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135 "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer"

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    VfL Wolfsburg

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    VfL Wolfsburg

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  1. It really is. Plans coming along is always something special. As is finding out something new and using it and actually working. I had some such experiences lately as well and it really helped me find some new motivation
  2. I think I have changed my save from the official release to the winter update. I am doing a longer save as FC Vaduz with the goal to developing enough Liechtensteiners to make an impact on the world cup. I'd have loved to do the same as San Marino Calcio but I am quite sure my travelling laptop would not be able to run this setup for long enough to make any progress.
  3. A few things I found out while testing the site with my tactics: 1) IWB roles give some great stats but unless paired with a (I)Wa there will always be the "not enough players are stretching play"-warning. Which is a shame because in 21 IWB-roles are very solid all over their side and *do* run wide of there is space or overlaps are ticked. Especially if they are playing on the side they are strong-footed. 2) Overlap and underlap are in my opinion not fully implemented as they open new avenues and affect the structure quite a lot. But in the tool they are mostly just there to say when they do not complement natural movement. 3) HBd is a broken role. Granted, right now I feel this in the game, too, but what stats they give are insane. 4) I think that is more on guidetoFM but a few roles struggle or are virtually the same in terms of score. Especially IF and IW have little distinction despite their difference in base-mentality. That a BBM has the same stats as a MEZs also sounds wrong to me. 5) Narrow formations without CAR or MEZ are impossible to have 5 stars because either the fullbacks form no partnerships or they are not doing enough to stretch play. In my opinion they should form overlapping partnerships with DM/CM who have "Hold Position" locked in. /edit: SS and EG in half spaces in a three-man-team also create partnerships. 6) As an IT guy it is pretty fun to play with the values and play around. But as an FM guy it is way more fun to find something fitting the squad on hand.
  4. Beta-save: Augsburg. The U21 cup winning midfield of Dorsch (who was my star in 20) and Maier (who was in 19) sounds like fun! Release: Probably my obligatory 3rd-league to Champion's league run to get a grip on the ME and experiment wildly. If I'm modding the league in, probably Aachen. If not I'll be inspired by the AI during the beta. Winter: The usual Wolfsburg save.
  5. There are two things I would take a look at: 1) Your striker's mental stats are not the greatest. He has all the skill to score or to take on two or more opposition players but when he then thinks too much or gets nervous? Which is even harder on this guy because as sole striker AND AFa, he gets a lot of chances and shots and with his great dribbling and good movement his chances should be relatively clear. Which in turn ups the pressure more than a hopeful shot from the edge of the box or a random header. 2) With one man up front, I figured that his footedness is worth a lot, especially if he is taking a lot of 1-v-1 chances or is under constant pressure. My star striker was scoring okay as single focus point but missed at least two really big chances a game because he was sent from the wrong side. His cheap replacement who has evenly footed was way more consistent in this system, even when lacking the sheer class. However, as soon as I played them next to each other the extra time (and more importantly the opponent bound elsewhere) his partner gave him and his focus on the right side, increased his conversion rate enormously.
  6. In terms of the PA itself I am currently on the "keep it fixed"-train. I understand the design choice SI made, even though I still think there should be rare events that give it a light nudge upwards or downwards. More on that below the break. However, I think scouts and coaches should have more uncertainty in how they rate and see prospects, factoring in development, form and match results. For example: I have a young striker age 17. In the past year he improved his key skills by two points or more. In the youth league he scores more than 2 goals/game on average. Yet my staff is (correctly) completely sure this player will never be more than a backup and has already almost peaked. So when offers come or I must choose between him and his backup, it is obvious he'll sit out. My coaches should rate him more highly until he either stops developing or his match stats drop. Other team's scouts who don't see him day to day should have even more uncertainty. ---------------------------------------- There are already rare freak events that make newgens' mental stats change dramatically. Like a 10 point Determination drop or similar. There could be similar freak events in rare circumstances that "reward" or "punish" players who develop very fast or slow. As the game is now, way too many highly-talented players make it ultimately and years of bad form or other significant setbacks only slow them a bit. One example could be the aforementioned youth striker. Conditions for him to get a low chance at low increases would be_ 1) Young player 2) Close to hitting his CA 3) Match stats and training rating way above expectations 4) High Ambition and Determination 5) He gets called up and performs well in his early games With all these conditions fulfilled, the event *could* fire. Similarly, lazy players or players who constantly underperform or fail to make significant progress over a length of time should get the opposite event "[Player] is unlikely to ever reach his full potential now". This could help against the inflation of top talents in longer saves as the increase mechanism should be way rarer than the opposite and is harder to perform as well. This would also help in putting an even higher focus on training and individual development, as well as training happiness in general. [Not the topic here but something similar could go for older players who successfully retrain a new position unlike their old (i.e. neither on the opposite side of a natural position nor a position any natural position they possess can form partnerships with) -- They can get a minor boost to help them with their recalibrated CA or, if they have "spare" value, they get gifted an increase in mental ability.]
