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    FC Utrecht
  1. Most of the defensive game is poorly replicated. Players not shielding passing lanes when pressing. Two attacking players closing down their center backs and then standing there while the midfield is left wide open. Impossible to replicate some common modern positioning of forward players in the defensive phase like the 4-4-2-0 defensive formation. That said it's an engine and some of those things are really hard to replicate and once you replicate it you have to balance the attacking side and it probably takes ages. Also the tight marking instruction actually does a somewhat decent job of replicating a zonal marking with man orientation defense which is nice.
  2. I'm not entirely sure. Either one of them gets designated the main playmaker and becomes the preferred person to look for on the pitch or the preference gets split between the different playmakers. I know in earlier versions you could pick one player as the designated playmaker so that might still be the case under the hood.
  3. I'm currently trying to create something similar with Palermo. Basically I'm just trying to replicate some classic Italian systems with a prima punta, secunda punta and trequartista in attack. Two hard working and hard tackling midfielders with a holding passer in the center and a back four with two wingbacks. It's been decently effective but somewhat inconsistent as I was tinkering a bit at the start of the season. Currently I've settled on this: Formation: 4-3-1-2 Shape: Structured Mentality: Counter for tough games or against fast attackers, control when trying to take control of the match or trying to keep slow attackers away from my goal (think Luca Toni, don't want him anywhere near my goal). Team instructions: Play out of defense, Play wider, Prevent short GK distribution. SK(d) WB(s) DC(d) DC(d) WB(a) BWM(s) MC(d) BWM(s) AP(a) AF(a) CF(s) Player instructions: Front three close down much more. AP(a) roams and moves into channels, CF(s) moves into channels, WB's stay wider. I'm having a hard time getting my version of a trequartista working how I want it to and I'm not playing a deep lying playmaker in the hopes of making my Treq the creative focal point. I like how it's playing at the moment. The idea behind preventing GK distribution and the higher closing down is I want the front three to do the initial press to direct build up away to the flanks after which the midfield three shifts to that flank and creates a defensive man advantage to win the ball back. It's weak to fast switches to the other flank but it's working decently so far.
  4. Both Berardi and Dybala can make a great AMC. From my experience players don't really suffer much from playing outside of their natural position and I tend to retrain players fairly often and playing them in big games when they are still unfamiliar with a position.
  5. Another big difference between the two is that with a playmaker role his teammates will look to feed him the ball more often as he is the designated man to make something happen (especially if he is the only player with a playmaker role). Getting him the ball earlier and more often can be an advantage or a disadvantage.
  6. If you are looking for him to make something happen than yes I absolutely would. An Advanced Playmaker role would be an obvious choice here but depending on how you want to play you can consider some other more specialized options like a trequartista. I think it can work really well to break down teams using one or a couple of very specific routes while controlling the match. It keeps your defensive players conservative and allows a fair bit of space in between the lines for more specialized roles to work with. In your example the increased space between the most forward attacking player and the further back defending and supporting players can give Ozil more space to work with and give him the chance to open up defensive teams. I'd personally always pick at least one attacking role that is trying to get in behind the defensive line to open up the vertical space for Ozil. If the inside forward, winger and complete forward are all coming deep in support than who is Ozil going to play a throughball to and what space is he going to be in? It might even make sense to have all three on an attack duty but if you do that you might become a bit one dimensional and you will have to watch games to make sure Ozil actually gets on the ball and isn't getting taken out of the game by a DM. Something like Giroud (CF/AF attack), Walcott (winger attack) Sanchez (Inside forward support) and Ozil (AP/Treq support/attack) sounds like a balanced and varied offense that would suit a structured shape.
