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Einmal Löwe, immer Löwe - a(nother) 1860 story


Dalbeider
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Aug 7th 2022

Recent signing Yusuf Kabadayi departs towards Berlin to join Berliner AK, new guys in the 3.Liga, on loan until the end of the season. With Sané's arrival minutes will be very limited for him, and he needs to play in order to continue developing. A likely starter role in the 3.Liga should do wonders for him.

Aug 9th 2022

Dressel is selected in the Team of the Week.

Aug 11th 2022

Fifth and final loan for the season: 23yo Irish international midfielder Jayson Molumby joins on loan from Brighton to cover that small gap we had in the midfield. Physically very strong, with great stamina and pace, and a sharp and focused mind which makes him an absolute workhorse, he's also a very good passer, has a pretty decent long-range shot, and will work tirelessly to steal the ball back from opposing midfielders. Not a straight swap for Dressel for sure, but an all-rounder who'll do a lot of work for us, and who still can be a threat coming in from deep as our tactics demand. Costs us his full €4.5k weekly wages, but should be totally worth it. With this, and unless anyone leaves (and believe me, teams are trying *hard* with Wicht and Knöferl), we should be set for the season.

The same day we lose Kobald to injury, a twisted ankle sustained in training that'll keep him out for 4-5 weeks. At least Lang is close to returning, but it's still a tough situation for our defense for at least one or two games now.

Aug 12th 2022

TSV 1860 München vs. 1.FC Nürnberg (2.Bundesliga, 3/34)

Can we make it three out of three? Well, Nürnberg are gonna be another tough nut to crack, but after beating HSV in Volksparkstadion everything's possible. Expected sixth and possible outsiders for promotion, Nürnberg have been in this division for three years now, but have been steadily improving since a pretty bad 16th place finish in 2020. Winning would be fantastic, and we'll do our best to do it.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Stephan Salger (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
NÜRNBERG (4-2-3-1): Christian Mathenia (GK); Sei Muroya (DR), Maxime Awoudja (DCr), Florian Hübner (DCl), Enrico Valentini (DL); Kilian Fischer (MCr), Fabian Nürnberger (MCl); Mustapha Bundu (AMR), Fredrik Jensen (AMC), Mats Moller Daehli (AML); Pascal Köpke (ST)

* * *

4-2-3-1s are everywhere in this league, it seems. Molumby gets his first start today, Steinhart rests, and Salger starts in Kobald's place, among other changes and rotations. Nürnberg start very aggressive, getting to our goal in their first play and only missing on an early goal because Jensen's header on an empty goal sails over. We hit them right back with a through ball from Lovera that Lohkemper smashes in Mathenia's body, and the duel is on. 

Next up is Lovera, who receives a great pass from Molumby and tries a cute little chip that kisses the upside of the bar before going over. Things calm down after that, though, and the early rush slows down to the usual midfield battle, with us as narrow winners. Lohkemper restarts the hostilities with a header to Goden's cross that Mathenia saves easily, but it's an isolated incident in an otherwise quiet part of the game, which stretches until half time.

HALF TIME - 0-0

The second half once again starts interesting, with Lovera and Lohkemper connecting again just so Mathenia can show off with another good save, followed by Fischer shooting wide from a wide open position on the edge of our box. Eleven minutes into the half Tallig tries his luck after receiving a good back pass by Sané, but once again the keeper does his job to perfection, as he does to save a point-blank half-volley by Lohkemper in the following corner kick. That one really should've gone in.

Things take a dramatic turn when Fischer sees his second yellow card, leaving Nürnberg one player short. We bring our big guns off the bench and go on the attack, but all our finishes keep finding a defender plunging in to block. Nürnberg are still dangerous on the break, like Förster shows in the 76th with a run through the center that only Kretzschmar can stop. Ten minutes before full time numbers become equal again as we're forced to bring Lovera out of the field due to injury without any available substitutions. With our game flow suddenly stopped, in the end we can't break through and the game finishes in a draw.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 0
1.FC Nürnberg (Kilian Fischer sent off 59)

- - -

Somewhat unfair result, in that we dominated a good portion of the game and had more and better chances, but eh, can't win 'em all. It's still a pretty good start to the season, not only results-wise, but showing we can go toe to toe with the bigger teams in the 2.Bundesliga, and even come on top sometimes. Another fine performance by Wein in the anchor, by the way.

Worst part of this game is the news that Lovera will be missing between four and five weeks with another twisted ankle. Not ideal, since this means Lex will become the de facto starter on the left once again.

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Aug 15th 2022

Once Knöferl stopped wanting to leave, our immediate move was to offer him an improved contract so that teams would stop sniffing around him and making stupid bids. And it worked: Knöferl signs a new 3-year deal worth €2k per week, a small increase over his previous contract, and with no release clause attached. With some luck that should shut up all his chasers, at least for a short while.

Aug 19th 2022

DSC Arminia Bielefeld (1st) vs. TSV 1860 München (3rd) (2.Bundesliga, 4/38)

Bielefeld relegated from the Bundesliga last season, yet the experts seem to think they'll only finish seventh this season. So far they've defied expectations and top the table on goal difference, tied on points with four other teams who've managed two wins and one draw so far, us among them. We might be up there, but we shouldn't forget that our real objective for the season is to not relegate, so we should approach games this difficult with the due caution.

* * *

BIELEFELD (4-2-3-1): Stefan Ortega (GK); Panagiotis Retsos (DR), Eric Martel (DCr), Fabian Kunze (DCl), George Bello (DL); Manuel Prietl (MCr), Burak Ince (MCl); Bryan Lasme (AMR), Sarpreet Singh (AMC), Patrick Wimmer (AML); Florian Krüger (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Stephan Salger (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Quirin Moll (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Stefan Lex (AML), Lorenz Knöferl (ST)

* * *

We have a small advantage in that they played their last fixture only four days ago, while we've had a full week to rest. Lang is finally back in full training, too, although he'll be on the bench for today and probably have some minutes in the second half. Knöferl also gets his first league start to celebrate his new contract, and to see if he's really capable of playing at this level before the window shuts.

The game starts with Arminia in the front seat, putting us under heavy pressure and dominating, and with Lasme missing a very good early chance with a narrowly wide shot. After a while we do manage to calm things down a bit and start having the ball more, but another injury, this one to Moll, gives us more to worry about. Wein comes in immediately, and while we don't really have any presence in attack, at least we manage to keep Bielefeld at bay for the most part. A high header by Wimmer on the 31st minute is their next approach, quickly followed by another coming from Lasme, easy for Kretzschmar.

On the 36th we finally get a chance to try our luck in a corner kick that Bär heads wide on the near post, but Bielefeld soon keep pushing through Lasme, first with a high header and then with a good shot that Kretzschmar has to tip wide. A centered volley by Krüger that our keeper saves with sufficiency follows, then Bär hits back with a first-time shot that gives Ortega a bit of a scare, forcing the keeper to an awkward save that sends the ball over the bar. No goals at half time.

HALF TIME - 0-0

Things seem to slow down a bit after the break, and we make good use of those minutes to regroup, move the ball around a bit, and look for a chance. We find it in a long ball towards Lex which then reaches Knöferl, and the striker runs into the box and shoots into the root of the post and wide, almost giving us the opener. We also bring Lang and Sané into the game, the first because we need him to hit peak form as soon as possible, and the second to see if we can chance something in our attacking flow.

Arminia finally show up near our goal in the 64th minute with a wide volley by Wimmer, but so far we're doing quite well at containing them and forcing them into harmless long-range shots. We keep getting into good positions, too, and in the 75th Dressel has a fantastic chance to score following a through ball by Bär, but he shoots wide when the fans were already celebrating. Bär himself gets another try seconds later, well assisted by Knöferl, but this time it's Ortega who tips it over.

Our revival keeps going with a wide long shot by Sané, and continues when Lang shoots from a narrow angle in a set piece and finds Ortega in the way. Dressel has yet another chance one minute before full time, but once again the keeper is in the right position to deflect it wide. Injury time brings no more chances, and the game ends in our second goalless draw in a row.

* * *

DSC Arminia Bielefeld 0
TSV 1860 München 0

- - -

Good point, and probably a fair result. One half for each team, with us having twenty minutes near the end in which we dominated almost completely and had great chances to score. I'll take drawing away to the leaders, though. Knöferl wasn't particularly good today, but to be fair to the lad we threw him to the lions. We'll see how he does against teams in our own league.

And Moll also twisted his ankle, and will also be out anywhere from four to five weeks. Looks like this is the new en vogue injury, huh. Suddenly we find ourselves with three long-term injuries, although at least it's one per line.

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Aug 20th 2022

We finally cave in and send Wicht on loan so he can get playing minutes. I'd have wanted a 3.Liga team, but he'll have to do with Göppingen in the Regionalliga instead. At least he's guaranteed to be the star of the team and get lots of playing time, but I'm not sure if the lack of challenge will help him develop. We'll see...

Aug 21st 2022

Somewhat surprisingly, the board announce that we'll be able to retain 60% of all incoming transfer fees from now on, dropping to 30% whenever we reach €29M in sales this season. Extreme optimism about the value of our playing assets aside, nice, if a bit late because right now we don't want to sell anyone. That might change in the winter window, though, so we might still make use of this.

Aug 23rd 2022

Team of the Week appearance for Goden, who had a very solid match in defense against Bielefeld.

Aug 26th 2022

Did I say Molumby was our last loan signing? Well, ignore that, because here comes another: 24yo Colombian forward Billy Arce joins on loan from Jahn Regensburg, with us paying his €3.2k per week wages in full. Arce is a two-footed player with great technique, pace, and natural fitness, as good a passer as he's a finisher, and who can play on the left of the attack, as a striker, or as an attacking midfielder. He comes with the main role of being Lohkemper's backup up front, but will also cover on the left (and probably get ahead of Lex in the rotation) when needed. With his arrival we can now consider loaning Knöferl out, since his minutes are gonna be very limited with two senior options ahead of him.

Aug 27th 2022

Another. Twisted. Ankle. And this one is particularly annoying, since it affects our backup keeper Müller. We'll have to bring one of our reserve team keepers, Kosovan 17yo Erion Avidja, with us for the next few matches.

Aug 29th 2022

TSV 1860 München (5th) vs. Holstein Kiel (12th) (2.Bundesliga, 5/34)

One of a handful of teams that are predicted to finish below us in the league, Holstein Kiel actually did pretty well last season, finishing 8th, but now the press are calling them relegation favorites. That just serves to put more pressure on us, though, so let's try to ignore it and just play our game today. If we're that much better than them, it'll show.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
KIEL (4-3-2-1): Ioannis Gelios (GK); Florian Ballas (DR), Patrick Erras (DCr), Stefan Thesker (DCl), Sascha Härtel (DL); Wilson Kamavuaka (MCr), Marcel Mehlem (MC), Lewis Holtby (MCl); Steven Skrzybski (AMCr), Gianluca Gaudino (AMCl); Benedikt Pichler (ST)

* * *

First start for Arce, on the left today due to Lovera's ankle injury, while Lang gets his first start of the season. We start attacking from the moment we kick off, and seconds later Sané is already volleying a cross by Steinhart into Gelios' hands. Kiel hit us right back, though, and with their superior numbers in the center they mount a decent run that Pichler ends with a weak shot into Kretzschmar's save. A wide direct free kick by Gaudino follows, but soon we start dominating possession in our usual way, and in the 18th one of Arce's incursions from the left into the box provokes a mistimed tackle by Kamavuaka. After some tense VAR moments, the ref points to the spot, but a lucky guess by Gelios allows him to save Lohkemper's penalty kick.

The match continues the same way after our miss, with us holding the ball the most but Kiel throwing dangerous counterattacks at us, like one in which Pichler faces Kretzschmar one on one but fails to put the ball past the keeper's hands. But we have a lot of space on the wings to exploit, and we finally find the way to do it on the 39th minute when Tallig finds Sané free inside the box, then the winger passes it back so Lohkemper can blast it in with all his shooting power to score the 1-0 and compensate for his earlier penalty miss.

A very similar play on the left side started by a great pass from the opposite side by Sidler almost becomes the 2-0, but although Arce's pass back to Molumby is good, the midfielder can only smash his finish against the upright. Kiel don't seem to have much to offer in the final minutes of the half, and we keep our lead without any scares.

HALF TIME - 1-0

Kiel try to push the lines further up the field in the second half, but that only makes the gaps behind them even more apparent, and soon Arce is running after a long pass by Steinhart and facing the keeper on his own, only to shoot wide in the end. Another wide shot is the end of Kiel's first chance of the game, a run through the center by Gaudino. Things seem calm for a while afterwards, but then disaster strikes, again, in the form of an injury to new guy Arce. Bär replaces him, moving Sané to the left.

Despite the blow, we keep dominating the match and looking for a second through Tallig, who shoots wide form distance in the 68th minute. Sané has another after a nice long cross by Bär, but it falls to his left foot and his finish is pretty badly over. The first real scare of the half comes in the 80th minute, a cross from the left by Holtby that Skrzybski heads into the crossbar. Their hopes of a comeback suffer a hard blow seven minutes later, though, when Mehlem goes on late and two-footed on Steinhart and gets rewarded with a straight red. Bär heads that free kick narrowly over, and in the last moments of injury time, after a long time searching for it, Lohkemper finally makes it two-nil following a great assist by Sané, who rounds up his first really good game with us. Great win.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 2 (Felix Lohkemper 39 90+4)
Holsten Kiel 0

- - -

Really good match all in all. It was obvious that with all that firepower Kiel concentrated in the center we'd get hit through that area at least a few times, but we managed to cope well, dominate possession, and exploit their weak wings to create danger and score our goals. Should've been a couple more, actually. Player of the Match performance for Sané, who seems to be starting to gel well with his teammates and learning the ropes, and Lohkemper was lethal from anywhere other than the penalty spot. Best of all, this win puts us in first place, one point ahead of a huge pack of teams with ten points, and we remain as the only unbeaten team in the division. Madness. Oh, and four games without conceding, too. That brings back memories...

Arce's injury is, thankfully, not a twisted ankle, but just pulled ankle ligaments. He'll still be out for 10-12 days, but better that than the popular alternative. Even better, we have a break next weekend, so we get to rest and recover some of our injured players, most likely Arce included.

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Aug 30th 2022

Of all our players I wasn't expecting Hernández to be the one selected in the Team of the Week, but I guess he did well enough against Kiel.

Aug 31th 2022

We've already brought a lot of players into the squad this season, so there are no plans of adding to that number on transfer window day. However, there's always the risk of someone leaving at the last second and having to patch the hole. The first to leave is an expected departure, though: Knöferl joins Regionalliga side Hankofen on loan until the end of the season. Like Wicht, I'd have loved to have him on a higher level team, but alas. Let's hope the experience and increased playing time are enough to see him make some leaps in his development.

Not transfer news, but Steinhart does pick up a pulled thigh in training, our first non-ankle injury in a while. 8-11 days of rest should do the trick, and with some luck he might be available for our next fixture against Ingolstadt.

Ah yes, it's been a while since Paderborn made one of their... original offers. This time they want Dressel on loan, only paying 70% of his wages plus a bit extra (but only on months in which he doesn't play) and want to attach a mandatory future fee of €400k plus €170k in installments. That... doesn't even cover Dressel's current market value. I wasn't even going to consider selling him unless there was an absolutely ridiculous offer for him, but this is ridiculous in the wrong way. Stop, guys.

With that brief moment of hilarity a quiet transfer window day reaches its end, and there are no last second movements in our squad. Yay.

Sep 1st 2022

Good news from the 3.Liga: Belkahia finishes third in the Player of the Month award, doing really well for a Meppen side that's performing quite worse than last year in the league, 15th right now.

Sep 7th 2022

Some unexpected money coming our way: former 1860 academy boy Alexander Hack, who was playing for Mainz until now, has been bought by Dynamo Moscow for €4.3M. As his club of origin we get 2.5% of that fee, so €107k come into our accounts out of basically nowhere. Nice. We might even get a few thousand more if all the clauses in the transfer agreement are fulfilled.

Sep 10th 2022

FC Ingolstadt 04 (18th) vs. TSV 1860 München (1st) (2.Bundesliga, 6/34)

Back to the league after a two week rest for a visit to Ingolstadt, who apparently consider us their rivals even though we don't particularly care for them? Well, they're a Bavarian team, too, so it's understandable I guess. Regardless, they've had a torrid start of the season so far, with zero points after five fixtures and sitting dead last on the table, tied with Sandhausen.  They are expected in the bottom half, but then so are we...

* * *

INGOLSTADT (4-2-3-1): Fabijan Buntic (GK); Nikola Stevanovic (DR), Visar Musliu (DCr), Korbinian Burger (DCl), Marcel Gaus (DL); Marc Stendera (MCr), Merlin Röhl (MCl); Arianit Ferati (AMR), Christopher Scott (AMC), Deian Sorescu (AML); Valmir Sulejmani (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Stefan Lex (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Five out of six of the teams we've played so far in the league play 4-2-3-1, huh. Anyway, Lovera, Arce, and Kobald are back in training and fit enough to play some minutes off the bench today. It takes us a few minutes to establish ourselves and start really putting pressure on Ingolstadt, but by the ninth minute Dressel is already running into the box and testing Buntic's reflexes, a test which the keeper passes with a pretty good grade. One minute later Bär is heading a cross from the same Dressel over the bar, and the pressure starts mounting up. Despite their ultra-defensive attitude we still manage to find gaps with relative ease, and on the 19th minute Sidler crosses at mid-height into the box for Lohkemper to hit it first time and score the 0-1. So far so good.

Lohkemper almost doubles our lead in our very next attack, very well assisted by Lex, but this time Buntic manages to deflect his finish wide. We're still dominating them thoroughly, and after a brief period of respite we break through the center in full force and Bär ends assisting Lex, who scores his first goal of the season after a short moment of suspense while VAR validated his position. The veteran forward tries to return the favour a few minutes later, but Bär miskicks his finish and the ball rolls slowly into Buntic's waiting hands. Meanwhile Kretzschmar spends the whole first half without having to perform a single save. Easy win at half time.

HALF TIME - 0-2

We stroll calmly through the first minutes of the second half, only accelerating to leave Lohkemper on the run behind the defense, only for Musliu to tackle the ball away from him just as he was getting ready to score. He manages to shoot in his second run a bit later, but the ball sails well over. Kobald and Arce return to action a bit later, with the latter playing as our striker for the remainder of the game.

Ingolstadt finally make Kretzschmar sweat a bit with a shot by Oczipka that the keeper tips wide, and then with a header by Burger in the following corner kick which he saves and holds securely. Their warning shots continue with a finish by Sulejmani that Kretzschmar once again has to deflect around the post, and it seems like we've lost control of the situation all of a sudden. Dressel still finds space to run to a bit later, though, and the third is only prevented by a defender getting in the way of his finish when the keeper looked beaten. 

Afterwards we decide to just put a lid on it, hold the ball, slow the pace of the game down, and let time pass. It works fine, at least until Kobald misjudges a high ball and leaves Sulejmani alone against Kretzschmar. Thankfully our keeper is quality and manages not only to save, but also to keep the ball to himself. That's the last scare of the game, though, and after a final chance for Arce which ends up in the stands behind Buntic's goal, the referee whistles for the end and we get to add another win to our scoreboard.

* * *

FC Ingolstadt 04 0
TSV 1860 München 2 (Felix Lohkemper 19, Stefan Lex 33)

- - -

It might have been ten months since the last time Lex scored from anywhere other than the penalty spot. And it's not like he didn't play enough last season either... Regardless, another great, very solid win, at least until the minute sixty-something when we just seemed to disappear from the map and let Ingolstadt attack with impunity. Good thing they weren't very good at this scoring goals thing, and we get to keep another clean sheet, five in a row now and counting. That small slip in concentration aside, a great team performance, and another week leading the table.

Edited by Dalbeider
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Sep 14th 2022

Only three games after returning to action and Lang is already back in the ditch, this time with a hamstring strain that'll keep him out of contention for five to six weeks. This is really starting to be a problem, not just for his development but also for our team selection. At least the other injured players are either returning or close to doing so.

Sep 16th 2022

Injuries are really taking it out on us this season, huh. Now it's loanee Molumby who'll be out for 6-7 weeks with sprained knee ligaments, just before a game in which I was planning on having him start. Wonderful.

Sep 17th 2022

TSV 1860 München (1st) vs. Hannover 96 (3rd) (2.Bundesliga, 7/34)

Now this is getting serious. Hannover are not just one of the league's top favorites for promotion, only behind Schalke and Hamburg, but have also had a good start to the season with only one defeat (to Fürth) so far and keeping close to the top at all times. And of course, they have bags of quality. As always against these teams, any points we can steal from them are very welcome.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Stephan Salger (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
HANNOVER (4-4-2): Ron-Robert Zieler (GK); Josip Stanisic (DR), Amos Pieper (DCr), Cédric Kipré (DCl), Niklas Hult (DL); Jakub Kaminski (MR), Domink Kaiser (MCr), Svante Ingelsson (MCl), Rabbi Matondo (ML); Ishak Belfodil (STr), Erik Shuranov (STl)

* * *

Moll joins the just-recovered squad, while Kobald is still not ready for a full match, so Salger takes Lang's place today. We start well, but only three minutes in we're hit with a sudden dose of reality: Matondo sends a ball into the box for Belfodil, and the striker places it next to the post to score a very early 0-1. We react well to conceding our first goal since the cup elimination and go on to dominate the midfield as we try to attack their weak center. We have to be careful, though, because Hannover are very dangerous on the break.

Our first real chance comes in the 14th minute, and it's a great one: pass by Bär towards the center where Arce appears to control and shoot straight into the post. By now we're clearly the best team on the pitch on performance alone, and in the 21st we finally reap the rewards: Arce sends a beautiful cross towards the penalty spot where Lohkemper controls and shoots with his usual quality to make it even again. It's almost a short-lived result, though, as Tallig's missed header when trying to intercept a goal kick ends up leaving Belfodil unmarked and with all the space in the world to score, but thankfully he hits the right post instead of the back of the net.

On the 32nd minute we try this counterattacking thing ourselves, and soon Dressel finds himself on the left side of the box with space to cross towards the far post, where Bär does his usual thing, outjumps Hult and scores the 2-1. We don't stop looking for goals after that, and soon Lohkemper half-volleys a cross from Steinhart into Ziele's hands to keep the pressure up. The keeper has more work a bit later when he has to punch wide a powerful header by Bär, and in the last minute of regulation Lohkemper loses his marker and Dressel sees his movement, sending the ball through the gap so the striker can make it three. In injury time Kretzschmar has to dive to divert wide a shot from distance by Stanisic in the last action of the half. Beautiful match so far.

HALF TIME - 3-1

Hannover try to regain the initiative in the early second half, but Tallig sends a knife through their heart, literally and figuratively, with a fantastic pass towards Arce who controls inside the box and scores the fourth, and his first goal for TSV. A run through the center by Kaiser is the best Hannover can create in retaliation, and Salger is there to tackle the ball away from him when the midfielder was about to finish the job.

With our lead secured, we take the foot off the gas for a while in order to slow down play, confident in our midfield superiority. That doesn't mean we stop attacking, though, and Lovera comes off the bench to have a fantastic chance at point-blank range, but his finish is deflected by Zieler into the post and then back into his own hands in a very lucky save. Another substitute, Kerk, has a good chance for Hannover from the left flank, but sends his shot into the sidenetting, then Lovera misses another sitter with a wide chip when completely alone against Zieler inside the box. 

On the 84th Lohkemper shows him how it's done, finishing in style another great assist by Arce to make it 5-1 and sealing his hattrick. Hannover score their second in the last minute of regulated time thanks to a good header by Kerk, but the game is already as good as finished, and could even have ended with a bigger victory for us if Tallig and Neudecker had been more accurate with their finishes in injury time. A fantastic game with a fantastic result.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 5 (Felix Lohkemper 21 45 84, Marcel Bär 32, Billy Arce 52)
Hannover 96 2 (Ishak Belfodil 3, Sebastian Kerk 90)

- - -

Well. That was a thing that happened. Might be our best performance since I've been here, and that's saying something. Our attack has never looked this lethal and Lohkemper is absolutely on fire in this early season. Long may it last. Then there's Arce, who played out of his mind today on the left. Lovera might have trouble reclaiming his starting position now, particularly if he keeps missing sitters like today.

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Sep 20th 2022

Arce, Dressel, and Bär make it into the Team of the Week. Lohkemper, somehow, doesn't, although to be fair he lost his place to Paderborn's Felix Platte, who also got a hattrick against Kiel.

The transfer window is closed, but there are still some interesting players out of contract out there. We sign two of those today, both signed as potential investments for the future: 19yo central defender Phil Zimmermann, formerly in Viktoria Köln, and American 20yo right winger Cameron Harper, who just left New York Red Bulls in the MLS. Both join on cheap contracts until the end of the season, and might be loaned out once the window reopens in January so we can see if they're worth holding onto. They do have the potential, at least. For now they'll stay in the reserves to get some fitness and playing time.

Sep 21st 2022

DSV Duisburg (16th) vs. TSV 1860 München (1st) (2.Bundesliga, 8/34)

The one team that beat us twice last year, always the most dangerous rival for promotion, and now look at the space between us. To be fair it's mostly that we've been punching a lot higher than our level would imply, but still. Meanwhile Duisburg are doing about as expected, struggling to gain points and only outside of the direct relegation zone because Sandhausen and Ingolstadt still haven't got a single point to their name. Duisburg have four, which isn't much better, but is enough to keep their head above the water for now. Given both teams' current forms, we should win this one.

* * *

DUISBURG (4-4-2): Patrick Wiegers (GK); Marvin Ajani (DR), Antonios Papadopoulos (DCr), Marvin Knoll (DCl), Rolf Fletcher (DL); Alaa Bakir (MR), Niclas Stierlin (MCr), Marvin Bakalorz (MCl), Aaron Seydel (ML); Orhan Ademi (STr), Dennis Borkowski (STl)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Christoph Kobald (DCr), Stephan Salger (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Quirin Moll (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Billy Arce (ST)

* * *

Rotation is required today for our first midweek match of the season, as we recover Müller for the backup goalkeeper role. Duisburg's eleven is almost completely unrecognizable compared to what we faced last year, with only a couple of names that stick around since then. Regardless, we start fantastically well thanks to a long ball from deep in the midfield by Neudecker into Arce's run into space so the forward can finish and score with a beautiful little chip over the keeper.

We somehow struggle to keep possession today despite our early advantage, and Duisburg use that to their advantage: 15th minute and a pass towards Borkowski finds Kobald napping, allowing the striker to score with a powerful effort from inside the box and put things back where they started. After that both attacks seem to take some time off as the battle moves to the midfield, where Duisburg still keep a better possession rate than us. That's all that happens until the 41st minute, when another ball from deep, this time by Dressel, allows Sané a clean run into the box and a chance to score with a beautiful lob... which ends up bouncing off the woodwork. The result thus remains tied until half time.

HALF TIME - 1-1

We look a bit sharper in the second half, still not creating any real danger but at least testing Wiegers from afar. Lex and Bär come in to replace our underperforming younger wing players, yet the game still remains dull and slow, with Duisburg apparently content to hold the ball and then do nothing with it. It takes until the 69th for a real chance to appear, a header by Bär after a shot from Lex deflected his way that Wiegers holds with a good dive.

Six minutes later Dressel controls the ball inside the box and has all the time in the world to turn around and shoot, only to find Wiegers has guessed the direction correctly and is there to tip it wide. Duisburg finally get a shot at scoring six minutes before full time with another ball that sneaks its way to Borkowski, but Kretzschmar saves well this time. And... that's about it, really. A clear contrast with our previous fixture, and a somewhat disappointing result.

* * *

DSV Duisburg 1 (Dennis Borkowski 15)
TSV 1860 München 1 (Billy Arce 3)

- - -

An off day, I guess. We really struggled to get going today, the wet pitch and the constant pressure of Duisburg never let us play our game, and our only good chances came from uncharacteristically long passes, including Arce's goal. We were better according to the numbers, but we really didn't deserve a win today. As a result we lose the top spot to Fortuna Düsseldorf, but remain in the promotion zone in second place. And we still can't beat Duisburg, for whatever reason.

