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Ceching You Out

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  1. Mid-season 2038/2039 This looks slightly better if we win our game in hand, but yeesh. Injuries brought us to our knees, including some to, well, our knees. Sending out our all-time league scorer was a move I was always going to make, but our attack just hasn't clicked quite the same despite moving our wonderkind (34b) Rinner into the starting lineup more permanently. I'd be happy with a third place finish at this point, honestly. We're just not clicking. With a set of European campaigns that look like only one side advancing past their respective group stage, this is shaping up to be a season to forget. Quite positive if you believe these things. A source of pride, bit funny, and also not at all the goal since most of these players were also eligible for Liechtenstein.
  2. Europe 2038/2039 Well... that's not great. Two teams in the top 10 by coefficient, four in the top 20. We'll need some magic against Gala, Brugge, Basel, and Gent here.
  3. Thanks! It felt like a fluke until we did it again. Even now I'm not sure we "deserve" it, but that's just looking at the vast difference in player quality. For example, this is RB Salzburg's current squad: They've got a lot of players in their primes, or just past. They're roughly comparable to a lower-middle English Premier League side. That's nothing to sneeze at for an Austrian side. We're an (aspirational) promotion-chasing English Championship side. Here's a similar view of our players: Good question on how they responded! They've changed Managers after each of the last seasons where they went trophy-less. They've actually been relatively quiet in the transfer market by their standards - $32M spent after their first season of failure. That's more than the $6M the year before, but dwarfed by the $102M the year before that. Going farther backwards, they spent $19M, $123M, and $78M. I'm still in the offseason after their second season of failure, and they've only spent $5M through mid-July.
  4. Post-season 2037/2038 In the end it was blessedly anti-climactic. 11 points clear with 3 to play meant we clinched even before we played Rapid a second time. We lost our undefeated season with two matches to go, losing to a RB Salzburg that had fired their coach, lost the Cup Final, and just gotten blasted by Wolfsberger 5-1. I cared less than I thought I would. We heavily rotated for the final match two days later (against RB Salzburg again), picking up our second loss. Even that wasn't enough to boost them into Europa League, having given Sturm Graz one of the spots via their Cup failure. Eventually they fought off LASK for a spot in the Europa Conference, a competition they're frankly better than. They made it to the semis of the Europa League this season, only losing on a 120' PK in a game they'd had the better of. I expect them to be resurgent next season. Not much to see here other than our dominance in GF, GA, and GD. Our 2nd and 3rd reps here was a nice surprise, especially in the thick of the list rather than a late-ranked afterthought. Possibly the most impressive thing of the entire season -- our U19s, who don't have proper league fixtures, more than held their own against Europe's best academies in the CL Youth League. Easy qualification from the group. After advancing two rounds in knockouts, they go down in the quarterfinals to West Ham in a travesty of a match eventually lost on PKs. Still, vindication for our youth development here.
  5. It's that time again... and things are a bit more interesting this year. 2 Romanians, 1 Norwegian, 1 German, 1 Congolese. Nice! Looks like our Affiliates are doing work, at least Farul Constanta and Stabaek. Maybe we'll see Uruguayans and Spaniards next year. The 2 players over 130 CA and 3 players over 120 make for a nice haul, and all sign the typical contracts. (38j) Buchner is the only other signee due to his promising personality (only 4 points off Model Citizen).
  6. Europe 2037/2038 (continued) So we managed just about the most respectable point total I could dream, so I'm quite happy even if we finagled it a different than I would have drawn it up. Was it enough? To be honest, I'm not too bothered either way. Just. The famous draw to Bayern in the last match made the difference. Strangely AC Milan finished below us. But we're on to a knockout round. Who gets the honor of sending us packing? The current title holders! EDIT: It ended as you'd expect. No hard feelings and we kept the score respectable.
  7. Mid-season 2037/2038 If it really is this bad an intake, I might throw something. Especially because take a look at the season we're having. I'm a lying liar, apparently. We should be repeating as champions this season.