  7. The wingback moving up doesn't require a fluid shape at all. A wingback on attack duty in a structured system will primarily focus on his attacking tasks and probably move up better than that same attacking wingback when using a more fluid shape. As I mention another time later in this post the shape doesn't create movement between the lines but space between the lines. Structured is more space and fluid is less space, the movement is decided by the roles and duties and often a structured shape allows for more movement as there is more vertical space to move through and deeper players with an attack duty will focus more on their attacking tasks and have a more attacking mentality. I think with the direct and winger focused playstyle you want to achieve a more structured shape makes a lot of sense and it was the small misunderstanding about shape "allowing" player movement that threw you for a loop while the rest of your thinking was correct. Is that right or do you want further explanation? I think it makes a fair bit of sense. A structured system means players focus on their specific tasks. The increased space between the lines is because attackers position themselves higher up the pitch as they focus on attacking and defenders stay deeper as they focus on defending. A fluid system automatically implies creative freedom as players are told to get involved in more phases of play which reduces the focus on a specific task and lets a player decide what to do in the moment to contribute to the phase of play. The compactness follows from the creative freedom to contribute to all phases of play and the more spread out shape follows from the discipline to focus on a specific task. I can see how sometimes you want to play compact and as a team without giving your players the encouragement to try the spectacular and unexpected but you have to take into account that when you let every player contribute to every phase of play that players get into positions they otherwise wouldn't be in which in itself encourages players to try the unexpected as the play itself is often unexpected (midfielders covering in defensive positions, defenders winning the ball higher up the pitch and finding themselves in attacking positions etc.). Also in a more structured system you usually want to encourage specific players to try and do the unexpected by assigning them roles with a lot of creative freedom (usually the playmaker) instead of telling the whole team to be creative. In a very fluid system you usually want the whole team to contribute in trying to make something happen so more overall creative freedom makes sense. You can still play a compact and teamwork oriented very fluid system without encouraging all the backheels and hollywood passes by telling them to be more disciplined if you want through the team instruction. Shape doesn't create movement between the lines but space between the lines as I talked about above. The movement comes from the roles and duties you assign along with their instructions. I personally often defend with a more fluid shape in an attempt to get more players involved in the defensive phase. With a defensive mentality and very fluid shape the whole team has a defensive mentality, with a defensive mentality and very structured shape attackers are still somewhat attacking. One is better in terms of getting players behind the ball and the other is better for leaving players higher up the pitch to counter. Obviously the formation and roles/duties you assign has a very large effect on how this plays out in practice but I personally don't have a rule of attacking with a more fluid shape or defending with a more structured shape. It's more about how I want my team to play. Defending but trying to keep players up the pitch to counter usually means a more structured shape for me. Defending in an attempt to hold on for dear life with the whole team behind the ball for me means a more fluid shape with the right formation and roles/duties to allow them to get back properly (this is also a situation where you might want to reduce overall creative freedom). btw. I personally don't think the shape system is too complicated. I just think it can be hard to get right at times
  8. January Update A good first half of the season. I had my doubts on the squad and if they could make the step up to the higher level and the first game did a good job of putting those doubts to rest. The opening day at home against fellow newly promoted Holstein Kiel we played the high press 4-4-1-1 looking to take control of the match which we did in style. The opening goal immediately set the tone for the game as their winger got behind our defensive line but only managed to put in a futile cross as he got closed down before any support arrived. Schuhen collected the cross we went on to score a great team goal. We worked the ball up the pitch with good passing play and found Benyamina dropping deep who chipped a ball out wide to the right back in space and immediately made the run to get at the end of the following cross. We dominated the fairly open and entertaining game creating 6 CC's and 2 HC's against their 4 HC's. The next game away against Fortuna Düsseldorf I didn't expect us to pick up any points and we showed the league a different side of our game as we played our deep 4-4-2. We managed to open the scoring after Ikeng won the ball from their midfielder and we went forward quickly on the transition. The initial cross got cleared out wide but Dorda, still being high up the pitch, won the ball from their left back and found Perstaller in the box who did well to score. I expected them to dominate the rest of the game but surprisingly it was a fairly even affair and we managed to keep them to zero shots on target against our six, had the majority of the possession and created 6 HC's against their 1 HC. A great defensive performance that allowed us to grab some extra points towards survival. We tried to do the same thing again at home against Union Berlin but they left less room to attack them on the transition and managed to score a goal from an IDFK. In the DFB-Pokal clash rotated the team and Düsseldorf got their payback for last game. Sama gifted them an early penalty which ruined our plans for the game and when we switched to our 4-4-1-1 they punished us by finding space in behind. The game against Werder Bremen was our second televised league match and our second league defeat. We played our 4-4-2 and scored a beautiful goal with Benyamina tracking back to make a great slide tackle on their MC after which we showed some great movement to work the ball towards Andrist on the right wing who found Benyamina surging into the box and getting ahead of his man to score the tap in. Sadly the gulf in quality was too big as the brothers Eggestein both scored a header from a set piece. At home against Ingolstadt I didn't plan to pick up any points but it would be nice to not add to our loosing streak. We played our 4-4-1-1 at home and actually looked defensively solid despite our high line which was pleasing. The game itself was fairly dissapointing as we scored one from a corner and they got a late goal back after Henn was judged to make a