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Sep 24th 2022

TSV 1860 München (2nd) vs. SSV Jahn Regensburg (7th) (2.Bundesliga, 9/38)

One fourth of the season gone, and no rest for the wicked as we square off against Regensburg, the other surprise package of the year. Expected in the relegation discussion, they've somehow managed to stay close to the top all this time despite a somewhat dubious streak of form as of late. Let's hope this game looks like the Hannover one, and not like the Duisburg one...

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Stephan Salger (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Erik Tallig (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
REGENSBURG (4-4-2): Marco Hiller (GK); Steve Breitkreuz (DR), Tim Rieder (DCr), Melayro Bogarde (DCl), Andrija Raznatovic (DL); Benedikt Saller (MR), Max Besuschkow (MCr), Majeed Ashimeru (MCl), Tom Baumgart (ML); Anthony Ujah (STr), Kaan Çaliskaner (STl)

* * *

After all the 4-2-3-1s we're now facing all the 4-4-2s it seems. Rotation again to keep our legs as fresh as possible, and hello would you look at that handsome goalkeeper playing for our rivals today? That's right, Marco Hiller found a new home in Regensburg and will surely be expecting to show me how wrong I was to pick Kretzschmar ahead of him.

Once again we seem to struggle with possession in the early game, meaning it takes us a while to start testing Hiller. First to try is Bär with one of his usual headers, easy for the keeper, and then again one minute later with a very similar chance, this time wide by a foot or so. Regensburg's first approach comes through a nice combination between their two strikers, with Ujah providing and Çaliskaner finising into Kretzschmar's save. The game slows down after that as we regain control of the ball little by little, but on the 38th Ashimeru breaks through the center to collect Saller's cross from the right and score the 0-1 with surprising ease. We can't find a way to strike back before the first half ends.

HALF TIME - 0-1

We can't find any solutions in the early second half either, so we turn to the bench trying to switch things around, bringing Arce, Sané and Dressel into the game. Meanwhile Regensburg get a goal disallowed by VAR due to offside, and otherwise look pretty comfortable on the pitch. We finally get a chance in a counter led by Dressel and finished by Lohkemper, but the ball goes straight to Hiller and it's an easy catch for him. The keeper shows his quality once again to stop a direct free kick by Steinhart which was aimed straight at the top corner, then blocks two finishes by Arce on the continuation and a shot by Sané on the very next play. He's really performing today, isn't he.

The fact that Hiller is having so much work is a good sign for us, though, and we maintain the pressure high but can't quite seem to take the final step and actually grab the goal. A triple chance for Dressel in the 80th almost gives us the goal we need, but first Hiller saves, then a defender blocks, and finally he sends the third try over the bar from a very awkward position. Another disallowed goal for Çaliskaner due to offside gives us a bit of a scare as we pour forward without restraint, and Kretzschmar has to save another great chance for the striker, onside this time, just three minutes before the end. Neither team scores in the end, though, and we stumble into the first defeat of the season.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 0
SSV Jahn Regensburg 1 (Majeed Ashimeru 38)

- - -

Hrm. It had to come sooner or later, yes, but I didn't like how it happened one bit. We did have chances to turn things around and deserved the draw at the very least but we were terrible up front today, both starters and subs, although Sané had a fine performance off the bench providing crosses and enabling the others. Hiller really took his revenge on me today with his saves, as is bound to happen with these things.

* * *

| Pos  | Inf   | Team               | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | GD    | Pts   | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st  |       | Fortuna Düsseldorf | 9     | 7     | 1     | 1     | 24    | 9     | 15    | 22    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd  |       | 1860 München       | 9     | 5     | 3     | 1     | 15    | 6     | 9     | 18    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd  |       | Schalke 04         | 9     | 5     | 3     | 1     | 11    | 4     | 7     | 18    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th  |       | Greuther Fürth     | 9     | 5     | 2     | 2     | 15    | 12    | 3     | 17    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th  |       | Jahn Regensburg    | 9     | 5     | 1     | 3     | 17    | 11    | 6     | 16    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th  |       | Arminia Bielefeld  | 9     | 4     | 3     | 2     | 12    | 5     | 7     | 15    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 7th  |       | SC Paderborn       | 9     | 4     | 3     | 2     | 15    | 11    | 4     | 15    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 8th  |       | Dynamo Dresden     | 9     | 4     | 2     | 3     | 9     | 8     | 1     | 14    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 9th  |       | Hamburg            | 9     | 4     | 2     | 3     | 11    | 11    | 0     | 14    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 10th |       | Hannover 96        | 9     | 4     | 2     | 3     | 9     | 10    | -1    | 14    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 11th |       | Darmstadt          | 9     | 4     | 1     | 4     | 12    | 11    | 1     | 13    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 12th |       | Nürnberg           | 9     | 4     | 1     | 4     | 10    | 9     | 1     | 13    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 13th |       | Werder Bremen      | 9     | 3     | 3     | 3     | 14    | 9     | 5     | 12    | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 14th |       | St. Pauli          | 9     | 3     | 0     | 6     | 9     | 17    | -8    | 9     | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 15th |       | Holstein Kiel      | 9     | 1     | 3     | 5     | 13    | 25    | -12   | 6     | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 16th |       | Duisburg           | 9     | 1     | 2     | 6     | 7     | 18    | -11   | 5     | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 17th |       | Sandhausen         | 9     | 0     | 2     | 7     | 10    | 21    | -11   | 2     | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 18th |       | Ingolstadt         | 9     | 0     | 2     | 7     | 3     | 19    | -16   | 2     | 
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

I mean, wow. We really shouldn't be anywhere near the top of this league, but there we are. I don't think this team is anywhere close to being able to handle a promotion race, let alone actually surviving in the Bundesliga afterwards, but even looking at our more realistic goals of avoiding relegation, this is a fantastic start. Having sixteen points on the direct drop places and thirteen on the playoff is a very comfortable cushion to be lying on, that's for sure.

Fortuna are obviously the strongest team right now, sporting a very scary attack capable of averaging almost three goals per game so far, and a competent defense on top of that. Schalke should be climbing the remaining places until the top soon, too, based on the complete opposite approach of a rock-solid defense and just enough goals to get by. Hamburg and Hannover have been disappointing so far, though, and should really start digging upwards soon if they're to get involved in the race at all. The distances are short, though, and even bottom half teams like Nürnberg and Werder Bremen could get into interesting positions with just a few results going their way. The bottom is about as expected: Ingolstadt and Sandhausen still winless, Duisburg and Kiel somehow holding on, and St. Pauli as the team that really shouldn't be there but now has to worry. Somewhat surprising that there are only six teams on negative goal difference, and one of them at only -1.

 

PLAYER STATS
============

Average rating (min. 3 games played):

Felix Lohkemper             7.72 (7(1) apps)
Gastón Hernandez            7.40 (9 apps)
Daniel Wein                 7.34 (7(1) apps)
Kevin Goden                 7.32 (5(1) apps)
Niklas Lang                 7.30 (2(1) apps)

Goals:

Felix Lohkemper             8 goals
Marcel Bär                  3
Billy Arce                  2
2 players                   1

Assists:

Sidi Sané                   2 assists
Dennis Dressel              2
Marcel Bär                  2
Billy Arce                  2
6 players                   1

 

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Sep 27th 2022

Gastón Hernández selected in the Team of the Week. He's been our most consistent defender so far, probably because he's the only one who hasn't got injured...

Oct 2nd 2022

SV Darmstadt 98 (11th) vs. TSV 1860 München (2nd) (2.Bundesliga, 10/34)

Another team that started really well but now has hit a bit of a form dip and have plummeted all the way to midtable, Darmstadt also have in their roster one of our ex-plaers, Deichmann, although he's much less of a frequent starter than Hiller for Regensburg. On the topic of form dips, we really need to snap off our recent bad streak, and a win here would go a long way towards that.

* * *

DARMSTADT (4-1-4-1): Marcel Schuhen (GK); Matthias Bader (DR), Lasse Sobiech (DCr), Patric Pfeiffer (DCl), Fabian Holland (DL); Niklas Dams (DM); Tobias Kempe (MR), Fabian Schnellhardt (MCr), Marvin Mehlem (MCl), Mathias Honsak (ML); Phillip Tietz (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Lovera misses out on starting today due to a minor injury, but is still in the bench should we need him. And yep, Deichmann doesn't start today for Darmstadt, something I'm actually glad of given the precedent Hiller set last week... We do much better in possession at the start today, although Darmstadt still get to hit first with a good chance for Honsak he blasts miles over. We strike right back through Neudecker assisting Arce inside the box, his finish barely kept out of the goal by Schuhen. A weak header by Kempe follows, easy for Kretszchmar, and both teams look set for trading blows all match long.

We get really close in the 22nd minute when a cross from Goden towards Lohkemper is intercepted by Sobiech and almost puts it past his own keeper, but after some bouncing around the ball is cleared. Tietz gets the next turn with a high header, and then jumps ahead in the queue with another header, this one wide and in a much more dangerous position. Third time's the charm as they say, and a cross from the left by Mehlem finds Tietz unmarked again, and this time the striker hits true and beats Kretzschmar to score the 1-0.

Neudecker has the chance to strike right back directly off kick off, but despite having all the space and time in the world he ends up shooting wide. Then Tietz has another, this time with his right foot after a good movement, but he also misses the target and sends it over. There's no time for more, and we go to the dressing room trailing.

HALF TIME - 1-0

After some harsh words at half time the players seem more focused, and soon enough Lohkemper assist Dressel on the run and the midfielder shoots with power but finds Schuhen well positioned to block. It doesn't last, though, and soon Tietz is sending more headers in Kretzschmar's general direction, although thankfully without much danger. Things slow down afterwards, and we try and bring some substitutions in to change things.

One of them makes a quick impact: Sané receives a ball from Neudecker and runs into the box, trying to beat Schuhen from a tight angle but finding the keeper covering the gap quite well. Another substitute, Lex, also becomes important when he controls the ball on the left side of the box, wiggles his way past his marker, and crosses it towards the far post so Sané can head it in and score his first goal for 1860.

We take control of the game completely in the following minutes and try to ride the high from the goal into a better result. Dressel almost completes the comeback two minutes later with another of his runs from deep, but once again he finds Schuhen in the way of his finish. Then, on the 81st minute, Lex chases a long pass by Neudecker that their substitute right back Müller intercepts, steals the ball from him, and crosses into the box. Sané isn't anywhere near the destination, but Sobiech panics, tries to intercept the cross, and ends up putting it past his own keeper and gifting us the lead.

Darmstadt look shellshocked after this, and they don't react until injury time, but then a cross from the right is nodded by Holland towards the small box and Honsak gets there first to head it into the net from point blank. There's no time for more, and the game ends in a fair, if somewhat painful, draw.

* * *

SV Darmstadt 98 2 (Phillip Teitz 35, Mathias Honsak 90+2)
TSV 1860 München 2 (Sidi Sané 72, Lasse Sobiech 81og)

- - -

I'll take it. We maaaaybe were just a little bit better than them, particularly in the last thirty minutes or so once our substitutes got going, but in the end we gave away too many easy chances and they were bound to take at least a couple. Fair result, bit of a kick in the nuts given how it came but eh, we'll deal. Good job by Sané and Lex off the bench, but Kretzschmar has his third consecutive "bad" game and that's a worrying trend, considering he's most likely our most decisive player this side of Lohkemper. Hope it's just a phase. We lose a place to Fürth and go down to third, still much higher than we had any right to expect.

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Oct 5th 2022

Our great start of the season comes with some benefits attached, namely that the board now are completely convinced that I'm the right man for the job and are willing to offer me a new contract three-year contract worth €11.5k per week, with promotion and relegation clauses added as usual. The agreements don't change either, so I accept it happily, knowing that I'll have the time to really build this team up and bring it to the Bundesliga.

Oct 9th 2022

TSV 1860 München (3rd) vs. FC St. Pauli (14th) (2.Bundesliga, 11/34)

A bit of a disappointing season for St. Pauli so far, considering they were expected exactly in the middle of the pack and are currently too close to the drop zone for comfort. Their form isn't exactly stellar either, with just one win in their last five games. Then again we're similar in that regard, so... Still, a good chance to finally return to our winning ways.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Quirin Moll (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
ST. PAULI (4-1-2-2-1 narrow): Nikola Vasalj (GK); Luca Zander (DR), Jakov Medic (DCr), James Lawrence (DCl), Leart Paqarada (DL); Christopher Salon Avevor (DM); Christopher Buchtmann (MCr), Julian Justvan (MCl); Marcel Hartel (AMCr), Lukas Daschner (AMCl); Guido Burgstaller (ST)

* * *

Lang returns to the bench today, although he's unlikely to play due to his lack of fitness. St. Pauli seem to be using an ultra-narrow tactic that overloads the center, so we decide to go with one open winger and a wider attacking shape to try and hit them where it hurts. The tweaks seem to work fine, as we go on to clearly dominate the early game, although without creating much danger in exchange. In fact this trend extends to the whole first half, and we only manage a couple shots from distance without any danger before it ends. St. Pauli don't even try to attack at all.

HALF TIME - 0-0

Things look a bit better in the second half, and at least Sidler makes Vasalj work a bit with a powerful shot the keeper has to tip over. St. Pauli also finally decide to try and shoot, even if it's a wide 25-yarder by Paqarada with zero actual danger. Kretzschmar finally gets some work to do in a set piece that Medic finishes and the keeper parries. Then, finally, in the 59th minute a steal by Sané allows us to catch them out of position, and the ball soon finds its way through Lohkemper and to Arce, who shoots into the underside of the bar so the ball bounces just inside of the goal line. And then VAR disallows it due to offside. Drat.

At least now we know we can do it, so it's time to buckle down and keep trying. Another chance to counterattack arrives in the 64th, Sané runs the right flank, assists Lohkepmer, the striker returns the ball to the winger, and Sané passes it low towards the center so Dressel can score unopposed. Great goal, and the barrier is finally torn. We go on to control the game in the following minutes while we look for a second, but what we found is a cross from the right wing by substitute Lee Dong-Jun into Burgstaller's perfectly placed header over Tallig, which becomes the 1-1 with fifteen minutes to play.

We pour forward to try and fix things, and surprisingly it comes much easier than expected: a set piece is cleared by St. Pauli's defense back to Steinhart, and the wing back spots Sané unmarked on the far side of the box and sends a pinpoint cross so the winger can volley it in and score the 2-1. But again, it doesn't last: long pass from Hartel towards Burgstaller, who breaks the offside trap by inches and blasts it in to draw the game again just a couple of minutes later. Neither team can manage to steal the win in the final minutes, and it all ends in another draw.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 2 (Dennis Dressel 64, Sidi Sané 82)
FC St. Pauli 2 (Guido Burgstaller 75 84)

- - -

What a frustrating game. A first half of nothing at all followed by a second half in which we clearly deserved the win but ended up giving up two leads. Sané was great attacking the weak flank, but on the other end our defense was uncharacteristically soft today. Kobald has had a few mediocre games in a row now, and Kretzschmar can't save a shot for his life lately. I'm really starting to worry. Also, yet another terrible game by Lovera, who can't seem to find any way to impact the game from the left. Seriously considering finishing his loan early come the winter window if he doesn't improve drastically.

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Oct 14th, 2022

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (2nd) vs. TSV 1860 München (4th) (2.Bundesliga, 12/34)

Another supposed rival of ours for which our fans don't really care much at all, huh. Fürth have been doing quite well lately, climbing all the way to the promotion places after a so-so start and in the middle of their best stretch of form of the season so far. So, our polar opposites. We'll need to be at our best if we're to get something out of here.

* * *

FÜRTH (3-2-2-1-2): Sascha Burchert (GK); Bruno Rodrigues (DCr), Nick Viergever (DC), Gideon Jung (DCl); Simon Asta (WBr), Gil Dias (WBl); Sebastian Grisbeck (MCr), Tobias Raschl (MCl); Mijat Gacinovic (AMC); Dickson Abiama (STr), Branimir Hrgota (STl)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Stephan Sadler (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Still no Lang, who should be available to start for our next fixture. Kobald gets benched after one too many bad performances, and Kretzschmar should start worrying about the same if he doesn't improve soon. Hrgota starts the game with a weak header that Kretzschmar picks up without problem, then follows it up with a good right-footed finish that the keeper dives well to tip wide. Looks like Kretzschmar is in the right state of mind today. Even better: on our first attack a cross from the right by Bär eludes the defense's attempt at clearing and reaches Arce, who shoots first time to score the 0-1. Not complaining one bit.

Of course it doesn't last, and it's Hrgota once again who provokes the draw with a cross from the left that hits Salger in the chest and escapes his control, rolling into our own net. We try to strike back through the left, with Steinhart sending a nice ball ahead of Arce so the forward can finish from a difficult angle, easy for Burchert to block. We seem to slowly be taking the game back, though, and soon a wide header by Lohkemper gives Fürth another scare. Another chance for Arce is next, this time well assisted by Neudecker, but once again stopped by Burchert. On the other goal a missed header by Hernández allows Hrgota an unexpected chance, but Kretzschmar happens to be in the right place and saves. A very even first half ends with a fair draw.

HALF TIME - 1-1

The draw survives all of two minutes into the second half: set piece taken from the right wing by Gacinovic and Bruno Rodrigues heads it in completely unmarked, making it 2-1 for Fürth. We need a bit to digest it, but soon enough we're looking for the draw through Arce, who this time tries a long range chip but sends it over the bar, if only just. Then Hrgota runs towards the left flank, dragging the defense with him, and sends a ball towards Gacinovic, who runs through the channel created by the striker to shoot and score the 3-1. Could've even been 4-1 if Hrgota, again, had hit the target with his header one minute later, but thankfully he went wide this time.

Again we try to rally back, and again we miss on our next attack, this time with Lohkemper shooting wide from the edge of the box. Hrgota hits us back on the counter but once again sends an apparently easy finish wide, his lack of accuracy marring what should've been an absolute stormer of a game. Time passes and another chance falls to Lohkemper near full time, but he squanders it with a badly-timed miskick and the ball rolls harmlessly into Burchert's hands. We don't get another, and we slump to our second defeat of the season in the league.

* * *

SpVgg Greuther Fürth 3 (Stephan Salger 19og, Bruno Rodrigues 47, Mijat Gacinovic 60)
TSV 1860 München 1 (Billy Arce 14)

- - -

Welcome to reality, I guess. The fairytale is officially over now, and this kind of match is what we should start expecting from now on. I can't even blame any individual performances today, except for Salger's unlucky own goal, and even that just sped up the inevitable. Funny thing is, looking at the possession numbers and goalscoring opportunities of both teams this was a very, very even game, but we never looked like we'd be getting anything out of it after going behind early in the second half. Oh well, let's hope we adapt to this new reality soon, otherwise we're gonna struggle. Down to 7th after the rest of this week's games are played.

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Oct 23rd 2022

TSV 1860 München (7th) vs. SV Werder Bremen (12th) (2.Bundesliga, 13/34)

Another of my favorite teams (and one of my favorite cities) in Germany, and somehow, also in their worst moment in recent times. Their relegation from the Bundesliga at the end of the 20/21 season was seen as a bit of a disaster, although they'd been a bottom half team for the best part of a decade by then. Finishing 10th in the 2.Bundesliga the next season and now being even lower than that is just unacceptable for a team of Werder's stature. They'll climb up eventually, I just wish they don't start doing so today.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Quirin Moll (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
WERDER BREMEN (4-2-3-1): Jiri Pavlenka (GK); Felix Agu (DR), Lukas Mai (DCr), Ömer Toprak (DCl), Niklas Beste (DL); Felix Nmecha (MCr), Oscar (MCl); Leonardo Bittencourt (AMR), Romano Schmid (AMC), Luc Ihorst (AML); Niclas Füllkrug (ST)

* * *

Been a while since we played against a 4-2-3-1, probably around the time we stopped winning. Not sure if coincidence... Anyway, Lang is back in the lineup today, we'll see for how long this time. There's a lot of back-and-forth in the first minutes of the game, neither team quite dominating not creating real danger, but still threatening the opposing defense in turns. The first real chance to come from those attacks falls to Arce, who dribbles his way into the box from the left flank but ends up shooting over the bar. Much closer is Sané one minute later, receiving from Arce himself and running into space, only to send his finish into the crossbar.

We're doing better than Werder now, but we still never quite dominate the game completely, and there's always the threat of them finding space to send a counterattack through. Their static plays don't really create much, though, with a centered header by Füllkrug straight into Kretzschmar's arms the closest they get. Meanwhile we keep almost striking gold, but not quite: Lohkemper sends another great chance very narrowly wide following a nice assist from Dressel. Finally, on the 35th minute, a long pass towards the center by Tallig finds Dressel in the middle of one of his runs into space, and the midfielder shows everyone how it's done with his typical power shot to grab the opener. We hold Werder at bay for the rest of the first half.

HALF TIME - 1-0

Not much changes in the second half at first, and after a bit of controlling football Sané sends a ball into the box for Lohkember to volley it wide as our first warning shot. The two players trade roles next, with Lohkemper assisting and Sané finishing, although this one's easy for Pavlenka. Third should've been the charm when Arce hits the net from close, but VAR decides the Colombian is offside by inches and we have to save the celebrations for later.

The siege continues with a narrowly wide header by Dressel that Pavlenka could only watch fly past. The midfielder tries again with another of his trademark missiles from just inside the box, but the keeper manages to cover the gap and deflect the ball with his body. Third try's not the charm either, as Dressel's header in the following corner kick goes over the bar. The goal should be coming at any moment now, and Werder haven't scared us since the second hand began. Famous last words?

Nope. Sané is the next one to try, leaving Beste seated on the grass with a nutmeg then running the flank to cross for Arce's header, well held by Pavlenka. And that's basically the last action of the game on either goal, other than a few blocked finishes that don't go anywhere relevant. A header by Mai in a corner kick already in injury time is Werder's only real chance of the game, and it's an easy catch for Kretzschmar. The game ends soon afterwards. Finally, a win.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 1 (Dennis Dressel 35)
SV Werder Bremen 0

- - -

Theeere we go. Had me suffering until the last second even though Werder didn't really do much to threaten our lead, but we should've won this by three goals or more, seriously. Lohkemper seems to have forgotten how to finish in the last month or so, I swear, reminds me a lot of Lex one year ago. Good thing Dressel's still here to carry us and give us our first win in six matches, about time. Good team performance, glad to see Lang playing a good amount of minutes without issue, and... Lovera is now complaining about not being played in his position. He should probably shut up before he ends up not being played at all or, even more likely, back in Greece. I'd rather not pay €4.7k each week for nothing.

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Posted (edited)

Oct 25th 2022

Sidler and Dressel make the Team of the Week, our first appearances in a while.

Oct 28th 2022

TSV 1860 München (6th) vs. FC Schalke 04 (3rd) (2.Bundesliga, 14/34)

Getting closer to the World Cup break, and the tough matches start piling up. Schalke are still today the top favorites for winning the league and promotion, and they probably would be closer to that position if they hadn't had a bit of a difficult start and, well, if Fortuna wasn't currently running away with the title. We don't really have anything to lose here, other than our recently regained morale.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
SCHALKE 04 (4-3-3): Ralf Fährmann (GK); Reinhold Ranftl (DR), Marius Lode (DCr), Malick Thiaw (DCl), Pietro Beruatto (DL); Adrian Fein (DM), Victor Pálsson (MCr), Michal Sadílek (MCl); Nahuel Bustos (AMR), Amine Harit (AML), Simon Terodde (ST)

* * *

A mirror match today, although Schalke's lineup is certainly scary in names alone. No wonder Sané had to leave on loan if he has to compete with Nahuel friggin' Bustos for a place... The game looks very even at first glance, with a slight edge possession wise for us while Schalke seem more willing to try and shoot from distance in the early game. A wide header by Terodde is the first real chance of the game, but it takes eighteen minutes for it to come. It takes eight more for us to get one, and it's only thanks to a bad tackle by Schalke's defense that leaves the ball all for Lohkemper with miles of space, although in the end the defense puts him under pressure and he shoots wide. The rest of the first half wastes away with little worth reporting. No goals at half time, of course.

HALF TIME - 0-0

The second half starts about as slow as the first ended, with only a high header by Pálsson in a set piece breaking the monotony. If anything Schalke look a bit more active in attack, although not overwhelmingly so. Before we even realize a whole half hour has passed and practically nothing has happened. We only have a very wide direct free kick by Steinhart to our name, while Schalke try from distance from time to time with about the same luck.

We try to be a bit more offensive in the final third, while Schalke decide to switch to a flat 4-4-2 in the last ten minutes. This gives us a bit more space in midfield, and soon Sané has a decent run from the right that ends in a blocked shot, still our best chance in the whole half so far. Also the last of the game. Yep, not a match that will be remembered as thrilling, that's for sure.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 0
FC Schalke 04 0

- - -

Yawn. Oh well, I'll take the point, all things being normal Schalke should walk all over us with ease, so a point against them is a very welcome booty. Both teams annulled each other, and no one really deserved the win. Nothing more to say, really, this was a huge pile of nothingness with void nuggets on top.

Edited by Dalbeider
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Nov 1st 2022

Steinhart and Hernández earn themselves a place in the Team of the Week. The center-back has been a regular fixture there so far. Good loan, this one.

Nov 7th 2022

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 (1st) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 15/34)

Now this is a tough one. Fortuna have been on a tear almost since the very first match of this season, and looked likely to run away with the title until last week, when they suddenly saw their winning run snapped by none other than Werder Bremen. So not the best moment to face them but not the worst either, I suppose? Any points will be welcome, yadda yadda, you know the drill by now.

* * *

DÜSSELDORF (4-2-3-1): Florian Kastenmeier (GK); Matthias Jürgen Zimmerman (DR), Christoph Klarer (DCr), André Hoffmann (DCl), Kostas Stafylidis (DL); Isaac Twum (MCr), Ilay Elmkies (MCl); Khaled Narey (AMR), Shinta Appelkamp (AMC), Kristoffer Paul Peterson (AML); Dawid Kownacki (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Christoph Kobald (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Quirin Moll (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

One last chance for Lovera to show he's fit for this team, while another loanee, Molumby, returns to the lineup after his injury. The start of the game isn't exactly promising, as a bad clearance by Hernández almost gifts a goal to Kownacki, who thankfully scoops the ball over. We soon calm down and start doing our thing with possession, trying to deny Düsseldorf's attack by just not giving them the ball. Of course when they do get the ball things get hairy, and a run into space by Kownacki gives us a serious scare on the 14th minute, but thankfully the striker finishes wide under pressure by Hernández.

A corner kick gives Fortuna their next chance, and this time it's a high header by Peterson. Then, on an apparently innocent throw in play, Moll barges Kownacki on the back inside the box and, after an intervention from VAR, a penalty is awarded and scored by Kownacki himself. The striker has another great chance later on, outpacing his marker and shooting into the root of the post and clear. On the 27th a very similar play started by Appelkamp with a great through ball ends much worse for us, as Kownacki sidesteps to avoid Kreztschmar's rush and scores with ease. 2-0 and feeling like a truck just ran us over.

It gets worse: four minutes later Appelkamp drops to the left and crosses into the small box, Kobald loses sight of both the ball and his man, and Kownacki scores the 3-0 with ease to complete a ten-minute hattrick. Our first chance doesn't come until the 44th, but it's a great one: pass into space by Lovera to Sané, who rounds Kastenmeier and looks certain to score, but hits the post, gets the rebound, then sends it into the post again from a very tight angle. Best we can say is that at least we don't concede any more goals until half time.

HALF TIME - 3-0

There's a different attitude in our players' faces after the break, probably as a result of my screaming. Thirty seconds in and Lovera finds Lohkemper behind the defense with a good assist so the striker can finally break his dud and bring us back into the game with the 3-1. Kretzschmar finally saves a shot two minutes later, an easy one from, who else, Kownacki, and it looks like things might start turning a bit better-looking for us now. Sané continues our recovery with a one-on-one created by Lohkemper, but this time Kastenmeier won't be beat and the ball goes wide for a corner kick.

We bring Bär and Sidler into the game to see if we can keep increasing the pressure, and soon Molumby has a dangerous volley inside the box parried by the keeper after a cross by Lovera, who for once is looking pretty good. Kastenmeier has more work to do after Lohkemper sneaks his way into the box and shoots from close, only to find the keeper's gloves on the way. Then Lovera heads the corner kick high and wide, and it looks like Düsseldorf could crack at any moment.

