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FM14: FC Nordsjælland - Rebuilding: The Curse of Success

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Football Club Nordsjælland

General Information

A relatively young club, FC Nordsjælland has a turbulent history, being the product of a club merger, rapid back to back promotions, corruption, near bankruptcy and a re-branding, the club would go on to win the Danish Cup two years on the trot and win the Danish Superliga for the first time in 2011-12. FCN is fairy tale of a club if there ever was one.

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In Football Manager 2014, success has come at a cost for FC Nordsjælland. The players that helped the team reach new heights and play the attractive football that put the team in the spotlight, have now moved on to bigger clubs. FCN brought in many new faces over the summer, in an attempt to maintain the high standards set in the previous two seasons. New players, similar system, the expectations remain the same, success on the pitch and to continue the rapid growth spurt. Are the new players cut out for the job? Too many changes too soon? Has the FCN's golden generation come to a premature ending?

History

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For a more complete history, please visit FC Nordsjælland's Wikipedia page.

Long time manager and club icon Morten Wieghorst won FC Nordsjælland their first silverware in 2010, unexpectedly winning the Danish Cup in a 2-0 (aet) win over FC Midtjylland in the final. He would repeat the feat, successfully defending the cup in 2011, once again facing Midtjylland in the final, winning 3-2. Wieghorst would leave the club that season to take the Under-21 Danish National Team job. Kasper Hjulmand would be promoted from the coaching staff for the 2011-12 season, with big boots to fill. Far exceeding expectations, FCN dueled it out with FC København for the Superliga, which was settled on the final day of the season.

March 23 2012, FC Nordsjælland sealed the title race with a convincing 3-0 thumping of AC Horsens, lifting the Danish Superliga Championship in their home ground of Farum Park, Kasper Hjulmand writing his name in FCN history, winning the club their first league championship, in his first season in charge of the club, guaranteeing Champions League Group Stage football the following season.

Club Legends
: Thomas Andreasen (Player)

Club Icons
: Jonathan Richter (Player), Morten Wieghorst (Manager), Kasper Hjulmand (Manager)

Favoured Personel
: Jacob Gregersen (Player), Martin Birn (Player), Jeppe Tengbjerg (Player), Morten Nordstrand (Player), Kim Christensen (Player), Martin Bernburg (Player), Nicolai Stokholm (Player), Jores Okore (Player), Jesper Hansen (Player), Dennis Sørensen (Player), Andreas Bjelland (Player), Joshua John (Player)

With Champions League football to come, reinforcements were brought in and the team was strengthen, with the loss of one key player in the summer, more would follow in the coming months as teams in Europe would turn their attentions to Farum Park. With the return of form for FC København under Ariël Jacobs, and the squad being stretched with commitments with European football, FCN's league position would fluctuate between 2nd and 7th, until the after the winter break, where it was too late. FCK had once again ran away with the league, and Nordsjælland, after a naive Champions League campaign, would settle for runners up, all the while losing key players to bigger clubs abroad.

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The run of three titles in three years was over. While the coffers were bulging, facilities and equipment improved, the squad was weakened with the departures of Andreas Bjelland to FC Twente, Tobias Mikkelsen to Greuther Fürth, Michael Parkhurst to FC Augsburg, Mikkel Beckmann to APOEL, Enoch Adu to Club Brugge, Jesper Hansen to Évian and Jores Okore to Aston Villa. With some poor incoming transfer dealings during the previous January window (3 players were in and out of the club within 7 months), the incoming summer transfers brought in a lot of anticipation from the fans, with the inclusion of Jens Stryger Larsen, Michael Jakobsen, Martin Vingaard and Joshua John. With only 5 players remaining from the Superliga Championship winning team of 2011-12 and with a very specific style of play, bedding in time for the new signings is a luxury the club doesn't have.

Can you improve on Nordsjælland's real life start to the 2013-14 season?

Stadia & Facilities

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Farum Park, home of the Tigerne, with a capacity of 10,100, seating 9,800, the club has some way to go from filling the stadium week in week out. Expect attendances of around 6000+, with influxes when playing the likes of København and Brøndby. I recommend not buying or upgrading Farum Park in the first few seasons, as it'll take a few years before you start filling the stadium, save your money.

Training Facilities
: Good training facilities

Youth Facilities
: Average training facilities

Junior Coaching
: Average junior coaching

Youth Recruitment
: Well established youth recruitment

FCN's facilities, while not outstanding, are competitive with the rest of the top teams in Denmark. In their current state you can produce the occasional hot prospect. Look to improve your Junior Coaching when possible, with the club starting in a healthy financial position from the start of the game, the board should be happy to accept any improvement requests from the get go. And if you are fortunate enough to make it through the Champions League qualifies to the group stage, consider putting a portion of the prize money to improving your facilities.

Season Expectations

By default, the Chairman Allan K. Pedersen will expect you to qualify for continental footabll (Europa League):-

Transfer Budget
: £686,000

Wage Budget
: £76,747 p/w

Currently Spending
: £72,054 p/w

A rather large increase to the previous seasons, thanks to the profits made from the previous two years, including the Champions League money last season. The highest expectation you can negotiate is to challenge for the title, where you can get around £950k transfer budget and £86k p/w wage budget. A seasoned FM user should be able to meet a title challenge expectation, though a cautious player should be able to win the title with little to no spending, if you want to pick a low pressure expectation. Allan K. Pedersen is fairly forgiving, and you are unlikely to be sacked as long as your are not losing heavily and stay within mid-table of the Superliga.

You may be able to request additional funds if you make it into the Champions League group stage, once the prize money is issued just before the end of August, but you will not have much time to spend it. Identify your transfer targets in advance.

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As for your philosophies, you'll be expected to play attacking, possessive football and sign young plays for the first team. For the later, it shouldn't be too hard, as many users tend to look for the next "Messi" newgen to sign for their team. Though be warned the team is already relatively young, so don't go gung-ho by getting rid of all the team's veterans. The likes of Stockholm and Mtiliga will serve you well. As for the attacking possessive football, while it's not hard to achieve, doing it successfully can be. You have the players to play from the back to front and some excellent attacking players. The team shouldn't need to park the bus to beat opposition in the league, though if you want to get some results in Europe you may have to bend those philosophies a bit.

By the second season, if successful, you should be able to negotiate your philosophy expectations down.

Finances

Sponsorship
: 5 year main kit sponsorship deal at £1.43M per season. Ends 2017.

2 year away kit sponsorship deal at £858K per season. Ends 2014.

4 year back of shirt sponsorship deal at £286K per season. Ends 2015.

1 year general sponsorship deal at £1.02M per season. Ends 2014.

2 year general sponsorship deal at £214K per season. Ends 2014.

1 year additional kit sponsorship deal at £286K per season. Ends 2014.

Balance
: £9,154,350

Projected Balance
: £13.78M

Note: The sponsorships are poorly labeled, the main sponsor is the manufacturer deal and
the away sponsorship is the main sponsor.

FCN's finances are one of the strongest in Denmark. No debt and having made large profits over the last 2 years, as well as signing one of the biggest shirt manufacturing deals in the Superliga, their finances are set for the foreseeable future. You can look forward to £4M a season in sponsorship money, which is for certain from the beginning season at least, as two deals will then end and then you'll have to pray that the chairmen does well enough to renew them, which was a problem in last year's FM13. You also have the prize money from the Danish Superliga depending where you finish in the league.

On the other hand your wages are bound to go up. FC Nordsjælland's squad, like many teams in Denmark are built on a shoe string budget. Fortunately many of your top players are either new or have signed new contracts recently, though there will be one or two players who will probably expect to earn almost double their current wage. Providing you don't go crazy in the transfer market, you can expect to have a healthy balance for some time, with plenty of room to renew your squad's contracts, and enough left over to either sign one or two star players or put towards facility upgrades. Though if you make it into the Champions League group stage, you should have enough to do both!

With FM14 comes the addition of Financial Fair Play. Where you can incur competition bans and point deductions in both domestic leagues and continental competitions, if you make a loss over a specific threshold. In Nordsjælland's case, you must avoid making a loss of more than -£4.22M over a 3 season period, which kicks in at 2016, or risk being banned from European competition (the Superliga doesn't use FFP). Unless you manage to spend more than £33.8M over that time period, without any form of extra income, you should be safe. It is highly unlikely you will come across this problem, especially with Allan K. Pedersen as your Chairman, who runs a tight ship.

Competitions

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FC Nordsjælland play in Denmark's top division, the Danish Superliga, which is contested by 12 teams, of which the 2 bottom teams get relegated at the end of the season to the 1st Division. Teams play each other three times between late July to early December and March to May, having a three month winter break. Prize money is awarded based on the team's position at the end of each set of 11 games played throughout the season, awarding up to £2.54M for first place (accumulating to a potential total of £7.62M over the period of a season, providing you finish first at each 11 game interval).

Fierce Rivals
: Lyngby (Competitive), FC København (Competitive)

Other Rivals
: Brøndby IF (Competitive), FC Midtjylland (Competitive), AB (Competitive), Birkerød (Local)

The registration rules are probably one of the more stricter ones in Europe. Similar to the Champions League rules, they require a minimum of 15 players and a maximum of 25, 4 of which who were trained at the club for 3 years before their 21st birthday and 4 of them trained in Denmark, players under 20 do not need to be registered. Match day squads require at least one goalkeeper on the bench. On the plus side, there are no restrictions on foreign or non-EU players, though non-EU players still require a work permit. Denmark is part of the COTONOU agreement, which allows players from countries included in the agreement, which are outside of the EU to get a work permit providing they (from my understanding) make more than 20,000DKK (£2,295) p/w full time or 10,000DKK (£1,147) p/w part time.