  8. ~$1400 per seat to add roughly 3200 seats. We don't own the stadium so it may not be a fantastic financial deal, but my thinking is this -- I want our attendance as high as possible before we bite the bullet and build a new stadium that we'll (likely) own. That means biding our time for a bit. And frankly the money is a drop in our bucket at this point. Let's see if this does anything this year! What happened here? Ohhh for some reason we played this game at our actual home for some reason (as opposed to a borrowed location we'd used previously)... and we only have 1K seats, with the bulk standing. I think you may have missed something here FM.
  9. Europe 2037/2038 I don't think there's any combination of teams we could draw that would make me feel confident here, but that's the deal when you go straight into the CL League Phase. Maybe we can beat Legia and/or Partizan. Besides that, we'll hope for lucky draws somewhere -- perhaps Feyenoord or Famalicao. We get Madrid and Bayern at home which certainly marks a milestone! That payout though. This takes our balance to a ridiculous $78M. Safe to say we're doing okay financially.
  10. Minor rant: I think the nationality decision logic is poorly modeled. The tiny number of players from our Academy who are willing to represent Liechtenstein is silly. I understand most starting with a preference for Austria, but it's absolute delusion for most to not reconsider as they peak nowhere near the required level. Here's the current Austrian selection: The worst player is 131 CA, with a couple at 132 CA including (26c) Kaiser who only got a sniff after we sold him to Girona in La Liga. Okay sure, the players may not know exact CA but scouts and advisors would surely help them understand how they compare. Even if they can't figure out relative CA, let's look at the clubs they play at. Shock! 14/23 currently play in a prominent league (England, Spain, France, Germany), 5/23 previously played in a prominent league and are now FAs or took a payday in Asia, and 3/23 play for top half teams in divisions that have been better than Austria since the save started (Netherlands, Belgium). Literally 1 (!) player doesn't fall into those buckets -- Vienna's Ahsbahs -- and he had still made his international debut by 26. If you're 27/28 and you're at <120 CA, you wouldn't want to become the star player for a national team (even one as bad as Liechtenstein)? It raises your reputation, opens up sponsorship deals, lets you play against some of the great players across Europe. And most importantly, it should be at no cost -- the door for Austria clearly is never going to open. I definitely wouldn't expect the floodgates to open, but come on! Why in the hell would our old friend (23e) Hilti make 20 appearances for Liechtenstein and then switch his allegiance to Austria without any assurances he'd appear? He's frankly nowhere near good enough for Austria when he's peaking at 112 CA (out of 119 PA). I'd complain about him not switching back, but I'm not sure if that's technically allowed. Anyway, I've convinced myself to take over the Liechtenstein job and try to convince players to join as an experiment. If it works, I might consider running the team in absentia just to rectify this. Flipping nationalities in the editor feels a bit much when I'd be picking and choosing the players. EDIT: Well that was a quick but spectacular failure. After going 0 for 20, odds are not good. Don't think I'll actually be taking over the national team anytime soon.
  11. Another sign that this title was a bit of a fluke: Despite that, I do think we were clearly the best performing team in the division (just in a down year, given RB Salzburg's struggles):
  12. Here's our title winning side. Assorted thoughts: Appearances were highly concentrated in the top 18 players, although both (36a) Baydemir and (34c) Heeb didn't see the field all that much (31a) Jumabaev is our star and player of the season, hence the $20M+ transfer value (31b) Schmidt, (31e) Bischof-Hartwig, and (31i) Buchenauer are already tagged in my mind for sales this summer (34b) Rinner and (36b) Banzer are future stars who will surpass all but (31d) Starke who we sold to Villareal two seasons ago. Sidenote: (31d) Starke started on fire in La Liga but has seen his appearances and performance drop off since then. Unfortunate for a 22 year old who's still 20+ points off his max PA. No chance he returns to us, though, with a $6M per salary.