That's when they say enough is enough, start defending with the ball, and our attacks suddenly dry out. With our momentum gone we see time pass us by while we struggle to get close to Düsseldorf's goal again, and only a wide shot by Lohkemper in injury time gives us anything resembling hope of a comeback. The game ends in our defeat, as it was clear it'd do since halfway through the first half.

* * *

Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 3 (Dawid Kownacki 21p 27 31)
TSV 1860 München 1 (Felix Lohkemper 46)

- - -

Haven't felt this outclassed in a match since that one DFB Pokal tie against Bayern. The first half was just embarrassing, and I'm not sure if we reacted in the second half because we suddenly started playing well or because Fortuna just relaxed a bit too much. Leaning towards the second option, as shown by the fact that as soon as they wanted to stop us, they did. Still, that second half performance was enough to turn my rage into something a bit more mellow, and I actually commended the players on their effort. Lovera earns himself a second chance after a decent showing today. We'll see how he does against Paderborn next week... Kownacki is on 15 goals in 14 appearances so far this season, by the way.

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Posted (edited)

Nov 8th 2022

The World Cup is almost here, and the participating nations are naming their squads today. There are no 1860 players involved, but a few ex-players will be in Qatar, including Kevin Volland (Germany, currently in Monaco), Julian Wiegl (also Germany, currently in Benfica), Marin Pongracic (Croatia, now in Wolfsburg), Julian Baumgartlinger (Austria, now in Fiorentina), and Milos Degenec (Australia, now in Columbus Crew).

Nov 13th 2022

TSV 1860 München (6th) vs. SC Paderborn 07 (7th) (2.Bundesliga, 16/34)

Last match before the World Cup break, and it's another doozy. Like most of this league for us, really. Paderborn have been yo-yoing all over the divisions in the last decade, including two short visits to the Bundesliga, but nowadays they're a midtable team just as the preseason predictions said. In fact we're tied on points and only ahead of them by a single goal, so this could be considered a direct duel for, I don't know, the right to stay in the top half? Or something? Still an important game, and one we'll have to turn up to if we want a result.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
PADERBORN (4-1-4-1): Leopold Zingerle (GK); Bendegúz Bolla (DR), Uwe Hünemeier (DCr), Thomas Isherwood (DCl), Jamilu Collins (DL); Maximilian Thalhammer (DM); Kai Pröger (MR), Meritan Shabani (MCr), Marco Stiepermann (MCl), Michael John Lema (ML); Dennis Srbeny (ST)

* * *

Steinhart serves our first suspension of the season today, and Hernández rests for the first time in a while at the back while Lovera gets a second consecutive start. Paderborn are known for being a very counterattack-focused team, so we'll have to be careful today. Our first attempt is a direct free kick by Wein that Zingerle deflects wide with some trouble, and our second is exactly the same, only five minutes later. We don't create much from normal attacking play, though, and that's concerning.

We try to switch the focus of our attacks to the wings, hoping to find more space there, and after a while without success Sidler at least manages to find Bär with a cross from the left, although the raumdeuter's header is easy for Zingerle. That's still the closest to an actual chance we get in the first half, though. Meanwhile Paderborn are more than happy to just defend, and that means no goals.

HALF TIME - 0-0

It takes only five minutes of the second half to make sure that our current wing players aren't working, and Sané and Arce take their places hoping for more production. The effect isn't immediately obvious, although we start looking a bit more sharp in attack and Dressel gets a decent try with a left-footed shot that goes wide by half a foot or so. Our wings start working then, with Goden and Sané connecting on the right so the winger can shoot, although the position is not ideal and Zingerle saves without trouble.

We don't get any further than that, though, and once again we hit a wall and time starts running out really fast for us. We try to turn the pace up a notch further in the final ten minutes, but there's no result other than a few offsides. In the end Paderborn get what they wanted: a goalless snorefest.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 0
SC Paderborn 07 0

- - -

Not the best note on which to go on a one-month break, I guess. A point is a point, but we really looked toothless today. Defensive teams always give us trouble, particularly if they play with three at the back or with an anchor in front of their defense, or god forbid with both. Maybe we should rescue the 4-2-3-1 for these games, I'd shelved it as too risky for the 2.Bundesliga but it might be worth a try. In any case, we gain one place and climb up to the fifth position, six points away from the promotion playoff and fourteen over the relegation playoff. Not a bad place to be by any means.

Sané suffered a twisted knee in the final minutes of the game, nothing serious and it should heal within a few days.

Edited by Dalbeider
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Nov 14th 2022

We line up a few friendly games for the World Cup break, just to keep our players active and to give some playing time to a few of our promising reserves. Also as a final test for Lovera, who against Paderborn had one of his usual no-shows. Then again so did all of our attackers, so it might not be just on him this time.

It's also a good time to discuss issues with the players. First one to my door is Lex, who hasn't been playing much if at all lately and wants to go out on loan. Perfectly fair, and considering his level keeps dropping as he grows older and right now our staff consider him barely good enough for the 3.Liga, it's very unlikely he'll get any regular play time here, even if Lovera ends up leaving. So request granted, although he'll have to wait until January to leave, assuming there are teams interested.

Nov 18th 2022

And a good time for injuries, it seems. Bär suffers a hip injury in training and will miss two to three months of training. Between the World Cup and the winter break it shouldn't amount to many actual matches, but still hurts.

Nov 20th 2022

Still more increases to transfer revenue from the board, now up to 75% for the first €30M we earn, then 40% afterwards. Surprising given our funds are creeping closer to the red zone by the month, although I imagine the board consider the prize money we'll receive at the end of the season, something the 3.Liga didn't have and which I'll welcome very, very much when it happens.

* * *

Stuttgarter Kickers vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

First of four friendlies we've prepared for the break, three of them away to lower division German teams and then a home match against Hajduk to test ourselves against a regular in European competitions. We start with our 4-2-3-1 formation and Lovera in his preferred position behind the striker, and he soon shows why he likes it with a good assist so Lohkemper can score the first. We're not exactly overwhelmingly better, though, and on the 21st a cross from the right allows Hoxha to pull level with a perfect downwards header. The goal wakes us up and we go to create many chances, although our accuracy is terrible for a change (not). Finally it's a header from Sané after a cross from Arce that bends the keeper's hands and becomes the 2-1. Early in the second hand Tallig assists Lex for the third with a nice through ball, and from then we go on to dominate effortlessly and secure a solid win. First test passed with good grades.

Stuttgarter Kickers 1 (Lirim Hoxha 21)
TSV 1860 München 3 (Felix Lohkemper 10, Sidi Sané 40, Stefan Lex 48)

Nov 21st 2022

Remember when we signed those two youngsters for the reserves a couple of months ago? Well, one of them, center back Phil Zimmermann, just broke his foot in a bad fall in training and will be out for 4-5 months. There goes any hope of loaning him out, or of him developing at all during this season, I guess. Oh well, nothing lost, if we still think we can get something out of him come the end of the season we might extend his contract then.

Nov 27th 2022

Türkgücü München vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

Our second friendly brings us almost literally across the street to the Olympiastadion to play our neighbors Türkgücü, who're currently 10th but only three points over the relegation zone in an extremely tight 3.Liga (8 points between 7th and 18th!). A penalty on Lang in a corner kick gives us the chance to take the lead early, and Lohkemper doesn't miss. The striker grabs the second later in the first half with a great run through the center, following many other chances. Reserve forward Ouro-Tagba scores our third already in the second half, heading in a corner kick, then Dressel makes it for with a powerful header. Türpitz grabs two consolation goals for Türkgücü in the final minutes when we relax a bit too much, but our victory is never in question.

Türkgücü München 2 (Philip Türpitz 80 89)
TSV 1860 München 4 (Felix Lohkemper 15p 29, Mansour Ouro-Tagba 49, Dennis Dressel 65)

Dec 4th 2022

FC Ismaning vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

A more relaxed fixture today against minnows Ismaning. Or that was the plan at least, but our terrible finishing means it takes us a while to take the lead. Thirty-one minutes exactly, and only thanks to a steal plus cross by Sané into Lohkemper's finish. The second has to wait until the second half so reserve winger Harper can half-volley in a cross from the left, and then he goes to assist Dressel for the third, scored with a screamer from distance. We even allow Ismaning to get one back in the final minutes, another long shot by Press that Müller can't even dream of stopping. All in all, a somewhat disappointing performance.

FC Ismaning 1 (Erich Press 88)
TSV 1860 München 3 (Felix Lohkemper 31, Cameron Harper 55, Dennis Dressel 75)

Dec 5th 2022

The World Cup is already in its first knockout round, with some surprises having taken place in the group stage. The United States and Nigeria were beaten to the second place of their group by South Korea, Qatar topped their group ahead of Croatia, Colombia, and Serbia, then Jamaica shocked group G by finishing second behind Spain and ahead of both Algeria and Denmark. So far the second round has seen Qatar flexing their home field advantage (so to speak) with a 2-0 win over South Korea, Germany defeating Italy on penalties, and Brazil and France having very narrow wins over Croatia and Uruguay.

Dec 7th 2022

A first glance at the next batch of youngsters to come from the academy looks quite promising, with top-grade prospects in five different positions. These things always turn out very differently when they happen for real, though, so let's wait until March and see what we get this time.

Dec 9th 2022

TSV 1860 München vs. HNK Hajduk Split (Friendly)

Last match of the break, facing a serious rival in Hajduk to see if our 4-2-3-1 works when your opposition is actually strong. The start of the game looks more than fine, and after a couple of chances Lovera opens the score early with a nifty little chip over the keeper, well assisted by Lohkemper. The striker then makes it two immediately after thanks to a bad decision by the keeper in a deep free kick, and next it's Arce who finishes from close a cross by Goden, scoring the 3-0 with less than twenty minutes played. After such a blowout start we slow things down and maintain our lead until half time. In the second half Hajduk seem to try to get back into the game with an early goal, but their attempts are few and misguided, and we just let the clock tick until the game ends.

TSV 1860 München 3 (Maximiliano Lovera 9, Felix Lohkemper 12, Billy Arce 19)
HNK Hajduk Split 0

- - -

Not a bad show, this one. The 4-2-3-1 seems to be working fine for the most part, and with versatile midfield players like Tallig or Dressel we should be able to switch between our two main tactics on the fly without issue. It also gives us the chance to use Lovera in his natural position, which is a plus. We'll give it a try in our next league match and see if it's worth using regularly.

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Dec 10th 2022

World Cup report part the second: the first knockout round brought one more shock when Mexico defeated Belgium 2-0, but for the most part it was either even matchups (England over the Netherlands, Spain over Portugal) or very one-sided ties (Argentina over Jamaica). We're now in the quarterfinals, and Qatar's dream run has just ended in a 0-2 defeat against Germany, while Spain fell in a narrow 1-2 defeat to England. Brazil-France and Argentina-Mexico are the other ties, and whoever wins the semifinals look promising already.

Dec 16th 2022

France and Mexico(!) won their ties, and the semifinals put them against each other, while Germany faced England in the other match. Both games ended in narrow 2-1 wins, and as a result France and Germany will face in the final, to be played simultaneously with our league game against Dresden. ...Wait a second, why the hell did we have this break if we can just play while the World Cup is still ongoing?!

Dec 18th 2022

SG Dynamo Dresden (8th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 17/34)

Back to the league after a long break, and we reach the halfway point of the season with a trip to Dresden. Dynamo have been roughly where expected so far, midtable and without making much noise in one direction or another. That said, with how tight the league is right now both them and us could end up either top or bottom half with just a single win or loss. A pretty even game with uncertain result.

* * *

DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Kevin Broll (GK); Erlend Dahl Reitan (DR), Kevin Ehlers (DCr), Tim Knipping (DCl), Chris Löwe (DL); Yannick Stark (MCr), Niklas Hauptmann (MCl); Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer (AMR), Julius Kade (AMC), Oliver Batista Meier (AML), Christoph Daferner (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Jayson Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AMC), Bruno Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

I have this sudden urge to sign Dresden's left back for some reason... Anyway, mirror match for our new-ish 4-2-3-1 formation, let's see how it holds up. Dynamo seem to have the upper hand in the early game, soon testing Kretzschmar with a direct free kick by Batista Meier that the keeper pushes wide, then following it up with a high header by Königsdörffer in the resulting corner kick. Another header by Daferner after a quick break goes wide, and it's obvious we're struggling to get past their high lines of pressure.

After a while we finally start finding ways through, and on the 18th Lohkemper can finally get a shot in after a cross by Goden, still an easy catch for Broll. It's a mirage, though, and a set piece four minutes later ends with Königsdörffer shooting, Kretzschmar saving, and Stark gathering the rebound in a dubious (but legal according to VAR) position and scoring the 1-0. Immediately after restarting, however, we mount a beautiful passing play that ends with Dressel crossing low from the left into the heart of the box so Lovera can place a shot into the net and pull level instantly. His first official goal for 1860, by the way. Took him long enough.

Momentum shifts slightly after the draw, and we start controlling the ball more and getting into good shooting positions. Lovera has another chance to beat Broll with a placed shot, but this time the keeper dives well and gathers the ball. Dynamo are still dangerous, though, and a quick break through the center by Kade almost becomes the 2-1, but Kretzschmar performs one of his lately forgotten miracle saves to keep the game tied. Two more saves by the keeper to an easy header from Daferner and to a dangerous shot by Kade mark the end of the first half.

HALF TIME - 1-1

We make a few tactical tweaks in half time to try and have better control of the ball and to improve our transition into midfield, and apparently they work a treat: seven minutes in we pass the ball around with impunity for a long minute before finding Sidler on the left so the wing back can cross low towards Lohkemper for an easy tap-in. Königsdörffer has the answer for Dynamo after a short through ball from Daferner, but Kretzschmar dives low to close the near post gap and save again.

We move things around by bringing in Tallig and Lex, moving Lovera to the right and placing Tallig in the center behind Lohkemper. Once again, it works fantastically and immediately: Tallig receives, turns around, and lobs a beautiful high pass towards Lohkemper's run so the striker can hit it as it drops and score the 1-3. With our lead secured we move back to our usual 4-3-3 formation, now with substitute Neudecker as our unorthodox anchor.

Dynamo keep trying, mostly through headers that Kretzschmar catches without issue, while we try to keep the ball and let time do its job, still having a fantastic chance for a fourth in a set piece that Lang heads into the post. The fourth does come eventually, though, after yet another long passing play that Goden ends by assisting Tallig inside the box, allowing the midfielder a curling placed shot to grab his goal and completing a fine performance off the bench. With the game already almost over, a long ball by Lex into nowhere turns into a perfect assist so Lohkemper can run at Broll and complete his second hattrick of the season, rounding up a fantastic team performance in our most comprehensive win so far.

* * *

SG Dynamo Dresden 1 (Yannick Stark 22)
TSV 1860 München 5 (Maximiliano Lovera 23, Felix Lohkemper 52 66 90+4, Erik Tallig 87)

- - -

Now this? This was divine. Exquisite. A perfect way to round up the year and the first half of the season for sure, and proof that yes, our forwards can score, too. The tactic worked after a few tweaks giving us better ways out of the defense without resorting to long balls against high pressing lines like Dresden's, and from then on what had been an even game with a slight edge to Dynamo turned into a slaughterfest. Lovera did fine in the hole, and has earned staying until the end of the season. Kretzschmar is also finally back, his first half was impeccable.

Still riding the high, the players go on holiday for the Christmas season and all are expected back in training on the 3rd of January.

Meanwhile, in Qatar, the 2022 World Cup ends with France winning their second consecutive trophy after a 3-2 extra time win over Germany in the final, with none other than Paul Pogba grabbing the deciding goal in the 103rd minute. England got the consolation prize of finishing third after defeating Mexico on penalties after a goalless draw in the playoff. Players-wise the big name of the tournament was, surprisingly, Mexico's striker Raúl Jiménez, who fell only two goals short of beating Just Fontaine's impossible record of thirteen goals in one World Cup. The Golden Ball went to Mbappé ahead of Kimmich and Adeyemi, Neuer won the Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper of the tournament, and Adeyemi was picked as the best young player.

* * *

| Pos  | Inf   | Team               | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | GD    | Pts   |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 1st  |       | Fortuna Düsseldorf | 17    | 14    | 1     | 2     | 41    | 14    | 27    | 43    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 2nd  |       | Greuther Fürth     | 17    | 11    | 3     | 3     | 29    | 18    | 11    | 36    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 3rd  |       | Arminia Bielefeld  | 17    | 10    | 4     | 3     | 30    | 13    | 17    | 34    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 4th  |       | Schalke 04         | 17    | 9     | 5     | 3     | 28    | 13    | 15    | 32    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 5th  |       | 1860 München       | 17    | 7     | 7     | 3     | 27    | 17    | 10    | 28    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 6th  |       | Nürnberg           | 17    | 8     | 4     | 5     | 27    | 21    | 6     | 28    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 7th  |       | Werder Bremen      | 17    | 7     | 5     | 5     | 23    | 15    | 8     | 26    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 8th  |       | SC Paderborn       | 17    | 7     | 4     | 6     | 25    | 22    | 3     | 25    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 9th  |       | Jahn Regensburg    | 17    | 7     | 4     | 6     | 24    | 21    | 3     | 25    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 10th |       | Hamburg            | 17    | 7     | 4     | 6     | 19    | 18    | 1     | 25    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 11th |       | Dynamo Dresden     | 17    | 7     | 4     | 6     | 20    | 21    | -1    | 25    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 12th |       | Darmstadt          | 17    | 7     | 3     | 7     | 22    | 23    | -1    | 24    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 13th |       | Hannover 96        | 17    | 5     | 6     | 6     | 19    | 24    | -5    | 21    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 14th |       | Holstein Kiel      | 17    | 3     | 4     | 10    | 24    | 41    | -17   | 13    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 15th |       | Duisburg           | 17    | 3     | 3     | 11    | 17    | 34    | -17   | 12    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 16th |       | St. Pauli          | 17    | 3     | 2     | 12    | 15    | 33    | -18   | 11    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 17th |       | Ingolstadt         | 17    | 2     | 3     | 12    | 12    | 36    | -24   | 9     |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 18th |       | Sandhausen         | 17    | 1     | 4     | 12    | 14    | 32    | -18   | 7     |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

If I could get a wish granted right now, I'd ask for the season to end with the league table exactly like this. A fifth place in our first season in the 2.Bundesliga would be absolutely fantastic, and also a much more realistic outcome than us promoting straight up to the Bundesliga. Not to mention less potentially painful in the long term... We've had some lows in the last eight matches, but this last match against Dresden gives me hope of actually sticking around the top half until the end and, who knows, maybe push for the playoffs if the results go the right way. In any case, 28 points at the halfway point is an outstanding haul, and we only need a couple more wins to reach the 35 which more often than not mean you will not relegate from this league. Almost there.

As for the rest, Fortuna Düsseldorf are still the clear stand-out team, even more solid leaders than we were in the 3.Liga just one year ago. Fürth, Bielefeld, and Schalke might have a chance of catching up, but it's likely they'll be left to fight for scraps. Then there's a huge pack of teams within 4 points of each other, currently led by none other than TSV, and any one of these teams could end up as a promotion challenger if they manage a good streak of results. Hannover are left hanging a bit behind, and then there's the five relegation candidates, with Ingolstadt and Sandhausen still at the bottom but not looking much worse than their other three companions right now. A league in three sections, so to speak.

PLAYER STATS
============

Average rating (min. 6 games played):

Felix Lohkemper           7.40 (15(1) apps)
Daniel Wein               7.34 (11(1) apps)
Gastón Hernández          7.30 (16 apps)
Dennis Dressel            7.11 (14(4) apps)
Kevin Goden               7.08 (11(3) apps)

Goals:

Felix Lohkemper             12 goals
Dennis Dressel               3
Billy Arce                   3
Marcel Bär                   3
Sidi Sané                    2

Assists:

Sidi Sané                    3 assists
Erik Tallig                  3
Dennis Dressel               3
Marcel Bär                   3
4 players                    2


ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD

  • Bundesliga: a surprisingly even league so far. Yes, Bayern are leading, but they're actually tied on points with RB Leipzig, and BVB are four points behind but with *two* games in hand, while Leverkusen have one and trail the leaders by only five points. The rest of the league are far behind the leading pack, though, with Wolfsburg and Stuttgart slightly ahead in the remaining European places. The fight to avoid relegation is also extremely close, with teams placed 13th to 17th within only four points of each other. Bochum is dead last with only 2 points so far, though, and look as good as gone.
  • Premier League: still four games to go until the halfway point, but things are also quite tightly contested in England. Chelsea have a small four-point lead at the top, but City, Arsenal, and United are tied on points right behind, and Liverpool, Newcastle, and Leicester aren't much farther behind. The big shock this year so far have been Conference League champions Spurs, who sit on a very uncomfortable 14th place, although safe from relegation just due to the fact that the bottom three have been absolutely terrible so far. Fulham are the least bad with 9 points, so imagine how well Stoke and Palace have been doing...
  • LaLiga: the dead are walking the Earth! Or at least Spain! Everyone thought Barcelona would be in for a long dry spell due to their money problems and somewhat limited squad, yet here they are leading the table with four points over Real Madrid and *thirteen* over third-placed Atlético. Back to times of splendor indeed. Ansu Fati and ter Stegen seem to be carrying them hard, but so far it's enough. Celta are the surprising fourth Champions League team right now, with Villarreal and Valencia behind and Sevilla outside of Europe, but all four of them plus Atlético are within just two points, so anything goes there. Just promoted Sporting look ready to go straight down with only five points so far, while the other relegation spots are wide open, with Cádiz and Málaga occupying them currently.
  • Serie A: unexpected leaders in Italy, too, with Lazio looking pretty on top and two points ahead of both Juventus and Milan, with Inter, Sampdoria, Roma, Sassuolo, and Atalanta in a tight pack a bit farther away. Again, disappointing start by mid-table Napoli, but we said the same last year and they made it to the Europa League in the end, so who knows. Lecce and Monza are having a tough time at the bottom, although not as bad as the worst teams in other leagues, and Salernitana are the third team in the red zone but with a reasonable shot at making it out soon.
  • Ligue 1: no surprises in France, though, because PSG would need more than a few miracles to be dislodged from the top, even after Mbappé left for Real Madrid. Led by Messi, who's already announced he'll retire at the end of the season, they have a healthy seven-point lead over a resurrected OL, who lead a very tight pack of chasers ahead of Nice, Monaco, Nantes (!) and Montpellier, with Marseille, Saint-Étienne, Clermont, and Rennes just behind outside the European places. The hopeless team in Ligue 1 seems to be last-placed Nimes, with only six points, although nine-point Lorient aren't far behind in terribleness. Nancy and Reims still have a good chance of making it out alive.
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Dec 29th 2022

Six months left in most contracts all over the world, including our own. Thankfully this year should be simpler than the last for us, since the only first team members on expiring deals are Bär and Neudecker. Neither of them is exactly a top priority for an urgent extension right now, particularly Neudecker since he's been even worse this year than last and we might actually let him walk in the summer. The rest are young prospects and loaned-out players who most likely will have to wait until the end of the season to see what happens. There's a couple of exceptions, namely Cameron Harper and Yusuf Kabadayi, who might be offered a new deal before then, but otherwise we can afford to mostly ignore this issue for now, assuming no other teams come offering contracts in the meantime.

Jan 1st 2023

Happy new year!

Transfer window reopens, and we have a few things to deal with. First and most pressing of all is trying to find a loan for Lex, which might be hard to do considering his age. Then, if he does leave, we'll need another player for the left wing in his place. If all else fails, recalling Kabadayi from Berliner AK is always a possibility. Also, if we're playing 4-2-3-1 often from now on, we might need to find another forward, since Lovera will be busy playing as attacking midfielder and Arce would become our only left winger. On the other hand, if we *do* end up playing 4-2-3-1 often, we have too many midfielders, particularly defensive ones.

There doesn't seem to be much interest in our players right now, with the exception of Heracles trailing Neudecker. Oh, and Molumby's contract expires in the summer, so we might want to try and sign him, even though he hasn't played much with us so far due to injuries.

Also, we're officially in red numbers. Of course it's a temporary state of affairs until the end of the season prize money comes to us, but it's still a somewhat worrying sight. Might explain why the board haven't called me to change the season expectations in exchange for extra budgets this time, hm...

Jan 5th 2023

Good news: Lovera doesn't mind being played in whatever position I please anymore. Just when I actually started playing him in the center like he wanted, great timing...

Jan 8th 2023

TSV 1860 München vs. FC Slovan Liberec (Friendly)

Winter friendly against Slovan, one of the classic Czech teams (have won three leagues since the split with Slovakia) who are currently 8th in their league. They do quite well at keeping the ball away from us, even if at a cost of never really doing anything remotely dangerous with it, and it takes us until a penalty on Arce near the half hour for Lohkemper to give us the lead. One minute later a nod by the striker towards Sané allows the winger to score the second with an easy placed finish. The second half sees Slovan finally trying a couple of shots, but a left-footed 20-yarder by Harper kills their hopes of a comeback. Not much else afterwards other than an offside goal by Ouro-Tagba, and the game ends in an easy win for us.

TSV 1860 München 3 (Felix Lohkemper 29p, Sidi Sané 30, Cameron Harper 57)
FC Slovan Liberec 0

- - -

After the game we make a decision about our forwards situation: Lex is about to leave on loan to the lower tiers, Garching to be precise, literally the only team interested in him at the moment. Problem is, they won't pay a dime of his wages, so if we want to replace him we have to do so with our current wage space, which is... very limited. Due to lack of available opportunities in the market under those restrictions, we decide to pull the trigger and bring Kabadayi back from Berliner AK. We also offer him a new contract to keep him for at least another year, and will be using him as a general purpose backup player for our attack from now on, since he can play in all three positions with equal ease.

Jan 11th 2023

Well, one that got away. Loaned out youngster Mannhardt has received a contract offer from Holstein Kiel and is quite likely he'll sign with them on a free at the end of this season. We tried making a counteroffer since he still has good potential, despite his below average performances this season for Mannheim, but he asked for too much.

Lex also leaves today for Garching. Not a fan of paying €6k per week for a player who's not even with us, but alas, the only alternative was keeping him while unhappy. We even tried to transfer him, but no one made a bid. And he has another year in his contract... Looking back, offering him two years was a bad idea, but I didn't expect him to drop off this fast.

Jan 12th 2023

'tis the season of colds and flus, and Sané got hit the first. He's been sent home for 3-4 days, meaning he's a serious doubt for the upcoming match against Sandhausen. Kabadayi might get a surprise start sooner than expected...

Jan 15th 2023

SV Sandhausen (18th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 18/34)

Back when we started the 2.Bundeliga with a 4-2 win against them I could already tell that Sandhausen would struggle, but I didn't imagine it'd be this badly. Seven points after half a season is terrible no matter how you look at it, and with Ingolstadt starting to pick up wins here and there they're about to be left alone at the bottom of the well. We should profit from their misery, not quickstart their recovery.

* * *

SANDHAUSEN (4-4-1-1): Alexander Meyer (GK); Philipp Treu (DR), Immanuel Höhn (DCr), Sören Gonther (DCl), Chima Okoroji (DL); Cebio Soukou (MR), Janik Bachmann (MCr), Tom Trybull (MCl), Erich Berko (ML); Alen Halilovic (AMC); Malik Tillman (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Jayson Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Yusuf Kabadayi (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AMC), Bruno Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

As expected, Sané didn't make it in time, so Kabadayi starts on the right. Otherwise we play the same eleven that destroyed Dynamo Dresden not too long ago with the exception of Kobald in Hernández's place, while Sandhausen actually have a completely different formation from our first meeting, most likely due to them changing managers midseason.

Rain pours on a mostly empty stadium as we get a very early chance in a corner kick, headed by Arce into Meyer's hands. Sandhausen actually do better than us with possession in the early game, though, although not threatening us much if at all, and the second chance also falls to our side, a cross by Sidler that Lohkemper can't strike with precision and ends up being easy for the keeper. On the 17th Lovera tears apart the defense with a ball through the center towards the left side of the box for Arce to cut in, control, and shoot at the near post to score the 0-1.

The game slows down dramatically after the goal, and while Sandhausen still have a bit more possession than us they don't get anywhere near Kretzschmar. Our attack also remains quiet until the 36th minute, when Arce suddenly speeds up past his pair to enter the box, looks up, and finds Lohkemper in the center for a trivial touch to score the 0-2. The Colombian almost does it again with a pass into space for Kabadayi's run into the box, but the youngster can't get the ball past Meyer. The first half ends 0-2, and it's looked almost too easy so far.