As of the 2013-14 season, the top two teams qualify for the third qualifying round of the Champions League, third and fourth placed teams are awarded Europa League spots (third and second qualifying rounds). The Danish Cup also awards the winner a Europa League spot (play-off round), if the Cup winner has already qualified for Europe, the lowest qualifying spot is awarded to the fifth placed team in the Superliga league.

FC Nordsjælland are entered into the Champions League third qualifying round, seeded as a non-Champion team. Expect tough competition against the likes of Lyon, Zenit and Basel. Losing in either the third qualifying round or the play-off round, will qualify you for the Europe League (play-off or group stage, depending on what stage you exited the Champions League).

Lastly FCN will play in the Danish Cup, entering at the Third Round, which is around late September. The rules are reasonably laxed, no registration, minimal squad rules, though lower league teams play at home and you are reduced to four substitutes against Denmark Series teams and below. The matches are played via a single deciding match each round, bar the Semi Finals, which are played over two legs, home and away. The final is played at the Parken Stadium.

Links

FC Nordsjælland Official Website (Danish)

FC Nordsjælland Wikipedia

FM14: F.C. København - No.1 in Scandinavia

FM14: The Scandinavia Talent Net - From The North They Come...

Archive:

FM13: FC Nordsjælland - Danish Champions, European Minnows

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The Team

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Goalkeepers

Martin Hansen:

Signed on a free, after a very successful 2 seasons at Viborg, he takes over as FCN's first choice keeper since the departure of Jesper Hansen (no relation). A solid keeper with room for growth, like Jesper, is excellent at kicking the ball and a little eccentric in goal, he does have visible weaknesses in Commanding, One on Ones, and Composure. As a new player to the team, he may be prone to mistakes until he settles in, providing he does eventually. His long term place in the team is very dependent on your ambitions as a manager. More than capable of being between the sticks for a team challenging for the Superliga, not so much if you want to go far in Europe. He starts the season injured.

David Jensen:

Worked his way up from the youth ranks, to being promoted to backup this season. He spent the last 12 months out on loan, getting valuable play time in the 1st Division for AB and FC Fredericia. A good backup, especially useful in making up the homegrown quota. Initially a little weaker than Martin Hansen, Jensen has equal potential, possible more, providing you want to put the work in and make him your eventual first choice. With a year remaining on his contract, he may not be content at staying as a backup. Be warned, as he is slightly prone to injury.

Thomas Villadsen:

Brought in last season as cover for Jesper Hansen, he is now spending the remaining one year of his contact out on loan at 1st Division side AC Horsens. Not much of a step up from David Jensen, except for experience. You can either let him run down his contract and release him at the end of the season, or retain him as backup encase you decide to ship out David Jensen. From experience, hes more than happy to sit in the bench and not play a single game while picking up his pay cheque.

Jannich Storch:

Another good young goalkeeper that has come up through the youth ranks. He isn't too far behind the other 3 keepers, though with 2 other goalkeepers that are young in age, it's unlikely he'll make it into your team, even as a backup. Since the signing of Martin Hansen, and accepting that he is essentially 3rd choice, he announced he planned to look else where at the end of his contract and is expect to leave the club in December. Not a big loss, could have been a backup to Jensen if you ever moved Hansen on, but personally would take Villadsen over Storch as a backup, unless I was pushed for homegrown players.

Hot Prospects:

Leo Sakharoff is definitely one to watch in your U19s. The well disciplined 15 year old has potential to go far. With very good determination and professionalism, in 5 years time could become first choice and succeed the likes of Martin Hansen and David Jensen, or worse case scenario, become a very good homegrown backup.

Overall:

In your first few seasons, Martin Hansen is more than capable to be your No. 1 until you can start growing the club and compete more regularly in Europe. David Jensen while has the potential, is unlikely to overtake Martin in development unless he gets a good tutor, and making him your first choice would be risky, due to his problems with injury. Whatever you do, all of the first team keepers are more than capable to be backups, if that is the route you go and you are set for the future with Leo in the U19s, though he could do with some depth there if you want your youth team to be successful.

Defenders

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Patrick Mtiliga:

One of FC Nordsjælland's key players and an important piece in the club's league win in 2011-12. He is a very good attacking Leftback and would be a regular with the Danish national team if it wasn't for his falling out with Morten Olsen in October of last year. He recently signed a 2 year contract extension and at 32, he should be more than capable to perform at this level for another 2 years. Though you do want to keep an eye out for his eventual successor, as one bad injury could set him back.

One of the highest earners on the team and has been invaluable to Joshua John's integration and settling in the team, as he spent the majority of his career in the Netherlands. His partnership with John down the left has lead to some brilliant sequences, and chances on goal. I would go out on a limb and say FCN most likely have one of the strongest left wings in the league. He starts the season injured, so decide early who will deputize at Leftback for those first few matches of the season, whether you pull the attacking winger Ticinovic back there, move over Michael Jakobsen or promote Nicolai Johannessen.

He does have a £850K Minimum Fee Release Clause, but it is unlikely to be activated by anyone at the age of 32.

Ivan Runje:

A pleasant surprise to FC Nordsjælland's defense, this time last year he was expect to be backup to whoever FCN brought in to play alongside Okore, regularly linked with left footed Central Defenders to fill the void left by Andreas Bjelland. No one came in and Runje got the nod, forming a solid partnership in defense, which saw him play in the Champions League and get a look at from the Croatian national team. With Okore now gone to Aston Villa, the weight of the defense has fallen on the young Croatian. One of the tallest players in the squad, he does suffer under Hjulmand's high line, though he has shown a hidden side of him under Hjulmand's 3-4-3, showing his ability to ping direct and accurate balls out of the back for the attack to run onto.

A very solid defender, with few visible weaknesses, but can be a liability under certain styles and there is a big question mark on his mental ability to play consistently under pressure as a senior member of a back four.

Michael Jakobsen:

The loanee from FC København, very well rounded defender. Left footed, which will give you a good balance at the back with Runje. No clear weaknesses, though you might want to train his passing, to improve it by a point or two if you plan to play out of the back. More than good enough to be a top defender in the Superliga, but at £575K, I'm not totally sold on him being worth the money. He won't improve much more than his current level and he'll be 28 by the time you buy him. A very solid defender, just valued too high to be worth making it permanent, unless you have a disastrous transfer window and fail to find a potential transfer target.

Hot Prospects:

Spoiled for choice, with two clear backups for the Central Defender position in Pascal Gregor and Andreas Maxsø. Maxsø the more well rounded of the two, with abilities to play the ball and defend, though not particularly strong in either areas, and a slight weakness with his speed. Gregor the faster of the two is more complete defensively, and is well suited to fill in at Rightback, where he may very well be a candidate for you in that position, unless you bring someone in. Nicolai Johannessen, the former Lyngby talent can play Leftback and Central Defense, he'll make a good backup to Mtiliga, though he needs some work if you want him to be more attacking, being weak in Crossing, Dribbling and Off the Ball.

Overall:

The team has a huge gaping hole at Rightback. Ticinovic and new signing Jens Stryger Larsen rotating in and out of the spot in reality, forming up a nice partnership on the right wing. In Football Manager, Stryger Larsen's talents are wasted at fullback and the same could be said about Ticinovic. Gregor can play Rightback, which I would recommend if you don't plan to bring anyone in the first transfer window. Otherwise, a Rightback should be your priority in the transfer market, get this position sorted and you'll have a back four that can challenge for the title. Just plan ahead for what you will do at the end of Jakobsen's loan deal, whether you promote Gregor or Maxsø, buy Jakobsen outright or look else where in the transfer market. And keep an eye out for Mtiliga's successor.

Midfielders

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Nicolai Stokholm ©:

Your captain and most experienced player in the team. In the first season he'll be one of the first names you put on the team sheet. Well rounded, with clear strengths in his metal traits, calm, hard working, and will fight for the team, leading by example. Fading in his physical attributes, he still has the engine to play 90 minutes for both his club and country. Sensationally being recalled to the Danish national team at the age of 36, after having a having an excellent season and winning the 2012 Danish Superliga Player of the Year. Now at 37, you'll want to get the most out of him while you still can. He is an excellent tutor, so even if he declines before the first team, you may want to keep him on the books to train some youths (notably Petry and Køhler).

Anders 'AC' Christiansen:

His second season at the club, after joining from local rivals Lyngby last season. While versatile on paper, his attributes limit him in the roles he can successfully perform, outside of a Advanced Playmaker and Trequartista, his weaknesses are more pronounced in other roles. With very good potential, and some concentrated training, he can become a more complete midfielder. I don't recommend shifting him out to the wings, as his pace will let him down, and take too long to improve, plus his Bravery and Aggression are better suited for the center of the pitch. With his high Determination, he will make an excellent tutor, and possible future captain. Just watch out, as he is prone to picking up cards.

Kasper Lorentzen:

Was in good form last season, breaking back into the national team after a turbulent year of being relegated with Randers, to eventually joining FCN and winning the league in 2012. Unfortunately injured earlier in the year and has been out of action ever since. A very creative player, who is technically sound, and will be one of your primary set piece takers, when fit. A little injury prone, also is bound to spurts of inconsistency, his low determination is often the only thing holding him back from being a truly great player. Occasionally frustrating but he is a brilliant player to watch and are lucky to have him. The issue is fitting him into the team and getting him a good run of games to get him and keep him in form. You may want to consider giving him a longer term contract sooner rather than later, so his wage demands don't become too excessive.

Søren Christensen:

The longest serving member of the team, with the second most appearances, behind Club Legend Thomas Andreasen. Christensen is one of your more reliable midfielders/attackers, though not as flashy or creative as Lorentzen, he works hard and gives that consistent intelligence high up the pitch. He is well rounded enough to play a handful of roles, in both MC and AMC and can cover out wide in a pinch, he will often poach you a handful of goals a season. He starts the game injured, with only 6 months remaining on his contract (This is an error, he should be contracted til December 2014). He won't dislodge an in form Lorentzen or Vingaard, but is a solid backup. In an already stacked midfield, you need to make the tough decision to retain him or let him move on in December.

