP_UrA2VKNh3l1PiGhiRexgu2-GSU4l6MFRoheVT4ulMIwFM

The result well and truly was a point gained rather than two lost as we didn’t show up today, leaving me scratching my head going into March.

43HNUCwGAEy70sMjb5Lz2hv2yxi9-2Bwg6_KsGG65haES7-kRB9r9BO4Xv6eHnvCsFqDG-oZK_c7WrzvfipQUcS36sSWvWwoqciiU3KbReYku8it3KsjzIWNyml3Y16PJM0LSQt5

I hope you are enjoying the save, I think the dust has settled and I am well and truly engaged in FM22. I would love to hear your thoughts on the current season along with any hints/tips for this type of build a nation save.

Please make sure you follow along and I hope you all have a great weekend. 

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14 minutes ago, Shrewnaldo said:

Hi @MattyLewis11, enjoying the thread. Do you have any intention of taking the Poland job? 

I do mate but felt that I needed to earn it, the plan to purchase the in game editor on winning the league and appointing myself to then make it a club and country save.

Do you think that is setting the bar too low? Should I raise the criteria?

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Nice to see a  save in Poland :-) 

I can recommend Pedro Rebocho from Lech. I am managing Lech atm and he is bossing left back, giving me between 15-20 assists per season, sometimes more. Although he is now 32 he still improved in terms of CA.

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4 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

I do mate but felt that I needed to earn it, the plan to purchase the in game editor on winning the league and appointing myself to then make it a club and country save.

Do you think that is setting the bar too low? Should I raise the criteria?

Depends how the current national manager is doing. I like the idea of it "being earned" but if the guy in charge just now wins World Cup '22 then probably not realistic that they'd sack him for you? National teams tend to work in cycles of tournament qualifications - if Poland don't make it through the playoffs will the manager get sacked? If not, how about adding a dummy manager to role and then immediately resigning him? That effectively sacks the old guy and lets you apply for the job. Then let the game decide if you're worthy? If they do make it through the playoffs then do the same after the tournament?

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12 minutes ago, Shrewnaldo said:

If not, how about adding a dummy manager to role and then immediately resigning him? That effectively sacks the old guy and lets you apply for the job. Then let the game decide if you're worthy?

I really like this approach, I can capture the form of the current manager through the thread and let the followers decide if the manager should be removed...leaving the vacant space for an application. 

Class that, thanks! 

 

18 minutes ago, rrozek93 said:

Pedro Rebocho from Lech.

I will double check his form in my save and get back to you. How is your save going? What have been your highs and lows? I think Lech looking likely to be my main rivals this season, thoroughly enjoying 🇵🇱 and looking forward to how this save develops. Now that I know you are also in the country I can bounce some ideas off you 👍

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Glad to see you’ve settled in Poland. I really enjoyed my time there in FM21, I started to late in the cycle to really complete my vision. So it’s certainly somewhere I’ll be looking to go back to in future editions to complete some unfinished business.

Have you got a plan on how you want to grow tactically or are you keeping it fluid. 

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4 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

I really like this approach, I can capture the form of the current manager through the thread and let the followers decide if the manager should be removed...leaving the vacant space for an application. 

Class that, thanks! 

 

I will double check his form in my save and get back to you. How is your save going? What have been your highs and lows? I think Lech looking likely to be my main rivals this season, thoroughly enjoying 🇵🇱 and looking forward to how this save develops. Now that I know you are also in the country I can bounce some ideas off you 👍

I come from Poland and I usually do at least 1 save in Poland every FM revision 😀 this time it is however more tempting due to dynamic youth rating. 

 

I initially started my save with Gornik Polkowice, who were the worst polish team in Fortuna 1 Liga. In 3 seasons I manged to get promoted and the last season I was 'surprisingly' fighting for title. I told myself that the only job offer I will accept is from Lech. 

You also need to know that Lech has been my favourite club all my life, as I was born in Poznan. With that fact however I have only managed them on 2 occasions in fm.

1. FM2005, my first FM. 

2. On FM18 during quick beta save. 

 

Since I took Lech over I managed to win Ekstraklasa consecutively every season, I think, I am in 29/30 season. like you, I do also want to build as a nation, and want to get national job place. However I have been trying for last 4-5 seasons and the only change they have done is to employ Antonio Conte instead of me, Who atm dropped Poland to 50th in rankings. 