  7. This is something I had hoped for a long time. In that case "realism" should take a backseat to "accessibility" -- I had to abandon more than one save in the past because some colour combinations are likely to result in clashes of colour (the most notable was St. Pauli in either 19 or 20. At least once a month I had no idea which team was on the ball) or the algorithm made weird choices. Like picking the 3rd kit semi-regularly that in RL gets at most 3 matches a year and in such a role is either a marketing proof of concept or completely off in terms of team brand. It doesn't hurt, should be relatively easy to implement, and just makes 3D matches nicer to look at if one is particularly unlucky with the colours. [I am in no way an expert in this area but shouldn't such an option also benefit the visually impaired?]
  8. Right now the Finance subscreen is somewhat lacking as most elements in it are either in the hands of the board, are mostly fluff information, or are just having little value for how the game unfolds. This is especially true for Germany in its first seasons. There are huge bonuses for league results and many teams starting with relatively low amounts of money in the bank. Which results in many teams going into the red three or four months in and only recovering right at the end. But you wouldn't know that from how the world reacts. You still can use your transfer/wage budgets as you like, nobody raises a fuzz if you are momentarily 8 digits in the red and everything goes on as usual. I think the game would profit from a financial overhaul where liquidity matters. Going back to Germany for a minute, there is a pretty extensive process in the league for guaranteeing clubs can pay their obligations on time and can stay afloat during the season. I'd like to see some of these elements incorporated into the game Going red should matter. If there is no money available, how are players and staff going paid? For smaller amounts or when future income is already guaranteed, the team should automatically take out loans (with the repayment rate ultimately being deducted from available budgets). If it gets too high or uncontrolled, there should be consequences. 1) Players losing morale or demanding to leave as they are not paid or not in full. If it continues some potentially even quitting and leaving on a free. The board or league should demand the manager to reduce the wage bill or to generate some transfer revenue, otherwise there'd be consequences (loss of trust/job, transfer ban or loss of points). 2) Transfers. The board should keep finances in mind when signing off on transfers to make sure liquidity is guaranteed or that the transfer is valuable enough for small loans. This would also significantly improve the value of installments or loan-buy agreements to make the closer to their real-life usage. It would also help combat the ridiculous amount the budgets can swell up to when playing mostly to develop players. This and the morale modifiers also should give us some steals from teams that are not in order or make players more demanding of cash up front if they expect your team to lack longterm funding. 3) More interactions. More reasons to cut players or bully them into reducing wages (without new signing or agent fees that would otherwise negate the effect almost entirely). Emergency team meetings. The board may decide to raise ticket prizes (resulting in upset fans and potentially less visitors) or take up controversial sponsors (same deal) which can lead to some meaningful press conferences with actual consequences. 4) The inverse Recruitment Meeting. The board and manager discuss goals on how much money needs to be freed up or generated. They identify players not pulling their weight or being potential money makers. Early on the manager is rather free to do as he likes and has enormous pull to keep players or try wage reduction schemes first. He just has a financial target list (e.g. "make 15m€ in transfer surplus and reduce wages by 4m€/year") to meet and suggestions on how to make it. During the last transfer week however the board gets more involved and may offer players around or accept offers if no progress is being made. 5) Especially for lower league teams: Special friendlies becoming available. Say what you want about Bayern Munich in real life but whenever a team is facing severe troubles, they come over for a free friendly to generate money. 6) In leagues that have it, licensing. Most of it happens board-side so no player intervention needed. But there should be basic plans and results the player has to abide by. The aforementioned target lists. Point reductions or in extreme cases even loss of starting place in your league if you fail hard. 7) Wage structures that are actually enforced. Right now there's a comparative maximal value but it doesn't matter whether or not you give it to a star player who is worth it or a youth player just for the fun of it. It also doesn't matter if your funding is entirely based on "hard" money (merch, sponsorship, expected placements) or softer money (transfers). If you can almost guarantee 100m or even multiple times that of transfer revenue a year, you can also pretty much pay wages way above your natural revenue. A proper board should not allow this or demand such transfers be made early each window or such high earners being the absolute exception only allowed for top merch seller/club legends/world class players! There should be hard caps depending on how much you expect to earn naturally (league/continental/cup) AND your reserves in the bank. However, if there is not much more money to be made outside transfers, the cap should stay. The board may allow [0...3] exceptions depending on the buffer and your ability to talk them into it but not much more. To illustrate: If I sell big (what happens inevitably when making a "youth first"-kind of game and play some Champions League I could easily pay my first squad in the excess of 10m€/year (what Bayern pays and Dortmund gives its stars) and my reserve 5m€/year (what they should earn based on success and team standing). It has a reason these kinds of sums are not the norm and they should not become it unless I can back it up with continued success in the league and CL and actually can compete with Bayern financially. Otherwise I am too much dependent on sales and when they dry up the club goes under fast! However, as seen with Hertha for example, the boards should have different personalities in this regard and be more or less risky with funding or gambles for success. A spending offensive one year and when it fails a quick 180 the next? Entirely possible!