Martin Vingaard:

One of the highest profile signings of the season, signed from Superliga rivals FC København. With a good pedigree and with one of the largest medal counts in the team, thanks to his 5 years at FCK. Vingaard brings that next level of experience to the team, with a winning mentality. Very versatile, with the ability to play anywhere high up the pitch, or back in midfield, his ability makes him an instant key player in your team. He can occasionally disappear in a match and his consistency can be questionable at times, but his talent is obvious. Get him firing and you could have one of the best Danish players in the league. With two feet and fairly decent speed, you may want to consider pushing him out wide as an Inside Forward.

Lasse Petry:

The young midfield is finding more first team minutes, with the departure of both Adu and O'Brien, taking more responsibility in the team, coming deep and driving the ball out of defense. With age on his side and good potential, he would otherwise struggle to get into a midfield with all the above talent, with the exception that he is the team's best Defensive Midfielder option. Can play all the way down the spine of the team, though I don't recommend playing him at Central Defense, being 5'8", he isn't going to win many headers. He has a good engine, and will serve you well, whether it's on the bench or shielding your defense. Look to improve his Strength as soon as you can, and offer him a new contract, as he only has 1 year remaining.

Kim Aabech:

Having spent 9 years at Lyngby, Aabech moved to FCN this season on a free. The physical AMC will have a hard time becoming first choice against the strong selection already available at Nordsjælland. He does add a real threat at Free Kicks, as well as Strength and Height up front. He will make a great impact sub from off the bench and will give you a target to ping long range passes at when chasing a late game. You may find yourself playing him upfront if you find yourself short on striking options.

Hot Prospects:

Emiliano Marcondes is easily your best youth player. The 18 year old Danish Brazilian made his debut last season and is expected to continue to make first team appearances this season. With tons of room for improvement, he can molded into any role, though at the start his strengths are clearly his attacking and creating ability. Do watch out for him picking up cards, as he is a little dirty and particularly good at getting under opposition's skin. Sign him to a new long term Full Time contract, I can not recommend this enough. He will undoubtedly have other suitors sniffing around him not far into your season. A prime candidate to be tutored by either Stokholm or AC and you'll want to decide if you can squeeze him any game time this season or send him out on loan. Hakan Redzep is tearing up the reserve league, since being retained after graduating out of the U19s, the young midfielder can play out wide or in midfield, though will find it unlikely to get game time and your best bet is to send him out on loan. He is unlikely to have the potential to surpass any of your current midfielders, so you may want to pull the trigger on him early, and send him packing. Kamal Issah was brought in last season and has failed to find much game time. With good potential and diversity to play defensively or attacking in midfield, he could become a good backup and provides the only real depth for Petry. He could be retooled to play out on the wing. From experience, Issah can develop into a good first team player given time, but can be easily replaced in the transfer market and without being a homegrown player, may find himself to be the odd man out in your game. Lastly, buried in your U19s is the tenacious Christian T. Køhler. Captain of the youth side, he is a no nonsense ball winner, and a leader on the pitch. His potential is questionable and may vary save to save, but worth keeping an eye on and would make a great future captain.

Overall:

Absolutely stacked in midfield, so much so that your youth players may suffer for minutes. There are no obvious weak links, though you may want to let Søren C's contract to run down and introduce Marcondes into the first team. There is little depth to your Defensive Midfield options, as if Petry was to go down with a long term injury then you will either have to move Stokholm over, promote Issah, or maybe even give Maxsø a few games further up the pitch. The overall biggest weakness is consistency in your creative players and you may get complaints for first team football if you find all your midfielders fit waiting for game time. If you make any moves in the transfer market, look for depth in Defensive Midfield, but I wouldn't put it as a priority over a Rightback.

Attackers

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Morten Nordstrand:

FCN's prodigal son who has had a tough time with injuries and form since returning to the club last season. One of the most lethal strikers in front of goal in the league, primarily a Poacher or False Number Nine. He has some very clear weaknesses, being not very versatile both on the pitch and in the roles he can perform, with fitness and injury issues, he doesn't recover very fast and will tire quickly. He is also not consistent, and can be frustrating to watch upfront. Sadly in FM, he is one major injury from retirement, as at 30 and with poor Natural Fitness, he is unlikely to recover without taking a major attribute loss. For your first season, he should do the job, depending on your style of play, but you do want to look at replacing him for your next season, whether you renew his contract after that, will vary on how his attributes hold up over the 12 months. The sort of player you'll have to judge case by case.

In the unlikely event that he does find superb form, he has a £850K Minimum Fee Release Clause. But at 30 and 18 months left on his contract, I think that would be good money to get for him at this stage of his career. He begins the season injured and may take his time getting match fit, don't rush him back or you may risk a relapse.

Joshua John:

A fan favorite at Farum Park after his impressive loan spell at the club last season. With the original intention to return and fight for his place at FC Twente, John rejoined Nordsjælland on the last day of the transfer window on a permanent basis, after it was clear he wasn't going to get first team football in the Netherlands. One of the fastest players on the team, John has an excellent partnership with Mtiliga on the left wing. Naturally a Right Winger, you'll find good success with playing him on the left, cutting inside as an Inside Forward. Watch out, as he is Ambitious, so you may find it hard to keep hold of him for more than a handful of seasons, less if he finds good form. An excellent winger who will only get better with maturity.

Jens Stryger Larsen:

Widely expected to go aboard at the end of his contract last season, Stryger Larsen was the bargain of the transfer window, joining on a free from Brøndby. Extremely versatile, with experience playing out wide and in midfield. Due to the shortage at Rightback, he may become your primary choice back there in defense, unless you bring someone in. At 22, he is a player you could build a team around, with quality to start every game. Keep an eye on his card count, being on the aggressive side, he can on occasionally let the game play past him with his low Concentration and can be hit or miss on his consistency. Will become a key player, if not already, providing you can keep old of him

Mario Ticinovic:

A fantastic young winger, once labeled as the next Pavel Nedved, with two good feet, the Croatian will become an instant favorite of yours if you use Inside Forwards (a common theme in the FCN team). Was pushed down the line as a fullback last season, with the form of John being undroppable. He was expected to fill in the Rightback position this season, but his attacking talents, and ability to get into the opposition box with the ball has forced Hjulmand to play him higher up the pitch. With no glaring weaknesses, he is there to be molded into the player you want, with potential to spare. Get him tutored if you can and keep him on a long term contract, once he starts developing other teams will come sniffing around. A solid squad player and can fulfill a first team spot if one becomes available, but faces stiff competition with John, Stryger Larsen and potentially Vingaard on the wings.

Uffe Bech:

The highly rated Uffe Bech is an excellent signing, coming from Lyngby back in January, scoring 2 goals and creating 2 assists in his first 5 games for the Tigerne, before getting injured. With extremely good Flair, Acceleration, Agility and solid Dribbling and Technique, he can get around most defenders. He still needs work on his complete game. At his young age, you can start him on the bench and bring him on for minutes, as you decide how best to play him and develop his attributes, as his best role is very much debatable. Has very high potential, so keep his contract locked down, and do it early to avoid excessive wage demands. He is another primary candidate for tutoring, preferably by AC.

Andreas Laudrup:

Son of Danish legend Michael Laudrup, Andreas already has a high reputation thanks to his family name. He has become some what of a forgotten man at FC Nordsjælland, after his unsuccessful loan spell at Saint-Etienne in France. He returned with a virus and has been unable to train ever since. Quick and flashy, he does better out wide rather than cutting in, he is also mostly limited to his left foot. Prone to inconsistency and can have issues with pressure, Laudrup has decent potential but he needs to be babied to get him where he needs to be. To fully develop him you will need lots of patience, a good tutor and to pay a lot of attention to detail. On the other hand, with 1 year remaining on his contract, he looks to be a good option to sell, yet you won't find any takers while he is still injured. You may want to keep him due to his homegrown status.

Mark Gundelach:

Currently out on loan to SønderjyskE, Gundelach has be used mostly as a utility player since his debute, the youngest debutante in Nordsjælland history. Started out as a striker, became a playmaker, then was told he would make a good fullback at youth international level. He has played almost very where on the pitch apart from in goal. He looked mostly set to play Rightback this season, until he was sent out on loan. A great squad player, worth keeping around to plug gaps and contributes to the homegrown quote but could do with a tutor. He has 18 months left on his contract, and by the time he returns from loan, it'll be too late to get any money from selling him.

Joe Sise:

Not a lot to say about Sise, his signing has been a bit of a disaster. Brought in a year and a half ago, he has yet to play a single competitive minute after having surgery shortly after joining the club. He has since got re-injured and then had another set back, where he now starts the game still injured. Physically he is very impressive, but needs work mentally and technically, which sadly is unlikely when he'll be 24 come December. Sell him as soon as he is fit, the AI for Swedish clubs usually jump all over buying back their compatriots.