Few observations.

1. There is no dominating team in Poland. Anyone can win with anyone. Eg. Legia/Lech might be favourites but they will end up finishing 6th 8th, sometimes 3rd. etc 

2. On the above, it is easy for you to dominate every season with money from Europe, and get a treble quite easily.

3. Your team needs to push as hard as you can to bring up nation coefficients, as others will struggle badly in Europe. Probably until they get automatic group stage places (this is my goal btw)

4. From what I have seen, don't expect to find wonderkids in Poland :-D youth rating is on 94. In 8 years it only went up by 1 to 95. Also because of league position bigger foreign clubs will try to poach them for only few mil. Unsettling the player in the process :-( 

5. Registration rules are very relaxed. My players are usually quite young and U22 do not need to be registered. As well as foreign player rules are relaxed. You also get a bit of money for playing youths.

 

Edited by rrozek93
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Apologies for the delayed response. 

On 11/02/2022 at 12:44, SixPointer said:

Have you got a plan on how you want to grow tactically or are you keeping it fluid. 

I haven't really thought in too much depth in regards to adopting a specific tactical identity. 

At present my views are to get the right personnel on board in order to play a traditional 442 with out and out wingers along with a TF and AF. 

However, now you have me thinking about it I might well carry out a bit of research on some Polish league history and maybe look to replicate one of the historic greats philosophy, or I could look to align to the national teams style of play to aid the transition.

 

On 11/02/2022 at 13:11, RogerC said:

Posting here to follow. I need to catch up! Loving the idea!

Thanks mate, it's going really well so I hope you can follow along 💪

On 11/02/2022 at 15:51, rrozek93 said:

I have been trying for last 4-5 seasons and the only change they have done is to employ Antonio Conte instead of me, Who atm dropped Poland to 50th in rankings. 

I think I am going to employ the strategy which @Shrewnaldo advised where I add a new 'dummy' manager on a cyclical basis if you guys (followers) decide if their performance in qualification/tournaments isn't up to scratch, then resign him to enable applications to be posted.

On 11/02/2022 at 15:51, rrozek93 said:

Registration rules are very relaxed. My players are usually quite young and U22 do not need to be registered.

I really like the U22 rule in the playing squad, I feel it goes hand in hand with this style of save as it means that young Polish talent are always gaining important exposure to first team football. 

I am only working for half a day tomorrow (38th birthday) so will get to play for a few hours...meaning another update isn't far away. 

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3 hours ago, MattyLewis11 said:

Apologies for the delayed response. 

I haven't really thought in too much depth in regards to adopting a specific tactical identity. 

At present my views are to get the right personnel on board in order to play a traditional 442 with out and out wingers along with a TF and AF. 

However, now you have me thinking about it I might well carry out a bit of research on some Polish league history and maybe look to replicate one of the historic greats philosophy, or I could look to align to the national teams style of play to aid the transition.

 

Thanks mate, it's going really well so I hope you can follow along 💪

I think I am going to employ the strategy which @Shrewnaldo advised where I add a new 'dummy' manager on a cyclical basis if you guys (followers) decide if their performance in qualification/tournaments isn't up to scratch, then resign him to enable applications to be posted.

I really like the U22 rule in the playing squad, I feel it goes hand in hand with this style of save as it means that young Polish talent are always gaining important exposure to first team football. 

I am only working for half a day tomorrow (38th birthday) so will get to play for a few hours...meaning another update isn't far away. 

I might approach the same strategy in terms of national manager. I mean Antionio Conte's attributes are great, but he failed to qualify to Euros and failed miserably in Nations League. Also now WC qualifiers, which I think he will also fail. Poland is already on 52nd place in rankings.

 

Happy Birthday and good luck with the save ! I will definitely be checking in. 

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We entered March knowing that anything other than securing three points at home to Cracovia could be detrimental to our title challenge. This was amplified after Lech Poznan secured a four goal victory over Rakow Czestochowa, opening up a five point gap between them and ourselves in second place. 

Giving we were to be playing the best attack in the league to date, there was a need to ensure defensive stability was prioritised over attacking flair, Rafal Janicki opted to start over Dariusz Pawlowski as the right-sided full-back, whilst Jean Movodo partnered Alasana Manneh in the centre of the park. 