HALF TIME - 0-2

The second half looks like nothing has changed, and quickly enough Lovera finds Sidler with space on the left and the wing back hits the net with his finish, only the wrong side of it. A narrowly wide header by Dressler and another by Arce, this one on target but saved by Meyer, follow while Sandhausen look helpless. Still, we take the foot off the gas soon after, settling into a more controlling shape while we let time do its job.

Sandhausen only get a shot with a direct free kick by Treu, and it's wide and high and no danger at all. In injury time a quick run through the center allows Wein to leave Tallig on the run with nothing but space and Meyer ahead of him, and the attacking midfielder finishes with aplomb and style to round up our win.

* * *

SV Sandhausen 0
TSV 1860 München 3 (Billy Arce 17, Felix Lohkemper 36, Erik Tallig 90+1)

- - -

Easy. Almost too easy, actually. Kretzschmar had zero work to do all afternoon, and we did a professional job at both taking the lead first and securing it later. A no contest, really. Kabadayi had a pretty decent performance for an emergency starter, despite missing an easy goal in the first half.

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Jan 17th 2023

Goden makes the Team of the Week.

Jan 19th 2023

Two pieces of good news for our attack today. One, Bär is back in full training after his hip injury, having missed only two competitive games in the end. Two, we got another loan! Coming all the way from Boca Juniors is Argentinian 24yo Tomás Fernández, a mostly right-footed winger who can play on both sides of the attack and also as a striker or attacking midfielder if needed. The loan agreement specifies right winger as his prefered position, but we'll probably juggle him around a bit since that side is well covered by Bär (if healthy) and Sané. He's a great player in any case, great technique and dribbling, pretty good finishing and crossing, and enough flair and pace to be a threat no matter what role he's used as. He'll be very useful in what remains of this season, and with him and Kabadayi our attacking options are now complete. Best of all? He costs us only 30% of his wages for a total of €1.1k per week, pittance for his quality. And his contract with Boca expires in next December, so we might actually sign him later on if we like what we see. Win-win!

Here comes Moll to bring an end to the happy times: he wants to start more games. True, he's only had five starts in the league so far, but there was a twisted ankle back in August which kinda messed with his playing time. Still, fair, and considering we're mostly playing 4-2-3-1 now we don't really need him as much as we did before, and even if we go back to 4-3-3 we have Wein playing really well this season. And he's 32 already after all, so if we're gonna transfer him now's the moment. Let's see if we can get something out of him.

Jan 20th 2023

Well, we can, and apparently Moll has a pretty decent market in Poland of all places. Rakow Czestochowa, Lechia Gdansk, Zaglebie Lubin, and Heracles Armelo come with a variety of offers around his market value, all of which we accept gladly.

Jan 21st 2023

Now I'm glad we picked up Fernández: Sané will miss 2 to 3 weeks with a pulled hamstring sustained in training today. With Bär still short on fitness, we'll need the new guy on the right for at least a couple of fixtures.

Another veteran on the decline who's unhappy with playing so little and wants a loan out. In Salger's case he's a bit more problematic to let go since an injury to either Sidler or Steinhart could leave us very short on left backs, but I guess his concerns are fair, too, so we'll let him go. With Moll most likely leaving we'll have wage space and cash to try and sign a replacement, ideally a permanent one. Salger's destination will most likely be Erfurt, who offer to pay 60% of his wages.

Jan 22nd 2023

TSV 1860 München (5th) vs. Hamburger SV (7th) (2.Bundesliga, 19/34)

It still feels weird to be ahead of HSV on the table, to be honest. I think our season really started taking off with that 0-1 win at their stadium, but it also kinda sank theirs, too, since a seventh place for the second favorites for the title is nothing short of a huge disappointment. They're still very, very good, though, and we should do well to keep at least some points at Grünwalder Stadion today.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Tomás Fernández (AMR), Erik Tallig (AMC), Bruno Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
HSV (3-2-2-1-2): Daniel Heuer Fernandes (GK); Stephan Kofi Ambrosius (DCr), Sebastian Scholau (DC), Moritz Heyer (DCl; Josha Vagnoman (WBR), Micky van de Ven (WBL); Ludovit Reis (MCr), Ron Schallenberg (MCl); Güven Yalçin (AMC); Steffen Tigges (STr), Afimico Pululu (STl)

* * *

Fernández isn't exactly in the best physical state either, so it's likely he and Bär will play one half each today. Today is our first serious test of the 4-2-3-1 formation against a three center-backs formation, and at the start it looks like HSV are on the offensive, although the first to get close to scoring is Steinhart in a direct free kick Fernandes tips wide. In the end the early game becomes a midfield battle with no clear winner, and both keepers spend a long while just watching the show.

It looks like the first half is gonna end without goals just like that, but in the very last minute Schallenberg sends a ball towards Pululu, who nudges his way past Lang and places a perfect little shot into the back of the net to give Hamburg the lead. A pretty poor first half ends shortly afterwards.

HALF TIME - 0-1

Bär enters the pitch as expected, and we try and see if we can find a way back into this game. At first we still struggle, and after twelve minutes the only action on either goal is a flat shot from distance by Pululu that Kretzschmar catches on his second attempt. We can't seem to find a solution, and HSV look very comfortable on the pitch. On the 74th a run on the right by Vagnoman that Steinhart is unable to stop becomes a cross for Pululu's tap-in, making it 0-2 and locking us out of the game almost for good.

There's still time for Kretzschmar to prevent a third by Yalçin with a great flipping save, but he can't do anything to stop the same Yalçin's placed shot on the 83rd, following a nice passing play between obvious man of the match Pululu and Tigges. To make matters worse Bär misses the consolation goal in injury time, an absolute sitter after a great through ball from Lovera. A high header by Lohkamper, too little to late, marks the end of a nightmare of a match.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 0
Hamburger SV 3 (Afimico Pululu 45 74, Güven Yalçin 83)

- - -

Note to self: if three at the back, don't play 4-2-3-1. This was a disaster, both tactically and individually, and the least said about it the better. Pululu destroyed us with his mobility and Tigges created superiority in midfield by dropping deep and assisting Yalçin to create attacks, and we had no way to counter that with this formation. Lessons learned, I hope.

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Jan 23rd 2023

We continue with our contract extending spree, and the next one to get that treatment is Gresler, still on loan in Türkgücü where he's doing... passably? Regardless, he gets a one year extension because he still has potential to be at least useful at a 2.Bundesliga level and we might get something out of him even if he doesn't stay beyond next summer.

Jan 24th 2023

We secure our first signing for the coming season: 20yo Norwegian striker Mathias Kvistgaarden will join on a free from Brondby on a very cheap €1.5k per week deal. A young prospect with all the makings of a very interesting and complete forward, we'll take him on a one-year deal and probably loan him out to the 3.Liga to see how he does, then work from here, similar to how our two free signings earlier this season were planned to go. If he develops well we could have a very good player in our hands, and if he doesn't, well, nothing lost.

Jan 25th 2023

See what I meant early about loaning Salger out being more dangerous? Now Steinhart strained his groin and will be out for 2-3 weeks, leaving us with just Goden and Sidler as actual full backs. Signing a permanent replacement for Salger now becomes a bit more important, although we still need to get rid of Moll first. Actually Salger himself hasn't left just yet either...

Jan 26th 2023

But wait, it gets worse! Lohkemper also suffers a groin strain, but his case seems to be more serious than Steinhart's and will need 4 to 5 weeks to recover. We're suddenly left without our star striker and best goalscorer by far, and will for a while. Not ideal.

Jan 27th 2023

Salger finally confirms his loan move to Erfurt, who'll pay 60% of his wages and save us €3k per week, plus some extra monthly cash. Minutes later Moll agrees terms with Heracles Almelo and will be moving to the Netherlands in exchange for €450k, which is a very fair price for a 32-year-old already showing early signs of decline. We get €97k added to our transfer budget, and now it's time to invest.

- - -

1.FC Nürnberg (9th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 20/34)

More top-half duels, and considering how the Hamburg one went... Nürnberg shouldn't be up to HSV's level, though, although they did steal a point from our stadium in our first meeting, so we know they're tough to crack anyway. We'll be without Lohkemper, which sucks, but we'll be expecting a much better performance than last time today.

* * *

NÜRNBERG (4-2-3-1): Christian Mathenia (GK); Enrico Valentini (DR), Asger Sorensen (DCr), Florian Hübner (DCl), Fabian Nürnberger (DL); Atakan Karazor (MCr), Mamadou Loum (MCl); Leon Dajaku (AMR), Mats Moller Daehli (AMC), Mustapha Bundu (AML); Manuel Wintzheimer (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Tomás Fernández (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Billy Arce (ST)

* * *

With all the injuries and sales we have to add a few kids into the bench just to make ends meet today. We return to the 4-3-3 today, as we're away from home and countering Nürnberg's offense is our top priority. Seems to work fine, and soon enough Arce's testing Mathenia's reflexes with a good-looking header, well caught by the keeper. Nürnberg answer immediately with a narrowly high shot by Bundu and a not-so-narrowly high one by Valentini, and the game already looks like it's gonna be a lot of fun. Dajaku continues the attack with a placed finish Kretzschmar has some trouble blocking, then a high header in a corner kick by Karazor, as Nürnberg slowly take control of the game.

After such a fun start the game suddenly stops dead on its tracks. Nürnberg have the ball, but neither them nor us can seem to regain enough edge to break down the opposing defense for a long while. A header by Wintzheimer that licks the upside of the bar in the 38th is the first action since the first quarter, and it's also the last of a goalless first half.

HALF TIME - 0-0

We bring Bär and Kabadayi into the game early in the second half, and the youngster gets the first chance of the half not much later, finishing weakly a good movement through the center. We do look much better now, though, and Nürnberg don't seem able to replicate their early game dominance. They have substitutes too, of course, and soon enough Abass comes into the game to assist Bundu, and the winger places a perfect little shot into the corner of Kretzschmar's goal to give Nürnberg the lead on the 68th minute.

We respond quickly with a cross by Goden into Kabadayi's good but slightly high header, which Nürnberg answer with a corner kick headed by Karazor into Kretzschmar's block. Arce has a really good chance on the 73rd following a great cross by a very active Kabadayi, but his shot is very centered and easy for Mathenia to block. Abass then shoots into the sidenetting as the game picks up speed once again as it enters its final minutes. A flipping save by Kretzschmar to Abass's point-blank finish in the 90th minute keeps our hopes alive, but our attack doesn't do its part and we fall in the end.

* * *

1.FC Nürnberg 1 (Mustapha Bundu 68)
TSV 1860 München 0

- - -

Not quite there. Nürnberg deserved to win this game overall, although they happened to score when we were playing our best of the evening, so it hurts a bit. This might be the first time in the whole season we lose two consecutive games, actually... Not good, although with so many key injuries it was kinda coming. Young Kabadayi was our best attacking player today, and that's saying something. Goden picks his fifth yellow, which worsens our selection problems at full back for our next match.

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Jan 31st 2023

Transfer window closes today! For once we're expected to do quite a bit of business with all the wage space (and some cash) we've got from the Salger and Moll deals. We got a few players on trial, mostly South American young players who just recently saw their deals expire and might have some promise for the future, but we also want someone for the first team, ideally a defender, even more ideally someone who can play both center and full back.

The first big thing to happen is Aue coming with a loan offer for Steinhart, with a €170k optional fee attached. Nowhere close to enough, and right now it'd take something really big for me to get rid of any of my (few) full backs. Rejected, but if they come back with an actual transfer offer around €450k-€500k I might think about it.

Second, we secure a loan move for one of our young players, Cameron Harper, who moves to Hankofen until the end of the season to get some minutes in his legs. Depending on how he does there he'll possibly earn a new contract for next season. Phil Zimmermann, the center-back we signed together with Harper and who broke a foot in a training fall a couple of months ago, also moves on loan while still recovering from his injury, to Ammerthal in his case. Same deal for him, although with more lenience since he's one year younger and his development will naturally have suffered from his injury.

And finally, an actual signing for us: Serbian 23yo left back Damjan Danicic moves to TSV on a free transfer after spending a few days on trial with us, following the expiration of his contract with Dinamo Zagreb. His deal is for one year and a half at €2.3k per week, quite cheap, and he should be good enough to give us another solid option on the left, thanks to his good pace, tackling, and crossing. He's still young enough to improve, too, which makes him a pretty good bet as a mid-term replacement for 30-year-old Steinhart.

We also seal a deal for the next season to bring 24yo Italian winger Alessio Tribuzzi from Frosinone to 1860 on a free transfer come July. A player I've had on my radar for a while, he's best played as a right winger although he's also competent as a central midfielder and attacking midfielder. With solid all-around ability in both creation and finalization duties, he's the natural replacement for Bär, even having similar ability in the air. With Bär on the wrong side of 30 and showing signs of decline after his last hip injury, it's very likely he'll be released at the end of this season and Tribuzzi will slot right into his place in the rotation.

It wouldn't be a transfer window closing day without a silly offer from Paderborn. This time it's a €62k offer for Goden with a 20% of future profits clause attached. Try five times that and we might talk, guys. They come back a bit later with a somewhat improved offer (€93k rising to €125k) but still not even close to enough.

And finally, our first paying transfer so far: Dries Wouters, 26yo Belgian center-back-slash-defensive-midfielder, joins from Schalke in exchange for €105k, which will rise to €125k once he plays 50 league games for us. A very solid performer in both of his favoured positions, he comes to replace Moll on paper, but will also become our fourth center-back and rotate with Kobald as our starting ball-playing defender when he's not needed in midfield. Not particularly creative, he's exactly what we need for that role: someone defensive-minded, strong in the air, and who knows how to position himself to stop opposing attacks. His contract will be worth €6k per week until June 2025, a very fair price for a player of his level.

And with that the transfer window closes, and our team is settled for what remains of the season. We'll still hunt down some more expiring contracts for the next one during the coming months, of course.

Feb 3rd 2023

Our injury list grows a bit longer today as Neudecker pulls his knee ligaments in training. He'll be out for at least two weeks. At least Sané should be back soon.

Feb 4th 2023

TSV 1860 München (6th) vs. DSC Arminia Bielefeld (2nd) (2.Bundesliga, 21/34)

This is a quite rough start of the second half of the season, makes me wonder how we managed to do so well at the beginning with the same set of fixtures... Bielefeld are currently one of two teams in the league (Schalke being the other one) capable of keeping pace with Fortuna Düsseldorf, and as a result they look pretty solid in the second place. A third defeat in a row would be troubling, so let's do our best to avoid it.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Damjan Danicic (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Tomás Fernández (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Maximiliano Lovera (ST)
BIELEFELD (4-2-3-1): Stefan Ortega (GK); Kilian Fischer (DR), Nathan de Medina (DCr), Eric Martel (DCl), George Bello (DL); Burak Ince (MCr), Alessandro Schöpft (MCl); Masaya Okugawa (AMR), Sarpreet Singh (AMC), Ilyas Chouaref (AML); Daishawn Redan (ST)

* * *

Wouters and Danicic get starts today, the latter out of necessity since he and Sidler are our only available full backs, unless we count Wein. Arce and Lovera trade positions in the attack, hoping for better performances from both. Bielefeld hold the ball in the first minutes, soon sending a cross for Redan to head into Kretzschmar's arms. Once again we struggle to have the ball due to their high pressing lines, while Bielefeld keep pumping the ball into the box for their forwards to try and finish, Chouaref the next to try and find Kretzschmar in the way.

Things seem to slowly improve for us possession-wise, although still trailing and still allowing good chances, the best a run into space by Redan that ends with the ball hitting the post and bouncing clear. Kretzschmar has more work to do when Okugawa shoots from the edge of the box a bit later, and it's obvious that something has to change. We try moving Fernández to the center and Lovera to the right, and suddenly things click: Wouters sends a long pass over the defense into Arce's run, and the inside forward rounds Ortega to score the 1-0, literally in our first chance of the game.

It couldn't last, though, and not much later Ince sends a through ball of his own towards Redan and the striker beats Kretzschmar to make things level once again. We get a last-second chance to grab the lead in injury time thanks to a set piece finished by Lang on the far post, but Ortega dives to block his finish and the draw stays until half time.

HALF TIME - 1-1

Possession seems more equally split after the break, although the first good chance of the second half falls to Chouaref, who curls a shot wide after a dangerous counterattack. We answer with a counter of our own, Lovera running down the right and passing back to Fernández, but the final shot is blocked by a defender when Ortega looked beaten. A double chance for Lovera and Fernández follows, both of their finishes well parried by the keeper, and things seem to be slowly turning our way.
 
Kabadayi and Dressel come into the game soon after, looking to give us that final push. Chances keep coming, although always lacking in finishing until in the 70th minute Lovera finds Kabadayi with space ahead, the youngster runs into the box, and is tripped by Schlöpf for a VAR penalty. Arce doesn't miss from the spot and our lead is back on. This time Arminia can't get an instant reply, mostly thanks to Chouaref blasting the ball horribly wide when alone against Kretzschmar just five minutes later.

Things seem to slow down after that, much to our relief, and only a weak header by Lovera easily caught by Ortega breaks the midfield play in the next ten minutes. Immediately after, though, a long ball by Wouters towards Lovera finds the forward with lots of space to run and cross from, and he does so to find Arce unmarked for an easy first-time finish and his first hattrick with TSV, putting the game beyond any doubt with five minutes on the clock. Or well, that was the idea, but a quick run down the right ends with a death pass from Prietl to Chouaref, who doesn't miss from point blank and makes it 3-2 on the 88th. There are no more problems beyond that, though, and we score a massive win to put us back in the right track.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 3 (Billy Arce 28 71p 85)
DSC Arminia Bielefeld 2 (Daishawn Redan 36, Ilyas Chouaref 88)

- - -

Now that was unexpected, particularly after the first thirty minutes or so in which Bielefeld basically dominated us at our own game. We did well enough to survive that, though, and from then on the game was all ours, minus their counterattacks. Moving Lovera to the right seems to have been the right move today, he became much more participative and dangerous there. Fernández remains a disappointment so far, though, no matter where he plays he looks out of place. Good show by the new guys, too, particularly Wouters. One more point for the thirty-five!

Huh, apparently Karlsruhe might be interested in signing me as their manager? Not sure if just rumormongering or something more substantial to it, but in any case I remain focused on 1860 until we achive all our objectives.

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Feb 7th 2023

Arce and Lovera are selected in the Team of the Week, both very deservingly so.

Looks like Dortmund won't be repeating last year's win in the DFB Pokal this year, as they just got defeated by Hoffenheim in the quarterfinals. In fact this round was the bane of all three top favourites, with Bayern losing 3-2 to Leverkusen and Hertha defeating RB Leipzig on penalties. Freiburg will be the fourth team in a wide open semifinal round.

Feb 11th 2023

Holstein Kiel (14th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 22/38)

Kiel have managed a few good results lately which have propelled them six points away from the relegation battle happening right below them. They're now deep in no-man's land seven points away from Regensburg in 13th and with the constant threat of being pulled back into the mix should their form slip just a bit. Meanwhile, we should be building up on our win against Arminia and try and put some pressure on the promotion hopefuls ahead of us.

* * *

KIEL (4-3-3): Ioannis Gelios (GK); Eduardo Fereira (DR), Florian Ballas (DCr), Stefan Thesker (DCl), Sandro Theler (DL); Patrick Erras (DM), Gianluca Gaudino (MCr), Steven Skrzybski (MCl); Holmbert Fridjónsson (AMR), Florian Pick (AML), Joel Pohjanpalo (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Jayson Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Marcel Bär (AMR), Maximiliano Lover (AMC), Tomás Fernández (AML), Billy Arce (ST)

* * *

Back to the 4-2-3-1 for today, still without Lohkemper so Arce takes the point once again. Goden and Bär return to the lineup, while Sané is on the bench ready to feature in the second half. Even game in the initial minutes, with Kiel getting a first look at goal with a wide header by Pohjanpalo four minutes in. Ballas gets much closer in a corner kick eight minutes later, hitting the crossbar and bouncing away from any prospective finishers. We slowly increase our possession rate, although we struggle a lot when it comes to reaching Gelios' goal.

Things slow down even further after the first fifteen minutes pass, not helped by a downpour that starts halfway through the first half. A curler by Pick on the 36th minute goes wide to Kretzschmar's left in the only further action in the whole half, other than Goden having to be replaced by Danicic seconds before the end due to a hand injury.

HALF TIME - 0-0

We look much sharper after some tweaking in the dressing room, and soon after kick off Fernández and Arce enjoy a good double chance, but Gelios stops the first and a defender gets in the way of the second. Sané soon replaces Bär to give us a bit more bite on the right, while Kabadayi takes the place of a once again very ineffective Fernández. Then, on the 64th, Kiel's first approach of the half ends with the ball at substitute Santiago Rodríguez's feet inside the small box and the winger, helped by Kretzschmar's ill-advised rush, scores the 1-0 with ease.

We pour forward looking for the draw, and in the 76th our left flank finally produces when Danicic assists an unmarked Kabadayi so the youngster can bet Gelios' soft hands with his finish and grab the 1-1, and his first senior goal for us. Not much happens in the following minutes, with both teams vying for dominance but neither getting anywhere close to the winner, except for a surprise strike by Mehlem in injury time in which Kretzschmar redeems himself with a fine and decisive save. In the end, a fair draw.

* * *

Holstein Kiel 1 (Santiago Rodríguez 64)
TSV 1860 München 1 (Yusuf Kabadayi 76)

- - -

Well, here's the thirty-fifth point, yay? Not exactly the best of matches, but I'll take an away draw even if it comes after a subpar performance. Good goal by Kabadayi, too, hopefully the first of many. He's been having some good performances as of late as an impact sub, and looks ready to take an starting place soon.

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Feb 12th 2023

And now it's Werder who apparently are interested in me. Well, that'd be an interesting job for sure, but again, not now. Call me back when 1860 have won the Bundesliga.

Feb 16th 2023

Here I was thinking that it was nice most of our injured players would be back in action soon, and there goes Wein twisting his ankle in training. We'll be without him for 3-4 weeks, which means Wouters will be the default starter at the anchor whenever we play 4-3-3 during this time.

Feb 17th 2023

TSV 1860 München (5th) vs FC Ingolstadt 04 (16th) (Bundesliga, 23/34)

More relegation candidates, with Ingolstadt having just escaped the direct drop zone after defeating Werder last week, pushing Duisburg into the hole instead. Regardless, this is a game we should be winning, injuries or not.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Dries Wouters (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Jayson Molumby (MCr), Erik Tallig (MCl); Tomás Fernández (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AMC), Yusuf Kabadayi (AML), Billy Arce (ST)
INGOLSTADT (4-4-2 diamond narrow): Fabijan Buntic (GK); Dejan Sorescu (DR), Visar Musliu (DCr), Korbinian Burger (DCl), Stefano Celozzi (DL); Tobias Schröck (DM), Marc Stendera (MCr), Merlin Röhl (MCl), Christopher Scott (AMC); Filip Bilbija (STr), Valmir Sulejmani (STl)

* * *

Start for Kabadayi as a reward for his latest good performances off the bench. He soon rewards us with a fantastic pass towards Fernández, who runs into the box and smashes his finish into Buntic, because of course he does. We still have a hard time holding the ball against such an overloaded midfield, though, and Ingolstadt also have their great chance to score on the 18th, a run into space by Sorescu that ends with the ball sent into the stratosphere by the full back.

Slowly, very slowly, we start taking control of the situation, even after Arce takes a blow to the knee that leaves him reeling. On the 32nd minute a long passing play in and all around the box finally finds a gap on the left, with Sidler assisting Kabadayi so the youngster places it into the back of the net through the gap left by Buntic at the near post. The rest of the half is a calm affair, with only Tallig trying luck from distance but finding the keeper well positioned. Not the best of halves, but we're still ahead.

HALF TIME - 1-0

Things remain tense but not particularly sharp in attack after the break, with Bilbija only managing a high header in a corner kick to break the tedium. We produce very little, too, even after bringing Dressel and Sané into the game, and it takes us until the 71st to get a shot in, even if it's a terribly high attempt by Wouters. A weak finish by Sané after a good run down the right on the 84th and a high ball by substitute striker Ferati already in injury time are the only half-relevant things to happen afterwards. This borefest ends in our win, and that's the best that can be said about it.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 1 (Yusuf Kabadayi 32)
FC Ingolstadt 04 0

- - -

Poor win, but still worth three points. We would've been in trouble today if Ingolstadt had half decent accuracy in their finishing, but then again if they did they wouldn't be as deep in trouble as they are. Meanwhile Kabadayi scores again and keeps showing the South American loanees how it's done. Good work by the defensive unit, too.

Arce suffers pulled knee ligaments after that knock on his knee during the first half, he'll miss three weeks. Lohkemper can't return soon enough...

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Feb 21st 2023

Sidler, Wouters, and Hernández almost fill the whole defense in the Team of the Weak.

Feb 24th 2023

Hannover 96 (8th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 24/34)

Hannover seem to have picked up the pace, although most certainly too late to mount a serious push for promotion. They're at least in a form good enough to stay in the top half, and we'll have to be at our best today if we're to get anything out of this match.

* * *

HANNOVER (3-2-2-2-1): Ron-Robert Zieler (GK); Cédric Kipré (DCr), Josip Stanisic (DC), Amos Pieper (DCl); Jakub Kaminski (WBR), Andreas Poulsen (WBL); Johannes Geis (MCr), Svante Ingelsson (MCl); Armindo Sieb (AMCr), Dominik Kaiser (AMCl); Ishak Belfodil (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AML), Tomás Fernández (ST)

* * *

Lohkemper, Steinhart, and Neudecker all make the bench today, already recovered from their injuries but short in fitness for a complete match. Hannover's 3-6-1 variant is one we hadn't seen since losing to Kaiserslautern at home last season, so not particularly good vibes there. Still, it only takes us three minutes for Dressel to cross low into the box so Lovera can control, turn around and shoot right-footed past Zieler to score the 0-1. A weak header by Sieb is Hannover's first response, but their second is much more dangerous: through ball to Belfodil, who outspeeds Kobald and shoots across the goal to score the 1-1 with only eight minutes played. Quite the start of the match.

Lovera continues monopolizing our danger, sending a direct free kick towards the top left corner and forcing Zieler to a difficult save. Fernández also has a fantastic chance following a great assist from Sané, but once again his finishing fails him and the ball ends up bouncing off the post when he was through the defense and with only Zieler ahead. His second chance, this time after a long ball from Sidler, meets the gloves of the keeper instead. Things look set for a draw at half time despite our great chances, but in injury time a long throw-in by Ingelsson finds Poulsen absolutely unmarked and the wingback rifles it in from close to score the second, giving Hannover the lead just before half time.

HALF TIME - 2-1

After reassuring the players that they were doing fine despite the result, we start looking for the draw from the get-go, forcing Hannover into their own half. A high ball by Tallig and a blocked shot by Lovera are our first approaches, and our pressure only intensifies once Lohkemper makes his much expected return to action. It's Lovera who has our next chance, though, a difficult finish from a tight angle that Zieler pushes away with more trouble than expected. Another injury returnee, Steinhart, also makes his reappearence with a direct free kick straight into the woodwork.

We're dominating and deserving to score, but the goal just doesn't seem to want to come and time keeps running out. Even Neudecker tries luck from distance, also hitting the crossbar with thirteen minutes on the clock. Hannover finally decide to show up near Kretzschmar's goal with a wide header by Belfodil a bit later, which Fernández follows up with a narrowly high belter from distance. We pour ourselves on the attack in the final minutes, but the result doesn't change at all, and the three points stay in Hannover.

* * *

Hannover 96 2 (Ishak Belfodil 8, Andread Poulsen 45+3)
TSV 1860 München 1 (Maximiliano Lovera 3)

- - -

Unfair result, bad finishing, yadda yadda, we've been here before. Today was particularly egregious, though, as we more than doubled Hannover in shots at goal yet came out empty-handed in the end. Umpteenth disappointing game for Fernández, who's gonna find himself out of the starting eleven as soon as Lohkemper is back in full fitness, and I don't care one bit if his team protests. For all I raged about Lovera in the early season, at least he did something useful from time to time. Fernández only misses sitters.