foul in the box during a free kick. The resulting penalty was their only shot on target but to be fair we only managed three shots on target ourselves so a draw was probably a fair result and I was pleased to grab an extra point and end our losing streak. Away against Nürnberg Henn continued his poor form by quickly gifting the opponent two goals from a missed interception and an own goal from a cross. We tried to play our deep 4-4-2 but had trouble keeping a compact shape against them as they dominated the game. Somehow we managed to equalize after scoring from a corner and right after a throw in where new arrival Pedro was allowed to control the throw in on the edge of the box and pass it back to Gardawski who took it first time and applied a great finish to steal a point. The next game at home against Braunschweig I wanted to at least grab a point. We played our 4-4-1-1 in an attempt to create an open game and turn it into a real fight in front of our fans which worked as it was a really open game with lots of chances on both sides but our finishing was better and Schuhen managed to pull off a penalty save. We scored two great goals and showed some really high intensity play so a great day for the club and the fans. Away at St. Pauli was another game I wanted to try and get a point from and in an optimistic mood I started with the 4-4-1-1 but soon switched to the 4-4-2 as they had some dangerous moments. In the end we created the better chance but Perstaller failed to score an easy chance. In the end I was pleased we defended well and brought back another point. The next game at home against SC Paderborn I didn't expect us win any points, rotated fairly heavily and optimistically lined up with our high pressing 4-4-1-1. The first half we looked shaky at the back with our high line and rotated defense but thanks to some great saves from Schuhen managed to keep a clean sheet. At the end of the first half they got a red card and the second half was the Gardawski show as he put up a fight for a first team spot by scoring two great headers. We were very fortunate to get the man advantage and walk away with three points here. Away at Heidenheim I planned to fight for three points which is why I rotated the squad last game. I wanted to play the 4-4-1-1 to control the game and put them on the back foot but decided against it as they played two fast strikers so instead we played the deep 4-4-2. It was a close game until another red card incident in the first half after which we ran them ragged for another lucky three points. At home against Frankfurt I didn't plan to get any points and played our 4-4-1-1 in the hopes of creating a hectic and open game and maybe turn it into a fight we can win or at least an entertaining game for the fans. For much of the game the only thing that looked open was our dire defensive line but with some heroic blocks and saves along with a bit of luck we managed to keep a clean sheet. We only managed one shot on target and didn't deserve to get a point from this game. At Karlsruher SC we ran out of luck as they showed some clinical finishing. We did look defensively solid for most of the game playing our deep 4-4-2 and Pedro scoring his first goal from the club, another new signing Konrad providing the assist and young prospect Di Fabio getting his first start (Perstaller was injured) were some small highlights to a match I was expecting to lose anyway. Away to Bielefeld we again rotated some players with the young Ülker getting a start for the still injured Perstaller and we set out to play our deep 4-4-2 to hopefully grab a point although I didn't plan to. Janicke opened the scoring after they couldn't clear a corner and he was allowed to shoot from the edge of the box blasting it into the top corner. They got two back both from scrambles after a set piece which we didn't defend well. We managed to grab a late equalizer with a great counter attack which saw the young talents Di Fabio, Ülker and Pedro all involved. Di Fabio did great to make himself available early high up the pitch on the right side to allow link up with Benyamina and played it on to the advancing Baumgarten. Baumgarten found the run of Ülker down the right who put in a great cross for Pedro to run into and take first time on the volley. Bielefeld was very much in control of the match but we defended well and I was very pleased with how we managed to get a point from this game. Next up another game I didn't plan to get anything from as we hosted Kaiserslautern and optimistically played our 4-4-1-1 in the hopes of surprising them with our aggressive and high intensity play in front of the fans. The plan worked to perfection as we scored two goals in 7 minutes both scored from an interception in our own half followed by lethal attacking football on the transition. They got one back from a corner (I need to work on our set piece routines) but we closed out the game in the second half with a well worked team goal and a good defensive performance. A very pleasing performance and one of the best games in this short manager career. Away at Furth we were quickly brought back down to earth as we got thoroughly beaten in a game I wanted to get a point from. Another televised game (great!) and we played our 4-4-2 to try and keep a clean sheet. They scored the first goal from a corner and the second after we moved to a high press to get back into the game which they punished us for with a ball over the top which Sama failed to clear as he missed the header. We looked decent defensively throughout the game but critically failed to defend a set piece and missed a crucial interception. That said we didn't deserve to get anything from this game as Furth was completely in control and had the majority of the chances. I have Schuhen to thank for keeping the score reasonable by saving a penalty. The next game at home against Bochum was another game I wanted to take a point from. Normally I would start with the 4-4-1-1 but a quick look at their striker (hello mr. 18 pace and 14 acceleration Paniel Mlapa) showed me I had to change our plans and play a deep press. The game turned into a fairly cagey affair with very few chances on both ends. They scored an early goal with a simple chip onto the head of the strong Mlapa and we needed a moment of magic from Benyamina in the 80th minute when he took a Gardawski cross first time with an acrobatic volley. A simple but effective tactical change got us a point here as they only had Mlapa's physicality to create them a couple of chances against our compact defense. The game against Duisburg was very similar. I wanted to go for the win but their striker (mr 17 acceleration and 15 pace Branimir Hrgota) made me decide to play our 4-4-2. We did well to limit their chances but when we got into position to grab the points Di Fabio couldn't apply the finish. He was in the squad to replace the injured Benyamina and failed to keep a cool head in front of the keeper. Away at Holstein Kiel was the fourth game in a row where I had planned to pick up points. The last few results weren't great and we had some players out injured so I was fearful of a slump. We played our 4-4-1-1 with Di Fabio up front and Pedro at