The game was one with highlights even on comprehensive came few and far between, with 65 minutes gone on the clock I opted to bring on a few more attacking players to be move adventurous, in hope of the three points. Unfortunately, I think the pace of the game was a little too lethargic which meant the fresh players couldn't make much of an impact.

The goalless draw now means that Lech Poznan now hold a four point lead at the summit, we have gone 113 minutes now of league football without a goal (slight concern) a fixture in the Quarter final of the cup is up next, an opportunity to rotate and clear some heads before looking to get back to winning ways in the league. 

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The loss in the cup left the squad a little deflated, with many of the bigger sides already knocked out there was a genuine possibility of collecting silverware at the end of the season. The low morale shouldn't last long, Poznan were defeated away at Wisla Krakow (now in second place) we have a real opportunity to put ourselves back in the mix away in Grodzisk Wielkopolski

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Target forward Alex Sobczyk scored one and assisted Lukas Podolski for the other, as we secured the must win victory, the final game of the month was against 16th place Bruk-Bet Nieciecza (that's a mouthful) in a game which we won 1-0. 

Sobczyk was again the scorer, it looks as if the 24 year old Austrian has hit a good patch of form of late, which is always promising - especially given how we are so reliant on Jesus Jimenez when it comes to scoring those all important goals. 

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Six have certainly become four in the race for the title and most probably European qualification. April is going to be separate the men from the boys, especially given our tough fixtures.

All fun at the business end of the season, keep those fingers crossed. 

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Edited by MattyLewis11
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image.png.f80ffc3b7d5db0028e45ed1801c57b23.png

I am just going to leave this here @theBlackPrince @SixPointer who is your money on?

 

I have had a complete mixed bag across April so far, we opened up with a lovely 2-0 win away at Wisla Plock with goals from Jimenez and Krawczyk. This fixture was only one of a few games this season where we had more than 10 shots at goal! 

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We were completely played off the park in Krakow and never looked like winning. their xG was inflated due to the opening goal being conceded via the penalty spot

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A draw was secured in the must not lose fixture against Lechia Gdansk (Every match feels like that at the moment) the visitors taking the lead twice before being pegged back initially by Cholewiak and then by Nowak.

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As you al have been aware I have mainly been playing with the mentality stuck on cautious paired with a lower defensive line, this is reflected in the defensive actions visualisation above which shows 43% very close to goal. According to the game analysis this is 10 defensive actions more than average and more in the defensive third than expected.

We are also losing possession the most around our penalty area (24%) which is making me think it is time to either change the mentality to balanced or raise both our defensive line and line of engagement to take a little heat off ourselves. 

We have shown we have the ability to defend well and as long as we maintain our compactness this shouldn't be too much of an issue. 

image.png.e7194efcb0c3272d589aed3b71d0a2f9.png

 

Edited by MattyLewis11
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52 minutes ago, MattyLewis11 said:

image.png.f80ffc3b7d5db0028e45ed1801c57b23.png

I am just going to leave this here @theBlackPrince @SixPointer who is your money on?

You've got the toughest road on paper and 3 away games and 4 teams in the top 10, it's going to be tough to get the points to finish on top. Think you may need results to go your way this season.

Gut feeling you have to think Lech Poznan will hold their nerve wit the games they have but their form has dipped lately. Lechia Gdansk are the form team and have an similar last 5 games and are the team I feel can cause an upset at the top! Lech Poznan for me just on schedule and that 3 points over Gdansk may be too much to recover.

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Game Week 31

Friday 29th April

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The away victories for both Lechia Gdansk and Wisla Krakow placed both teams, along with ourselves in joint second (67 points), although Lechia hold the best head to head record against both teams and therfore sit above us (3rd) in second place. 

Saturday 30th April

We were up next (19:00) as we faced off against Radomiak Radom, we would have the extra man through home advantage and the added confidence that the side from Radom haven't scored in the league in nearly 120 minutes of football. With Lech Poznan kicking off an hour later, it was our  chance to turn up the heat on the league leaders. However, their opponents Gornik Leczna find themselves in 18th place and hold the worst form in the Ekstraklasa, winless in their last 15 games.

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The result took us top of the league, if only for a few hours, Bartosz Nowak's early strike enabled the team to settle early and play their game with confidence.

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Unbelievably, some how 10 men Gornik Leczna manged to FM Poznan coming away with a point from 0.28 XG compared to the league leaders 2.64! 

