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A Wonderful World to Wander


wynter
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Welcome to the save, a mix of old places I've been, and new countries that I've never played in before. Wandering through Europe and trying to claim success in a few countries off the beaten path. 

There's no real aims to this save really but it has gotten me motivated so I'll put in a wishlist instead: 

- Win the Champions League with a team from Israel

- Have a crack at the World Cup with Romania/Hunagry

- Play in Portugal for an extended period of time

With that being said, we've holidayed 18 months into the save, landing smack dab at the end of December and looking for a team to takeover with a view to save them from relegation and toil away at the bottom of the ladder for a few years. 

Where we ended up? 

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Universitatea Craiova - the SA addition.

My limited understanding and a very confusing google search tells me that there are two U Craiova's, the one I've stumbled onto has the history of the original club from post-1991. While the group in 9th place, hold the records before that time period. That being said, the game has them the other way around and we have a pretty decent trophy cabinet as a result having won the Romanian League 4 times before.

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As you can see 2 Craiova's with almost the same logo, except one wildly more successful than the other.

The goal for this season is going to be pretty simple. Survive and then build a good team over the next two to three seasons. I'm not locking myself in anywhere or leaving only after a certain achievement is met. If I see something interesting I'll jump at it like the shiny prospect it is. 

If we are going to survive though, it will heavily depend on the efforts of these two lads.

Samuel Asamoah

Small but gifted, be looking at him to be our primary playmaker through the middle.

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Dominik Kovacic

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Defensive steel at the back, hopefully he can keep things solid enough to staunch the bleeding. Although it's our lack of goals that has us where we are. 

 

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We've had a good if unmiraculous start to life in Romania. A couple of very ambitious friendlies saw us get torched by Newcastle before we gave PSV a good run, this boded well for our first game vs Voluntari and we rode momentum to notch a win before a near unbeaten, if draw filled month followed. A couple of late wins to wrap up the regular stage of the season dragged us off the bottom and set us up nicely going into the relegation group.

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Lower GD than most of the bottom sides and a good stretch of form vs our immediate rivals and we should have a strong look at survival. We also brought in a handy list of reinforcements with some wheeler-dealing to add quality to the midfield.

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I did say I was going to use Asamoah, but he demanded to leave, and I had a handy option in Spoljaric available so we cashed in, made a teeny profit and signed a player arguably just as good if not better,

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Starting life strong with 3/4 in the league, and alternating between our AMC role or as part of a front three depending on the tactic.

Joining him is

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Steel to the midfield, a bonafide BWM/HB who can do the dirty work while I unleash the forward line. Not registered and with his contract expiring, 3.7k for a player of his quality was a steal.

Now onto that forward line? Haven't been on here in a long while, but I run assymetric style tactics and lately have had a lot of fun experimenting with 1 CB. As you saw with that PSV game, it leads to shenanigans.

Anyways, we will be fighting relegation by attacking relentlessly, making Bielsa proud.

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Isn't the first time I see your formation but my reaction is always of disgust-curiosity-admiration for your bravery. :lol:

Have fun in Romania it's a league on my list to try out, too! 

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Surviving Relegation

Surviving the Romanian League is interesting. The league splits into a top half and a bottom half where the bottom half scraps it out for survival. I was more than happy to wind up there, as I was pretty sure that between us we could comfortably navigate the lower half of the table and emerge safe.

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Our currency was goals 22 over 9 games as we had some high scoring clashes to keep our heads above water, interspersed with some draws. 

The biggest performer of the group was Easton Ongaro

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11 Goals from 18 games, signed on loan in Jan for one reason alone - His Height. Which came in clutch as the three strikers swarmed the box and picked off the crosses with prejudice.

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Spoljaric also found himself up top in of the Pressing Forward roles, striking with 8/11. Between the two of them, they scored more goals in 18 games than the whole team had in 20 when we took over. Great effort.

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Safety attained... But I'm not looking forward to next season

On 12/06/2022 at 18:21, wynter said:

- Win the Champions League with a team from Israel

When I said this, it was just a random thing looking at the DB to work out what could be fun, and something I've never tried. As I finished this season though, it's developed into the biggest aim of the game. As such, why bother waiting?

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We're heading to Israel at the first opportunity.

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And we find our home... Mid-July so we weren't out of the picture for long. 

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A bit of an overachieving season for them, but we come into a team coming off the back of a good season.

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With finances in Israel the way they are though, the only way we can really grow this club is to snatch one of the Top 4 slots and bring in that Europe Prize money, so we need to push them up yet another step.

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No money in, we brought in some loans for depth, some that have the potential Gluh in particular will slot in the first team comfortably.

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Natural at AMC and MC, rotating between tactics he can be everywhere anywhere I need which'll be very handy.