AMC. This time Di Fabio did better as he managed to get a penalty from a corner situation and later put in a great cross after drifting to the right flank which found Janicke a the far post. Janicke was the real hero this game as he got himself a Hatrick (including one penalty). A great moment for him to step up and put on his scoring boots to lead the team to a vital result. Their only goal came in the last minutes when some complacent defending allowed a great through ball in behind the defense which put their striker in a one on one with Schuhen but at 5-0 the fans were already drunkenly chanting in the stands and hardly phased by the late goal. The last game before the break at home against Fortuna Düsseldorf I didn't plan to get any points but momentum carried us to a great performance. We played our 4-4-1-1 with Pedro getting another start at AMC after a good performance in the previous game. He rewarded me by scoring a great team goal after Benyamina who returned from injury dropped deep and found the penetrating run from Pedro. Had a great opportunity to score his first goal after injury when Dorda earned a penalty by surging into the box drawing the foul. After scoring the penalty Benyamina was at the foundation for third goal as he again dropped into space and put a great one touch pass over the top to the advancing DR who in turn drilled a first time cross to the far post where Janicke got in front of his man to take the cross on the volley. Three touches in style to put the game beyond doubt and the fans on their feet. A great way to end the first half of the season and it was very pleasing to see us control a game against a stronger opponent playing our high pressing 4-4-1-1. A really close table with us in 4th position and we only need another 4 points to reach our first target of 35 points which is hopefully enough to avoid automatic relegation. We had planned to grab another 15 points from the second half of the season so 4 points shouldn't ever be a problem. Looking up towards the promotion places looks tempting but with a tough start of the second half against Bremen and Berlin it's not looking likely that we will stay high up the table for much longer. That said if we start well and win those early games we might be looking at the start of an heroic season for Hansa Rostock. I think the football we play based on hard work instead of individual skill or specialist roles can really suit a weaker team and if we keep fighting fearlessly for our points and get a bit of luck in key moments we could be onto something special this season. I will be taking a short break and sadly don't have time to get into more detail on how I prepare matches and adapt to different games and opponents. I already talked a bit about my decision making on playing the high pressing 4-4-1-1 and the deeper and more compact 4-4-2. Hopefully when I get back I have some time to dive deeper into a couple of key games and show some of the smaller changes I make before and during games as we get to the business end of the season.
  9. Maybe reconsider the increased closing down. It will also put your defensive line higher and can stop the opponent from committing more men forward. Removing it could also help the team stay in a better defensive formation. Lastly if you are looking to get the ball forward immediately then maybe you don't want your striker to come deep to link up but instead just look to get in behind immediately like an advanced forward. Just some things to consider, maybe watch some games with the feedback from this thread in mind to see what changes would work for your team.
  10. That is not what I said. I said you can't expect to prevent every goal. Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern all concede goals in the league to weaker opposition at some point. You have to manage expectations and realize this is a simulator of real world football. I always focus on defending just as much if not more as my attack. I always have a clear plan for how I'm going to defend in a game and watch some game footage to see if it's working on the pitch. I still concede goals but the important part for me is that my players are trying to defend the way I want them to and that in general it's working properly. It all starts with mentality and team shape but the factors you mention are indeed important. Whether a conceded goal worries me depends on how it's scored and in what game. Also I often play a tactic where I know I'm probably not going to outscore anyone. Just now I played a game with my newly promoted Hansa Rostock side away at Bielefeld. I played a deep and compact 4-4-2 with the strikers told to specifically mark their midfielders to create a 4-4-2-0 formation in defense. We scored a somewhat lucky opening goal when they didn't clear a corner properly and we worked the ball back to the corner taker at the edge of the box who cut inside and blasted a ball into the top corner. They scored one back when we failed to defend a corner which turned into a scramble in the box. This goal didn't worry me because it's mostly bad luck and a lack of defensive quality overall, it's not a tactical problem. They got their second from a cross which also didn't worry me, part of defending deep and compact is giving away space out wide so you have to deal with crosses coming into your box. In this case they quickly switched to the other flank after a throw in and we were out of position. It was a good cross and due to the messed up positioning after the throw in it was my ML defending their striker in the box who made a good run to finish it. Again not something I'm going to fix tactically. We managed to get one back from a very well worked counter which honestly surprised me as I was expecting to lose this match, 2-2 against Bielefeld is a great result for us. Then don't. I didn't say that is wrong. I said you can't expect to have a perfect defense. You can still play defensive but when I look at the fixture list you posted above the only non top teams to score more than one goal against you were Southampton and Stoke. Yes you got thrashed by Arsenal and ManU and maybe you could have done better there but it's not that bad of a record at all and you should be proud of limiting ManCity to 1 goal and keeping a clean sheet against Liverpool. That is why I said you can't expect to not concede goals all the time. If you want to play defensive football than do it, it can work perfectly fine. Just don't expect to keep clean sheets away at Arsenal and ManU. Have you considered going more defensive by changing mentality and team shape or formation? Nothing wrong with playing a defensive mentality or trying to get more players behind the ball if that is how you want to play. A lot of people opt for a more structured shape when defending but I think a defensive or counter mentality with a more fluid shape can work really well for getting more attacking players involved in the defensive phase and reducing space between the lines to stay more compact (it does reduce the effectiveness of counters as you don't have attacking players high up the pitch). Playing a 4-1-4-1 formation can also be a good way to get more players behind the ball.