Early signs of the tactical tweak are pretty promising, I am now questioning why I didn't do so earlier in the season. One thing, the cautious baselines may well set some easy attacking statistic baselines in relation to outputs per metric which are easier to achieve, on the flip side the defensive ones may well be harder to hit...had better look at percentages instead of per 90 for some of those! 

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Game Week 32

As things currently stand we still require some help from other teams if the Ekstraklasa title is to come to Zabrze at the end of the season. 

Friday 6th May

We kick off the week of fixtures whilst Lech Poznan again kick-off a few hours later. The away trip for ourselves to Warsaw really is a must win fixture, we simply can not afford to drop a single point between now and the end of the season.

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Friday's results put us top of the table with just two games remaining! Alex Sobczyk opened the scoring with his ninth league goal, assisted by Manneh (his ninth assist) our most creative player. Sobczyk now has six goal contributions in his last eight games, if we do end up winning the league it wont be down to Jimenez, the likely top scorer has gone five games without a goal. 

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Looking at the match momentum you will note how we maintained a stronger momentum across the match, this was no doubt helped by Manneh and Rafal Janicki who were at the heart of everything good. 

Saturday 7th May 

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The pressure intensifies as the home team secure the result which keeps them in the hunt for the title, no drama for the Wisla fans in this affair, a simple job done. 

Sunday 8th May 

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It really is a shame than one of the final four teams involve in this battle are going to miss out on European football, fourth place was initially locked in for a spot. However, due to Cracovia winning the cup this has been reduced to three.

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I'm off to spend the rest of my birthday evening with the wife, tomorrow the first season will be concluded. 

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Saturday 14th May

There are no longer a staggered fixture list, all teams will play the remaining two fixtures with identical kick-off times.

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After 35 minutes of football, strangely our game is the only one in the league which has seen goals. Two penalties from Nowak and Jimenez breaks his mini baron spell in front of goal. 

Taking each game at a time there was some real fireworks in the gam between Lechia Gdansk and Pogon. the home side went down in the 85th minute before turning the game on it's head to secure a massive three points, given the head to head they are the only team who can secure the title, needing to win their last game and hope we lose ours.

Wisla Krakow ensured they continue their impressive season by winning away, the big shock has been the form of Lech Poznan over the last few week, just like @theBlackPrince I too had them nailed on to win the title with predictions of myself in second and Lechia in third. 

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The below is our key passes from the game, we managed a whopping 26 which shows our dominance and yet again highlights our ability to play are more possession based game which is certainly going to be the way forward in the league, keeping the old tactic most probably for our European adventure when facing stronger opponents.  

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Looking at the xG story, we created some real quality chances, Alex Sobczyk with the highest from open play at 0.76 excluding the two penalties 0.84. 

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Saturday 21st May

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What a dramatic end to the season, happy to have pipped the others to the title (obviously). Now will be the time to get a little bit of an analysis in and look to build for the challenges of next season. 

Definitely believe the tweaks made at the end of the season have taken the shackles off a little and enable us to play a little more progressive football. 

image.png.f6ce685a264d5070e4e5f643f85bcd36.png

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Ekstraklasa Baselines

For tonight's post I have opted to do something a little different, I am keen to see how my players are performing in comparison to others in the league regarding their statistics. In order to do so I have run multiple searches like the example below collating a range of metrics which I feel are relevant for the range of roles which are available within the selected position. 

Two tips when collecting the raw data;

1. Remember to remove any ticks next to the interested in transfer/loan tabs

2. Under the player search tab remove the tick to exclude your own players 

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My sample would be players who have featured in over 2000 minutes of league football, (1060 under the maximum) I want to ensure the averages/baselines are captured by players which have been key for their respective sides of the course of the campaign. 

I am hoping that these baselines will show how individuals within my team are performing compared to the average, very much like the way I normally conduct an attribute analysis at the beginning of saves to establish foundation grounds for a tactic. I am hoping this will show me areas in which we are doing well and give some pointers in how we can either make tweaks to PI's or adding additional focuses to training routines in order to hopefully raise performances. 

I hope this is all making sense? 