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Mar 3rd 2023

TSV 1860 München (5th) vs. MSV Duisburg (16th) (2.Bundesliga, 25/34)

Just like Ingolstadt had just escaped the red zone when we met them, so has Duisburg now that we're facing them, bringing Ingolstadt back down. St. Pauli and Kiel are starting to run away from both of them and Sandhausen, though, so it looks like a matter of three when it comes to relegation now. They'll want a win to subvert that, or at least to consolidate themselves in the playoff place, but our job is to get the points and keep them down.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Richard Neudecker (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AMC), Yusuf Kabadayi (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
DUISBURG (4-4-2): Patrick Wiegers (GK); Antonios Papadopoulos (DR), Rolf Fletcher (DCr), Marvin Knoll (DCl), Aleksandar Ignjovski (DL); Alaa Bakir (MR), Marvin Bakalorz (MCr), Niclas Stierlin (MCl), Aaron Seydel (ML); Orhan Ademi (STr), Dennis Borkowski (STl)

* * *

Lohkemper returns to the lineup, together with Neudecker and Steinhart, although it's likely that all three will need replaced in the second half. Another start for Kabadayi on the left, too, ahead of Fernández. It's another rainy evening in the Bavarian winter, in which Duisburg line up almost the same as they did in our previous meeting. For once we look dominant from the start, although Steinhart has to do his job with a great one-on-one save against Bakir on the 12th minute while we stick to a few long shots and weak headers here and there, at least until Lohkemper gets finally involved and assists Sané inside the box, the winger's finish blocked by Knoll.

It takes until the 31st minute for us to get close once again thanks to a narrowly high free kick by Steinhart, even though the ball is still under our control most of the time. Wiegers has to intervent to save another free kick by our left back three minutes later, and then it's Kabadayi assisting Lohkemper with a through ball, but the striker can't get past the keeper with his finish. Finally, on the 42nd, Sané receives the ball near the edge of the box and the winger dribbles his way inside to the right before crossing low back towards the center, where Lohkemper shows up to tap it in and score the 1-0. With that and little else, the first half ends.

HALF TIME - 1-0

Duisburg try to attack a bit more in the second half, starting with a cross by Bakir into Borkowski's wide header. Same thing for their second attempt, only this time the ball goes over the bar. We answer with a great ball from Hernández to Sané, Wiegers stops his finish, then dives back into his goal to miraculously block the follow-up by Kabadayi. Another great ball by the defender towards Kabadayi kickstars another chance, finished by Tallig and tipped over by the keeper. The tide completely turned, now it's Dressel's turn to try luck from distance, but his 20-yarder hits the crossbar and deflects away. Another curler by Tallig finds Wiegers' glove on the way to the top corner, but the second goal is sure to be coming soon at this rate.

That's when the game slows down, of course, and the chances stop flowing freely like before. We restart things with a high free kick by Dressel on the 74th, but it takes fourteen more minutes for another chance to appear, this time a run into space by Sané that ends in another great save by Wiegers, not leaving any gap uncovered. Duisburg don't seem able nor willing go profit from our wastefulness, thankfully, and after an uneventful injury time the match ends in our victory.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 1 (Felix Lohkemper 42)
MSV Duisburg 0

- - -

About time we managed to beat Duisburg, really. Today it was thorough domination but terrible finishing for us, somewhat reminiscent of our exploits last season. Thankfully Lohkemper put in the one he had, otherwise we might be talking about another unfair draw. We ended the game with a xG of 2.82 for Duisburg's 0.39. Solid performance overall, with our center-backs in particular having a very good day in defense, and another good show by Kabadayi, who keeps growing day by day.

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Mar 6th 2023

Bär will be sent home for about two weeks as he recovers from a late case of winter flu. He hasn't been playing much, and giving how he's dropping off about as fast as Lex and Salger did despite being two years younger, it seems clear that his contract won't be extended this summer. That hip injury seems to have done a number on him, he just hasn't been the same afterwards.

Mar 10th 2023

SSV Jahn Regensburg (13th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (Bundesliga, 26/34)

Regensburg have spent most of the season idling their time away in the lower end of the pack, never quite making it out of the bottom half. Should be a normal game with little significance for either team, but we have one extra motivation today: putting at least a couple past Hiller. We owe him for being the main culprit behind our first defeat of this season.

* * *

REGENSBURG (4-4-2): Marco Hiller (GK); Steve Breitkreuz (DR), Tim Rieder (DCr), Souleymane Diaby (DCl), Andrija Raznatovic (DL); Benedikt Saller (MR), Max Besuschkow (MCr), Majeed Ashimeru (MCl), Marin Popovic (ML); Andreas Albers (STr), Anthony Ujah (STl)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Dries Wouters (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Taylor Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Erik Tallig (AMC), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Arce is back in action today, while Lovera takes a bit of a rest to let Tallig play in the hole, since he did well there off the bench last day. Our revenge against Hiller takes exactly three minutes to consumate: free kick taken from the right flank by Arce and powerful header by Sané on the far post to score the 0-1 before either team has had a chance to settle down on the pitch. The keeper couldn't do much there, but he can and does against Arce in our next chance following a neat long ball from Molumby. He also dives well to block a bicycle kick by Sané, more spectacular than effective, but we're still looking quite good in this early game, putting them under constant pressure and not letting them build up any attacks.

Twenty-two minutes into the game another set piece allows Lang a fantastic chance to make it two for us, but he sends a clear-cut chance wide. Our attack rate slows down after a while, but Regensburg don't look any more likely to break out of their shell either. A couple more minor chances and the first half ends with us ahead.

HALF TIME - 0-1

Lohkemper finally shows up in the third minute of the second half, but not for good reason, as he volleys wide a cross by Sidler when it looked like he was certain to score from point-blank. He does much better assisting Arce for another run into space, although this time it's Hiller who's there to block the final shot. Regensburg finally show some teeth up front with a cross from the right and a finish from close by Ujah, well blocked by Lang for a corner kick. A knock to Sané then takes him out of the game, hopefully nothing serious.

Things slow down for a while then, just like they did in the first half, and only a run by Fernández on the right before passing back to Dressel's high ball from the edge of the box seems to break the monotony. On the other goal Kretzschmar shows his quality with a beautiful save to Breitkreuz's dangerous half-volley from the right side of the box, and then holds with both hands Günther's header in the corner kick that follows. Thins smell of danger now that time is starting to get short.

Then, on the 81st, a quick one-two between Fernández and Lohkemper ends with the striker shooting with precision past Hiller to score the 0-2 in style. Could've been a 0-3 only two minutes later but, while Fernández did well with his assist earlier, he still can't finish a good chance for his life, and sends another one-on-one straight into the keeper's hands. Another save by Hiller prevents Arce from scoring after gathering a clearance from the defense, and thus the game reaches its end. Good win today.

* * *

SSV Jahn Regensburg 0
TSV 1860 München 2 (Sidi Sané 3, Felix Lohkemper 81)

- - -

Objective accomplished, sir. To make things better, Fernández finally showed his quality with a good performance and assist off the bench, although he still can't score for his life. Regardless, another good result to keep us firmly entrenched in the fifth place with only eight games left in the season. Even better, Sané's injury is nothing serious, just a bruise on the ribs that'll heal within a day or two.

I'm keeping track of jobs I'm linked to just for posterity's sake, not because I'd be interested in any move away from München right now, but here's another: Union Berlin just sacked Torsten Lieberknecht and I've been touted as a candidate for the job, even though the club has never contacted me, not do I expect them to. They're currently 16th in the Bundesliga, making them the best-placed team yet to show any interest. Soon I'll be able to say no to Bayern at this rate. Now that's the dream...

* * *

| Pos  | Inf   | Team               | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | GD    | Pts   |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 1st  |       | Fortuna Düsseldorf | 26    | 17    | 5     | 4     | 53    | 24    | 29    | 56    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 2nd  |       | Arminia Bielefeld  | 26    | 16    | 5     | 5     | 50    | 24    | 26    | 53    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 3rd  |       | Schalke 04         | 26    | 15    | 6     | 5     | 43    | 18    | 25    | 51    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 4th  |       | Greuther Fürth     | 26    | 15    | 6     | 5     | 47    | 30    | 17    | 51    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 5th  |       | 1860 München       | 26    | 12    | 8     | 6     | 39    | 26    | 13    | 44    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 6th  |       | Hamburg            | 26    | 12    | 6     | 8     | 32    | 25    | 7     | 42    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 7th  |       | Hannover 96        | 26    | 11    | 9     | 6     | 32    | 29    | 3     | 42    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 8th  |       | Nürnberg           | 26    | 12    | 5     | 9     | 33    | 28    | 5     | 41    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 9th  |       | Darmstadt          | 26    | 10    | 6     | 10    | 31    | 32    | -1    | 36    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 10th |       | SC Paderborn       | 26    | 9     | 7     | 10    | 32    | 30    | 2     | 34    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 11th |       | Werder Bremen      | 26    | 9     | 6     | 11    | 30    | 30    | 0     | 33    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 12th |       | Dynamo Dresden     | 26    | 9     | 6     | 11    | 29    | 39    | -10   | 33    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 13th |       | Jahn Regensburg    | 26    | 7     | 9     | 10    | 32    | 36    | -4    | 30    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 14th |       | Holstein Kiel      | 26    | 6     | 7     | 13    | 33    | 51    | -18   | 25    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 15th |       | St. Pauli          | 26    | 6     | 3     | 17    | 32    | 52    | -20   | 21    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 16th |       | Duisburg           | 26    | 5     | 5     | 16    | 25    | 48    | -23   | 20    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 17th |       | Ingolstadt         | 26    | 5     | 5     | 16    | 24    | 49    | -25   | 20    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 18th |       | Sandhausen         | 26    | 3     | 6     | 17    | 21    | 47    | -26   | 15    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Ups and downs in the last nine matches, but somehow we find ourselves exactly in the same place we were at the start: heading the mid-table pack. Even better, said pack seems to be splitting in two around the 9th place, and we actually host Darmstadt next so there's a great chance to make sure we finish in the top half at the very least. Going any higher than fifth would be a difficult ask, though, considering we have a pretty difficult schedule for these remaining fixtures and we'd require at least one of Fürth and Schalke to start throwing points away, but it's not impossible. What we can say, though, is that we're one point away from being officially and mathematically safe from relegation: 24 points to Duisburg and Ingolstadt, 24 points left to play for. That's success already, anything else is gravy. And extra prize money, of course!

The two important battles remain undecided, mostly because Fortuna seem to have decided it's a good moment to enter a slump, and have two defeats and three draws in their last five games. Arminia actually had a chance to catch up to them this last week, but they threw it with a defeat to Duisburg. Now there's four teams in five points and anything can still happen up there. Things are also getting feisty at the bottom, with only Sandhausen having it really tough to get out of the hole. Ingolstadt and Duisburg are separated by two goals, St. Pauli is just one point ahead, and even Holstein Kiel shouldn't feel too comfortable in their position. If any of them can chain two or three good results in a row and secure the direct duels, they'll be safe. It's gonna be a fun end to the season...

PLAYER STATS
============

Average rating (min. 9 games played):

Felix Lohkemper           7.34 (19(2) apps)
Gastón Hernández          7.30 (20 apps)
Daniel Wein               7.21 (13(3) apps)
Niklas Lang               7.15 (14(1) apps)
Kevin Goden               7.05 (18(4) apps)

Special mentions to Dries Wouters (7.42 in 4 apps) and Yusuf Kabadayi (7.09 in 3(4) apps)

Goals:

Felix Lohkemper              15 goals
Billy Arce                   7
Sidi Sané                    3
Dennis Dressel               3
Marcel Bär                   3

Assists:

Sidi Sané                    4 assists
Dennis Dressel               4
Billy Arce                   4
Maximiliano Lovera           4
3 players                    3

 

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Mar 15th 2023

Been a while since we had any international callups, and with the first international break since the World Cup around the corner, we get some good news: Morgalla, Kabadayi, and 16yo goalkeeper Andy Anheier are included in the German U19 side, while Jayson Molumby gets a call for the senior Irish team.

Mar 19th 2023

TSV 1860 München (5th) vs. SV Darmstadt 98 (9th) (2.Bundesliga, 27/34)

As mentioned, a game that could define if we end the season looking up or down. A win secures us in the top eight and sends Darmstadt eleven points behind us, while a defeat sees us probably losing the fifth place and the distances with the bottom half shortening. We've been looking good in the last few games, so I'm confident of a result here, particularly given their form lately has been terrible.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
DARMSTADT (3-2-2-1-2): Marcel Schuhen (GK); Jannik Müller (DCr), Nemanja Celic (DC), Patrick Pfeiffer (DCl); Matthias Bader (WBr), Fabian Holland (WBl); Klaus Gjasula (MCr), Yannick Deichmann (MCl); Marvin Mehlem (AMC); Alexander Schmidt (STr), Phillip Tietz (STl)

* * *

We go back to 4-3-3 against Darmstadt's 3-5-2, the memories of our disaster against HSV still fresh, but with the tranquillity of knowing that results elsewhere have guaranteed our survival already. Deichmann starts today for Darmstadt in his return to Grünwalder Strasse, only his fifth of the season, and his team don't exactly get to a good start today: quick counter through the center with many first-touch passes ending with Dressel opening it up for the completely unmarked Sané when everyone, keeper included, expected a shot. This allows the winger to place the ball into the net unopposed and score the opener.

Darmstadt try an instant answer through Bader's cross into Tietz's header, but the ball sails over the bar. Possession is almost perfectly split, but both teams look more dangerous when running on the break, like Mehlem does in the 18th minutes only to shoot wide when put under pressure by Kobald. Immediately after, though, a bad pass by Wein when building up our play allows Tietz to steal the ball and shoot, surprising Kretzschmar and scoring the 1-1. It doesn't last, however, and on the 20th minute a rare cross by Kobald, who happened to be in the attack zone after a set piece, finds its way to Lohkemper, who then shoots from the edge of the box into the underside of the bar and in, putting us back ahead.

Both teams keep trading blows afterwards, the most dangerous of which is a header by Dressel that Schuhen dives well into and holds. We start holding the ball more then, keeping Darmstadt at bay for the rest of the first half except for a chip from distance by Mehlem that skims the top of the bar and goes over. Then, in injury time, a steal by Dressel allows us to launch a quick counter which ends with the midfielder falling inside the box after a trip by Diechmann. VAR confirms the penalty kick, and Lohkemper converts it to put ourselves two goals ahead right before half time.

HALF TIME - 3-1

Darmstadt need goals quickly, and they try to find them from distance through Gjasula, who shoots over the target very early in the second half. Our answer is a rare individual run by Goden, who finds himself with all the space in the world and goes all the way to the box before shooting a high ball. A shot from the edge of the box by the other full back, Sidler, goes much closer and actually forces Schuhen to dive and tip it wide.

Kabadayi then comes into the game, bringing some new energy to our left wing and a surprisingly close direct free kick, only a few inches wide. A great interception by Kobald prevents a dangerous finish by Schmidt a bit later, then Sidler surprises with another finish on the other end of the pitch, once again deflected wide by Schuhen. The keeper also holds a dangerous finish by Tallig in the corner kick that follows, then watches as Kabadayi's header flies harmlessly over only one minute before full time. Darmstadt don't find a way to threaten us, and our win is confirmed soon after.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 3 (Sidi Sané 4, Felix Lohkemper 20 45+3p)
SV Darmstadt 98 1 (Phillip Tietz 18)

---

Good football match, this one. Lots of chances on both sides of the pitch, good individual performances, and goals, what more can you ask for? A shame for Wein's mistake because otherwise we would've won this much more clearly, but it's still a very good result for us. Fürth drop points today in a defeat to Schalke, so we creep a bit closer to the fourth place while leaving the ninth place, now Paderborn's, ten points behind.

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Mar 23rd 2023

The yearly youth intake is here! And it's... not as good as last year's, sadly. There's three players with some promise, though: 15yo Tjark Rung could become a pretty decent left back with time and effort, and the two Balkanic center-backs Arsim Ahmeti (Kosovo) and Neven Sikira (Montenegro) could also reach a good level. Sikira is extremely tall for a 16yo at 188cm, too. The rest are mostly 3.Liga talents at best, but these three could make it farther than that.

Mar 28th 2023

Heidenheim become the third Bundesliga team to show interest in me as their new manager, according to the press. Sad that it's only been the bottom three so far, but hey, small steps.

Danicic pulls his ankle ligaments while playing with the U19s in the new youngsters' debut match. Nothing serious, but he'll be out for 2-3 weeks.

Apr 2nd 2023

FC St. Pauli (15th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (2.Bundesliga, 28/34)

Well, St. Pauli's season can already be considered a failure. Now it's just a matter of how big of a disaster it'll be, because relegation to the 3.Liga would be tremendous for a squad like them. And if they lose today they'll slip into the playoff position with Ingolstadt sneaking ahead of them, so yeah. Too bad for them, because we want to push as much as we can and see if we can put some pressure on the promotion playoff place, just for kicks.

* * *

ST. PAULI (4-4-2): Nikola Vasilj (GK); Luca Zander (DR), Eric Smith (DCr), Jakob Medic (DCl), Leart Paqarada (DL); Iker Bravo (MR), Mads Bidstrup (MCr), Christopher Buchtmann (MCl), Daniel Kofi Kyereh (ML); Lee Dong-Jun (STr), Guido Burgstaller (STl)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

St. Pauli have gone from an ultra-narrow formation in the first half of the season to the complete opposite now. Meanwhile we rotate our whole midfield and part of our defense to give some players more minutes of play, particularly Steinhart and Neudecker, whose futures might be up in the air. It's a slow start for both teams today, but St. Pauli get lucky with their very first approach and Smith heads in a corner kick to put his team ahead with only twelve minutes played. Four minutes later we answer in kind, with Arce heading a corner kick into Vasalj's save, only for the loose ball to find its way back to Steinhart, who crosses towards Sané for an easy point-blank finish. Two corners, two goals.

We're not done yet, though, and after a counterattack in which we stumble our way into their box the ball reaches Arce on the left and another cross towards the center finds Molumby, who shoots first time to score the 1-2 and his first goal of the year. Burgstaller has a great chance to pull level again for St. Pauli thanks to terrible concentration on our part when defending a set piece, but thankfully the striker scoops it well over the goal. Kyereh actually scores in a quick break down the left, but VAR disallows it for offside.

We try to tighten up and slow play down after those scares, and while for the most part it works, there's still another good chance for Kyereh in the last minutes of the first half, thankfully well saved by Kretzschmar. We keep our lead until the break, but only just.

HALF TIME - 1-2

Things don't improve after half time, and soon Kretzschmar has to save another finish from close, this time by Burgstaller. High headers by the same striker and Kyereh follow, and every ball we lose in attack suddenly becomes a dangerous counterattack we struggle to defend. We don't get anywhere close to Vasilj's goal until the 67th with a wide shot from distance by Goden, but that's the sign of a change in the flow of the game.

Soon it's us striking fear with our counters and Sané the one enjoying one-on-ones against Vasilj, who manages to keep both his and Lohkemper's follow up out of his net. After a while, though, we settle with keeping possession and trying to run out the clock, and this time it works a treat. St. Pauli never get another chance, and we end up stealing the three points in what was actually a quite even game.

* * *

FC St. Pauli 1 (Eric Smith 12)
TSV 1860 München 2 (Sidi Sané 16, Jayson Molumby 18)

- - -

All the goals in a six-minute period, but the game was actually quite entertaining even outside that time. Both teams traded blows, with both having their times when they were clearly superior, and in the end we just took the points due to our better finishing, for once. Molumby scored his first of the season and had one of his best performances so far, actually. Meanwhile our two playmakers, Neudecker and Tallig, keep outdoing each other in mediocrity. Our midfield might need some tuning up for next season...

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Apr 7th 2023

TSV 1860 München (5th) vs. SpVgg Greuther Fürth (4th) (2.Bundesliga, 29/34)

And the nightmare section of our schedule starts, beginning with this game against fourth-placed Fürth, continuing with visits to Werder and Schalke, and finishing with a home game against Fortuna. Of course this nightmare could become the best of dreams if we manage good results in all the duels against the promotion candidates, but we know how that went the first time around. We've already done our job regardless, so we can just go out there and do our best without fear.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
FÜRTH (4-3-1-2 narrow): Sascha Burchert (GK); Raphael Framberger (DR), Bruno Rodrigues (DCr), Nick Viergever (DCl), Jamilu Collins (DL); Tobias Raschl (MCr), Sebastian Griesback (MC), Nils Seufert (MCl); Mijat Gacinovic (AMC); Havard Nielsen (STr), Branimir Hrgota (STl)

* * *

First time we face against a 4-3-1-2 from the start. Our scouts say that Fürth are particularly vulnerable to attacks from the right flank, so I expect Sané could have a good day today. Their star is Hrgota, second only to Fortuna's Kownacki in goals and also one of the best assisters in the league.

They certainly start looking for goals right out, with Raschi being the first to try with a high ball from distance. Our response is according to plan: run and cross by Sané, the ball eventually finds its way to Tallig, and the midfielder shoots over the bar. After Gacinovic sends a very dangerous free kick into the barrier both teams trade blows for a bit, with possession going our way but chances being evenly split.

Things slow down eventually, though, and midfield play becomes dominant in the middle part of the half. Gacinovic gets close with another free kick that Kretzschmar saves with some help from the woodwork, and in the 36th we launch a quick counter with a long pass from Lang towards Lohkemper, who runs into the box but is quickly diverted to the side, losing the angle to score. No matter: pass back towards the penalty spot and Dressel comes in running to blast it in for the 1-0.

It's Gacinovic once again with the reply, a cannonball from distance that Kretzschmar barely manages to block. The keeper can't do anything to stop Fürth's next chance, though: long ball towards the right so Hrgota can control and cross towards Nielsen, who shoots unopposed and draws the game. A high 20-yarder by Dressel is the last action in a very entertaining first half.

HALF TIME - 1-1

Luck always plays a part in such even fixtures, and two minutes into the second half we get our yearly recommended dose: nod by Sané towards Lohkemper on the right, the striker crosses towards Arce on the far post, but Viergever intercepts... and sends the ball past Burchert and into his own goal. Oops. We do well to hold the ball afterwards, while Fürth look for ways to regain the lost ground. Meanwhile, we bring Fernández in to replace a surprisingly ineffective Sané.

We enjoy a few decent chances in the following minutes, most coming from the right wing (now reinforced by Goden) and ending in either blocks or last-second tackles by the defense. Our third substitute, Kabadayi, has a good one coming in from the left and shooting into Burchert's save, following a beautiful passing play down the flank. Much better is our next chance, following a horrible back pass by Gavory that Lohkemper intercepts then sends towards Dressel, who blasts it over when he had lots of time to do better. Tallig also scoops it over from the edge of the box a bit later, as we continue our pressure and keep Fürth trapped inside their own half.

That's when they escape, of course: long ball towards Nielsen and perfect run towards the unmarked Gacinovic, who runs into the box unopposed and comes across Kretzschmar's fantastic last-ditch save. Nielsen sends a shot in the following corner kick into the keeper's hands, and then time passes until Fernández gets his regularly scheduled chance to score a sitter, once again missed mostly thanks to Burchert's great intervention. The keeper also tips wide a good header by the winger already in injury time, but thankfully we don't end up regretting these misses, as the game ends and our victory is now confirmed.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 2 (Dennis Dressel 36, Nick Viergever 47og)
SpVgg Greuther Fürth 1 (Havard Nielsen 40)

- - -

Nice. Very even first half, but in the second we absolutely overran them, and we should probably have scored one or two more. Glancing at you, Fernández... Solid performance once again, fifth win in a row, and the dream of promotion is still alive. Let's see where we go from here. The only bad news is Lang's fifth yellow of the season and the suspension it brings with it, but with Hernández and Wouters available we're equipped to deal with it.

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Apr 8th 2023

One of our brightest young talents, attacking midfielder Helmut Franzke, suffers from torn knee ligaments during the U19s match against Bayern's kids. Of course it had to be Bayern... It shouldn't have any long-term effects on his development, thankfully, but he'll still miss what remains of the season.

Apr 9th 2023

Surprise April signing! Our scouts caught sight of a 20yo American center-back who'd recently been released by Inter Miami, Ian Fray. We took him on trial, liked what we saw, and now he signs a 1-year deal with us to see how far he can go. His wages are minimal, so it's another no-risk bet. He'll join us for real come July.

Apr 11th 2023

Oh hey, an actual job interview offer! Heidenheim are the first to take that step while still in the Bundesliga's drop zone. Not interested, of course, but a nice boost to one's ego for sure.

Dressel makes the Team of the Week.

Apr 15th 2023

Tallig will miss the Werder game and maybe the Schalke game with a twisted knee sustained in training which will keep him out of contention for about a week.

Apr 17th 2023

SV Werder Bremen (12th) vs. TSV 1860 München (5th) (Bundesliga, 30/34)

The least difficult of this nightmare stretch of games, Werder are still a team that can hit us hard when we least expected. We beat them in Munich, but we'll need to keep our current good form today if we're to keep pushing upwards. On that note, we have a chance of stealing the 4th place away from Fürth today, since they lost to Fortuna.

* * *

WERDER (4-4-2): Rubén Blanco (GK); Johannes Dörfler (DR), Dominik Plechaty (DCr), Lukas Mai (DCl), Oscar (DL); Benjamin Goller (MR), Jean-Manuel Mbom (MCr), Niklas Schmidt (MCl), Leonardo Bittencourt (ML); Marvin Ducksch (STr), Luc Ihorst (STl)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Dries Wouters (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Taylor Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AMC), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Back to the 4-2-3-1, with Lovera taking his place behind Lohkemper and Hernández coming in for the suspended Lang. We only need a few seconds to create danger with a pass backwards inside the box from Arce to Lohkemper, the striker's finish blocked by the defense. Werder answer with a deep free kick Kretzschmar fails to catch and Goller heads into the post. Our turn next, with Sidler crossing into Lohkemper's header and Blanco diving well to save. Possession is clearly on our side today and we keep knocking on Werder's door, Lovera being the next to get close with a low shot that the keeper saves with ease. Even better is Sané's chance on the 19th, a point-blank finish after a death pass by Arce which Blanco somehow manages to block with an incredible dive.

We keep trying, Lohkemper next in line with a narrowly high 20-yarder, while Werder only manage to attack when we let them, like when Goden misses a tackle and lets Bittencourt run alone down the left, only for the winger to blast it miles away from the target. Lovera also misses the target by a lot in our next chance, shooting well over the bar after a good pass back by Lohkemper, while on the other goal a corner kick allows a dangerous header by Mbom, well held by Kretzschmar. In the end, though, neither team can break through and the first half ends still goalless.

HALF TIME - 0-0

The second half starts with a missile from distance by Mbom that goes over Kretzschmar's goal, but little else in the first fifteen minutes. Fernández and Kabadayi join the fray off the bench once again, and although it takes a while, it turns out to be a key decision: 73 minutes in Molumby crosses from deep into the box and Kabadayi shakes off his marker and volleys it in, scoring his third of the season and giving us the lead we'd been deserving for a while.

With the first goal in the bag things seem easier now, and soon we're back on the attack with a wide bender by Wouters. Next up is Fernández, shooting over from a tight angle after a good service from Lovera. Another bad finish by Fernández, left-footed for some reason and well over the bar, leads to injury time and Werder's first chance in forever, a header by Rapp that Kretzschmar saves without issues, then Dörfler gives us a real scare with a shot from distance that bounces off the right post. That's all they can do, though, and the game ends with another save by Blanco to Lovera's shot from the edge of the box. Another win to the pile.

* * *

SV Werder Bremen 0
TSV 1860 München 1 (Yusuf Kabadayi 73)

- - -

Kabadayi once again unlocking a difficult game off the bench. This kid's got what it takes, I say. Another solid team performance otherwise, with our starting wing players once again being the weak link, and Molumby having another great game together with an assist. He's suddenly becoming our best midfielder after being mostly irrelevant all year long. Worth noting: Wouters ended the game with 20 won headers and a 100% pass completion rate as a ball-playing defender. A good buy, that one.

With this we're now fourth two points ahead of Fürth and four behind Schalke, while Fortuna and Arminia share the top position with a healthy nine-point lead on us and five on Schalke. Further back, Hamburg are now sixth but seven points behind us with twelve left to play, so we'd have to implode spectacularly to not finish at the very least fifth. Still lots of stuff to play for... Also, this result secures a top half finish for us for good, meaning we've officially speedrun the 5-year plan the board had laid out at the beginning of my current contract in a single season.