  11. 16/17 Season Preview At a solid 100-1 odds to win the league and predicted dead last this will be a very different challenge from the first season. The first season was all about getting the team to play my system and get them working hard on the pitch. With a bit of pragmatism and some great performances we managed to surprise many and win the league with a fairly average squad. This second season my team is familiar with how we play but instead of an average squad we are the stand out underdogs. The goal for this season will be to stay away from the relegation zone and build financial and competitive stability. I'm not planning to stay at Hansa Rostock in the long term so I could be tempted into running up the wage bill to strengthen the squad. I opted to stick to the first team that got us promoted because they have earned my trust, have proven to be able to play the football I want and I want to leave the club in a good position when I do decide to leave them. Avoiding relegation with the current squad will be an interesting challenge so I set up a plan at the start of the season. Making a Plan Here is the fixture list for the league this season. The goal is to avoid relegation which should be about 35 points in the league. In the fixture list I noted winnable games in green, games which we should be getting draws in orange and midweek games in red. If we win our green games and draw our orange games while losing the rest that should give us 34 points. Highlighting the games this way immediately shows some stumbling blocks. The games on 17/9 and 21/9 are both games we have to be in form and grab at least two points so we will have to plan some rest days or rotation options to field competitive and fit teams in both fixtures. The next game against Paderborn looks like a good option to rest some players as the next two games we want to grab 6 points. A bit later in the season from 19/11 to 10/12 there are a lot of points to grab in a short time span and our form in those games could be a deciding factor during the season. Later in the season we have a lot of games where we should be getting points and two games in midweek (although there is some rest after the Bielefeld game). This could be a hectic and stressful period and giving rest or maintaining momentum could be a key factor in staying up. Now obviously football is a fickle game and the results won't all fall the way we want or expect. Still this plan gives us some direction for when to give players a rest, when to rotate players and how we approach certain games. I'm expecting to not get all the points from the games I planned and I will pick up points in some of the other games. In terms of our tactical approach I will be looking to play our high pressing 4-4-1-1 in all the green games and at home. I will be looking to play our deep pressing 4-4-2 away against in orange and unmarked games switching to the 4-4-1-1 when we are behind in the second half. I will also be watching all the marked games on full for the first couple of minutes and comprehensive or extended afterwards and make changes if necessary (mostly the ones mentioned in the second post). All the unmarked games I will likely watch on key highlights to keep the game speed up. With the plan in place hopefully it will be enough to avoid the drop and hopefully bring me some new job opportunities at the end of the season. Squad Management As I mentioned I will be sticking to the current players and I prefer to have a small squad to reduce wages, increase togetherness of the squad and being able to give everyone enough game time. There are however a couple of players who didn't manage to get into the squad last season and have their contracts running out. During the second half of the last season I started looking for some players to come in and fill those positions. I managed to find two players who will be able to strengthen our squad and fit well within my system without costing too much in wages. Lastly I made one last minute sale during the window. I had quite a lot of solid strikers in the squad and I wanted to give a good prospect striker more game time. The 31 year old Ziemler did well last season when Benyamina got injured and with 17 balance and 15 strength he is always an interesting option. In the end his old age and being able to get 300K for selling him convinced to let him go. All in all I further reduced the squad size, reduced total wages, earned some money and strengthened the squad a bit. I will quickly introduce the new signings. Stephen Sama had his contract run out at Stuttgart II and agreed to fairly low wages. I had quite a few rotation and backup defenders leaving and this was a great opportunity to strengthen our back line. In the last season the position next to Henn was rotated quite a bit and being able to put another key player next to him should hopefully improve our defense substantially. Besides being a great defender he is also good on the ball and is still fairly young. His only weak points are his workrate, natural fitness and personality (balanced and level headed so not terrible but not great either). His PPM should help in switching flanks quickly as he looks to play long balls to Dorda and Janicke on the left. João Pedro was playing at FC Lieferink in Austria which is basically the Red Bull Academy. His contract was running out and he was willing to join us for only 600eu a week. I was looking at some other AMC's who had their contract running out soon and some of them were clearly better players than Pedro. What convinced me to go for him were great aggression, natural fitness and determination along with