Hot Prospects:

Nordsjælland strengthen their attacking depth over the summer, bringing in Bassel Jradi and Oliver Thychosen, who both impressed in the 1st Division last season. Jradi, who looks a good signing, has great attacking qualities, though needs work on his Crossing and some maturity in his mental attributes. Certainly will find himself working into your first team over time. Thychosen has better creative attributes, but also lacks some in the mental categories. I recommend sending Thychosen on loan if you can't get him minutes in the first season, as at 20, he needs game time to continue to develop. Oguzhan 'O.G.' Aynaoglu is a decent backup to your backup. But his development is not up to standards with someone of his age, at 22. He is fast, Determined and has plenty of Flair, but still needs a lot of work to become a good winger. I don't think I've ever managed to fully develop him, so if you do let me know how he turns out, but for now you might just want to leave him in your reserves until his contract expires in a years time. Nichlas Rohde, who had previously shown potential in the youth team and reserves, was the top scorer of the U19 league with 20 goals in 2010-11. Not particularly flashy or technical, he can get you goals and does make a good homegrown backup. He has an eye for goal, scoring on his debut but has since failed to fit into Hjulmand's plans and is now on his second loan spell at Breiðablik in Iceland, which has an agreed fee of £55K. The AI may take the option and keep him, if not he will return in the winter. Kristian Lindberg has been touted as a hot prospect from FCN's youth team for some years now. Well rounded but not clinical enough in front of goal. Plays as a Striker, but can also play on the left, coming inside, as he current does for the Danish U19s team. Renew his contract immediately, as he only has 6 months left on it. In the U19s, you have Mikkel Jensen, Mikkel Hansen, Marcus Ingvartsen and Johannes Ritter to keep an eye on. Mikkel Jensen is quick, good with his feet, but a little predictable, a decent winger for the future, with the quality to make an appearance or two in the first team, or consider sending on loan. Mikkel Hansen has been playing in older age groups for a couple of seasons now, has played in various positions down the right and young enough to mold into an attacker or a defender. Ingvartsen who has been the youth team's primary striker, showing signs of being a future target man, with good Finishing and Heading. Whilst Ritter has the potential to be a decent winger.

Overall:

A lot rests on your man up top, Morten Nordstrand, who starts off injured and your back up Lindberg also injured. As much as I love him, I highly recommend bringing in another striker to replace Nordstrand, either on loan or transfer, as he will go down sooner or later with another injury, and Lindberg isn't ready to carry the weight of the team just yet. On the wings you should have more than adequate depth, with JSL, John, Ticinovic, Bech and possibly Vingaard. Though getting them all in your team and keeping them happy will be the real challenge.

With the currently selection of attackers, you will be restricted in the style you can play, as the attackers are mostly setup to play with one striker, usually a Deep Lying Forward or False Number Nine, supported by two wide Inside Forwards and an Advanced Playmaker or Attacking Midfielder behind the Striker. If you attempt to play a 4-4-2 or a Diamond in midfield, you will have to look at cashing in on some of your wide players for true wingers and another forward. As far as the future of your attack, you should be more than set with Jradi, Thychosen and Lindberg.

Potential Transfer Targets

Name
: Helge Haugen

Age
: 31

Club
: Hønefoss

Nationality
: Norwegian

Position
: DM/MC

Value
: £10K

Opinion
: A DM is highly unlikely to be a priority transfer target at the start of the game, unless you don't deem
Petry
as first team material, or decide to play with 2 DMs.
Haugen
starts the game with 6 months left on his contract at
Hønefoss
, and can potentially be signed for free. With amazingly high Aggression and Bravery, very good Teamwork and Workrate and exceptional fitness with 20 Stamina and Natural Fitness, he is an excellent cheap DM option. He also makes a great tutor, with 18 Determination, and a Professional personality.

Name
: Ádám Vass

Age
: 24

Club
: Free Agent

Nationality
: Hungarian

Position
: DM/MC

Value
: Free

Opinion
: Another DM option (I like DMs!), with very high all round defensive midfield attributes, and consistency. No clear weaknesses, with the addition of being fairly young and potential left over to grow. He does have a lot of suitors, so competition to sign him will be tough, and what you save from not having to pay a transfer fee, you may very well end up spending on bonuses to guarantee his signature. Also note, your U19 Manager
Peter Fehér
is half Hungarian, which may help settle
Vass
into the club.

Name
: Brahim Boudebouda

Age
: 22

Club
: USM Alger

Nationality
: Algerian

Position
: DL/WBL

Value
: £100K

Opinion
: I previously signed
Boudebouda
a handful of times in FM13, and he returns in FM14 in similar condition. Very solid DL and can play WB, and almost too well rounded, with no clear weaknesses. Good potential, who will make a great successor to
Mtiliga
. May take time to settle and is slightly Ambitious, so keep his contract locked up tight. Should be able to get him in the £70K-90K price range, though his wage demands will be a little on the high side. Snap him up early, as he'll cost you a lot more when other teams eventually come sniffing around, as he may very well turn out to be one of your best players, as he was for me many times.

Name
: Daniel A. Pedersen

Age
: 20

Club
: Silkeborg IF

Nationality
: Danish

Position
: DR/DC/DM/MC/MR

Value
: £245K

Opinion
: A suitable candidate to fill the gap at Right Back. A little pricey (anywhere from £350-550K), considering his quality, but good Fullbacks are hard to come by. Great Crossing, good defensive attributes, and a solid foundation of Workrate and Teamwork (which are hard to increase through training), his physical stats do let him down a bit. A little on the low side for Stamina and Natural Fitness, he's not going to recover quickly between games, so look to improve this ASAP. With a good personality, young and room to grow, he could become a solid DR. You may be able to unsettle him, being that he is in the Danish 2nd tier (1st Division NordicBet Ligaen), after getting relegated last season with
Silkeborg
.

Name
: Franco Zuculini

Age
: 22

Club
: Free Agent

Nationality
: Argentine/Italian

Position
: MC/DM/MR

Value
: Free

Opinion
: A good young midfielder who can play both defensively and contribute going forward, potentially box to box. At his age, he can be molded into the role you require, with great Stamina, Aggression, Bravery and Work Rate, his Determination should help him achieve his potential. You may not be able to aquire him if he asks for too high wages, this can vary save to save, depending on how good his agent is. If he keeps asking for £10K p/w, you may have to cross your fingers, wait and hope no one signs him for a few months, so his demands go down.

Name
: Henrique (Henrique Silva Milagres)

Age
: 19

Club
: Vasco da Gama

Nationality
: Brazilian

Position
: DL/WBL

Value
: £100K (Unprotected)

Opinion
: Extremely well balanced attacking fullback, another good option for
Mtiliga's
successor. Start's the game with his contract expiring in October, snatch him up quickly before he renews his contract. May ask for rediculously high wages, but for free, and the potential resale value, very much worth it. May not be so easily available in the next database update, having signed a new contract in real life with
Vasco
, keeping him in Brazil until 2016.

Name
: Sean Franklin

Age
: 28

Club
: LA Galaxy

Nationality
: American

Position
: DR/WBR/MR

Value
: £275K

Opinion
: Very good right fullback, well balanced in his attributes, though lacks in flair if you are looking for a Complete Wingback. His contract becomes unprotected in July, so you can get him to sign for free and arrive in December, or pay around £100K to get him early. A very good and solid recommendation, at a great price, who can fill a big and crucial gap in
FCN's
defense.

Name
: Stefan Maierhofer

Age
: 30

Club
: Free Agent

Nationality
: Austrian

Position
: ST

Value
: Free

Opinion
: Want a Target Man? Look no further. 19 Jumping, 20 Determination, very good Aggression, Bravery, Strength, Teamwork and Work Rate. Should be able to sign him on decent sized contract with bonuses, with little to no competion. Great option to have in the squad as either 1st choice over Nordstrand or plan B when things aren't going your way.

Name
: Paul Onuachu

Age
: 19

Club
: FC Midtjylland

Nationality
: Nigerian

Position
: ST

Value
:

Opinion
: Another striking option. Young FCM product that's come through their Nigerian affiliation. Great future prospect for a Target Man, with good Aggression and Bravery, brilliant Jumping and Pace! Pick him up early or you could be paying a few quid more for him down the line. Often get's sent on loan in the first season, so don't leave your bid too late.

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Formations and Tactics

kHKY61M.jpg

Real Life Replication

Traditionally, Nordsjælland has play a 4-2-3-1, which can often look like a 4-3-3, 4-5-1 and even a 5-2-3/2-3-2-3, varying on transitions, tactical tweaks and the players that are available. The most obvious feature of Hjulmand's tactics is possession and pressing, often in a slow methodical build up from the back which relies heavily on every player making smart passes and involves a lot of running if the ball is lost, looking to make the opposition to either make a faulty pass or force them to pass into areas of the pitch where they are outnumbered. The key cogs to the formation is one of the Midfielders/Defensive Midfielders dropping between the two Centre-backs, with the two Defenders splitting and pushing the Fullbacks up as Wing Backs, to look to either overlap or support the attackers. The remaining Midfielder will hold and offer a passing outlet for either the flanks when playing out wide or through the middle where the Attacking Midfielder will come deeper to link up and release the Striker or feed the marauding Inside Forwards. The lone Striker will often drift to look to open space for the two wide attackers, drop deeper to attempt to pull the two opposition Defenders apart and get into the spaces left by teammates that are attacking, to help create attacks and occasionally shot from range.

Q9oRHlh.jpg

This is a lineup and formation you are likely to see at the start of the 2013-14 season (not necessarily the strongest lineup you can execute in Football Manager). Much of the Midfield is up to interpretation, as it really depends on how high you see either the two MCs and AMC play. You may also see some other variations such as the following:

MFEWaHA.jpgHbxBwB6.jpg

Similarly, when out of possession or against stronger opposition, they will go flat with 5 in Midfielder (Inside Forwards sitting deeper as ML/MRs). The Half Back's role, as described above, will drop deep between the two Centre-bacls and dictate the flow of possession, almost acting like a reverse Sweeper. This allows the Wing Backs to push up, where you will often find them in level with the Midfield and the roles generally filled by very attack orientated players, or in the Right Wing Back's case, players that aren't actual defenders in both Ticinovic or Stryger Larsen.

KU7n4im.jpg

The final form of the 4-2-3-1, which works surprisingly well in Football Manager and replicates the system. As you can see, it uses the triangle in midfield, allowing the Wing Backs to sit higher, which absolutely floods the Midfield, especially when the Striker drops deep, and provides a lot of possession, though it is prone to leaking goals, notably against pace on the wings. The biggest attacking difference is the Advanced Playmaker out on the Right, which is almost exclusively reserved for Kasper Lorentzen (Vingaard was experimented on out on the left in a similar role until John was brought back in on a permanent basis), the most creative player on the team, who will create chances for both the Striker and Left Inside Forward as well as carve out his own chances. Unfortunately he has been injured since last season. Otherwise the role is performed as an Inside Forward with either Ticinovic, Stryger Larsen, Uffe Bech and more recently Thychosen.