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Apr 18th 2023

Sidler and Wouters selected in the Team of the Week.

Apr 19th 2023

Hertha and Hoffenheim will play in the DFB Pokal final after dispatching Leverkusen and Freiburg (second year in a row they fall in the semis) respectively. Eighth and twelfth in the Bundesliga as of right now, so a very unlikely final all things considered.

Apr 22nd 2023

FC Schalke 04 (3rd) vs. TSV 1860 München (4th) (2.Bundesliga, 31/34)

Well, here we go. This game is probably the most important of all four remaining ones, since a win here puts us one point behind the promotion playoff place and with a shot at stealing it from Schalke themselves in the following games, while a defeat kicks us out of the race altogether. As always, we won't be expecting much from this, but we'll sure do our best until we can't do no more.

* * *

SCHALKE 04 (4-3-3): Ralf Fährmann (GK); Reinhold Ranftl (DR), Malick Thiaw (DCr), Christopher Lenz (DCl), Pietro Beruatto (DL); Adrian Fein (DM), Matheus Rossetto (MCr), Michal Sadílek (MCl); Nahuel Bustos (AMR), Amine Harit (AML), Simon Terodde (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Richard Neudecker (MCr), Jayson Molumby (MCl); Tomás Fernández (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Both teams face again in a 4-3-3 mirror, which ended in a goalless draw last time out in Grünwalder Strasse. Wein, Fernández, and Neudecker get the nod to start today as our two big changes, while Lang returns after his suspension. After a slow start Arce gets the first shot in, wide from the edge of the box, and we seem to emerge from the early game with a slight edge on possession and general performance.

The first really good chance doesn't come until the 27th minute, a ball into space from Arce to Lohkemper that ends in a fingertip save by an excellent Fährmann. Bustos repeats on the other end with Schalke's first approach of the game, a similar run into space down the right flank and a finish that Kretzschmar deflects wide. Then, a set piece from very deep is whipped into the box by Steinhart and Kobald gets to it first to tap it in and score the 0-1, and his first since his arrival last summer.

Schalke need to go on the offensive now, although they still resort to counterattacks as their main weapon. Harit has another great chance in one of those, once again stopped by Kretzschmar, but after that we manage to plug the holes completely and not allow any more chances. Our lead survives until half time.

HALF TIME - 0-1

We start the second half trying to hold onto the ball, while Schalke try their luck with crosses for Terodde, one of them being headed over the bar by the striker on the 51st minute. Three minutes later a badly cleared corner kick finds its way to Harit, who then crosses towards the far post so Bustos, unmarked, can score the 1-1. Our reaction is immediate, though: cross from the right side towards the front of the box, Steinhart jumps to nod it inside, and Arce volleys it in to put us back ahead only four minutes after conceding the draw.

That's a major blow to Schalke's morale, and we proceed to control the game in the following minutes while looking for the third, which would certainly be definitive. They still threaten us from time to time, though, like with a dangerous shot by Sadílek that Kretzschmar touches just enough to turn around the post. Sané could've scored the third after trading passes with Sidler for a while on the right, but Fährmann blocks his left-footed shot and sends it wide for a corner kick.

The following minutes are tense for everyone but the keepers, as chances seem to dry up on both sides of the pitch. Terodde finally has a good chance near the end of regular time, but the striker can't beat a once again excellently positioned Kretzschmar. Injury time comes and goes, Fährmann tips over a good shot by Tallig, and the game ends in a fantastic win for us. The dream is alive!

* * *

FC Schalke 04 1 (Nahuel Bustos 54)
TSV 1860 München 2 (Christoph Kobald 30, Billy Arce 58)

- - -

Awesome. We actually dominated Schalke in their own stadium, that's absolutely massive regardless of the result. And the result was as good as it could get, of course, so all the better. Fantastic game by Steinhart, providing both goals and being a rock in defense, except when Bustos scored his goal. This was a win built from the defense in general, with all our back players having nice performances.

Still fourth, one point behind Schalke, three games to go. And if we want to be really ambitious, Arminia dropped two points this week with a home draw against Hannover, so they still are within reach seven points ahead of us. That will probably change next week but hey, a man can dream. Fürth lose again and now trail us by five points, so we're reasonably secure in the fourth place at the very least.

At the bottom things are heating up even further: Sandhausen remain last with 20 points, St. Pauli would also relegate if the league ended today with 21 points, Duisburg are in the playoffs with 23, and Kiel and Ingolstadt float slightly above the danger zone with 26. It's gonna go to the wire.

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Apr 25th 2023

Steinhart shows up in the Team of the Week, as deserved.

Apr 29th 2023

TSV 1860 München (4th) vs. Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 (1st) (2.Bundesliga, 32/34)

And here we are, with the decisive game against the leaders. Fortuna might not be the unstoppable behemoth they were in the first half of the season anymore, but they still have two of the best players in the league in Shinta Appelkamp and Dawid Kownacki and getting anything out of this match will be incredibly difficult. They just need a couple more points to clinch promotion, but Arminia's pressure for the title means they'll go all out regardless.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Jayson Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
DÜSSELDORF (4-2-3-1): Florian Kastenmeier (GK); Steven Alzate (DR), Christoph Klarer (DCr), André Hoffmann (DCl), Kostas Stafylidis (DL); Ilay Elmkies (MCr), Shinta Appelkamp (MCl); Khaled Narey (AMR), Dominick Drexler (AMC), Antoine Leautey (AML); Dawid Kownacki (ST)

* * *

No shocks in either lineup, with us using Molumby as our main playmaker and returning Sané to the right wing and Wouters to the anchor. For Düsseldorf the biggest surprise is seeing Appelkamp in a deeper role, with Drexler playing in the hole instead. They still put us under heavy pressure right off the gates, and it's only six minutes until Kownacki heads wide a cross by Alzate. Next up is Drexler, volleying a cross by Narey but hitting the outside of the post instead of the back of the net, and then it's Alzate who tries a curving shot but finds Kretzschmar's gloves in the way. Meanwhile we struggle to get the ball out of the defense due to Fortuna's heavy pressure.

It was coming, and in the 15th they finally hit jackpot with a cross by Alzate into another header by Kownacki, this one absolutely unstoppable. The goal seems to calm them down at least, and we enjoy some tranquil minutes while we work on recovering control of the ball and build back up from there. We do get a great chance in the 27th, our first serious approach, when Lohkemper runs on the break, pauses, then passes back to Arce. His finish is blocked, but the ball falls to Sané, who hits it first time from three meters away and somehow sends it wide. Stafylidis tries luck with a direct free kick a bit later and finds Kretzschmar ready to punch it wide, but after that both teams fail to create any more danger for the rest of the first half.

HALF TIME - 0-1

The second half starts slow, with Düsseldorf being a bit conservative and us still relying on counters to create danger. After fifteen minutes and half-motivated by a knock on Wouters we decide to go for broke and switch to a 4-2-3-1, bringing Sidler, Lovera and Kabadayi in. We do look better afterwards, but also more vulnerable to counters, and only a miracle save by Kretzschmar prevents Kownacki from scoring a second in a clear chance on the break.

We finally get a good chance after a steal from Sidler triggers a counter through the center, with Sané delivering the final pass towards Lohkemper and the striker's shot missing the target by inches. A few more chances end in blocked shots, and in the 88th minute a steal by Lovera triggers a break down the right by Sané, who ends up hitting the ground after a trip by Stafylidis inside the box: penalty kick, and goal from the spot by Lohkemper.

Düsseldorf now need to score if they don't want to lose ground to Arminia at the top, and soon Narey is heading over the bar a cross from the left. However, that willingness to score has its drawbacks, and that's leaving lots of space at the back. Goden finds space to run into, then sends a perfect pass through the defense towards Lohkemper's run so the striker can sidestep Kastenmeier and score the 2-1 in the first minute of injury time. Fortuna are shellshocked, and allow us to hide the ball away until the game ends.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 2 (Felix Lohkemper 89p 90+1)
Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895 1 (Dawid Kownacki 15)

- - -

Ladies and gentlemen, Felix Lohkemper. With lots of help from Sané's ingenuity and Goden's sudden bout of creativity, but still, what a comeback, and in what a way. We went for it and got it in the end, and we can keep dreaming for another week. Massive result.

In more ways than one, too: first up, Schalke lost to Ingolstadt, so now we're third two points ahead of them. Second, Arminia take the top spot for the first time in the whole season thanks to their win. Third, neither Arminia nor Fortuna have guaranteed promotion just yet, but they both have secured at the very least the playoff. It'd take a disaster for either of them to drop off the promotion places, though. We're also now guaranteed to finish 4th or better after Fürth's home defeat to Dynamo Dresden, so that's something achieved at least.

At the bottom, Ingolstadt's win against Schalke propels them to 29 points, six over 16th-placed Duisburg, and are almost completely safe now. St. Pauli and Sandhausen draw against each other, a result which helps neither as they both still remain in the drop zone, but now Duisburg is only one point ahead of St. Pauli and two ahead of Sandhausen, with Kiel three poins further up.

Also, Wouters' injury is a damaged elbow, which wouldn't be a big deal at any other point of the season (he'd miss about two weeks) but now we need him available for the final two fixtures so we can fight for the playoff until the end. He'll be wearing protective equipment and play through it, although most likely off the bench and only if really needed.

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May 2nd 2023

Lohkemper gets a very deserved nomination as the lone striker in the Team of the Week.

May 6th 2023

This is the first week when all the 2.Bundesliga matches are played at the same time, and there's a few doozies today. Most relevantly for us, Schalke-Fortuna, in which we'll be hoping for the visitors to snatch a few points so we can secure the playoff position with a win. Kiel-Duisburg is another huge match for the relegation fight, while Arminia will defend the top position at home against Regensburg, St. Pauli will visit their neighbors and rivals from HSV with salvation on the line, and Sandhausen will play against Fürth for their survival. A good evening to spend watching TV and getting all the live updates. Too bad I'll be kinda busy...

- - -

SC Paderborn 07 (9th) vs. TSV 1860 München (3rd) (2.Bundesliga, 33/34)

After all those promotion candidates we've defeated it almost looks like a win against Paderborn would be a given, but nothing farther from truth: Paderborn have actually got into a pretty good form lately, and are still pushing for a top half finish. We'll need everything we used to defeat Fortuna last week to avoid falling at the lowest hurdle now.

* * *

PADERBORN (4-1-4-1): Leopold Zingerle (GK); Bendegúz Bolla (DR), Nnamdi Collins (DCr), Uwe Hünemeier (DCl), Thomas Isherwood (DL); Maximilian Thalhammer (DM); Kai Pröger (MR), Tom Krauss (MCr), Marco Stiepermann (MCl), Michael John Lema (ML); Felix Platte (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Wein starts in Wouters' place today, although the injured Belgian is on the bench in case we need him. Upfront, the two Felixes, both among the best strikers in the division, will duel it out to see who gets their team to win today. And it's Lohkemper who wins that duel, at least when it comes to drawing first blood: long pass by Tallig towards Sané on the right, the winger waits for support, then finds Lohkemper with a neat little low cross so the striker can score the 0-1 (and his twentieth of the season) with only seven minutes played.

Tallig continues with a very creative start of the game sending a good ball towards Sané inside the box so the winger can shoot with power, his shot kept outside of the goal by Zingerle's fingertips. Then the midfielder does it again, sending a high ball towards Arce so the forward can nod it back to Dressel, which allows the midfielder to hit it with all his power and rip a hole in the back of the net. 0-2 and not even ten minutes have passed. After a ten minute break Tallig does it a third time, this time with a pass down the right for Goden so the full back can cross into Lohkemper's easy tap-in, making it three.

Paderborn finally decide to show up with a cross from the right and a header by Platte that Kretzschmar collects without issue, which we answer in similar fashion with Sané running and crossing for Arce's header, also easy for Zingerle. A high shot by Sidler comes next, nothing too dangerous, and then we start slowing things down before anything else happens in the first half, more than happy with our three goal lead. We go into half time very satisfied with both result and performance.

HALF TIME - 0-3

Thing start calm in the second half until they aren't anymore: Arce runs into the box and is brought down by Bolla for a clear penalty. Lohkemper doesn't miss from the spot, seals his hattrick, and puts us four goals ahead. After that we bring in a few substitutes into the game, including Kabadayi and Danicic, and get ready to enjoy ourselves until full time. Meanwhile Paderborn try their best to get at least something out of this game, and have a good chance fall to Shabani on the 62nd minute but Kretzschmar makes sure our sheet keeps clean.

We take things slow for the rest of the game, while Paderborn get another chance for a consolation goal through Shabani, who manages to sidestep Kretzschmar in the one-on-one but ends up smashing his finish against the post. On the other goal Sané finds another chance to shoot and Zingerle tips his finish over, but by then there's only seven minutes on the clock and the match looks almost over. There's time for a badly high shot by Tallig in injury time and little else, and the three points fly back to Munich with us.

* * *

SC Paderborn 07 0
TSV 1860 München 4 (Felix Lohkemper 7 20 55p, Dennis Dressel 10)

---

There's winning and then there's winning, and this was in the latter category. Fantastic performance, particularly in the first half, with Tallig racking three "almost-assists" but getting official credit for neither and Lohkemper grabbing his third hattrick of the season in the most decisive moment possible.

Because yes, it was decisive: Schalke and Fortuna finished their game goalless, meaning we're now four points ahead in the playoff position with only three more points in play. We're going to the playoffs! Meanwhile both Arminia (4-0 against Regensburg) and Düsseldorf themselves have secured promotion, meaning Schalke will have to spend yet another year in the second tier. That's gonna hurt.

In the relegation battle, there was one decisive result with Kiel's comprehensive 3-0 win over Duisburg, which saves both them and Ingolstadt from relegation and leaves it now as a matter of who will grab hold of the emergency buoy of the relegation playoff. Sandhausen lost to Fürth, but St. Pauli stole a point from HSV and climb over Duisburg on goal difference. In the final fixture Duisburg will host the already safe Ingolstadt, St. Pauli will be at home against 8th-placed Nürnberg, and Sandhausen will visit Werder Bremen.

We've also broken our consecutive wins record with nine, which is a nice bonus. We couldn't have chosen a better moment in the season to go on such a run, to be honest.

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May 9th 2023

Guess who's back in the Team of the Week? Yep, Lohkemper once again. If he keeps scoring by the truckload he's gonna become a permanent fixture there.

We'll be out without backup keeper Müller for the last game of the regular season and most likely the playoffs after he pulled an abdominal muscle. He'll miss around two weeks, so there's a chance he'll be around for the second leg of the playoffs. We'll be bringing youngster Andy Anheier in his place, and cross fingers that Kretzschmar doesn't catch an untimely cold.

May 13th 2023

TSV 1860 München (3rd) vs. SG Dynamo Dresden (10th) (2.Bundesliga, 34/34)

It's nice to be able to relax in our last match of the season, with neither team having anything to play for other than keeping the good form rolling into the playoffs for us, and possibly a small improvement in prize money for Dresden if they manage to overtake Paderborn. We'll take the chance to rest starters and give young players a chance to shine, and also for some of our loanees for this season to say goodbye.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-2-3-1): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Gastón Hernández (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Damjan Danicic (DL); Taylor Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Tomás Fernández (AMR), Maximiliano Lovera (AMC), Yusuf Kabadayi (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
DYNAMO (3-3-2-2): Lukas Schneller (GK); Erlend Dahl Reitan (DCr), Sebastian Mai (DC), Tim Knipping (DCl); Joe Scally (WBR), Yannick Stark (DM), Jonathan Meier (WBL); Julius Kade (MCr), Niklas Hauptmann (MCl); Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer (STr), Oliver Batista Meier (STl)

* * *

Of course being this relaxed comes with its own dangers: Dresden mount a quick attack through the center straight out of kickoff and Königsdörffer finishes it in style to score the 0-1 within 28 seconds. Not according to plan. That wakes us right up and we soon start dominating play and testing Schneller, although with little real danger at first. A wide volley by Lohkemper is our first real chance, and it takes twenty-five minutes to arrive.

Dresden keep finding space through the center, which Kade tries to exploit on the 39th minute but ends up turning into a rugby try. Meanwhile we keep slamming once and again against their defense, never quite making it through. Only a good, if centered, shot by Molumby in injury time brings us close to a goal, and that one's easy for Schneller. We still trail at half time, of course.

HALF TIME - 0-1

After ten minutes without improvement in the second half it's time to bring in the subs, including Sané, Tallig, and Steinhart. The winger starts looking good, shooting narrowly high in the 58th minute, and three minutes later he scores with a good left-footed finish after an assist from Tallig, but it ends up being disallowed due to offside. Thanks VAR. We're on the right track, though, although Königsdörffer gives us a big scare with a run into space that ends with a very narrowly wide finish.

The other sub, Steinhart, ends up being key in the goal when it comes a bit later: pass down the left from the full back to Lovera, who manages to sneak past his marker and cross low so Lohkemper can push it over the line to score the 1-1. Dynamo hit us back on the break, finishing with a dangerous shot by Meire that Kretzschmar deflects over the bar. The keeper then performs one of his miracle saves against Kade, who breaks in from the right on the 75th minute in one of Dresden's best chances so far. Molumby answers with a 25-yarder without enough power to be able to surprise Schneller, and the game enters the final ten minutes still level.

Dressel adds another high ball from distance then, which Bastista Meier answers with another run into the box and a shot that Kretzschmar parries and sends wide. Then, on the 89th, a long passing play by Dresden ends in a surprising 30-yarder by Stark that Kretzschmar doesn't even see coming, and the visitors retake their lead with very little left to play. Enough for a dangerous header by Lohkemper that the keeper pushes over and nothing else, in fact. A home defeat to close a great season with.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 1 (Felix Lohkemper 66)
SG Dynamo Dresden 2 (Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer 1, Yannick Stark 89)

- - -

Well, not what I wanted right before the playoffs, really. A defeat marked by one goal at the very beginning and one at the very end, but in which we were the better team through most of the rest. Lovera had a really good game in the hole, too, but in the end it didn't translate to much. Oh well, it didn't matter much, but I hope the players' morale doesn't take a hit before the really important moment.

Danicic will be out of those moments in any case: a pulled hamstring sustained today will keep him out for 2-3 weeks.

Our third place finish comes with prize money attached, of course: no less than €15.66M, which erase all our negative numbers in one quick swoop and leave us more than eleven million in the black. This should give us much more flexibility for the upcoming seasons, regardless of the playoff result. Said playoff, by the way, will be against Union Berlin, who finished 16th in the Bundesliga.

* * *

| Pos  | Inf   | Team               | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | GD    | Pts   |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 1st  | C     | Arminia Bielefeld  | 34    | 23    | 6     | 5     | 71    | 27    | 44    | 75    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 2nd  | P     | Fortuna Düsseldorf | 34    | 22    | 6     | 6     | 71    | 30    | 41    | 72    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 3rd  | Pl    | 1860 München       | 34    | 19    | 8     | 7     | 56    | 33    | 23    | 65    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 4th  |       | Schalke 04         | 34    | 18    | 7     | 9     | 49    | 25    | 24    | 61    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 5th  |       | Hannover 96        | 34    | 16    | 11    | 7     | 42    | 35    | 7     | 59    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 6th  |       | Greuther Fürth     | 34    | 17    | 7     | 10    | 55    | 39    | 16    | 58    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 7th  |       | Hamburg            | 34    | 16    | 9     | 9     | 42    | 31    | 11    | 57    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 8th  |       | Nürnberg           | 34    | 16    | 7     | 11    | 41    | 38    | 3     | 55    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 9th  |       | Dynamo Dresden     | 34    | 14    | 8     | 12    | 41    | 44    | -3    | 50    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 10th |       | SC Paderborn       | 34    | 13    | 9     | 12    | 38    | 37    | 1     | 48    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 11th |       | Darmstadt          | 34    | 11    | 9     | 14    | 36    | 42    | -6    | 42    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 12th |       | Werder Bremen      | 34    | 11    | 6     | 17    | 35    | 40    | -5    | 39    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 13th |       | Jahn Regensburg    | 34    | 7     | 14    | 13    | 40    | 55    | -15   | 35    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 14th |       | Ingolstadt         | 34    | 9     | 5     | 20    | 33    | 62    | -29   | 32    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 15th |       | Holstein Kiel      | 34    | 7     | 9     | 18    | 41    | 62    | -21   | 30    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 16th | Pl    | St. Pauli          | 34    | 7     | 5     | 22    | 42    | 65    | -23   | 26    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 17th | R     | Duisburg           | 34    | 6     | 5     | 23    | 28    | 64    | -36   | 23    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| 18th | R     | Sandhausen         | 34    | 4     | 9     | 21    | 26    | 58    | -32   | 21    |
| --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

The 2.Bundesliga title in the end went to Arminia Bielefeld, who managed to profit from Fortuna's sketchy form in the second half of the season to recover all the lost ground and then some. The champions ended the season with a 0-2 win in Darmstadt, while Düsseldorf did the same at home against Paderborn. Hannover climbed into the fifth place in the end, Labbadia will have trouble keeping his job after failing yet again to promote Schalke, and the rest ended up mostly where they were.

The interesting part of this last week was the relegation battle, and in the end St. Pauli emerged victorious thanks to a final day 5-0 win against Nürnberg, combined with Duisburg's 0-1 defeat against Ingolstadt and Sandhausen's 3-0 loss in Bremen. So Duisburg return to the 3.Liga after only one season, Sandhausen go down with them, and St. Pauli still have a chance at survival with the playoff, which will pit them against Aue.

Edited by Dalbeider
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May 15th 2023

Before the playoffs my staff bring to my attention that Lang wants a new contract. His improvement remains notable this year, and he's on his way to becoming a Bundesliga-caliber center-back at only 20 years of age, so of course he'd want a better deal. We offer him a 3-year-long, €8.75k per week contract with a €3.5M release clause for teams in higher divisions, and he seems happy to accept. I hope that clause won't come to bite us in the rearside later on.

May 18th 2023

1.FC Union Berlin vs. TSV 1860 München (Bundesliga/2.Bundesliga Playoff, 1st leg)

And into the fray we go. Union Berlin got to the playoffs with some room to spare, five points over Heidenheim, but most of that lead came from a last day 2-1 win against Leverkusen, which means two things: one, they were closer to direct relegation than it seems, and two, they're on a high and come from beating a very strong team, so we should be careful. This being a two-legged playoff we'd do well to get a decent result from their stadium, then try to finish things up at home.

* * *

UNION BERLIN (4-2-3-1): Frederik Ronnow (GK); Julian Ryerson (DR), Robin Knoche (DCr), Dominique Heintz (DCl), Niko Giesselmann (DL); Rani Khedira (MCr), András Schäfer (MCl); Levin Öztunali (AMR), Genki Haraguchi (AMC), Taiwo Awoniyi (AML), Andreas Voglsammer (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Kevin Goden (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Christoph Kobald (DCl), Silvan Sidler (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Jayson Molumby (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

A team meeting was held before the match, in which I reminded the players that promotion was never in the cards for us, so getting here was a huge success in the first place and anything that comes afterwards will be just icing on the cake. They seemed to take it quite well, and we face the playoff relaxed and without pressure. Müller returns to the bench after recovering from his injury, and otherwise we line up with the most in-form eleven we can muster right now.

We get off to a good start, rounding the box for a couple of minutes before Goden assists Dressel inside the box for a blocked shot and a corner kick. On the other goal Lang also blocks a dangerous shot by Awoniyi after an incursion down their left flank, but possession seems to be favorable to us and use it to put Union under pressure. Things slowly even out, though, and after a while it's them who's pressuring us, with Kretzschmar having to perform his first great save of the game 22 minutes in to block a header by Awoniyi.

It is, however, a long ball towards Voglsammer that really puts us against the ropes, as the striker first lobs the ball over Kretzschmar only to hit the crossbar, then tries to score on the rebound but finds Kobald blocking his path. Our answer is another long pass, this one from Sidler to Lohkemper, but the striker shoots over the bar in our best chance so far. A couple more long-range shots come in both goals, but otherwise there's no more action to report in the first half. Still no goals.

HALF TIME - 0-0

We start the second half like the first: with a blocked shot for Dressel. Six minutes into the half, though, Union take the lead in the most old-fashioned of ways: corner kick taken towards the near post by Öztunali and perfect header by Knoche. We have a chance to strike back on the counterattack after a bad clearance by Ronnow, but Arce's finish isn't good enough to beat the keeper. We then bring Tallig and Fernández into the game, replacing Dressel and Sané, both pretty weak today.

Both teams seem to take a break on attacking afterwards, and only pick it back up on the 66th minute when Lohkemper sets Fernández up for a run alone against Ronnow and, of course, the winger flunks the finish and the chance ends in a corner kick. Fernández himself whips the corner in and it seems to hit Ryerson's hand. VAR confirms, penalty awarded, and Lohkemper does his job from the spot to give us the all-important away goal.

Steinhart comes in Goden's place to give us fresh legs on the wings and help us secure a pretty good result. Union seem stuck, and there's a long stretch in which all they can do is pass the ball around and try long shots that go nowhere. Only a weak header by Thommy in the 90th minute, very easy for Kretzschmar, gives them something resembling a chance to retake the lead. It almost looks like we take the lead instead when Wouters sends a cross at the far post and Molumby heads it in, but the midfielder was clearly offside and VAR saw it, as it's wont to do. The draw is more than good enough, though, and we return home for the second leg with a good chance of actually promoting.

* * *

1.FC Union Berlin 1 (Robin Knoche 51)
TSV 1860 München 1 (Felix Lohkemper 67p)

- - -

Good result, and probably a fair one given how both teams played, each to their own strengths. Individually they were better, of course, but we still had a good number of chances to score. The return leg will be a tough game too, but one in which we actually have a chance of success.

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May 20th 2023

The DFB Pokal final ends in a blowout: Hertha win 4-2, with all their four goals coming in the first half and Hoffenheim's attempt at a comeback being denied by Kaderabek's sending off 58 minutes in.

This same day we hear some noises coming from Turkey about Galatasaray wanting to buy Kretzschmar, and a price of €500k was brought up. Absolutely ridiculous fee for a player set to fit right into the Bundesliga. There's also something about Kasimpasa and Goden, but once again, nope, not selling, even less for the fees the press is talking about.

May 22nd 2023

TSV 1860 München vs. 1.FC Union Berlin (Bundesliga/2.Bundesliga Playoff, 2nd leg)

One last push and we'll be there. We got a good result from the first leg, so let's try and make the best out of it.

* * *

1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Gastón Hernández (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Sidi Sané (AMR), Billy Arce (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
UNION BERLIN (4-2-3-1): Frederik Ronnow (GK); Julian Ryerson (DR), Robin Knoche (DCr), Dominique Heintz (DCl), Niko Giesselmann (DL); Rani Khedira (MCr), András Schäfer (MCl); Levin Öztunali (AMR), Genki Haraguchi (AMC), Taiwo Awoniyi (AML), Andreas Voglsammer (ST)

* * *

Steinhart plays today for his set piece prowess, which might prove decisive. There's one small problem today, though: Lohkemper looks exhausted, and it's very unlikely he'll be able to play the whole match. We'll need to get the best out of him as soon as possible. Union repeat the exact same eleven, so fitness is likely to play a huge part today.

Union need goals, and it takes them exactly thirty seconds to have a first chance to score, with Awoniyi crossing and Voglsammer slamming his finish on Lang's legs. His second finish, this time after a cross by Giesselmann, ends up in Kretzschmar's hands, but we're looking a bit overwhelmed in these initial minutes. Thankfully we manage to calm things down a bit, and the next thirty minutes pass by without incident.

Another header by Voglsammer, once again saved by Kretzschmar, breaks the tedium on the 33rd minute. Our forwards can barely get a touch in the first half, all our possession being restricted to our own half, but at least we don't suffer much in defense either. A wide shot by Öztunali is the last action of the first half.

HALF TIME - 0-0

The second half starts with something we hadn't seen until then: a counterattack started by Tallig and finished by Arce with a placed shot that almost surprised Ronnow, but in the end the keeper gets enough of a touch to send it wide. Lohkemper has to go rest just a couple minutes later, moving Arce to the center and replacing him with Lovera. It's Lovera himself who has our next chance after a long ball from Wein, again tipped wide by Ronnow, and it looks like the flow of the game is turning around after half time.