So in essence, we have no money, less wages than Romania and all of it seems like a bit of backwards step. That being said though, it's where we want to be. The immediate aim is Top 4 or a cup win, I don't know enoguh about the league to know if it's possible, but this is also a squad that didn't lose many people off the back of their 5th place year and we've added a quality piece. I think there's an outside shot.

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20 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

What are the registration rules in Israel like?

45 Players max, only 6 of whom can be foreign. So a lot of room for stars, but the main team and squad will rely on a fair bit of nation building as well to get some good youth prospects and long-term success. Israel do seem to be producing some crazy regens though, so I'm not too worried about the medium-term :) It'll just be affording them!

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So we've made a good start to the season. We made the Toto Cup playoff, won it, and were then eliminated from the competition. Absolutely no clue how that works, but it also looks like a basic pre-season tournament so I don't really care :lol: For now at least...

A nice win vs Maccabi Haifa before losing to our main rivals. Since then we've started putting teams to the sword and I've decided to add another two tactics from my archives. Still rocking the 1 CB tactic from Romania as our primary, but every so often we will flex some wingers and other players in additional formations for resting/injuries/whimsy.

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Probably one of my more conservative, but gives some talented wingers gametime while resting the majority of the front three also a lot more structured at the back so helps defend vs the big boys.

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And my baby, been running this since 14(?) When they first introduced the Raumdeuter. Managed to survive every match engine so far and still able to be busted out when we just want to run over teams/are heavy favorites. 

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Keeping an eye on that Top Four slot...

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Mid Season Update

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A good to at times great run in the league sets us up nicely heading into the Champions Group. For context, the 6 best teams play each other 10 times to decide the top half of the table. This will actually be a it of a litmus test for us as the majority of our negative results have come against those sides. Which is to be expected but still something worth noting. 

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We started with a 10 point lead, but after our first game in the stage it's already been shredded to 7. Hopefully, we can keep our necks above water, and the rest of them will eat each other, making top place easier to hold on to. 

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End of Season Update with a side of Transfers

I would be remiss not to discuss the one piece of business we did in January. 

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Looking to beef up our midfield for the second half of the season, namely to get a good player across the 3 DM line we play with Nene was transfer listed without a role to play at CSKA-Sofia

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Natural DM and MC who could easily flit across any role in the midfield including Mezzala he was a perfect fit. With a rating of 7.38 across the second half of the season eh was pivotal in helping us improve our midfield and really control games. Massive signing and I want him at the club for as long as possible.

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So we massively **** the bed. Three solid wins before we completely fell apart with 6 games left. In good news one of those wins was Netanya in 2nd giving us back our 10 point buffer. So did they catch us in those final ten games?

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Luckily not and we won the league with a game in hand with the best attacking record and the worst defensive record outside of the relegated teams.

20d8857d8b55a49be13ace6ee4dce38d.pngSpecial mentions to Agada and Salman scoring 50 goals between them, and another for Yao who played the sole CB role to perfection.

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We join the CL in the 2nd round. The immediate aim for Europe is raising the coefficient to 15th so we can grab a place in the Europa League. For next season, a good run in Europe will have to be a must. That or hope the rest of the teams can have strong runs in the Conference. 

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Sadly, I wouldn't expect much from the other Israeli clubs.  So frustrating when you're trying to raise your national coefficient...

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13 minutes ago, karanhsingh said:

Why does raising the coefficient matter so much though, unless you're trying to build up the country as well. 

Easier to get into the CL, and I only have 6 foreign slots so need to build the nation up to get enough good quality players to have a shot at actually winning the whole thing as HG will be a massive part of the squad :) 

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We ended up with no money even though we made Europe qualifiers. That being said though, we got some free transfers in and made a tidy sum off selling Baco to free up a foreign player slot.

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Yaron looks very tidy and we're paying no wages so it's a win win. I'll be slotting him in as our Mezzala or AP depending on the tactic and we have a 700k buyout fee, which if we get lucky with Europe we could maybe cash in with before his loan ends. Doubt we'll get him though.

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A hard-working right back/centre back who also doesn't take up a foreign slot. Not much t really say about him, but he has been putting in the work from the quick look at his stats. Outperforming any expectations I had for him anyway as I originally conceived him as a rotation/bench option.

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We've had a big run in Europe, which is handy. Got it handed to us by Kobenhavn to get bounced out of the CL, but we had some great draws in Ruzomberok and Qarabag that made qualifying more than achieveable. We've sneaked into the Europa League and got handed an ass of a group in Celtic, Lazio and Olympiacos. A massive win over Lazio after they went down to 10 men has me looking at the next game thinking maybe we can sneak 2nd or 3rd and make a knockout round.

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In the league we started strong, but don't have a big enough squad to manage all the fronts we're competing in. So things have sputtered out recently.

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A couple of games in hand and we can easily work our way into the top four, but we have a fight on our hands for any hope of a repeat. 

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