This has led to Hjulmand's ultimate experiment in the 3-4-3, which he flirted with numerous times last season and more commonly this season, unsuccessfully.

tNxUJo2.jpg

Note: Made an error, should be Vingaard in John's position and Petry in the CM Support role.

I'm not going to pretend that I knew exactly what Hjulmand was trying to achieve here, I'm not sure he completely knew how to maximize it and the players certainly had a hard time utilizing the formation to it's strengths, but as you can see from the formations evaluational steps, it is the natural successor, which I expect the team to eventually transition into.

Maximized Lineup

So the above section talked above replication and doesn't necessarily use the strongest players in the same formation, thanks to injuries. Here I will try to cover who we have, in a perfect word, all healthy and playing together, to get them all in the same lineup and maximize the team's potential.

rc6Ixk5.jpg

The team does lack in defensive strength, but more than makes up for it in attacking quality. Arguably Søren C. could start ahead of either AC or Nordstrand. With this lineup the squad does lack ball winning ability, so I would recommend any lineup you use that employees only existing players, to look to control the game. Stokholm being your only Midfielder with any sort of defensive qualities, I would use him to shield your back four as a Regista, which will also allow him to apply his creative and attacking qualities. Lorentzen is in his element as an Advanced Playmaker, centrally, preferably on the left side of Midfield, due to being left footed and with Vingaard cutting inside from the left, which will reduce Lorentzen needing to turn his back on the field to pass out wide. John I prefer as a Winger, his natural role he performed in the Netherlands before making his move to Denmark, where he found success as an Inside Forward. It will take better advantage of his speed. And Nordstrand used unquestionable in his best role as a Poacher. Overall you will be weak in midfield when without the ball, don't look to win many 50/50s and you will be exposed at the back with two very attacking Wing Backs and no real defensive cover.

This helps highlight the strengths and weaknesses in the team. If you are looking to buy, primarily for key positions in the first team, balancing your back four, as well as your Midfield will be something to consider, as well as more options in the Striker position. A lot of this is covered in The Team section above in the Overall paragraphs.

Tips

  • [*=1]Always look to make a profit on your players, especially if you are investing with a transfer fee. Signing a 28 year old Fullback for 3 million isn't efficient for a club like Nordsjælland. Keep the resale value in mind.[*=1]When negotiating contracts with players, take into consideration their wage. If you plan to sell them later on, you may get less bids for them because of their excessive wages.[*=1]Try and attach 'Percentage Of Profit From Next Sale' clauses to outgoing players. It usually won't effect the fee you will receive, and can be extra income by selling the clause back to the club later down the line in Transfer Centre > Clauses[*=1]End of December is a great time to go shopping for players. Many contracts are unprotected around this time of year, allowing you to sign players, often for free, which will arrive at the end of their current contracts, usually 6 months later in July.[*=1]Take your team's morale into consideration when scheduling preseason. Playing larger teams may net more money but the potential damage to your players morale from losing is not ideal for kicking off the start of the season. This is essential in FM14, where the FCN squad start with low morale, with the added bonus of a lot of new players, your job is to pick them up and get them motivated before the 2013-14 season starts.[*=1]On the 18th March, the Danish Newgens come through. Occassionally some of your scouts will already have reports on a few of them. Go to Search > Players and filter for Age is at most 16, Based in Denmark and Scouted Potential Ability is at least 3 star good. You may be able to snap up some good youngsters.

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WBbjE6s.jpg

Why Play as FC Nordsjælland?

Even with FCN's recently spell of success, FC Nordsjælland is far from the top club in Denmark, undoubtedly FC København retains that honor and rightly so. But times are changing, FCK aren't as invincible as they once were, cracks have began to show, the landscape of Danish football has been shaken up in the last few years, with Brøndby's fall from grace, FC Midtjylland and Aalborg BK putting on consistent pressure for the league title, and real excitement coming from teams such as Esbjerg, OB and AGF. Now is a great opportunity to take advantage, to attempt to take over from the traditional powerhouses.

The club lacks history, and is awaiting for someone to add to the club's small collection of trophies. To show that a team from the small town of Farum deserves it's Superliga status, to represent the region of North Zealand and show that Danish teams can play attractive possession orientated football.

FCN is far from the complete article, with plenty of room for growth. With a solid foundation, plenty of good young talent, staff and finances, you can build something to be proud of. Knocking on the door to Europe year after year, the club just needs the finishing touches to truly become something special and play regular Champions League football.

Financially the club has a lot of leeway, with no debt, good sponsorship income, reasonable wages, and room to attract bigger attendances. Granted, the stadium is relatively poor, and attendance isn't what it should be, but you have very solid training facilities and are more than capable to develop your own players. You have the cash to build the squad you want and improve the facilities you need.

Then there is the Superliga. Shorter than the Premier League with only 33 games, the registration rules, whilst a little strict, are pretty much identical to the Champions League rules and no restrictions on foreign players. Playing against 11 other teams can lead to a dog eat dog league, very competitive, yesterday's top teams are today's relegation candidates, which can include you if you are not careful.

Your goals can be anything, to building a team of Homegrown players, to Danish only players. Whether you just want to rely on your academy or become the next Ajax, selling your stars to the top teams in Europe. FC Nordsjælland is still a very much open team, and with a little work you can build it into anything you want it to be. So start an FCN save today and keep us informed on how it's going!

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Absolutely fantastic thread. I really like the detail you've gone into - a perfect guide for someone starting at the club with no prior knowledge.

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Great thread! Agree with MeesterCat about the great attention to detail. It is really a great guide for people who are unfamiliar with the club and league

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Love it! Big Superliga fan(usually play as Randers).

Great thread, thinking of starting as either Nord or Copenhagen.. decisions, decisions.

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No word on Uffe Bech? Thought he was one of the brighter prospects at the club?!

I'm still working on Midfielders and Attackers. I copy and pasted from last year as a template and updating it. Will get it done and added today.

EDIT: Done, let me know of any errors and spelling/grammer. Just need to do tactics and get the screenshots done.

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Aah okay, I didn't notice that. Anyway, nice OP. Maybe I'll give Nordsjælland - I have always a sweet spot for the northern european leagues.

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Sorry for the lack of updates. Been tinkering with the data before I got a save going, then hopefully get the tactics sorted. Got some ideas for various interpretation's of Hjulmand's 4-2-3-1, and with the addition of the centre-backs finally splitting with the DM dropping between them, I feel we can better replicate the current system.

EDIT: Plus woke up an hour too early for the game (thanks to the clocks going back!), so getting the screenshots done.

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Great guide!

I'm still on FM13 but when I do take the FM14 plunge Scandinavia is going to be my first port of call and FCN are likely candidates for my first save. Looking forward to the updates!

Keep up the good work!

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Updated the Formations and Tactics section. Any problems, let me know. Don't feel it's as good as my work last year, due to a slight shake up in the squad, tweaks Hjulmand has made to the tactics, the 3-4-3 and the rotation of players.

That's the majority of the article done. Just need one more screenshot of a complete 1st season league table, more potential transfer targets and any tips/tricks I can think of to add.

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Well it took me 4 attempts, but I did it. Won the Superliga in my first season with the starting squad, no transfers in or out. It's a lot tougher than last season, which is to be expected, as a lot of talent departed over the summer, with the added fact that their are still clear holes in the squad (no depth up front, no natural rightback, depth in (defensive) midfield). Still getting used to the new tactics, not been completely satisfied with any of my formations, but it's been a good experience forcing myself to only use the squad that is available.

Gregor did well, especially when JSL went down for 2 months and he filled in at rightback, becoming my 2nd highest assist maker from there. Aabech did surprisingly well up front, even with his lack of acceleration, he still managed to beat defenders with his technical skill and flair. A lot of the attacking players lacked serious minutes due to the overwhelmingly stacked attacking depth in the squad, Bech, Lindberg, Marcondes, Thychosen and Jradi barely saw the field (Luckily Nordstrand never got injured, so him and Aabech held the ST position throughout the season). On the other hand I had to use Maxsø, Gregor, Issah and even Redzep heavily due to injuries, rotation due to European competition and lack of depth in those areas.

Plan to start a proper game in a few days time, might make the Royal League and Danish Supercup to spice it up a bit.

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Great team thread! Does exactly what all threads should do make me want to play as them. I think I'll be visiting here at some point on FM14 :)

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Ok, starting my proper save now that I've got all the custom leagues I wanted. To change it up from last year I've added the Danish Super Cup, Royal League (including berths for Iceland, Finland and the Faroe Islands) and added the Denmark Series to give the country more depth, as well as a handful of additional view-only countries, such as Japan, Ivory Coast and New Zealand.

I'm going to keep my Summaries shorter this time, with just an end of the season update. The Summer and Winter summaries last year were a bit overkill and took a lot of work to write up. Now I just need to find some good transfer targets and complete my first season.

EDIT: Just completed my full season, left a bad taste in my mouth with how hectic all the player reactions got, players getting unsettled every time a bid came in, wages escalating and still struggling to find my feet with the new tactics. Don't think I'm ready to start a full career game yet. On the plus side I did find some good picks, Brahim Boudebouda, who I've signed in the past, was amazing for me (especially with Mtiliga throwing a fit). Julio Sergio is a brilliant GK tutor, model professional on a free, who I used to tutor Leo Sakharoff into a model professional. Sean Franklin from LA Galaxy, his contract is unprotected on July 1st and is a good fix for the right fullback situation we have at FCN (also AJ DeLaGarza). And some good, free young kids, Issac Gibson, Oliver Sigurjonsson, Geraldo Antonio, Simone Ortenzi, Robert Smigielski, Egide Kabanza and George Davies.