Sané is the next one to leave the field, once again after a poor performance, and Fernández comes in for a last dance. Coincidentally, that's when Union return to their attacking stance, soon finding Voglsammer in the box once again, only to see his finish stopped by Kretzschmar once again. A final substitution sees Molumby taking Dressel's place, and on the 75th yet again Kretzschmar blocks a finish by Voglsammer after a long ball into space, and the keeper does it again to Heintz's header in the following corner kick.

Six minutes to go. Fernández sends a great pass into space for Arce, but the striker smashes the one-on-one on Ronnow's body for a corner kick. Nothing else happens until injury time, when a ball stolen from Steinhart turns into a counterattack and a cross towards the far post, where Becker nods it back to Schäfer so the midfielder can score an absolute kick in the teeth for the fans gathered in the Grünwalder Stadion. There's no time to mount any kind of credible comeback, and we fall at the very last hurdle.

* * *

TSV 1860 München 0
1.FC Union Berlin 1 (András Schäfer 90+2)

- - -

Soooooo close, but no cigar. And honestly, I'm not too bothered about that beyond what it might mean for the players' morale into the next season, which shouldn't be much. This team wasn't ready for the Bundesliga, at all, and we most likely wouldn't have enough resources to rebuild our starting eleven to a good enough standard this summer. Sustained growth is the key, and we had lots of that this season, and will have more the next. Let's keep building for the future.

...Yeah, there might be a bit of sour grapes in that previous paragraph. Just a reaaaally tiny bit.

* * *

END OF SEASON 2022/23 - PLAYER SUMMARY

GOALKEEPERS

 

Name               Apps    Conceded  Clean Sheets  PoM  Av.Rat.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom Kretzschmar      34          33            14    0     6.99
Sven Müller           1           2             0    0     6.40

Another season of growth for Kretzschmar, in which the keeper wasn't as consistently awesome as he was in the 3.Liga, but still showed his quality in key moments, including the promotion playoff. Honestly, if we'd managed to promote it would've been 90% his fault, he was amazing in the second leg. Despite some stinkers, he has already developed into a Bundesliga-tier goalkeeper, and now the challenge will be keeping him around for much longer. Müller, his backup for the season, had the usual bad luck of cup keepers who see their team crash out of the competition in the first round. Then again he didn't do much to prevent that, either. We'll hope for more appearances from him next year.

 

DEFENDERS
 

Name                 Apps     Goals    Assists    PoM    Y.C   R.C  Av.Rat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gastón Hernández    25(1)         0          0      3      1     0     7.26
Kevin Goden         23(5)         0          3      2      7     0     7.06
Niklas Lang         19(2)         0          0      2      6     0     7.06
Silvan Sidler       28(5)         0          3      1      3     0     6.98
Christoph Kobald    19(4)         1          1      0      1     0     6.98
Damjan Danicic       2(4)         0          1      0      1     0     6.90
Phillip Steinhart   18(8)         0          4      1      9     0     6.82
Stephan Salger          7         0          0      0      0     0     6.74

Our best line overall, with a particularly good showing by our center-backs. Hernández was the loan of the season without any doubt, becoming our most rock-solid defender either in Lang's place while the youngster was injured or as a ball-playing defender besides him. Lang himself had another good year, if not as good as the previous one. Like Kretzschmar, there were some growing pains and some matches in which he just didn't perform, and his early season injuries didn't help him at all, yet in the end he turned out a more than respectable final result. Kobald started the season as a sure starter but Hernández's good performances relegated him to third choice, although he still was very solid and the only one of our defenders to bag a goal. Meanwhile, Salger was clearly out of his depth, and with his age starting taking his toll he eventually left on loan, and will most likely have to find a new team next season. Wouters also played some games in defense, but we'll deal with him when talking about our midfielders.

As for the full backs, Goden showed pretty good performances all year long, although once again lacking consistency at some points. Sidler was another very good loan, and one I wouldn't mind extending for another year for the huge amount of flexibility he gave us all season long, covering both sides of the defense with quality and providing some assists to boot. Steinhart saw his performance drop noticeably, as did his minutes, but his ability with set pieces allowed him to still be the best provider among our full backs with four assists. Finally, Danicic arrived in the winter window as a future replacement for Steinhart on the left, and the 23-year-old did fine when he played. We'll keep him for a while longer and see how he does with more regular minutes.

 

MIDFIELDERS
 

Name                 Apps     Goals    Assists    PoM    Y.C   R.C  Av.Rat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dries Wouters        9(1)         0          1      1      3     0     7.29
Daniel Wein         17(4)         0          2      1      5     0     7.17
Dennis Dressel      28(8)         5          5      2      3     0     7.06
Quirin Moll             6         0          0      0      1     0     7.05
Erik Tallig        17(11)         2          3      0      1     0     6.83
Jayson Molumby      16(4)         1          1      1      4     0     6.82
Richard Neudecker   14(5)         0          1      0      2     0     6.69

It's quite easy to spot at a first glance which parts of our midfield worked and which didn't. Our defensive midfielders shone, all of them, no exception, meaning our anchor man role is performing really well in our tactic. Wouters was the best of the bunch, alternating defense and midfield since arriving in the last day of the winter window and soon showing he's worth the money we paid for him and then some. Wein was the starter at that position before then, but between Wouters' arrival and us switching to a 4-2-3-1 frequently in the second half of the season he saw his minutes drop, and his performances alongside them. He's still a very good option there, and will most likely alternate with Wouters next season. Moll left in January after some good but sporadic performances in the first half, since he wanted to play more but we couldn't afford to do so. The money we got from him was well spent, so it was all good.

Then we see the ratings drop dramatically, and we notice we're starting to look at our more attack-minded midfielders. The one exception was Dressel, once again providing goals and assists from deep and adapting quite well to the new league, even showing signs of personal development which might make him even better from now on. The rest, though... Tallig had an off-year after his jump into the limelight last season, not performing well neither in his usual position nor behind the striker in our 4-2-3-1. Yet he was still our best playmaker, because Neudecker was just horrible. In the end we just resorted to not playing him and using Molumby in that role, although the loanee wasn't that much better either. Neudecker is very likely to leave on a free, and I seriously doubt we'll renew Molumby's loan. Tallig will get another chance because he's young and improving, but this line needs some serious work this coming summer.

 

ATTACKERS
 

Name                 Apps     Goals    Assists    PoM    Y.C   R.C  Av.Rat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Felix Lohkemper     29(2)        24          2      6      0     0     7.43
Yusuf Kabadayi       4(9)         3          0      1      2     0     6.96
Billy Arce          24(4)         8          6      1      1     0     6.91
Sidi Sané          19(11)         5          5      1      1     0     6.91
Stefan Lex           3(5)         1          2      0      2     0     6.87
Maximiliano Lovera  18(7)         2          5      0      1     0     6.78
Marcel Bär          11(7)         3          3      1      3     0     6.76
Tomás Fernández      8(5)         0          1      0      1     0     6.72
Lorenz Knöferl       1(1)         0          0      0      0     0     6.45

From a sea of mediocrity emerged the bright light of Felix Lohkemper, best player and top goalscorer in this eventually successful season. The striker was the life of this team, and we suffered tremendously whenever he wasn't around due to injury, like in that long winless streak before the winter break. We wouldn't be where we are without him, plain and simple. Arce was supposed to be his backup up front, but in the end spent most of the time in his natural position on the left, and did quite decently there, even if inconsistently so, ending up as the top assist provider in the whole squad and adding eight goals on top. Not too convinced about bringing him back for another stint, though.

The one who's certainly coming back is Kabadayi, though: the youngster's performances off the bench after we brought him back from loan were surprisingly good, and his three goals gave us important points. He'll have more minutes next season, either here or on loan in a 3.Liga or better team. On the topic of loans, Sané was a pretty productive one, too, coming in with five goals and five assists (same numbers as Dressel, for example) and being our most incisive attacker at times, although he did hit a slump in his form towards the end and that saw his rating drop. Out of all the loans we got for the attacking line, he's the most likely to return for a second year, assuming Schalke want to send him our way again, although with Tribuzzi being a sure starter on the right his role might be diminished. We'll see.

Then there's the disappointments. Lovera was one, brought in to fill a gap on the left but completely useless 90% of the time he wasn't played in the center, and even there he was good only about half the time. Had a few pop-off moments and dished out a good number of assists, but his lack of real versatility made him a liability, and the constant nagging from Olympiakos' manager to play him in the center makes his return extremely unlikely. Same goes for Fernández, although in Boca's winger's case it's more a case of just being plain bad. I lost count on how many clear-cut chances he missed, despite having the ability to score in those situations in theory. He was also a non-factor creatively speaking, and completely fell out of the rotation towards the end of the year. Won't be coming back.

The ones who will be coming back are Lex and Knöferl, both loaned out at different points of the season. The youngster will most likely repeat the experience, although his lack of development despite doing well in the Regionalliga worries me a bit, and makes me wonder if keeping him close wouldn't be a better idea even if he plays much less. He's still very young, though, so there's time, which is exactly what Lex doesn't have much more of. The veteran forward quickly showed he wasn't cut for this level, and even in his loan he was average at best. We'll try our best to offload his oversized contract, but if we can't we'll probably just loan him again if anyone's willing to take him. Bär is another veteran who'll be leaving next season, although in his case it'll be on a free. He started well the year and actually contributed a few goals and assists at the beginning, but his hip injury and his terrible form afterwards showed that he wouldn't be useful for us anymore. We wish him the best in the future, hopefully in a decent 3.Liga team.

 

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May 23rd 2023

With all done and dealt with it's time to start preparing for the next season. The board set the initial budgets at €135k per week in wages (so a bit more than we spent this year, but not much) and €1.57M to spend in transfers, which triples the half a million-ish we got last year. We could direct some or all of it into wages for a pretty decent boost, too. Quite happy with that.

With the club's long term vision already fulfilled the board propose a new one. We regain some of the club culture elements which were developing last season but which went away with the board chance in July, and now 1860 favour possession football and high-tempo pressing football, which is all a perfect fit for my current tactics. There's a new bit in the 5-year plan too: to expand the stadium. I almost whooped when I saw that, and I hope it comes to fruition sooner rather than later, since our average attendance this year has been around 97% of our capacity... Next season we'll be expected mid-table, which should be very doable, and from then on the only expectation is to work towards a top-half finish. Meaning the board still don't trust us as promotion candidates, which is fair. It'll be my job to prove them wrong, then.

The players also seem on board with the goal of mid-table, which is good even if a good portion of them won't be returning next year, between expiring contracts and loans that won't be renewed. There's one matter I try to deal with before the holidays, though: Tallig's contract. He asked for a new deal around March and was promised one at the end of the season, so it's a good moment now to see what his agent is going to demand. For starters, he wants to be a regular starter, which is... not exactly easy considering his below average performances this season, but okay, we'll trust him to improve and actually deserve it. Then he wants a pretty decent rise from €7.75k to €9.75k in weekly wages, a €1.9M release clause for clubs in higher divisions, and pretty substantial fees. Nothing too unreasonable all in all, and we get to sign him for two more years and possibly profit from a sale next season if his play doesn't improve. We manage to negotiate it down to €9k wages and a €2M release clause, and the contract is signed.

With that, everyone goes on holiday until the 19th of June, while we hammer out the details of a ten-day training camp in Austria at the beginning of July. The players take with them the €1.6M they earned in collective bonuses, and I'm sure they all will spend it responsibly.

And then, a final surprise: remember the stadium expansion in the 5-year plan? It's starting today! We'll be adding 3,750 new seats to our dear old Grünwalder Stadion, a 25% expansion that'll cost us a bit over 5 million euros (€1.8M of them provided by public funding, since the stadium is owned by the Munich city council) and should be finished by the end of August.

In other news, St. Pauli win the playoff against Aue with a clear 5-2 on aggregate and will stay with us on the 2.Bundesliga next season. The two promoted teams from the 3.Liga will be Saarbrücken and Viktoria Köln.

May 24th 2023

Awards time! Felix Lohkemper finishes third in the Torjägerkanone der 2.Fussball-Bundesliga award. Also known as the 2.Bundesliga Top Scorer award, yes, I just like how Torjägerkanone sounds. Our false nine finished with 23 league goals, behind Arminia Bielefeld's Daishawn Redan who scored 27 and the untouchable king, Fortuna Düsseldorf's Dawid Kownacki, who finished with 33 goals in 31 appearances, an absolutely insane ratio. Somehow we're left out of the other seasonal award, the Team of the Year, which is completely dominated by Fortuna (two players) and Arminia (NINE players).

May 31st 2023

One final round of contract negotiations before we decide for good who stays and who leaves. We set Bär up for release to officially free up his wages, but for Neudecker we make one final attempt: two-year deal, squad player status and a drop of one thousand euros on his weekly wages. Surprisingly, he accepts without even questioning it. Guess he's aware of how bad he's been and how little he deserves anything better than that. Assuming no other teams offer him a better deal, he'll stay but we'll be open to any transfer bids which might come his way this summer. In fact, if we happen to sign a good playmaker, he's very likely to be transfer listed.

As for the rest, we set Ngounou Djayo up for release since he's 22 and unlikely to ever be of use to us, and he wants too much money for it to be worth it to keep him and try to sell him. Other reserve players, including Belkahia, Harper, and Zimmermann, are handed over to our director of football so he negotiates new deals for them. Belkahia is already 24 and will most likely never go beyond 3.Liga standards, so he's also very likely to be transferred out sooner rather than later.

Molumby's holidays are cut short by a call-up to the Republic of Ireland national team for a double-headed meeting with Norway in the Euro qualifiers.

June 1st 2023

Time for our yearly depth chart and an analysis on what we'll have next season. Last year we focused mostly on patching up holes and having a competent squad in all lines, but this year we'll be looking for improvement in most positions.

GK: Kretzschmar/Müller

DR: Goden/???/Sidler?/(Wein)/(Morgalla?)
DCx2: Lang/Kobald/Wouters/Hernández?/Morgalla?/(Wein)
DL: Steinhart/Danicic/Sidler?/Gresler?

DM: Wouters/Wein/(Neudecker?)/(Dressel)
CM1: Tallig/Neudecker?
CM2: Dressel/???/Wicht?/(Tallig)
AMC: Tallig/(Dressel)/(Knöferl?)

AMR: Tribuzzi/???/(Kabadayi)
AML: ???/Kabadayi/Greilinger?
F9: Lohkemper/???/Knöferl?

We're perfectly fine on goal. Müller is a competent backup for Kretzschmar and he'll stay unless he asks to leave, in which case we'd search for someone similar to take his place. Worst case scenario is that Kretzschmar leaves, but that'd take a lot of money which we can then reinvest in his replacement. We do have a decent amount of good and young keepers in our shortlist just in case of this particulary scenario.

Defense is mostly settled, with a couple of caveats. First, I'd love to renew Hernández's loan, but his contract expires in December, so the best we could do is either sign him on a free come July and wait half a year with only three first-team center-backs, or try and buy him for cheap so we can get him now. We should also explore alternative options, but worst case we just rely on returning loanee Morgalla, who hasn't had the best of years in Türkgücü but still looks promising. The left is covered, but I'm willing to listen to offers for Steinhart, who's turning 31 in a month and shouldn't have much first team football ahead of him. Danicic is gonna play lots this year regardless, I want him to get as much playtime as possible to see if he can be a long-term investment or not. And on the right we have Goden, and we might try and extend Sidler's loan if Spezia are willing, but I feel we can do better and actually try to sign someone better than Goden. Of course the budget isn't infinite, so that'll be a big factor on what we do in the end.

The midfield needs a lot of work, although the defensive midfielder position is perfectly covered with Wouters (who might be overloaded if he also has to play on defense) and Wein. The biggest issues here are our playmaker and someone to rotate with Dressel as our goalscoring midfielder. For the first we technically have two players, but I'd be more than happy to get someone better than both Neudecker and Tallig at that role, which shouldn't be difficult all things considered... For the second, we're exactly in the same position we were last year: maybe Wicht could stay and play cover, but he hasn't developed too much this season either. Maybe Tallig can move here full time if we find another playmaker. Too many alternatives, we'll play it by ear.

Finally, our attack. The right wing has a good starter already with Tribuzzi, but he needs a dedicated backup. Maybe we'll try to keep Sané, he'd be a cheap and reliable option. On the left it's the opposite: we already have the backup in Kabadayi, but we need someone who can start and do well here. Arce was decent, but we can do better than him, so we won't be keeping him. Then there's the eternal question of having someone who can reliably cover for Lohkemper when he's either unavailable or in the middle of a dry spell. Knöferl still looks green, but maybe he'd benefit from first team minutes like Kabadayi did last season. We'll see.

Jun 2nd 2023

We get another signing for the future in the shape of Ukrainian 19yo center back Mikhail Sukhoruchenko, a 190cm tall guy with lots of promise who joins our other bets for the future in the reserves. Or rather, will officially in July,  for now he stays on trial. A very likely candidate for a loan next season, just like all his colleagues.

* * *

ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD
 

  • Bundesliga: remember how tight the league was back in winter? Well, forget about that: Bayern won again, and did so with a nine point lead over Dortmund and sixteen over RB Leipzig. Some things never change... Leverkusen once again finished fourth, Gladbach got into the Europa League through their fifth place while Hertha qualified through the DFB Pokal win despite finishing seventh, and Wolfsburg got the short end of the stick and will have to deal with the Conference League despite their sixth place. As lived in first person, Union Berlin survived in the relegation playoff, while Heidenheim and Karlsruhe relegated back to the 2.Bundesliga to become our new boogeymen.
  • Premier League: drama! Manchester City and Chelsea got to the final fixture tied at 86 points and with the former having a ten-goal advantage, so Chelsea had to hope for City to mess up. Well, they got their wish, as Guardiola's boys went down 3-2 to Newcastle, but it mattered very little because Chelsea also lost in their visit to Stoke, who needed that win to survive. Something they didn't achieve either, because Bournemouth defeated Spurs and kept the coveted 17th place for themselves! I can imagine the internet forums burning that afternoon... In the end Man City were champions with Chelsea second, Liverpool and Man Utd completed the Champions League positions, while Newcastle and Arsenal (!) will play the Europa League and Leicester gets the consolation prize of the Conference League. Together with Stoke, Crystal Palace and Fulham relegated to the Championship. Once again City got the FA Cup with an overtime 3-2 win over Liverpool, while Chelsea at least won some silverware in the League Cup, defeating surprising finalists Brighton 3-1.
  • LaLiga: Barcelona completed their comeback with an absolutely fantastic season, almost record-breaking, winning the league with 98 points and nine over Real Madrid. That could be considered normal, but the rest of the European places were anything but: Celta and Real Sociedad finished third and fourth, Atlético were relegated to the Europa League together with Villarreal, and Sevilla could only hold onto continental competitions through the Conference League. Granada, Sporting, and Málaga relegate to the second tier, while Barça repeat title in the Copa del Rey, once again beating their rivals from Madrid in the final with two extra time goals by Depay and new La Masía starlet Ilias Akhomach. An interesting revival, considering Barça have basically the same squad they had last year, only with their youngsters one year older and more developed. Oh, and Griezmann's back I guess, for what that's worth.
  • Serie A: Lazio managed to hold on to the top position they occupied back in December and won the Serie A for the first time in twenty-three years, with neighbors and rivals from Roma trailing by only three points in the end and a surprising drop to third place by Juventus. Milan completed the top four, Inter and Atalanta qualified for the Europa League, and Sampdoria held back Sassuolo and a very disappointing Napoli to hold onto the Conference League place. Salernitana, Lecce, and Monza relegated, the former just one point behind surprising survivors Benevento, and Juve got some consolation from their win in the Coppa Italia, on penalties against league champions Lazio.
  • Ligue 1: zzz, PSG win again. Thirteen points over second-place Nice, no less. Marseille squeeze into the Champions League with their third place, ahead of Monaco, Lyon, and Lens. Relegations for Nancy, Lorient, Angers, and Nimes, and Coupe de France for, who else, PSG, who easily dispatched Monaco in the final three goals to nil. With Messi retiring it's to be seen if they can mantain this dominance with only Neymar as a so-called superstar and a supporting cast including the likes of Ángel Correa and Declan Rice. I fully expect money to be thoroughly splashed this summer in Paris... Boring league is boring, so any kind of shakeup would be welcome.
  • Champions League: three years later Bayern returned to European glory with a 1-0 win over Inter in the Champions League final, held in the Atatürk Stadium in Istanbul. Thomas "Mr. Big Game" Müller himself scored the winner 32 minutes into the game, and Inter couldn't come back from that, certainly not helped by the sending off of Stefan de Vrij just before half time. Bayern needed penalties to get past Liverpool in the semifinals, while Inter had an easier time against Juventus, winning 3-1 on aggregate.
  • Europa League: this was Germany's year in Europe, it seems: Bayer Leverkusen lifted the Europa League trophy after a surprisingly easy 2-0 win against Spurs, who almost got an upgrade from their Conference League title last year. Sinisterra and Azmoun scored Leverkusen's goals in two frantic minutes near the end of the first half, in a match in which they dominated Spurs through defense and counterattacks. Gladbach almost made it an all-German final, but lost to Spurs 3-2 in the semis, while Leverkusen had to deal with Atalanta by the same result.
  • Conference League: in the lesser trophy it was Lazio who emerged triumphant, defeating Spanish side Villarreal 2-0 in the final and scoring an unlikely double together with their Serie A title. The most surprising part of the final was that Immobile didn't score, and instead handed the job to Milinkovic-Savic and Pobega, both coming early in each of the two halves of the match. Legia and Partizan made it to the semis, but were easily defeated by the eventual finalists.
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Jun 10th 2023

Neudecker signs his new, reduced contract, saving us a bit in wages. Now let's see if he'll be staying for real or not...

Jun 11th 2023

Taxes hit us once again, and this time we'll have to pay around €875k due to our almost €6M in profits in the last fiscal year. Which, honestly? Actually makes me happy. We also recoup the yearly club membership fees, which total up €439k this season, a 10% increase from last year. To round it up, two new sponsors bring €875k to the club's accounts, although both in one-year deals.

Jun 12th 2023

An early attempt to extend Kobald's contract and get rid of his pesky little €160k release clause for higher division clubs ends in failure, as his agent first asks for him to remain as an important player (which we degrade to regular starter) and then asks for almost triple his current wages, way more than we would be willing to offer for a good player who didn't exactly set the league alight in his first year. Kobald sacks his agent immediately after, which could be a good sign.

Jun 15th 2023

Pfff, HSV offer me an interview. Now that'd be a different kind of challenge, and also an interesting one, but sorry guys, I'm here until they don't want me anymore.

Jun 17th 2023

Two days later Schalke come with the same offer, which gets the same response. Somehow I had the feeling they'd be next in line after HSV came knocking, they're both clubs in very similar situations.

Manchester United offer €115M for Leicester's Tielemans. Yep, good ol' United...

Jun 19th 2023

Preseason starts, and first thing on my table is not a fitness report but a transfer offer, from Kasimpasa for Goden, €275k with €105k of them being in installments. Not quite enough, rejected.

The end of season reports from various magazines seem to be more generous with their awards for us than the official 2.Bundesliga ones were. For once, 1860 are named as Overachievers of the Season by The Fiver, which, I mean, *duh*. More interesting is Felix Lohkemper being selected as the best signing of the season in the division, something I absolutely agree with.

Jun 20th 2023

The fixture list for the new season is announced and we'll face an interesting start, with two consecutive away games to Holstein Kiel and Nürnberg, followed by the always tricky HSV visiting our still-not-quite-improved Grünwalder Stadion. We'll end the season with an absolutely criminal trip to Karlsruhe, in what could very well be a promotion or title decider if we perform as well as we did last season. Fun.

Tallig only needs two days of preseason training to get himself injured. It's the classic pulled knee ligaments and he'll be out for three weeks, which might be a serious setback for his preparation.

Jun 23rd 2023

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong moves to Manchester City for €152M. Yep, good ol' City...

Lang's traditional early season injury is a small one this time, a pulled groin which will keep him out of training for about a week.

Jun 24th 2023

Welp, here comes trouble. We receive three offers for Kobald, a pretty decent one from Guingamp (€235k rising to €300k with clauses) a smaller one from Fürth (€190k) and a ridiculously small from Fortuna Düsseldorf (€77k). Now, guess which team Kobald wants desperately to join, so much so that he'll become unsettled if we refuse their offer. Yep, Fortuna. We say screw it and reject it anyway, then tell Fürth to match Guingamp's offer or get lost. Let's see what happens here. In the meantime, time to seriously start looking for center backs.

Bad news for one of our players, but not for us since he won't be long with the team: Marcel Bär relapses of his hip injury, and will be out of contention for 2 to 3 months once again. Won't exactly help him find a new team once his contract ends in, uh, seven days, but it shows that we made the right decision letting him go. Best of lucks, man, you were good for us.

Jun 26th 2023

Injuries keep piling up, and this one isn't even our fault: Nathan Wicht, still with Göppingen on loan, suffers a hamstring strain and will miss six to seven weeks, i.e. all of the preseason. Fantastic.

Jun 29th 2023

The two players we were considering resigning on loan for the next season, Sidler and Sané, both say they'd rather not return, at least right now. Nothing can be easy in this world of suffering and pain...

And of course, another injury: Wein strains his abdomen while lifting weights and will be resting for the next three to four weeks.

Jun 30th 2023

And yet another injury. What's with this preseason? This time it's Danicic who twists an ankle and will be out for three to four weeks, meaning he'll return just in time for the league to start. Wonderful.

Players leave, players return, and no new deals made just yet. We had a couple of interesting signings lined up but they all went with different options in the end, so now we have to rush a bit.

Jul 1st 2023

Tribuzzi and the new 20-year-olds for the reserves arrive, loanees depart back to their teams.

Transfer window opens and, of course, offers come flooding in, mostly loans for the usual suspects. There's a more worrying one, though: Heracles come with a €275k offer for Goden, which we negotiate up to €450k thinking they won't go that far. Surprisingly, they do. Goden is really interested in speaking with them and doesn't even want to hear about negotiating a new deal with us, so he's most likely gone now. We'll need two right backs for the new season, then. Sigh.

- - -

SV Austria Salzburg vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

We start our training camp in Austria with a relaxed game against Austria Salzburg, a team like us in that they were huge one day, even reaching a UEFA Cup final in 1994, but nowadays languish in the lower divisions. With a very limited squad with lots of kids, a couple of trialists, and fringe players about to leave on loan, plus all the injuries, we're forced to improvise a bit with the lineup today. We still dominate the match, of course, and Tribuzzi gets the first near the half hour. Early in the second half one of the trialists, midfielder Milos Vulic, scores a perfect free kick, then assists Belkahia in another set piece for the third, really making a case for himself. He of course picks a minor knock after that, but he still completes the game with a promising performance, although we don't score any more goals.

SV Austria Salzburg 0
TSV 1860 München 3 (Alessio Tribuzzi 29, Milos Vulic 47, Semi Belkahia 50)

- - -

It's a pulled thigh for Vulic, so he won't train anymore while on trial, but I like what I've seen enough to try and offer him a contract. Let's see if no one swoops in to steal this one from us...

Jul 4th 2023

First loan signing of the season, and it's a big one: Dinamo Kyiv send to Munich 19yo attacking midfielder Anton Tsarenko, possibly the brightest talent in Ukrainian football right now. A very creative midfielder with great vision, he also has the ability to score both from distance and from close, and while his small size (only 162cm) makes him less of a threat in the air, he makes up for it with his nimbleness and flair. A different kind of player who can play both behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1 or as a deeper midfielder in a 4-3-3, and who can adapt to any of the most attacking roles in our midfield. We'll pay his €3.2k weekly wage in full, plus an extra €10k per month of his stay with us (the alternative was promising to play him only as an attacking midfielder, which was a big no-no given recent experiences).

- - -

Kapfenberger SV 1919 vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

Second Austrian friendly against another nonleague team, which serves as Tsarenko's debut with the squad in the second half. No mention of the first, though, because it was boring and had no goals. And the new kid has an instant impact, scoring with a header (!) after a cross from the right by soon-to-be-gone Salger. Not much later Knöferl scores from the edge of the box with a cute curling shot that surprises the keeper, then a cross by Tsarenko is deflected into the net by a defender, rounding up a much more interesting second half and a good first appearance for the Ukrainian.