  13. Very cool challenge and quite the marathon. Good work getting this far!
  14. I've been contemplating where the save goes from here. Since the start of the game, RB Salzburg has won every title except for a brief purple patch for Sturm Graz in 2028/2029 and 2029/2030. I really didn't expect to challenge any point soon. The silverware is fantastic, but it does take the two lowest hanging fruits off the tree. And the next one is quite a ways up there. It doesn't feel like I'm done here, but I wouldn't expect to mount true title challenges every season (RB Salzburg is still a significantly better side) and we're so far off competing in Europe that we'll be in this liminal stage for what looks awhile. Our financials are secure, but honestly better than that with $40M in the bank and what would be only a ~$6M loss for the season if we had sold zero players. We're not too far off being the no-effort, only sell if we want kind of sustainable. I'm a little disappointed with how our Cult of Personality has gone so far, in a large part because: (29b) Kunz never popped to Model Citizen despite benching him for almost a season to keep him in a mentor-able range trying to pick up 1 Det and 1 Pro (32g) Sulzbacher has yet to pop despite needing just 1 Loy since he appeared as a youth; he's now 21 and the window is fast-closing In both cases mentoring with (27a) Hug has been less impactful than I expected given he's our captain and a Team Leader. That's dampened by enthusiasm although there are a fewer lower profile examples that bode well for the future. The B Team rising through the ranks would be exciting, especially if they hit a playable league in 3-5 seasons. Empire building could be exciting. The appeal of taking over the Liechtenstein national team just quite isn't there (yet), since they're struggling to convince dual nationality 110-125 PA players to join. If the (27a) Hug's of the world, a maxed out 120 PA player, stopped holding out for a low percentage Austrian call up, I'd be a lot more excited about grinding out some results. I do still wonder if I took over, would they be willing enough to join because I'm a favored friend? Maybe I should run an experiment there. So, not rushing into the next season in my usual manner. Pondering much of the above.
  15. Yeah, my thoughts exactly. After 10+ years they really should have moved up at least once, especially given the players I have stashed there to this point are all picking up ~7.0+ ARs. Meaning FM recognizes we've got the caliber of player that would perform in the 5th Tier, not that I had any doubt.
  16. Post-season 2036/2037 (continued) You're really dragging this out. True, but I get to do that when I'm in charge. The door is, I don't know, somewhere over there. How... how do you suppose I could leave when I'm also you? I don't know. Shut up. You're losing focus and it shows. ANYWAY! Back to the story. [GROAN] Content now that we won't be leaving the season empty handed, we resume a point (and GD) behind RB Salzburg. Austria Wien away, the third place side, isn't the softest resumption. Our legs are gone having thrown everything at the final, so several second-choice backups have to start. Crucially, no (31a) Jumabaev -- our star player having an superstar season and only the second we've seen capped by Austria. We get punched in the mouth repeatedly, but don't quite lose consciousness. A deserved 1-0 down at half and we don't have the subs to really change things. A nothing-cross gets forced home when (34b) Rinner nips in front of a centerback, contorts his body, and puts just enough behind it to stop the keeper's touch from keeping it out. We'll take a draw at this point, but again no subs to try to seal it. They score from a damn-near-endline shot a few minutes later. Feels like our heart has stopped again and we're just going to be okay with it. Because we create nothing. Literally one shot in the next 13 minutes and we still have not cleared .25 xG. (36b) Banzer, one of those second-choice backups (only due to age, mind) plays a one-two and strikes from 35 yards out, outside the width of the box. I don't even mind the desperation, we're creating nothing. Except the shot is hit wildly off the outside of his boot, starting towards the far side of the goal; then bends middle, strikes the crossbar, ricochets to the far post where the shot started. And in. All that for a draw that leaves us even with RB Salzburg, behind on GD, and a game ahead of them. The deficit should balloon to 3 once they hammer the 5th place side, Wolfsberger. And it does. GD up to 4. We travel to SK Rapid next match day, and that soon-to-be-enemy-of-the-state (27e) Biedermann (BIEDERMANN!) puts them ahead quickly. Eventually we get going, leaving it late to pull ahead in the 78'. We're going to keep the pressure on RB Salzburg at least. Or are we. A 90'+4 goal for SK Rapid inflicts arrhythmia again. We're 2 points behind plus GD. RB Salzburg will smash 6th place side, Admira Wacker, and then-- no, a 27' red card puts them on the back foot and they deservedly lose by a goal. GD tightens to leave us 3 goals and behind them. The only upside at this point, and I'm digging for upsides, is that we're at home against Admira Wacker and Wolfsberger to finish the season while RB Salzburg plays Vienna at home and Rapid away. Who else, (27a) Hug puts one top bin and another goal before half time means we're cruising versus Admira Wacker. Vienna gets an early goal. Ooooh, if they just hold out for a draw we just need to make up the GD. But we can't score again. RB Salzburg equalize, as expected. But (BUT!) Vienna retake the lead. And somehow win this boxscore: Unbelievable. We're now a point free and clear heading into the last game of the season. A win against lowly Wolfsberger (although still with Europa League potential) does the double. So what do we do? (27a) Hug scores in the 1st minute. (31f) Itter in the 7th. We batter them, and keep going. I think we'd have been charged with desecration of a corpse in some localities. 6-0 leaves no doubt, while RB Salzburg falls behind to Rapid and loses 2-0. Wow.