decent workrate, tackling and positioning. This should make him a great fit for my pressing system. He does have some holes in his game with terrible composure, balance and strength and sub par teamwork. Despite his weaknesses he should be able to do a good job in the system I play and at 20yrs old and only 600p/w in wages I feel this was a great signing. Max Konrad was signed as backup. Low wages and a couple of outstanding attributes in key positions made me sign him despite his lack of pace, horrible positioning, poor anticipation and bad concentration. A limited player but an aggressive and hard working tackler with a surprisingly good first touch who should be able to cover at DR for very low wages and grow into a better player in the future. I also like his versatility and decent personality. Jonatan Kotzke was a bit of a last minute signing. I had a spot left in the squad but was planning to not fill it to keep the squad even smaller and use the squads versatility to fill the gaps. When Kotzke came on my radar he looked really solid with a great personality and manageable wages. His only slight weaknesses are his first touch, technique and acceleration. With good stamina, teamwork, bravery, positioning, marking and strength he should be able to do a great job in the CM(d) position and provide competition for the more aggressive Schwertfeger. Lastly not a new signing but a regen. Now I'm not planning to stay at the club for a long time so I don't focus on youth development but this regen is just insane. This is probably the game having a laugh at my expense because normally I never get regens like this. When he popped up in the youth team he already had 2.5 stars of current potential and labeled the next Schweinsteiger. Sadly he is too young to be registered to play because otherwise he would have walked into my squad at 15yrs old. His only real weakness is his workrate and he doesn't have the off the ball stat that I'd prefer for the AMC position (he is currently training as MC roaming playmaker and will also spend some time on the ball winning midfielder schedule). I'll probably try and sign him in the future when I'm at a different club to try and keep him around. I'm already declining bids from top clubs left and right so we'll see how that works out. Besides this guy I gave a contract to one other regen who showed potential but he was a center back with 5 jumping so he is retraining as a defensive midfielder and might become a fullback in the future. (note: my assistant manager is decent but not great so player ratings are a rough estimate in comparison to the rest of the squad) Here is the current squad of only 22 first team players and three prospects playing in the under-19 squad. These are all the players at the club and leave me 10Kp/w under the wage budget with 3 key players, 7 first team players and 2 rotation players. Leicester only used 23 players in their title winning season and hopefully we will draw some inspiration from their teamwork and togetherness.
  12. Looks good, any specific questions? If your goals are mostly coming from crosses I wouldn't stop putting crosses into the box. If my team puts in 40 crosses in a game of which 10% (4) connect and we score one or two goals I would call that a success. One thing to keep in mind is you can't just fix something tactically and suddenly not concede goals. You can't completely eliminate danger unless you completely outclass your opponents. You have to make trade offs somewhere. With a counter mentality you defend fairly deep and leave some space in front of the box and out wide which allows your opponent to put crosses and long shots in. The idea behind this is your defenders are probably big and strong guys who can deal with crosses and your keeper is good enough to stop the long shots. Sometimes you might want a different approach against a certain team or see something happening in the pitch that doesn't follow the above description and needs to be dealt with. Spotting those instances and making the right changes is hard but can make a difference from time to time. I don't think you necessarily need to change anything here and you had some decent results if that is Swansea in the first season. One possible idea would be having a second tactic that has the striker in a more advanced role for when the opponent is leaving a lot of space in behind their defensive line which you want to use. A striker dropping deep and an attacking midfielder going past him is great when the opponent is sitting back and is well organized but if they are attacking you it's often better to have the striker sit on the shoulder of the defenders looking to get in behind. Also consider dropping the shorter passing for this second option as it will help get him the ball in behind faster.
  13. I usually decide my tempo on how I want to attack. If I'm going to patiently look for an opening against a settled defense why should I rush my passing and give my players less time on the ball to decide on what is the best option. On the other hand if I'm looking to attack an opponent when their defense is out of position or look for an opening through fast side to side transitions I'll want a higher tempo to not give them time to get back in position. Linking it to passing puts tempo in the perspective of direct counter attacking or patient build up play. That doesn't meant that is the only way to go, just that it's traditionally often used together. I'm rewatching Arsenal away against West Ham at the moment and it's a good example of high tempo but shorter passing from Arsenal and high tempo with more direct passing from West Ham.