Kapfenberger SV 1919 0
TSV 1860 München 3 (Anton Tsarenko 65, Lorenz Knöferl 75, Mohamed Cherif 90og)

Jul 5th 2023

Some come, some leave, all on loan: Cameron Harper will play this season in the same city but in a different club, as he joins Türkgücü München on loan, with our neighbors paying 80% of his wages. Let's see how the American does at the 3.Liga level, and once again we'll have to make a decision about his future at the club afterwards.

Jul 6th 2023

Sigh, not only does Vulic not sign for us, he goes to one of our main rivals in the division, Hannover. I'll sure enjoy playing against him when the time comes.

Oh, and to complete a fantastic day in the transfer market, Goden agrees a move to Heracles Almelo in exchange for €450k and a 30% of future profits. Not a deal I'm particularly happy with considering it leaves us with zero right backs in the squad (temporarily, one is coming soon) but the fee we get for him is fair. €240k of those go straight back into our transfer budget for future use.

Jul 7th 2023

Second loan of the season, a player which we tried to sign on a free last year but instead decided to extend his deal with Juventus, and now we'll get to enjoy for one year: 20yo Swiss center-back Albian Hajdari joins on loan practically for free, since we'll only have to pay €450 per week and no extra fees for the duration. Already a quality center-back at his young age, helped by his 190cm of height and a pretty good passing ability, he'll be a straight replacement for Kobald in the rotation when he eventually leaves. Still a work in progress, he should be more than good enough for our current level.

On the topic of Kobald, there's his transfer confirmation. The center-back will move to Panathinaikos in exchange for €425k, a pretty good deal compared to the other offers we'd received for him. €275k for the transfer kitty, and we'll most likely need another center-back to complete our defensive line besides Hajdari, since Wouters is likely to be needed elsewhere.

- - -

Wiener SC vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

All these arrivals and departures slowly deplete our training camp squad, which can't be altered anymore and which currently has half a right back in the shape of Salger. This doesn't help, and WSC taking the lead early in the game with a quick break through the center and a chip over Kretzschmar doesn't help either. Thankfully Dressel fixes things quickly after a good run by Kabadayi, then Lohkemper turns it around after a shot by Tribuzzi is blocked by the keeper. The second half brings bad news with young Can Sapmaz's injury, and then WSC drawing the game again in a set piece. It takes a penalty on Greilinger for Lex to score from the spot and restore our lead, and then the left winger makes it 2-4 in the final minutes to make our worst game so far look a bit better.

Wiener SC 2 (Benjamin Redzic 6, Luka Gusic 58)
TSV 1860 München 4 (Dennis Dressel 13, Felix Lohkemper 25, Stefan Lex 79p, Fabian Greilinger 88)

Jul 8th 2023

Another incoming loan, and this one's a known face: Silvan Sidler rejoins from Spezia for another season, once again with us paying his full €2.9k weekly wages, which is still a bargain. One year older but as solid as he was last season, or that's what we expect. He might have a major or a minor role this season, depending on who do we end up signing in Goden's place, but his versatility makes sure he'll be playing lots regardless.

And in the same day we make our first actual signing of the window, Tribuzzi aside: 19yo center-back Linus Gechter joins on a free transfer after leaving Hertha just one week ago. A player with lots of future but also a pretty solid present, he's another ball-playing center-back with excellent technique for a defender, good pace and aerial ability, and the required defensive skills to shine in his position. He'd make a very good defensive midfielder, too, and he has some skill in the position, but will need some extra training before he can be used there regularly. With him and Hajdari we should have Kobald's and Hernández's departures covered, and with a lot of young blood to boot. Gechter comes with €4.4k weekly wages, and pre-set increases when he reaches certain thresholds in league games played for the club, which ideally should happen sooner rather than later. A good signing, and one that's gonna last us for a long time and/or give us lots of monetary benefits later on.

Two arrivals, and now one departure: Greilinger once again leaves on loan, this time for Wiesbaden, where he'll be an important player and ideally continue growing. He's 22 already, though, and he still isn't quite at the level we'd expect of him, so this might be his last chance to take a leap forward. Wiesbaden will play 90% of his wages, which is a good deal.

Another departure, this one a definitive one: Mansour Ouro-Tagba, 18yo American striker from the reserves, leaves for Jahn Regensburg for €80k upfront, €9k after 10 games, and €9k after 20 goals, plus 30% of future profits. Not a fantastic deal for a player that still had some upside, but who was unlikely to ever reach first team levels for us. I'd have prefered a loan for now, but eh, that'll do. The worst part of this deal is him going to a division rival, and to Hiller's team to top it all. I look forward to them both combining to destroy us next time we play them...

Jul 9th 2023

Two more loans out today: Lex moves to 3.Liga side Halle, while Morgalla joins Harper in Türkgücü München. Halle will pay 60% of Lex's wages, so that's a minor victory for me, since selling him was proving absolutely impossible and most other interested clubs offered a 10% at best. Meanwhile, Morgalla returns to Türkgücü for a second stint, ideally better than the first, with 80% of his wages covered by them.

Jul 10th 2023

Our three new youngsters depart on expected loan deals: Sukhoruchenko moves to Obolon, Fray stays closer with RW Essen, and Kvistgaarden goes to Denmark to play for Lyngby. I'll be keeping an eye on them and their performances throughout the year.

Jul 12th 2023

Some annoyances today, with the likes of Arminia, Fortuna, and the usual suspects Paderborn making below average transfer offers for some of our youngsters. All rejected, but it won't be long until one of them becomes unsettled and I'm forced to sell. Grumble.

Jul 13th 2023

DJK Ammerthal vs. TSV 1860 München (Friendly)

Back in Germany for another easy friendly against Regionalliga side Ammerthal. Kabadayi only needs a minute plus some change to score the first with a cute chip over the keeper, soon followed by Lohkemper finishing a good pass from Tribuzzi to make it two. It's a very relaxed first half in which chances come easy, but somewhat surprisingly there are no more goals until injury time, when Steinhart buries a direct free kick, mostly thanks to us hitting wood two times. There's less action in the second half, and the result doesn't move any further.

DJK Ammerthal 0
TSV 1860 München 3 (Yusuf Kabadayi 2, Felix Lohkemper 9, Phillipp Steinhart 45+2)

Jul 15th 2023

We have a new left winger! Coming from Fortuna Düsseldorf on loan is 25yo Emmanuel Iyoha, who's found himself out of favor in the now-Bundesliga squad as of late and comes to us to try and revitalize his career. Right-footed but not useless with his left, he can play as an inverted winger or inside forward on the left, but also as a striker. Very quick and with good dribbling and finishing, but not the most intelligent nor cool-headed player, we'll expect him to do a good job as our (for now) starting left winger. We'll pay only 40% of his wages, but even that ends up amounting to €5k per week. He'd better earn them.

Steinhart suffers from food poisoning, most likely too many schnitzels while in Austria. He'll be recovering for a few days and miss our next friendly.

Lohkemper is third favorite for being the top goalscorer in the 2.Bundesliga this season, only behind Hrgota (Fürth) and Hofmann (Karlsruhe), both known commodities.

Jul 16th 2023

Zimmermann joins our small contingent in the Olympiastadion completing his loan move to Türkgücü, where he'll get lots of playing time at the 3.Liga level and hopefully show what he can really do without broken feet getting in the way.

- - -

TSV 1860 München vs. FC Schalke 04 (Friendly)

We'll end the preseason with two home friendlies against more serious opposition, starting with fellow promotion wannabes from Schalke, as a way to test our real strength even with the transfer market very much ongoing. We start really well, controlling the game and having all the chances until Lohkemper breaks through with a placed shot after a good run on the right by Tribuzzi. Our absolute domination extends until half time, and the Italian winger doubles our lead right before the end of the half heading in a cross from Iyoha. Wein plays his first minutes of the season in the second half, in which our control wanes a bit and Müller has to work hard to keep our lead intact until finally Terodde scores the 2-1 with a powerful header. The win is still ours, though, a good omen for the season to come.

TSV 1860 München 2 (Felix Lohkemper 24, Alessio Tribuzzi 45)
FC Schalke 04 1 (Simon Terodde 83)

Jul 17th 2023

And here's our new right winger, and what a right winger he is: 20yo Ghanaian attacking midfielder Amankwah Forson arrives on loan from RB Salzburg, costing us only €1.6k per week with no other clauses. An extremely gifted wing player, with great pace, flair, and technique, he's much more of a provider than a scorer, which is a role we lack currently in our wingers. A natural right winger despite being very left-footed, he'll give us a different outlook when playing there, and he can also play behind the striker or on the left if needed. If he works out half as well as I expect, he might very well be one of the signings of the season in the 2.Bundesliga. A shame buying him permanently is walled behind a prohibitive €6M price, otherwise I'd have bitten the bullet.

Just a couple of hours later Knöferl departs on loan once again, moving to Wiesbaden this time. They pay 80% of his wages, but he's not expected to have too much play time there, which is concerning. He rejected a move to Hansa Rostock which would've let him play more, and he's been making noises every time Arminia came bidding for an actual transfer until today. I'm honestly not sure he's gonna be with us much longer than this. We'll see how this year goes. His departure does mean we'll need an extra striker for sure, since even counting our four wing players we're a bit thin upfront.

Jul 21st 2023

Another expected departure, this time Salger's. The veteran defender joins Braunschweig on loan, with them paying 80% of his wages and the deal having an optional agreed fee of €100k should they want to buy him at any point throughout the season. That would be ideal, honestly, because Salger is not playing for us again unless there's an absolute injury crisis in defense and none of our youngsters is available. More free wage space for the signings that are still incoming.

Jul 23rd 2023

Two transfer news today just before our last friendly of the preseason. First one, Gresler moves on loan to Meppen, wages paid in full. Twenty years old now, still no noticeable development, and it doesn't look like he'll be playing too often there this season either. Like Knöfler, one to keep an eye on and decide what to do with next summer.

The second transfer is an incoming one and, for once, not a loan: Juan Iglesias, 25yo attacking right back from Getafe, joins on a transfer valued in €155k plus a 30% of future profits. Iglesias is exactly what we needed on the right back position after Goden's departure: a complete player who can perform equally well in attack and in defense, running up and down the flank while Tribuzzi and/or Forson drift inside. A noticeable upgrade over Goden, although with less upside in the future since he's not expected to improve. His wages are also very reasonable at €3.8k per week, on the low end for our starting eleven. A good buy, if I do say so myself.

- - -

TSV 1860 München vs. KAS Eupen (Friendly)

Our final friendly pits us against Belgian squad Eupen, expected bottom half in the Jupiler Pro League. Gechter and Lang get our first goals from set pieces, both assisted by Tsarenko, and we ride that advantage without much issue until half time. There are many good chances to score in the second half, too, but neither Kabadayi nor Forson seem to have a good day when it comes to finishing, and the result remains as it is until the end.

TSV 1860 München 2 (Linus Gechter 7, Niklas Lang 14)
KAS Eupen 0

- - -

A pretty good preseason all in all. We just need our new striker to arrive and we'll have a full squad right before the league starts, and after that we can see what resources we still have available and try to improve some of the other positions during what remains of the window, particularly the playmaker and left back ones.

Edited by Dalbeider
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Jul 25th 2023

And here's our new striker! Coming from Basel, 22yo Senegalese forward Mamadou Kaly Sene joins on a four-year contract worth €3.5k per week in exchange for €425k upfront plus €4k more for each of his first ten games with the club, which I expect we'll pay out before the year ends, and a 40% of future profits. Sene comes as our second striker set to rotate with Lohkemper, but he's also able to play as an attacking midfielder on either wing (he's very right-footed though) or even in the center behind another striker. This flexibility makes him an even better deal, but his main appeal was always his present quality, highlighted by his great pace, stamina, and off-the-ball movement, and his potential for improvement, being only 22 and looking into many playing minutes this season. Our most expensive signing so far, but he might end up looking like a bargain if everything goes right.

Jul 29th 2023

Holstein Kiel vs. TSV 1860 München (2.Bundesliga, 1/34)

And back into the fray we go. Kiel were always involved in the relegation battle last year despite managing to escape from it towards the end of the season, but this year they're expected to be right back into it, even though the two newly promoted teams Viktoria Köln and Saarbrücken are heavy favorites for the drop. Our valoration has increased noticeably, though, and the experts predict we'll finish seventh. My plan is, of course, to make it quite a bit better than that. This is the year we seriously push for promotion, and that starts with a win today. I hope.

* * *

KIEL (4-3-3): Ioannis Gelios (GK); Eduardo Fereira (DR), Florian Ballas (DCr), Stefan Thesker (DCl), Jaouem Hadjam (DL); Patrick Erras (DM), Gianluca Gaudino (MCr), Steven Skrzybski (MCl); Holmbert Fridjónsson (AMR), Santiago Rodriguez (AML), Joel Pohjanpalo (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Juan Iglesias (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Linus Gechter (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Anton Tsarenko (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Alessio Tribuzzi (AMR), Emmanuel Iyoha (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Lots of new names in out lineup today, which includes debuts for Iglesias, Gechter, Tsarenko, Tribuzzi, and Iyoha, with a few more waiting for their chance in the second half. It's not a particularly exciting start of the match, though, although we do get a few early shots in and Iyoha has a decent chance after a play through the left by Steinhart, but finds himself with a very narrow angle to finish through and Gelios catches it easily.

Neither team appears to be able to establish themselves on the pitch today, nor can they generate chances with any kind of regularity. The best one falls to Fridjonsson after a good long pass by Hadjam finds him behind Steinhart and with space to run into, but Kretzschmar stands firm and denies his finish, as he does with his header in the corner kick immediately afterwards. Things don't move any further, and the first half ends goalless.

HALF TIME - 0-0

Kiel start the second half trying to push forward a bit more, and soon Kretzschmar has to save another header by Fridjonsson, this one much easier than the previous two. The next one falls to Rodriguez after a good passing play, and once again our keeper has to be in the right place and deflect the finish over the bar. By now it's obvious we need changes, and we go for a formation change into 4-2-3-1, bringing Wein and Sene into the game. The immediate result isn't great, and soon Kretzschmar has to save another good chance for Kiel, this one Pohjanpalo's and through the center.

On the 60th we finally show up near Gelios' goal, although it is with a long-range effort by Dressel that the keeper saves well. One minute later, though, a corner kick taken by Gaudino evades everyone's heads and reaches the far post, where Ballas hits it completely unmarked and scores the 1-0 for Kiel. Forson is immediately brought in to play behind Lohkemper, and his first action ends with a pass back to Dressel who then crosses towards the far post, and Tribuzzi pops up there to volley it in for a quick draw. Debut goal for the Italian, and back into the game we go.

With momentum shifting we go on the offensive and try to look for a winner, soon netting another decent chance for Tribuzzi which ends in a save by Gelios. After a while we seem to run out of gas, though, and Lang almost gifts a goal to Pohjanpalo with a suicidal pass, although thankfully Kretzschmar is there to fix his mistake with another great save. However, in the 87th minute Forson drops into the midfield to gather the ball, turns around, and threads the needle through a narrow gap to send a beautiful pass towards Lohkemper, invisible until then but lethal in the right moment to score the 1-2. Kiel have no reaction, and we steal the three points away in a match we could just as easily have lost.

* * *

Holstein Kiel 1 (Florian Ballas 61)
TSV 1860 München 2 (Alessio Tribuzzi 63, Felix Lohkemper 87)

- - -

Some things may change, but Lohkemper is still Lohkemper. Even if he disappears for the whole match, he'll always be there to score when you need him. Difficult match today, in which we had to rely on Kretzschmar too much for my taste, and in which we probably didn't quite deserve a win, but hey, it's a good sign that we're winning games like this, right? Although I'd much rather not have games like this at all... Good debuts for Gechter (player of the match, fantastic in defense and bringing the ball up to the midfield), Tribuzzi, and Forson off the bench.

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Jul 30th 2023

Wow. All 12,455 season tickets we'd put up for sale have been sold out, and it's still at least a couple of weeks until our first home match. Last year we fell short a mere hundred, though. Ideally with the new increased stadium capacity we'll be able to sell more next season.

Time for that competition in which we always get so lucky with the draws, the DFB Pokal. And for a change, this time my sarcasm does ring true, as we get an away draw to Regionalliga side Halle 96, a tie we should win with ease. They do have a couple quality veterans, but we should have more than enough to beat them, even with our second unit playing. The game will be played in a couple of weeks.

Jul 31st 2023

The last of the likely departures this season, Belkahia, moves on loan to Zwickau, who'll pay his whole wages and will also have the option to buy him for €30k and a 20% of future profits at any time. Pretty decent deal for a 3.Liga level player who'll never start for us now that he's 24. Hope he impresses enough to make them buy him.

Aug 1st 2023

It'd been a while since our last serious injury, so fate decided that it was time to screw with us again. This time the victim is Tribuzzi, suffering from abdominal strain which will keep him out of the pitch for around four weeks.

Aug 4th 2023

1.FC Nürnberg vs. TSV 1860 München (2.Bundesliga, 2/34)

Kinda weird to start the league with two consecutive away games but okay, I guess? Nürnberg will be a much tougher nut to crack than Kiel, though, and Kiel was tough enough already. Right now they're second favorites for promotion behind Hannover and ahead of Hamburg and Schalke, somewhat surprisingly. We'll need to improve from our last outing if we're to get anything out of this fixture.

* * *

NÜRNBERG (4-2-3-1): Christian Mathenia (GK); Sei Muroya (DR), Atakan Karazor (DCr), Moritz Heyer (DCl), Jannes Horn (DL); Tom Krauss (MCr), Mamadou Loum (MCl); Mustapha Bundu (AMR), Mats Moller Daehli (AMC), Manuel Wintzheimer (AML); Dennis Srbeny (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Tom Kretzschmar (GK); Silvan Sidler (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Albian Hajdari (DCl), Damjan Danicic (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Erik Tallig (MCr), Anton Tsarenko (MCl); Amankwah Forson (AMR), Mamadou Kaly Sene (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)

* * *

Some rotation all over, giving starts to the rest of the newbies and replacing the injured Tribuzzi. The match starts with lots of midfielding and very little attacking for the first fifteen minutes or so, until Srbeny receives a through ball inside the box and tries to score the first, but misses the target and sends it over under pressure from Hajdari. On the other goal it's Lohkemper who blasts the ball over after a pretty good combination with Tsarenko and Sene through the center. 

The game starts piciking up speed, and Kretzschmar has some work to do with a cushioned header by Bundu a bit later. A high free kick by Horn is next, and Nürnberg seem to be taking the initiative now. But then we're back to midfield, this time with a small edge possession-wise for us, but little presence in their half of the pitch. This carries on until half time, and no more goalscoring chances are recorded for either team before then.

HALF TIME - 0-0

After such a one-sided first half, it's hard to expect something different after the break, but what a change a couple minor tactical tweaks in Tallig's position can do: four minutes into the second half and a long passing play around the box ends with Tsarenko assisting Sene inside the box, and the striker takes his first chance and puts it into the net. That's what I like to see from my forwards.

Of course it's back to the mines after that, and soon Kretzschmar has to save another header by Bundu, not particularly dangerous. The winger then switches sides to let Dajaku take the right, and it's Dajaku himself who gets another good chance to score, tipped wide by the keeper. We bring in a few substitutes to try and turn the tide, including young Kabadayi on the right, and at least it seems to slow them down a bit since it takes them ten more minutes for Dajaku to get another good chance stopped by Kretzschmar.

It takes ten more minutes for their next arrival at our box, and this time the finish isn't even that dangerous, a soft shot by Moller Daehli that Kretzschmar catches with ease. Some great defending by Lang in the 89th minute prevents a dangerous finish by Jensen from really close to the goal, Bundu heads a corner kick narrowly over, and suddenly it's injury time and then the game is over. Absolute steal of a game, and for once we're on the thieves' side.

* * *

1.FC Nürnberg 0
TSV 1860 München 1 (Mamadou Kaly Sene 49)

- - -

Remember all those times I raged about me having so many more chances than the opposition and either losing or drawing the game? Looks like it can happen the other way around, too. We made literally one shot on target in the whole game, and that was Sene's goal. Meanwhile Kretzschmar was the player of the match, so that should tell you something about how much Nürnberg wasted today. Stolen points count the same as normal ones, though, so yay six out of six. We do need to improve, though, particularly in the playmaking department, and that might require spending big.

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Aug 7th 2023

The cash was very thoroughly splashed, and here's our new playmaker: Tamar Svetlin, 22yo Slovenian midfielder with winger tendencies, joins from Celje in exchange for €925k (€500k of them in installments) and a 40% of future profits, and comes to steal the midfield away from Tallig and Neudecker. This kid has it all: vision, good passing, great first touch, decent pace and good dribbling for when he has to get out of the way fast, great versatility as he's also able to play perfectly well on both wings, and above all, the potential to become even better. It's a sizeable investment for a club of our stature, but one that's sure to pay off in the future. He's even a six times international for Slovenia already! He'll earn €7.5k per week, which is quite a decent wage for someone so young, but he's worth it.

And now it's time to sell Neudecker, I guess. Or try to, because a) he doesn't want to leave after just having signed a new contract, and b) no one is interested in him at all. It's likely he'll be there filling a spot on the bench or the stands until he gets fed up with it and actually starts looking forward to a move. Would love to have his wages removed from our books and invest them in a new left back, but alas, that will have to wait.

Aug 8th 2023

Kretzschmar and Sene are our first appearances in the Team of the Week of the season.

"I believe Kretzschmar would be a good player for most Bundesliga sides," says Oliver Beer in his training report about the keeper. Well, let's make that a reality, shall we?

Aug 13th 2023

VfL Halle 96 vs. TSV 1860 München (DFB Pokal 1st round)

First time we actually have a chance to relax and play some youngsters in the Cup. Well, I say youngsters, but all of them are actually members of the first team regardless of their age. This should be an easy win for us *if* we take it seriously. If we don't, ties like this have this weird tendency to overcomplicate themselves.

* * *

HALLE 96 (4-4-1-1): Jakob David (GK); Patrick Thon (DR), Leonard Seyfert (DCr), Nick Denkewitz (DCl), Luis Biehl (DL); Nico Granatowski (MR), Phil Appelt (MCr), Soufiane El-Faouzi (MCl), Anton Makarenko (ML); Tommy Kind (AMC); Thilo Töpken (ST)
1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Sven Müller (GK); Juan Iglesias (DR), Albian Hajdari (DCr), Linus Gechter (DCl), Damjan Danicic (DL); Daniel Wein (DM), Tamar Svetlin (MCr), Dennis Dressel (MCl); Amankwah Forson (AMR), Yusuf Kabadayi (AML), Mamadou Kaly Sene (ST)

* * *

This is also a good chance to give some of the players who went through injuries in the preseason some much needed playing time to increase their fitness, including Iglesas and Wein, and also to take a first look at Svetlin in action and at how Sene does upfront. It's exactly 30 seconds into the game when Forson steals the ball in midfield and assists Sene, who rushes his finish a bit too much and sends it well over. We dominate from the get-go as expected and soon the chances start flowing, Forson having the next one after a long pass from Dressel that the winger smashes into David's body. Third time should've been the charm, but Kabadayi wastes Forson's fantastic assist with a wide left-footed finish instead.

Not the fourth either, this one Dressel's after Svetlin gives us the first glimpse of his quality with a pinpoint pass from deep. David stops that one, but seems unable to do anything against Kabadayi in the next only for the winger to end up shooting into the outside of the post after rounding the keeper. Seventeen minutes into the game our siege finally pays off and a low cross by Danicic is hit by Dressel into the back of the net. Should be easier from here on.

Our constant attack continues and the missed chances keep piling up, including a point-range header by Kabadayi that somehow ends up going over. Another by Gechter in a set piece also meets the same fate, and the same happens to a one-on-one finish by Dressel, once again assisted down the left by Danicic. Then it's David blocking Forson, then Kabadayi finally scores but he's very clearly offside... The count goes on and on. It takes us until the 43rd for Svetlin to grab his first assist for 1860 with a beautiful through ball towards Kabadayi, who finally finds the way to score from a legal position with a placed finish with his left. We reach the halfway point with a comfortable lead, but which should still be much wider.

HALF TIME - 0-2

We start the second half in the same wasteful way, with Gechter heading a set piece taken by Wein into the sidenetting. Dressel then has three consecutive shots which meet David's hands twice and the air in the goal's general vicinity once, but never quite touch the net. After a while we give our attacking midfielders and Forson some rest, and the subs soon join in the miss-a-thon, starting with a narrowly high header by Iyoha in a corner kick. The inside forward then hits the post after a great cross by Iglesias as luck continues to evade our forwards.

Iyoha's third chance strikes true, though, although to be fair it was an extremely simple tap-in after Kabadayi did all the job with a death pass from the right. That's when relaxation starts kicking in, and we even allow Halle 96 a chance to score on a cross from the left which Töpken thankfully misheads terribly. We still keep creating danger, though, which our forwards keep finding creative ways to waste. The fourth arrives on the 80th due to sheer insistence, following a cross by Kabadayi for his second assist of the day and another easy finish for Sene. We rack up our shot count to forty in the remaining minutes, but four goals will have to be enough.

* * *

VfL Halle 96 0
TSV 1860 München 4 (Dennis Dressel 17, Yusuf Kabadayi 43, Emmanuel Iyoha 69, Mamadou Kaly Sene 80)

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Feels weird to say "we should've scored more!" after a 0-4 win, but that's just how one-sided this match was. Fair game to David, though, he alone made sure this didn't end something like 0-8. Well, he and our lack of finishing, but that's nothing new I guess. Good match in general, with Svetlin looking good in his debut and Kabadayi making good use of his minutes. Now we wait for the second round draw. Please no Bayern, thanks.

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Aug 19th 2023

Well, it won't be Bayern in the DFB Pokal second round, but we're so dead anyway: Gladbach, of course at home. Maybe we can pull a Bochum again, but I seriously doubt it. We'll try our best, though.

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TSV 1860 München vs. Hamburger SV (2.Bundesliga, 3/34)

First home game of the season, still with one of the stands closed due to the ongoing renovations, and already a key game for both us and HSV. Both teams have started the league with two wins, and both will want a third to reinforce their role as promotion candidates. Well, we're still only expected seventh, but whatever, we do believe in ourselves at least.

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1860 MÜNCHEN (4-3-3): Sven Müller (GK); Juan Iglesias (DR), Niklas Lang (DCr), Linus Gechter (DCl), Phillipp Steinhart (DL); Dries Wouters (DM), Tamar Svetlin (MCr), Anton Tsarenko (MCl); Amankwah Forson (AMR), Emmanuel Iyoha (AML), Felix Lohkemper (ST)
HSV (4-4-2): Daniel Heuer Fernandes (GK); Shurandy Sambo (DR), Jamie Lawrence (DCr), Sebastian Schonlau (DCl), David Kinsombi (DL); Xavier Amaechi (MR), Ron Schallenberg (MCr), Ludovit Reis (MCl), Aaron Opoku (ML);  Kevin Schade (STr), Steffen Tigges (STl)

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Olaf Jansen's HSV has switched to a flat 4-4-2, and that serves us nicely in our quest for domination through midfield. Also I uh, might have forgotten to change our starting keeper. Oops. At least we start looking to score from the start, and thirty seconds in Tsarenko is already receiving from Lohkemper on the run and shooting over the bar. Of course HSV won't take that laying down, and one minute later Sambo finishes a good combination down the right with a low shot that Müller tips wide in a good save. Schallenberg then heads over the corner kick, completing two action-packed first minutes.

The pace obviosly slows down after that, and we start working on our possession play while slowly pushing HSV back. It is however a long goal kick that Lang fails to intercept that leads to the next chance, a right-footed shot by Opoku that Müller gets enough of to prevent a goal. After that comes a very even portion of the match in which neither team manages to make progress, until in the 26th Svetlin finds Forson inside the box with a simple pass and the winger cuts in and curls a beautiful shot into the top corner of the far post to score the 1-0 in style.

Five minutes later HSV have a great chance on a corner kick Lawrence heads slightly off-target and Schonlau fails to smash into the net before it goes past the line, hitting the outside of the post instead. We aren't so lucky in their next arrival, and Tigges and Schade trade passes until the striker is running into the box ahead of Lang and placing the ball past Müller to draw the game on the 35th minute. We try hitting back through Tsarenko, but although this time he manages to find the target, he also finds Fernandes in the right posit