  9. Yeah. Spread and ind. numbers > combined CA. Also, footedness and positions can really inflate the numbers without making a player that much better. Which is why I love some roles as they can create absolute gods without the players demanding absurd contracts as their CA is still average at best and their roles are not flashy enough to get in focus. On the flipside, it makes some performance clauses on transfers rather meaningless. However well-balanced a player and however well he performs, he gets transfer-listed or replaced the next window because there are better-rated ones on the market. Had a 126 CA striker who almost single-handedly promoted my team twice. 37 goals in 31 games and 21 in 18. Got an offer from Leverkusen I had to accept. 11 goals in 14 and without showing any distress he was transfer-listed next summer. Played another season due to injuries and no interest. 23 in 31. Then sold for half his value. Boy was I glad how he barely made his bonuses, despite his form saying he should have had a few more seasons to achieve them.
  10. A lot depends on your youth philosophy and setup. For me my top talents I intend to use only stay in my youth team for 14-18 months, those I can get real good money for for 18-22 months. My guideline essentially is at the start of the season: 'If they turn 18 during the winter break, future stars get called up. Squad players and money.makers when they do turn 18' This is mainly for four reasons: 1) I have two training weeks on schedule: One for individual roles, one for my playing style. In my youth team the ratio is around 3:1, meaning my youth players get rather unevenly trained but on the flipside get rather strong one-trick-pony skills fast. On my main team the ratio is more 2:2. In rare weeks off, the youth gets physicals and tacticals shoved down their throats, the main team get more demanding playing style lessons. On top of that, when the main team has midweek-fixtures, the match-prep also is individual training and the full weeks are playing style. 2) I have an absolutely insane HoYD. The last three seasons I got 4 Model Citizens, 2 players only missing out narrowly due to "just" having normal amounts of Determination and one world class talent. Meaning my youth teams needs some reshuffling pretty often. 3) I have rather small squads. 15-18 is my norm with youth players filling the rest of the positions. Which naturally results in them getting a fair amount of playing time, early partnerships and early integration. 4) At least in maxed out youth setups and in Germany, the youth players grow too fast for their league. With good tactics even average 3rd league prospects result in hilariously lopsided league tables. Lower second leaguers are already essentially just playing friendlies. Keeping prospects longer? They are good second to average first leaguers after two years at most! If their spread is good, they get more from first team games. If not, a few random continental games and their market value skyrockets for the AI managers who focus too much on reputation and hopes and dreams.
  11. The Winger role is more than just "run the line and cross high to the centre", even when the description and highlighted attributes may say otherwise. The W(a) is one of my favourite wide attackers. They start out pretty wide when attacking from their side but both when getting close to the box or when the play is on the opposite side, they cut inside pretty aggressively. This is especially dangerous because they often get in situations where they cut inside "late" from the side of the box. From there they get lots of shots or flat, short passes to the striker/parallel wide player. In my experience the only "traditional" crosses from this role go to the opposite wing and for that First Touch/OTB/ technique of the recipient are the key attributes. The Ws can be pretty effective as a wide holder and recycler. An underlapping fullback and a late-arriving CM can make him shine and these options help against senseless long crosses as he tends to pass to them first. The Ws when PPM'd to be like an IWs is a role that does a lot of work but is a pretty demanding and situational beast.
  12. From the academy: A striker who had some of the worst stats of his year. All he had going was a 15 in Flair, a 19 in Determination and average speed. Most other attributes? I was lucky if I saw a random six in there! Not to mention a mere two star potential in an average team. But I lacked strikers in my reserve team and what he lacked in attributes he had in hidden stats -- Model Citizen from the beginning and consistency/big matches? He didn't look like a star in the making but a good hand for the lower leagues and a mentor to better youths. Let's just say that a 2 in Jumping Reach and Heading really depresses the CA. At 19 he was my starting F9 because he just had a phenomenal spread with still some room to grow. Currently I am trying to get him to get better at set pieces as he is wasted as a target player. I am looking forward for him to mentor my next generation of players! Existing players: Diawusie from Dresden. He has the potential to be a decent player for Bundesliga teams playing against relegation. He starts as a good 3rd League player. But in his first season in the third league he scored more than 1 goal/game (without being the penalty taker) and led me to my first legit invincible season. In the second league where he should have been over his level, he did the same. 18 goals in 18 games and this time also scoring in the cup. Unfortunately Leverkusen made me an offer I couldn't refuse during the winter. Now he is at 7 goals at 8 games in the Bundesliga. No idea where he is getting this from as nominally better players fail to reach the same level. He was plenty of fun to train and play, though.