  14. Update: End of The First Season Hansa Rostock FC have won the 3. Fussball-Liga! Helped on by the tightest defense in the league and losing only six games all season we edged out a close race for the top spot. Münster collapsed under the pressure in their last games where Holstein Kiel mounted an impressive comeback which came too late to catch us as we showed decent consistency in the last games of the season to consolidate the top spot. Heroes of the season include: The young goalkeeper Marcel Schuhen who pulled off some truly impressive saves this season and topped the league for clean sheets. Vice captain Matthias Henn who was a true leader in defense and was ever present at the back. The left wingback Christian Dorda who managed to make the leagues team of the year at left back, combined good defensive work with 6 assists and somehow got his first cap for Poland. José-Alex Ikeng for his crazy tackles and for scoring THAT GOAL. Stephan Andrist because when we needed a moment of magic he was the guy to look for with 6 goals and 6 assists which included a few season defining moments. Sofyan Benyamina who despite an injury and a poor run of form still managed to become our top scorer with 13 goals in 22 appearances. Julius Perstaller who did well to fill the AMC position when we played our 4-4-1-1 and came up with 11 goals and 6 assists in 33 appearances for the team. His great off the ball movement was often a crucial component for our attack and his off the ball stat has gone up to 15. Lastly the fan favourite, team captain, fan of the club and local born Tobias Jänicke who with 8 goals and 9 assists lead our attack from the left wing, a legend in the making. After our home win against Chemnitzer FC we traveled to FC Erzgebirge Aue and tore them apart playing our deep 4-4-2. The damage was done from the right wing where Gardawski got played in behind the defensive line to find Janicke at the far post, later a cross from Dorda from a deep position found the run of Gardawski and to finish them off Perstaller played the substitute Gottschling in behind the defense on the right wing who put a simple low cross into the area where Ziemer had all the space to grab the 3rd goal. With 60% possession and 5 clear cut chances this was one of our most solid performances of the season. Next up was a game at Dresden who were struggling this season. We again lined up with our 4-4-2 and got a 20min goal when Ziemer was played in behind by Perstaller. That should have been the end of the game but we gave away a silly penalty when their left winger dribbled into the box up against two men, we weren't in any real danger but our right back stuck out his leg and the winger eagerly went over. The game against Holstein Kiel was the big test of the month, they grabbed an early goal when a cross from deep found their striker at the far post who showed a bit of individual skill by taking it first time on the volley. In the second half we switched from our conservative 4-4-2 to the 4-4-1-1 which eventually lead to the all important goal as some great movement and three one touch passes saw the ball slice through their defense into the back of the net. Away against Magdeburg we started with our 4-4-1-1 and grabbed an early goal when Dorda drilled a cross at Perstaller who blasted it first time into the top corner. They quickly came back with the equalizer when their stiker managed to find the bottom corner from the edge of the box despite being serounded by three defenders. What followed was a tense 75 minutes where we created chances but couldn't find the net until we hit them on the counter from a free kick in the 88th minute quickly followed by another goal in the 90th minute. We created 7 clear cut chances but our finishing was poor. At home against Würzburg Benyamina tore them apart and scored a hattrick. We didn't really dominate the game but Benyamina was on fire and couldn't be stopped. They scored their goal from a corner where somehow we left a player free in the box in acres of space. At Sonnenhof Grossaspach it was a fairly even but we created 2 clear cut and 2 half chances against their one half chance. Sadly non of them fell for Benyamina and the rest of the team showed some extremely poor finishing. At home against Stuttgarter Kickers was the 4th game in a row where we started the game with our high press 4-4-1-1. We controlled the game well with 60% possession but our poor finishing continued to haunt as as I feared for the title challenge. They ruthlessly punished us in the 90th minute with a long ball over the top followed by a cool finish from their striker who beat his man to the ball. A gutting moment for the fans who had to watch their team squander four good chances only to collapse in the last minutes of the match to sloppy defending. The next game at Erfurt we had to bounce back to avoid a last minute collapse of our title challenge and the team did just that. Undeterred from our last match we continued playing the high press and this time we found our goal scoring boots again when Andrist hit a beautiful cross from deep into the path of Benyamina who got in front of his man to hit the first time volley. The second goal was again Andrist on the right wing this time coming inside and hitting a beautiful angled through ball with his left foot that sliced through their defense all the way to the far post where Janicke popped up for the finish. They also had their chances and exposed our high line on a couple of occasions but the only real danger came from a cross to the far post where Schuhen did well to close the tight angle and block the shot. Next up was the title challenge clash at the Ostseestadion as second place Münster came to visist first place Hansa Rostock. A win for Münster would put them in first but despite it being on them to go for the win we still started aggressively with the high press in an effort to make it a real open fight in front of our fans which would hopefully suit us. In the 22nd minute I started to regret this decision as we let their striker in behind our defensive line who scored an emphatic finish. We kept up the pressure which led to 58% possession and a 78% pass completion rate vs. their 66% pass completion rate. In the 35th minute this resulted in the equalizer when they didn't manage to completely clear a corner due to our high position, we played the ball to the left flank from which Janicke put into the box where Perstaller was free to head it on to Andrist at the far post who found the net. We controlled the game and had more shots but couldn't find the second goal until in the 80th minute a great free kick from Perstaller found Andrist who lost his marker and took it first time on the volley into the left corner. Another vital win against title challengers Münster! Away at Wiesbaden I started conservatively with our deep 4-4-2 going for a pragmatic win or draw to grab the title. Sadly we forgot to bring our finishing