EDIT EDIT: After playing around abit and getting a few tactics down, I feel confident in documenting a save. Going to play by "homegrown rules", where I did a save with last year, which was very fun and challenging. Basically I can only buy players 1) that are Danish, 2a) they have homegrown status or 2b) they are 18 or under so they can get homegrown status. Current squad players who aren't Danish and/or are not homegrown (and are not young enough to get it), I can not renegotiate their contracts, but I can active contract extension clauses. Any player with dual nationality and switch allegiance to another nation that isn't Denmark, they are then deemed not Danish and can't not renew their contracts. If I get a non-Danish player through my youth system, I can only offer them a youth contract, in hopes they can eventually get Danish citizenship (newgens tend to have a good chunk of days completed when they spawn) and they make it their primary nationality, during which time they can not play 1st team games. If they don't become Danish at the end of their youth contract, they must be released. Lastly, staff must be Danish also.

It's simpler than it sounds, but makes for a fun and challenging game. It helps the national team, and can be challenging when you struggle to get good fullbacks for example, as well as keeping the league competitive, as you are spending cash locally to buy their under 18s, effectively making them stronger.

EDIT EDIT EDIT: Didn't get around to it, will start a serious save soooooooon....

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Had an average to poor first season so far, spent most of it experimenting on tactics, formations, team selections etc. but I'm starting to find the right balance. I'll stick up a season report if you're interested as soon as my season is done.

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Season report, not done one for a while, it's definitely not concise enough :L

Superliga 2013/14

Started off how I usually do with a new team, by reading the guide and getting to know my players, who I've got, and the areas of my squad I need to improve, and then selecting a tactic that will best suit my team. I decided to stick with the same coaching staff for the first season, I usually change it round staff-wise once their contracts have run out.

Settled on a 433 starting formation, with a flat 442 as a backup, hoping to utilise the strong wingers at the club, particularly Joshua John. Set about trying to locate a left back as a bit of backup for Mtiliga and a right back, allowing me to use Stryger Larsen elsewhere (I ultimately failed in this task, instead using Larsen and Pascal Gregor).

Transfers - First Window

In

Vincenzo Iaquinta - Free

Erjon Bogdani - Free

Jonas Knudsen - 450k

Tommie Hoban - Loan

Out

Nicolai Johanneson - Loan

Andreas Maxso - Loan

Nicklas Mouritsen - Loan

Hakan Redzep - Loan

Jannich Storch - Free

Oguzhan Aynaoglu - Loan

I got hold of Iaquinta and Bogdani as free agents, felt I needed a little bit of backup for Nordstrand, or maybe even as a partner. I was overjoyed with my signings, what a coup I had achieved! Well... Not exactly. With 2 goals in 17 games between them, and extortion wage demands, I released the pair of them in November, leaving myself Norstrand and Bech. Knudsen proved to be my most successful signing, at age 20 when he signed, I felt he could provide excellent cover for Mtiliga and ultimately take over the position in a season or two. Hoban was a youngster from Watford I brought in on a 3 month loan as I felt I may be a little short at the back in case of injury or poor form. He only played 4 games, didn't really set the world alight. Basically by November, I'd learnt my lesson. No big marquee signings who were good "in their day", this isn't the A-League.

As for the transfers out, well, not much to say, I've just loaned the young players I don't feel that I need just yet.

Pre-Season Friendlies

Farum W2-0

FC Frederica W1-0

HB Koge W2-0

Skovbakken W3-1

Slovan Bratislava L0-1

Legia W5-1

No one particularly shone, pretty much had a different goalscorer for every goal.

Superliga

I had what can only be described as a miserable start to the season, my first 7 games bringing me 1 win, 3 draws and 3 losses, and the start of what would turn out to be a recurring theme of the season, conceding extremely late goals costing me a ridiculous amount of points. Nordstrand was also sorely missed, those two OAPs up front could barely make any impact.

What followed was a run of 5 straight wins, John firing on all cylinders, Nordstrand back from injury and Martin Hansen showing some excellent form in goal.

In short, it was very very patchy, I'd put together 3 wins here, 5 losses there, what felt like 10 draws here and there, very very frustrating, but with a squad average age of around 24, I felt very positive.

Approaching the last 10 games in 8th place, suddenly I found what I hoped would be the catalyst for the rest of the season, another free transfer, Ciprian Marica, another high wage, but this time a debut goal, the first in a 2-1 away win at Brondby, and a 93rd minute penalty winner from Nicolai Stokholm (who was a massive force for me throughout the season). Unfortunately, it was Marica's last goal, last decent performance, and he got what shall now be known as "The Iaquinta Treatment". Wage budget back under control. Then came the horror moment - John "done a cruciate" and is out for 12 months! 12 months?! 4 losses and a draw in my last 5 games left me in 6th place to end the season, not disastrous, but certainly not what I was hoping for. What I also found strange was the fact my job was not once in danger, regardless of my poor league season.

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Europe

I don't want to talk about it. Here's the results

ECC

Nordsjaelland 1-4 PSV

PSV 2-1 Nordsjaelland

Out in the Best Place Quals.

EC Group Stage

Nordsjaelland 3-3 Freiburg

Spartak Moscow 4-1 Nordsjaelland

Bordeaux 4-1 Nordsjaelland

Nordsjaelland 0-1 Bordeaux

Freiburg 2-1 Nordsjaelland

Nordsjaelland 2-2 Freiburg

Out in the Group Stage with 2 points. Awful. I felt it was a bit of a "Group of Death" though, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Danish Cup

Such an easy draw all the way through!

R3 - Naestved W6-3

R4 - Varde IF W3-0

QF - GVI D1-1 (9-8 on pens) - okay, not so easy.

SF1 - FC Midtjylland L2-1

SF2 - FC Midtjylland W3-0 AET

FINAL - FC Svendborg - Won 1-0

Very happy to claim some sort of silverware in the first year!

SUMMARY

Average league season, poor European campaign, satisfying cup win.

Key Players

Morten Nordstrand

Joshua John

Ivan Runje

Nicolai Stokholm

These four provided a real strong core to the side.

Ones to watch

So far I've identified Uffe Bech and Kamal Issah as future star performers.

NEXT SEASON

-Top 4 in Superliga

-Get out the group in Europe

-Reach Danish Cup Semis

Thanks for reading, I understand it turned into a bit of a dossier, my apologies! I feel this thread needs regular posters, due to the quality of the opening post. Great job, Viggo Vickers! Thanks again,VVV

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Good read, gratz on the Cup. Don't forget you got Aabech who can play upfront. He did surprisingly well for me in one save as a poacher (forced into it when I was testing with existing players only). John out for 12 months is a killer, hopefully he doesn't decline. I'm interested in seeing who you bring in next season for rightback, upfront and potentially in defence, unless you pull the trigger on Jakobsen. How did the rest of the league table look?

EDIT: Oh, and the owner AKP is pretty easy going. FCN had a history of being relegation candidates for years (fortunately always staying up) up until the last few years, so he has a lot of paitence if you don't meet expectations.

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Places and points were:

1 AaB 68

2 FC Kobenhavn 66

3 Esbjerg 50

4 Randers 47

5 AGF 44

6 FC Nordsjaelland 40

7 Midjtylland 39

8 Brondby 39

9 OB 37

10 Viborg 37

11 Vestjaelland 36 R

12 SonderjyskE 27 R

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Europe

I don't want to talk about it. Here's the results

ECC

Nordsjaelland 1-4 PSV

PSV 2-1 Nordsjaelland

Out in the Best Place Quals.

EC Group Stage

Nordsjaelland 3-3 Freiburg

Spartak Moscow 4-1 Nordsjaelland

Bordeaux 4-1 Nordsjaelland

Nordsjaelland 0-1 Bordeaux

Freiburg 2-1 Nordsjaelland

Nordsjaelland 2-2 Freiburg

Out in the Group Stage with 2 points. Awful. I felt it was a bit of a "Group of Death" though, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Danish Cup

Such an easy draw all the way through!

R3 - Naestved W6-3

R4 - Varde IF W3-0

QF - GVI D1-1 (9-8 on pens) - okay, not so easy.

SF1 - FC Midtjylland L2-1

SF2 - FC Midtjylland W3-0 AET

FINAL - FC Svendborg - Won 1-0

Very happy to claim some sort of silverware in the first year!

SUMMARY

Average league season, poor European campaign, satisfying cup win.

Key Players

Morten Nordstrand

Joshua John

Ivan Runje

Nicolai Stokholm

These four provided a real strong core to the side.

Ones to watch

So far I've identified Uffe Bech and Kamal Issah as future star performers.

NEXT SEASON

-Top 4 in Superliga

-Get out the group in Europe

-Reach Danish Cup Semis

Thanks for reading, I understand it turned into a bit of a dossier, my apologies! I feel this thread needs regular posters, due to the quality of the opening post. Great job, Viggo Vickers! Thanks again,VVV

Also try Emiliano Marcondes.

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Done a couple of test runs, had a mini world career game (managed in the Faroe Islands and New Zealand before calling it quits), I've now started my proper FCN game and will document it here. I'll try and condense my journey down a bit more compared to last year's log. I've added some custom databases, expanded the Danish pyramid to include the Denmark Series (4th tier), revived and added both the Royal League and Danish Super Cup. The Royal League will include teams from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Faroe Islands, additionally I've added the Faroe Islands league, and made all Nordic countries playable in hopes of keeping the region fairly dynamic and feel more alive.

2013-14

Started with my standard Sunday League experience to add to the challenge (plus it's fun seeing your rep increase). Aiming to win the league in the first season, at least qualify for the Champions League and blood/rotate fringe players in the Danish Cup and Royal League, which often back fires for me, but I find it a necessary evil.