Centre Backs

The role of the defender is to break up attacks, mark opposing forwards and prevent the ball from getting into the box. Therefore I have selected Aerial Actions per 90 (the amount of duels which the player is contesting per90 @RogerC I believe in @Shrewnaldo masterpiece of a thread has stated are the same/similar to Headers per 90). I have also included headers won % and tackle rate% 

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One thing you will note from the above is that there is a lot of green on the above meaning the players are performing above the baseline. Yes, we could easily find this out by looking on the data hub and the defensive efficiency visualisation but what it doesn't show is what specific areas of the game are we excelling at and of course which ones need improvement. 

Please let us have a progressive passes metric in FM23! 

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If you remember from my earlier post we were losing a high amount of possession close to our own goal, this could be due to Wisniewski and Szymanski's poor performance in relation to passing. Therefore, in order to attempt to combat that I have asked for both players to attempt to learn 'Plays shorter passing' to remove risk and hopefully strengthen their game.

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Szymanski is also losing a fair amount of headers, so we will ask for him to work on his defensive positioning as an extra training focus.

 

Wing/Full-backs

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I opted to make up a new metric for roles where I wanted to assess how good players are at creating shot creating actions, I took the total key passes and divided by total of passes completed to provide very much a key pass ratio, rather than key passes per 90 this shows how often a player has played a key pass in relation to their completed pass figure. 

When searching on players in more advanced roles it threw out some outliers with some players a completing key passes with 10% or more in comparison to their completed passes. (just another way of cutting data).

Anyway I digress, as you can see both full-backs are pretty poor on the offensive they aren't generating enough key passes. However, we can see that they are both completing above average in relation to the crosses completed, therefore my earlier tactical tweak to remove the shackles (higher defensive line) means they will be closer to goal and improve the chances of getting to the by-line to deliver. 

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Another advantage of carrying out your own work is the ability to select your own sample. Looking at the above in game visualisation you can see that Powlowski is performing above average in relation to his headers won ratio. To simply use the game I would think he is doing well probably due to the game sampling players who have played less minutes and therefore not been as integral to their side. @_Ben_ lets start a petition SI need to know that there are many players who like data and with the world becoming more data driven this will surely only grow.

 

Central Midfielders

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An easy explanation when looking at the midfielders, those who have been playing in the CM (attack) role more frequently have a lower pass % and a higher frequency of key passes. The CM on defend (initially) are winning more headers due to them having the hold position hard coded into the role. 

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Our midfielders tackling is pretty much aligned to the baseline, we know that we have the highest amount of tackles in the league and that is down to the success of all individuals who make up our compact double block, oh and the fact that we tackle harder PI on a few roles and use the 'Get stuck in' TI. 

Kubica's aerial dominance is something I must write on an in-game player note, I will need to turn to him more in games where we face a height disadvantage or when we are under the cosh, looking to defend a lead. 

 

Wingers

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Despite not being with the team for long you can see exactly what Oliver Kragl brings to the table that others were not, directness and the ability to play those all important key passes. Again, there is no coincidence that the only two players who's preferred role as a winger are completing crosses at a level which is above the baseline. 

The summer signing of Fran Tudor will give our team balance by providing a similar threat (stretch play) down the right-flank, I am buzzing to get him involved. 

 

Strikers

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We know that we have outscored our xG by 17 this season which highlights our attacking efficiency (luck). However, looking at the shot on target ratio some credit has to be given to the strikers, three of which have shown their ability to test the oppositions goalkeeper at a rate higher than the baseline. 

Our target forward is contesting in high amount of aerial duel and more importantly winning them. However, I think next season my focus (scouting) will be purely on aa target forward as I look to bring in a player who holds a real presence, one who will need two defenders attention and create Jimenez more space. 

 

Team of the Season

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We managed to get six players into the team of the season, my analysis above has left out the goalkeeper role, I think the in game visualisation does him enough justice.

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Player of the Season 

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Edited by MattyLewis11
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This is great. Loving the attempt at creating some mean values for what represents "good" in each of your chosen metrics. I think this is a similar way to how @_Ben_ produces his player roles

Did you go with only players who were "natural" in a chosen position? One of the issues I've had is in filtering out players who can play in multiple positions and therefore skew the stats. E.g. a striker who can also play out wide is going to have a very different statistical profile in each position. It's a shame you can't separate out the stats for playing time in a chosen role.

For the "green" values - I'm assuming this is just any player who is above average? Or have you chosen a different threshold? Top quartile?

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