boots and they did the damage from a corner. We had one clear cut and 5 half chances but couldn't find the net. In the meanwhile Holstein Kiel destroyed Münster 5-1 after their collapse at the Ostseestadion which put them in second place. Good for our lead but going in to the last two games of the season there were still three contenders for the title. At home against Osnabrück we could grab the title with a win in front of our fans. They were sitting at midtable with nothing to play for and we started the game with our 4-4-1-1 to take control early. At 35mins this resulted in Dorda finding a lot of space on the left, their fullback came out to close him down which left Janicke unmarked when the cross came in. When the ball fell to his feet he fired an absolute rocket past the keeper and send the fans flying of their seats! We controlled the game well with most of the football played on their half. Just before half time we Andrist sends a cross to the far post after a throw in. It gets cleared by their fullback who heads the ball to the edge of the box. The troubled son Ikeng in a moment of madness runs toward the ball, jumps into the air and scores an absolute thunderblaster of an overhead kick out of absolutely nowhere. The stadion falls silent for a milisecond as the crowd tries to process what they just saw on the pitch and then explodes. At least glory is back to the Ostseestadion as Hansa Rostock secure the title with a moment of magic from José-Alex "poor mans Pogba" Ikeng! Away against Hallescher the team was still recovering from the party and I'm not sure anyone even remembers what happened that day. Hansa Rostock vs Preussen Münster This is their first goal. They have a throw in on the left which gets passed to Bischoff (their MC, positions always get a bit messed up after a throw in) who passes it back to their AMC in enough space to pick out the pass over the top. Disappointed in my AMC not getting tighter to pressure the ball and my DCR and DR not being in a better position to cover the run of their striker. This is moments after a corner, we intercepted the clearance and it's worked back to Janicke who took the corner. Janicke is under pressure but turns back to swing a cross into the box. As you can see it's a real siege on their area and with almost our entire team in their final third they struggle to get out. Perstaller anticipates well and gets his head to the ball to flick it on towards Andrist who has a free shot and makes it 1-1. We score the second from a free kick to make it 2-1. Hansa Rostock vs. Osnabrück Here Perstaller has dropped deep and is drawing three players into his area. Their back four has turned into a back three and they stay central to try and stay organized. Andrist is in a very dangerous position on the right but Schwertfeger plays it into the space on the left for Dorda at DL. Not wanting to allow Dorda time and space to pick out the cross their left back tries to close the gap and put pressure on Dorda. Due to the long distance he is too late and now Janicke is unmarked in the box. The cross doesn't go to him but it doesn't get cleared and when the ball falls towards him he has space to make an easy tap in. Janicke being who he is (PPM shoots with power) he instead blasts the ball full force past the keeper to put us 1-0 up! Below we just had a throw in which results in an overload on the right flank. Andrist finds space for a cross and floats the ball towards the far post but their fullback gets back in time to challenge Janicke and clear the ball. The central midfielders are on the edge of the box in a good position to intercept the clearance and keep the pressure up. Instead of doing any of that Ikeng surges towards the cleared ball, jumps into the air and attempts the overhead kick of a lifetime. The keeper can't even blink before the ball has hit the back of the net and Tüting is too flabbergasted to appeal for dangerous play. Mr Giraffe legs seals the title and the crowd goes wild! Season Review I'm really pleased with the results. I expected to do well and challenge for promotion if we managed to stay fit and not be forced into too many rotations. I did some proactive rotations which cost us some points here and there but probably also contributed to the low amount of injuries (two major injuries in total). Going back to the opening post I wanted to play according to the following principles: Compress space, press as a team and hunt down the ball to win it back early. We made the concession of playing with a deep press which was still based on a compact shape and pressing in the final third as a unit but wasn't aimed at winning the ball early. I think a necessary change to make due to the players I had available and to get results against better teams when we were still adapting to the new playing style. This area is up for improvement and I might make some changes to our deep press to try and make it more aggressive without giving up our compact shape. When we played with a high press we looked shaky on occasion giving opponents too much time on the ball and being vulnerable in behind but we did get some good performances playing like this and seemed to improve as the season went on Play a high tempo passing game focused on catching the opponents defense out of position in the transition phase and opening space through player movement off the ball. I'm really pleased with this aspect of our play. I've really enjoyed some of the football I've seen and although we often weren't in a position to really hit teams on the counter we moved the ball around really well and scored a lot of goals due to getting their defense out of position to create space. I'm pleased with how we are playing with the ball and won't be making any changes in the foreseeable future. Hard work by the entire team and creativity and fluidity in attack. I'm content with how the team battled for certain results but it's an area we can improve on. This is partly a man management issue as motivation and preventing complacency is key but partly it's also down to getting the right players. We did well and especially later in the season we showed great togetherness and willingness to fight for the team. In terms of creativity and fluidity in attack I'm also satisfied. We attempted some spectacular plays and occasionally pulled them off with great style. At times our success rate is a bit low but I don't want my team to keep possession, I want them to score goals. All in all a great start with room for improvement. In the next update I will preview the coming season and the challenges I will face.
  15. With an attacking mentality (high risk, high tempo, wide, high defensive line, high closing down) along with shouts to increase those last two even further you are playing a very aggressive style of football which leaves a lot of space in behind. Usually teams are more pro-active at home so that might be the reason you get punished on the road.