  17. Post-season 2036/2037 5 games left. That's less than an hour the way you're IRing. So are you just waiting to build suspense or what? Maybe? Yes, let's go with that. That's a non-answer, but-- wait. You're doing the bit again. This usually means bad news. No, no. I don't think I'm that transparent. I've been contemplative. Excellent vague-posting. So how'd it end? I'll get there. First let me tell you the story of how we got there. [GROAN] We blitzed the "Regular Season", at least by our standards. Zero losses despite Europa League forcing rotation. A draw and a win against RB Salzburg were surprising, but made our (unconvincing) title challenge feel a little more possible. As we entered the Championship Group, we just couldn't keep our foot on the pedal. Win, Draw, Draw wasn't championship form, and started to run our players into the ground ahead of the Cup Semifinal we couldn't exactly take off. We still managed to advance, but our legs were going. Draw, Loss left us in the first picture from the post above -- four points behind RB Salzburg and needing help even if we won out. RB Salzburg set up against us remarkably conservatively, allowing us the initiative. Understandable, given an away draw probably secured the title? Still very negative given they have the stronger side. We pushed, until (27a) Hug fired home in the 73'. I pumped my fist in joy. Then in the 80' we shoved a player in our box for absolutely no reason -- the dead ball cross from deep was sailing over everyone's head. They converted and our title challenge was flatlining. Five minutes later, (27a) Hug gets tripped in the box. Commentators called it a dubious penalty, but it survived VAR review. (31f) Itter applies the paddles and converts. No further drama means we close to within a point, but closer to two unless we can make up three goals in GD. Pause the league there because we've got to get our legs back underneath us for our primary means of winning a trophy this season -- the Cup Final against SK Rapid. Another game where we're handed the initiative, this time putting it to good use. (27a) Hug smashes a goal into the top bin and (31e) Bischof-Hartwig, on the transfer list all season because he wants money he's not going to get but we didn't receive an acceptable bid, gets a huge dose of fortune when his piledriver is redirected by a defender to the opposite corner. 2-0 before stoppage time is cruising, but it suddenly looks a lot less comfortable at 2-1 after conceding at 45'+1. (27a) Hug once again gives us the warm fuzzies by finishing in the box to make it 3-1 shortly before (27e) Biedermann, our just-returned-to-Austria former giraffe, cuts back for SK Rapid to fire home for 3-2 in the 66'. We hold on to our asses, losing our xG advantage even as our lead stays in tact. Until finally the referee blows the whistle. Our first trophy.
  18. We lose our first domestic game of the year to Wolfsberger just before this, giving RB Salzburg a bit of breathing room. Even if we beat them at home we'll need a little help. Shame we lost but we had to play a half-rotated side into a fully rested opponent. Our depth is getting squeezed with Cup semi-finals and finals leading to 3 day turnarounds.
  19. Feels like a good bit of work to have swapped this from them paying us and having a first option at the beginning of the year to now them feeding us youth. As good as last year's intake was, this one is bad. Only two players who may ever contribute (120+ PA). No youth from Spain, Norway, or Uruguay to boot.