Notable Transfers

Summer:

In:

ST -
Stefan Maierhofer
- FREE

DM -
Ádám Vass
- FREE

Out:

AML -
Bassel Jradi
-
LOAN
-
Randers FC

A
M
R -
Oliver Thychosen
-
LOAN
-
AaB

AMC -
Emiliano Marcondes
-
LOAN
-
Silkeborg IF

ST -
Kristian Lindberg
-
LOAN
-
Fylkir

January:

In:

DM -
Helge Haugen
- End of Contract -
Hønefoss

MC -
Franck Oumarou*
- Unprotected -
KSA
-
[
]

DC -
Bilel Ifa
- £600K -
Club Africain

Out
:

AML -
Andreas Laudrup
- £600K -
Pohang

AMR -
Joshua John
- £1.6M -
Reading

AMC -
Martin Vingaard
- £1.5M -
Al-Rayyan

AMC -
Kim Aabech
- £250K -
Ross County

ST -
Joe Sise
- £350K -
Fredrikstad

MC -
Hakan Redzep
-
LOAN
-
AB

DC -
Andreas Maxsø
-
LOAN
-
AB

* Newgen

Due to my wingless formation, I had to do a lot of shuffling, playing players out of position, as I didn't want to overhaul the squad in the first transfer window. I did send a handful of younger players on loan, Marcondes I could have kept at the club, but he wouldn't have got much play time and with my midfield heavy formation I really needed MCs and DMs. I brought in Vass initially to play my Halfback role. At his young age, and great defensive attributes, he's bound to be a big hit. I needed a solid Target Man, and though I did glance at Brøndby's Simon Makienok, he was going to cost way too much. I found Maierhofer on a free and negotiated his contract down by giving him 50% of his future transfer fee, which wasn't going to be much, if anything, considering he is 30 years old. With 19 Jumping, he gives me the perfect target to hit crosses on to.

Come January, players that failed to assimilate to their new roles were moved on. Laudrup was actually sold in the final moments of the summer transfer window, before his contract became unprotected, but I guess the South Korean transfer window didn't open again til January. John didn't adapt to playing as a striker, so he went for good money to Reading. I had planned to keep Vingaard, and with Lorentzen have them compete for the AMC role, moving on Søren C. before his contract expired, but Vingaard got a 6 month injury, where his attributes took a huge dive, so I cashed in on him while his value was still high.

I did plan ahead with the signing of Haugen, as I could have brought him in earlier, putting pen to paper in July, but I wanted time to see what I could do with the current squad, so he came in January. Also had to plan for the future of my defense, with Jakobsen's loan expiring at the end of the season, I didn't plan to activate his agreed fee. I couldn't find any good free/end of contract options in December, so went ahead and paid good money for Ifa, well rounded, can play DR in a pinch and has youth on his side. Lastly need strength in the MC position, with under performances from AC during the first half of the season (and plenty of sendings off) and Stokholm's potential retirement around the corner. My African scout spotted a 5 star newgen in Cameroon, with added bonus of being on an amateur contract, I snapped him up and slotted him straight into my midfield.

New Youths

Most notable youth prospect(s) to come through the academy are:

ST -
Kenneth Madsen*
- Danish - 5 Star Potential -
[
]

DC -
Peter Hagen*
- Danish - 4 Star Potential -
[
]

AMR -
Mike Hansen*
- Danish - 3 1/2 Star Potential -
[
]

DM -
Torben Simonsen*
- Danish - 3 1/2 Star Potential -
[
]

* Newgen

Think Madsen* is my first ever 5 star newgen to come through any academy I've ever had. Solid physical stats, would like some more height, but the rest can easily be improved, providing he has the potential that my coaches are telling me he has. Hagen* looks to be the next best product to come through, could see him becoming a backup in the next few years, similar to what Gregor currently is. Hansen* isn't exactly useful to me as an AMR, he can play DR though, so he'll be re-trained for there. Simonsen* seems nothing special, though good in a few key areas, think the coaches may have over exaggerated on him. Overall, excited for Madsen*!

Formation and Lineup

zok9P9v.jpg

Most commonly used first team.

First off, I want to note this years FM edition is the first time I've ever really played without wingers. Traditionally I often play with either a 4-3-3 or 4-2DM-3-1, both of which I've failed to get either formations to perform this year. I found success with narrow formations, with two strikers and flooding the midfield with bodies, relying on the wingbacks for width. It's worked so far for a few saves, though it relies heavily on the quality of wingbacks and having good centerbacks to win balls against opposition that exploit our flanks.

As for my lineup, Hansen was undroppable in goal, with Jensen playing backup for Cup games. Maierhofer and Nordstrand were my staple front choices, without a lot of consistent depth, John and Aabech deputized in the first half of the season, both failed to perform the roles when called upon, and were promptly let go. Bech and Rohde (back from loan) admirable replaced them for the final stretch of the season. Bech I wasn't sure what I was going to do with, he's not a great playmaker, and with no wingers, he seems to have adapted well to becoming a striker. Vingaard was my first choice AMC, and started the season well until his injury and eventual sale. Lorentzen has been inconsistent and shared time with Søren C., who also saw time in the center of midfield from time to time. Vass dominated the DM role, though not spectacular, I don't think he had a single terrible game, I'm sure he'll build on it next season. This kept Petry out of the position, so I moved him forward into MC, rotating him in with Stokholm, who was injured on and off throughout the season and AC, who saw a lot of bookings and red cards, with poor form when he did play. I can see Oumarou* becoming first choice in midfield next season, unless AC improves. As for defense, I did look at bringing in Sean Franklin for rightback, but LA renewed his contract before I could snatch him up, so I opted for Larsen and Ticinovic trading out the rightback role, both performed ok, Mtiliga did brilliantly at leftback, when fit, Johannessen playing backup. Lastly Jakobsen and Runje were first choice in the middle of defense. Runje did well, though gave up a handful of penalties, Jakobsen had a slow start but did alright. Gregor and Maxsø were their backups, both saw little play time, Gregor seeing the more of the two. Sent Maxsø on loan in January when I brought Ifa in early to give him bedding in time for next season.

Clearly my main weakness was right fullback and consistency in midfield, which will be something I'll be looking at next season. Surprisingly my strikers, though having little depth, mostly stayed fit and came up big when I needed them, though I probably rode my luck there.

Season

Superliga:

56aKlAk.jpg

Very solid start to the season, which we needed with the upcoming Champions League qualifier games cluttering up my fixtures, winning my first 4 games, including a 2-1 home win over FC København, who struggled earlier in the season. My first loss came against AaB, whom we'd deck it out with for the rest of the season for 1st place. We struggled again in and around the European fixtures up until the 10th round, where we would start our 9 game unbeaten streak, consisting of 3 draws and 6 wins, which was rudely interrupted by a 2-0 away loss to Esbjerg. Penalties seemed to be a real bane for us in the first half of the season. I'd estimate we conceded around 10 penalties, 2 were saved and about 6 of them either costing us a win or resulting in a loss. Not sure what happened, never had that much of a problem with this formation before, including with lesser quality players, but it seemed to have sorted itself out by the restart to the season in late February.

Martin Hansen was quality in goal. Not expecting a lot from him, especially considering he just came into the club, but he out performed expectations, winning the golden glove at the end of the year. Mtiliga missed most of the first half of the season and Maierhofer seemed to find better form in Europe initially, rather than in the league.

The season restarted in February, Aalborg and us were ahead of the pack. At one point we were 7 points clear at the top, which we some how threw away thanks to a handful of draws and a couple of losses. Eventually we were knocked out of all competitions, with no excuses we still struggled in the final stretch, with two back to back 0-0 draws against OB and SønderjyskE. Eventually losing our lead to AaB, who were top on goal difference. 3rd game from last, we played Aalborg at home, which was vital for us to go back top and put some distance between us, I took a gamble putting on the young super newgen Kenneth Madsen*, who I had got through my academy in March, and he rewarded me with a 1-0 win, becoming the club's youngest debutant and youngest scorer. The title would go down to the final game of the season, AaB 2 points behind us, we drew 1-1 to Brøndby at home on the final game of the season, thanks to a double booking to Mtiliga and a dodgy penalty given away by Stryger Larsen. LUCKILY AaB drew 1-1 with AGF, sending the title to Farum Park!

Maierhofer and Nordstrand finished with 34 goals in all competitions between them. I think I could get more out of Maierhofer with better wingbacks, Mtiliga providing 9 assists and 3 goals, Johannessen who saw a lot less games than Ticinovic and Stryger Larsen provided more assists than them with 6, they gave me 5 and 3. Stokholm was my best midfielder, which was kind of sad, considering the amount of time he spent in the physio room, with 8 assists and 4 goals, more than my first choice advanced playmaker Lorentzen, who was playing higher up the pitch in a more attacking role. Bech did surprisingly well considering coming into the team late into the season, playing out of position. Sadly there isn't much else to get excited about. Looking forward to how much more I can get out of Maierhofer next season, and going to make a decision whether to keep Marcondes at the club next season to replace Lorentzen or send him on loan again. Either way a very close season, with room for improvement.

Champions League:

3rd Qualifying Round

Lost
: A 1-2
PSV

Won
: H 3-2
PSV

Eliminated in the 3rd Qualifying Round!

Tough draw against PSV. Not a bad away performance, getting the vital away goal, went into the second leg with some hope. We put in a very admirable performance, going 3-0 up in 29 minutes, until the penalties started kicking in, Runje giving one away in the 36th minute. We still had a chance, until PSV scored their second away goal in the 89th minute, killing out Champions League hopes and missing out on a big pay day, eliminating us from the Champions League on away goals. Overall we were punished in both legs by Park Ji-Sung, who knew!