  13. As a feature, it is a feature. Like the online features, either editor, or the "replace a team with whoever you want"-mode it is something that can safely be ignored if it isn't one's cup of tea or be something that is essentially the entire game for others. I don't know how much I'd play this mode outside a beta-save or two, as I am pretty much set in what my main save will be by now and most minor saves are tactical tinkering building up to my style of the year. ------------ What I hope for is at least some integration between the modes and that the match engine in both modes will grow from new variables. Integration: I am from Wolfsburg which has a pretty successful women's team and a men's team that recently acquired the tradition of either playing for Europe or against relegation. This also affected how many and which kinds of fans attended the games of the women's club (a while back they played in the biggish older stadium and men's seasonal cards were valid for the women's games as well). This also resulted in some men's coaches using a "Let's watch the women perform" as an alternative to a mid-week training camp for teambuilding, seeing the colours triumph, and (at least officially) for some tactical/fighting lessons. [Our old Coach Kellermann also always was in the running of "replacement coach the fans want" ^^]. Growth: What Miles wrote about "more lobs against smaller keepers" and similar reactivity is something that this new mode can and must explore but is also something that could ultimately bring the men's ME to new heights. Right now it makes little difference to the opposition whether or not I plays brick walls in defense or fast sweepers. It matters little to them whether I use a 20/20 Jumping/Strength tower up front or a small sprinter. When the opposition gets more aware of their opponent's size, it would make a huge difference! I hope something similar goes to the handling of star players or star teams -- In women's football, at least in some leagues, the difference between top and bottom is much larger and due to the shorter amount of new players making the cut and the common amateur or half-amateur status there is just a different meta-game. Some teams use and abuse the top players they have. Others have a close-knit team and know how to handle the opposition's teams. Some are just hopelessly outclassed and some can waltz through most teams in their leagues and need to be made aware of the one or two hard opponents and whoever awaits in Europe. Right now teams in FM seldomly focus upon obvious star players way above the rest and have a strong tendency to either wall themselves in or go all-out in attack whenever the slightest bit of difference in reputation is detected.
  14. Since last year I think flanking BPD(St) with "Brings Ball out of Defense" PPM and "stay wider" PI are pretty good in their movement and support. They stretch the field and can run up the sides until almost the height of the opponent's box and thus give good support for more aggressive Fullbacks or players cutting inside late (IWBd/IWa who stayed wider really brought the side to life for me!). I don't play with only one CD too often too properly compare both options (judging by the build-in analysis it looks like something the devs didn't really think about using, so I see it as a potential exploit waiting to happen) so maybe that is still comparatively stale but it looks way, way better than three defenders on D/C-duty. It is just a shame that playing through the middle stopped upping their mentality. Central Defenders on +0 were just amazing!
  15. First of all: This is a pretty attacking formation that goes against a lot of "conventional wisdom", so there is a lot between the extremes of "this should never work" and "Somehow it works". Personally, I'd try to get more balance in the defense as the right side is woefully unprotected. There is a lot that could be done but if it works out defensively and the problem is the offense, you can leave it be. To get the offense scoring better, I'd personally try to create more options and paths to the goal. The simplest way could be removing the WBiB-TI. Your offense line is just support roles and even with high mentalities (2*VA, 1*P) this is an incentive to wait and not risk too much, instead passing back and forth, waiting for the more aggressive MEZa or more centrally roaming CWBa to push forwards. If you are an absolute top team (and you need to be judging by the backline), this is time the opposition can use to regroup and park the bus, resulting in more long-shots by frustrated players or endless passing combinations to get an opening. Another simple fix woulb be just to give the left IFs more incentives to score. The PI to shoot more often or to stay more narrow combined with the "Gets into Opposition Area" PPM really helps out. This way you have a pseudo-attacking role on the left attacking the space left by the F9 and the MEZa/IFs on the right coming in after. Another option could be a minor change in roles. Make the left winger an IWa. They have the same base-mentality as the IFs but are more oriented on attacking the goal. The wingback behind could then also drop back to a support role. Alternatively, if your team is just that much better than the rest, there is another option to consider in this scenario: Tell the IWa to stay wider, make the MEZs a more defensively solid role and change the CWBa to a IWBa. This ways MEZa/IFs and IWa/IWBa are two different sets of early/late attackers which makes it harder to defend against.
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