  20. Europe 2036/2037 (continued) Rollercoaster of a last match. I felt a draw would be enough to see us through on 9 points, so of course we give up an early goal. Then we fire back to take a 3-1 lead. We're pinned back but so what it feels pretty secure since we'd have to concede 3 to get eliminated. Then... results go against us and we need the win to go through. And then we concede two goals. But then! (29a) Kaiser, only playing because I broke my nearly hard fast rule of no injections, responds with a rocket from outside the box. Things fizzle out for both sides and we advance with the win. Better than many of the possible draws, but we're still an underdog at this point. Their first goal in the first leg came from a deep whipped cross that the nearest defender deflected onto the bar. We scrambled but they took the lead and we never could threaten. That was tie in a nutshell. Their goal in the second leg was late and slightly against the run of play, but ultimately we were not competitive enough here.
  21. Real cool, (27e) Biedermann. Real cool. Would've been a happier story if you'd stayed abroad. I know I'm doing an Academy only challenge, but hear me out. Paired with (27a) Hug...
  22. Mid-season 2036/2037 Well this is unexpected. RB Salzburg is still full of good players, they just seem perilously thin -- only 20 players in their senior squad. Hardly enough to balance the league with Champions League. They've been dumped out of the Cup too, opening up maybe our best chance for silverware yet. I don't think we can hold on in the league once they flop out of CL, unless they're picked over in the transfer window (without getting replacements) or bitten by a string of injuries in the Championship Group. But I do hope we can see this through for a pretty easy CL spot and potentially capitalize in the Cup. He's young enough, but the squad quality is starting to pass him by. If our Model Citizen brigade keep coming on, his time may be up in the next season or two. For now he's our all time leader in appearances! One of our 4-ish non Model Citizen coaches gets a Head Coach offer. Best wishes, Gorski! Hope you fair better than Leopold, who got WIen relegated and was subsequently fired. We are popular, eh? Bit of a leap to go from U18 Coach to Manager, but I'll be rooting for you Larrinaga. Building out our youth recruiting affiliates now. I'm excited to see what we get!
  23. Europe 2036/2037 Well, this is bull-- [cough]. Nonsense, I mean. Bullnonsense. I'd assumed that the "Seeded" teams were drawn against the "Unseeded" teams at this stage and was pretty content that we'd be favored against all but Kobenhavn. That interpretation appears wildly off, so here we are. Significant underdogs, I'd say. I don't think I had the wrong impression, yet it was very even the whole way through. We did just enough to deserve a 1-0 away win, then probably could've edged what ended up being a 1-1 draw at home. Back to the Europa League League Phase. Win: Sheriff, APOEL At least draw: Red Star, Charleroi Between draw and a lose: AEK Lose: Lille, Ajax, Stuttgart
  24. Our reputation and/or finances must finally be good enough for the Board to let us make youth affiliate links. Defensor Sporting is a great one!
  25. Liechtenstein 2036 I haven't paid much attention to Liechtenstein's performance to date, in a large part because I haven't pursued the national team job and so few of our better players have chosen to represent them (...yet, I'm hoping). Let's check in. The last decade has been a steady climb from the bottom, somewhere near 185. They're currently sitting 164th which is better! But honestly worse than I expected them to be at this point. Reputation has improved from 2750 to 3388 so progress there as well. In the 2028/2030 cycle they won their League Division D Group over the monster nations of Faroe Islands and Gibraltar, winning promotion to C. Then promptly picked up 0 points in the next cycle, but held off Malta in the relegation playoff to stay in C. 4 points in the 2032/2034 cycle wasn't enough to keep them from the bottom of the group again, but Latvia was sent packing in the relegation playoff to hold on to their tenuous position. In the 2034/2036 cycle things seem to be trending up, and they'll pick up there in the next cycle. Given the abundance of talent we've produced, why are they struggling? Well, I already spoiled it but they've really only been able to recruit the 3rd tier of our players. For example, the current side looks like this: (26e) Hilti and (28e) Schurte are the only promising Academy players they've convinced. I'm not sure why -- the worst player called up for Austria (in any international break I've checked) has consistently been >125 CA. We've produced plenty of players that peaked between 110 and 125 that surely should drop their Austrian ambitions and enjoy the international experience. You know what? Let's see what I can see if I (briefly) make myself Liechtenstein manager. Hmm, every decent player rejects me for Austria. The oldest is 26 with ~100 CA. Seriously?! I wonder how long it will take before any reconsider. I also wonder if I took over as my main manager whether the personal relationship might be enough to sway them... Maybe time to watch for the next time the job opens up.
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