Europa League

Group Stage

Draw: H 0-0
R. Betis

Lost
: A 2-3
Spartak Moscow

Draw: A 1-1
Udinese

Won
: H 4-1
Udinese

Won
: A 2-1
R. Betis

Lost
: H 1-3
Spartak Moscow

Finished 2nd

1st Knockout Round

Won
: H 4-2
FC Red Bull Salzburg

Draw: A 1-1
FC Red Bull Salzburg

2nd Knockout Round

Lost
: A 1-2
Tottenham

Won
: H 2-0
Tottenham

Quarter Final

Draw: H 3-3
R. Betis

Lost
: A 2-4
R. Betis

Eliminated in the Quarter Final!

Went straight into the Europa League group stage, the draw was ok, hopeful I could snatch second. Russian teams have always been tough for me to beat, losing to Spartak over both legs, we thrashed Udinese at home and put in good shifts against a strong Real Betis. We finished 2nd in the group, with 8 points, behind Betis with 13, ahead of Udinese who had 7 and Spartak Moscow with 6 (which was from beating us twice!). Usually never go far in the Knockout Rounds, I think my record in last year's edition was the 2nd Round against a Russian side in a close game (think we got eliminated thanks to a poor ref's decision). This year we had a nice draw against Salzburg, who I knew we should be able to beat, winning 4-2 at home thanks to our rear guard scoring goals, and holding out for a draw at Red Bull Arena. We got Tottenham in the 2nd Round, and I pretty much threw in the towel when I saw the draw, especially considering how risky it was getting in the league at the time. Still, I put out my strongest squad and Tottenham didn't demolish us at White Hart Lane. Threw Rohde on as a roll of the dice, and got us the vital away goal. I don't know what happened in the second leg, Tottenham didn't show up, they played a strong squad, and we were brilliant, destroying them 2-0 with goals from my two strikers Maierhofer and Nordstrand. Real Betis was our Quarter Final opponent, and had high hopes considering we had them in the group stage, beating them once, drawing the other. They pushed us hard, putting 3 past us in the first 45 minutes in the home game. My players didn't roll over, we got 3 back and gave them a run for their money away from home, but we collapsed, conceding 4 goals. We probably wouldn't have made it to the final, as Man City were our/Betis' opponent in the Semi Final.

Heck of a run, though I think it cost us a few points in the league. Should really help the Danish coefficient, with FCK finishing 3rd in the Champions League and going all the way to the 2nd Knockout Round of the Europa League. As well as an impressive performance by Randers, getting into the Europa League group stage, finishing 2nd, but went out in the 1st Knockout Round to Leverkusen.

Danish Cup

3rd Round

Won
: A 1-0
FC Midtjylland

4th Round

Lost
: A 2-3
Viborg FF

Eliminated in the 4th Round!

We messed up in the Danish Cup. Got a tough draw against FCM, during a heavy schedule, my squad rotation got a 1-0 win out of them, and then got Viborg, who we should have beaten. The team underperformed, though I did get a MotM performances out of Redzep. This match was the last line for a few players, that saw them get the boot in January. Probably for the best in the end, we would have really struggled with Danish Cup games and the long Europa League run.

Royal League

Group Stage

Lost
: A 1-2
Helsingborg

Lost
: H 1-2
Valur

Won
: H 4-1
HB

Lost
: H 1-3
Helsingborg

Draw: A 2-2
Valur

Won
: A 3-0
HB

Finished 3rd, Eliminated in the Group Stage!

Big embarrassment. The Royal League kicked off just as the Superliga and European competitions calmed down for the winter, I decided to use it to rotate the squad, similar to the Danish Cup, but not as extreme with the youth. The first two games both squads didn't show up, we had to claw back the single goal we scored in both games after going 2 nil down. HB, the Faroe team should have always been a win, wasn't so worried about them, I knew in the second game against Helsingborg I had to beat them to stand a chance of staying in the competition, so I played my complete first team. Destroyed at home 3-1. Pretty much out at this stage, so rotated the players based on fitness at that stage and left them to it, with a better performance against Valur away from home without even trying. Sad. Should have had a good chance of winning this competition. None of the Danish teams shone themselves in glory in this competition, with Esbjerg and FCK both getting eliminated in the next round, in the Quarter Finals. At least it mixes it up a bit, as usually København win it.

Who Won What?

Superliga: FC Nordsjælland

Danish Cup: Vejle

Danish Super Cup: FC København

Royal League: HJK

Champions League: Real Madrid

Europa League: Dortmund

European Super Cup: Chelsea

Club World Championship: FC Bayern

World Cup: Portugal

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2014-15

Notable Transfers

Summer:

In:

DR -
Alexandru Mățel
-
£
1.5M -
Astra Giurgiu

ST -
Paul Onuachu
-
£
625K -
FC Midtjylland

DL -
Brahim Boudebouda
-
£
400K -
ES Sétif

DR -
Roland Diallo*
-
£
135K -
ASEC
-

AMC -
Dennis Sørensen
- FREE -
FC Vestsjælland

DR/DL -
Lars-Kristian Eriksen
- FREE -
Odd

DL -
Thiago Carleto
-
LOAN
-
São Paulo

Out:

AMR -
Jens Stryger Larsen
-
£
3M -
FC Groningen

AML -
Mario Ticinovic
-
£
1.9M -
Sparta Praha

MR -
Mark Gundelach
-
£
1.9M -
Al-Arabi (QAT)

AMC -
Kasper Lorentzen
-
£
1.4M -
Sochaux

AMR -
Oliver Thychosen
-
£
575K -
Rangers

ST -
Nichlas Rohde
-
£
54K -
Gornik Zabrze

GK -
Thomas Villadsen
- FREE

AMR -
Oguzhan Aynaoglu
- FREE

AMC -
Emiliano Marcondes
-
LOAN
-
Anorthosi

DL -
Nicolai Johannessen
-
LOAN
-
Aberdeen

MC -
Hakan Redzep
-
LOAN
-
AB

ST -
Kristian Lindberg
-
LOAN
-
SønderjyskE

AML -
Bassel Jradi
-
LOAN
-
Saba Qom

January:

In:

AMC -
Mike Black*
-
£
1.9M -
LA Galaxy
-

Out
:

AML -
Bassel Jradi
-
LOAN
-
Sogndal

* Newgen

Continued the overhaul in the summer, the fullback position being the priority. Mățel has been a quality rightback in FM for awhile now, but often too rich for my transfer budget. With the wingless formation, I need very capable players in the fullback positions so I decided to spend big, bringing the Romanian in, a little cheaper than I hoped, often valued in the £2-3M range. I got him for a bargain £1.5M and made him the highest paid player in the team, with highest wage clause. Boudebouda, an old favorite of mine, was a target last year, but he turned me down for ES Sétif. Originally would have cost me 100K, I managed to nab him this time but had to pay a premium after he had made his debut in the Algerian national team and shortlisted for the World Cup squad. Diallo* was spotted by one of my African scouts at ASEC, perfect to deputize at rightback and with very good potential. ASEC also has a handful of other good young talent who I plan to come back for in the future. Paul Onuachu was brought in from FCM to give me depth in the Target Man position, after his successful loan spell at SønderjyskE. Paid more than I would have liked, but being that he is from a rival club, with 18 Jumping, and 14(!) Pace, he is a great prospect, well worth the price. Dennis Sørensen, Lars-Kristian Eriksen were brought in for depth, playing third choice in various positions. Lastly I had to bring in Carleto on an emergency loan (suggestion from my DoF), after Boudebouda went down for 3 months in pre-season and Mtiliga decided to get sent off 4 times in a row in the first few matches of the season.

I also said goodbye to a handful of great Danish talent. Not ideal, but with the formation I play, under performances last season and one or two of them on their final year of their contracts, I cashed in. Ticinovic always seems to go to Sparta Prague, even in last year's edition of the game, not sure why. Got less than I wanted for Lorentzen, but being one of the few that had a year remaining, it made sense to shift him on now, specially considering his age. And was pleasantly surprised to get as much as I did for Gundelach, who had a decent season at SønderjyskE on loan, but who wasn't what I was looking for to play in my fullback position. Though could have stuck around for depth if I hadn't brought in Diallo*. Thinking about it, I should have kept him instead of bringing in Eriksen for third choice, but oh well, I'll take the cash.

Little happened in January. Had been tracking Mike Black* for awhile. He was on loan to Pohang Steelers in South Korea and had returned to LA in January. I hoped his value may have taken a dive, but it didn't. I had actually changed my tactics at this point and needed someone to challenge Uffe Bech in the AMC role to play as a Shadow Striker and can also play as a Playmaker. Bit more than I would have liked to spend, especially considering the quality I already have in that position, but I'm bound to get my money back on him if I eventually move him on down the line.

New Youths

Most notable youth prospect(s) to come through the academy are:

AMC -
Kenny Vestergaard*
- Danish - 4 Star Potential -

ST -
Peter Mertz*
- Danish - 3 1/2 Star Potential -

* Newgen

Pretty average intake. Vestergaard* looks to be a good playmaker, though I like my players in the middle of the park to have a little better Bravery than 3. Worth keeping an eye on. Mertz* with good physical stats, and solid Finishing for his age. With an improvement to his Composure, he'll make a good striker for the Superliga. Worrisome that I've had no decent defensive youths come through, most of the other youths have been anywhere from 1 to 2 stars, so will have to look at the transfer market to strengthen my youth team.

Formation and Lineup

0qSjVPs.jpgjYw2NmL.jpg

Most commonly used first team.

As you can see, I've added a second formation. I guess it would be called a 3-3-3-1 (?), or as I often refer to it, the Vase. Was having a few issues with the diamond mid-season and felt like I needed to become a bit more solid at the back while retaining possession. After reading llama3's great article Pairs and Combinations: The Complete Series I was inspired to create the Vase. I've since then rotated between the two formations depending on the opponent, with varied success.

Not many changes, Hansen retains his position in goal and Jensen hasn't given my any hassle about playing backup. Ifa has settled a bit more in defense (who got called up to play in the World Cup for Tunisia), often paired with Runje, who has been consistent. Gregor and Maxsø saw more play time this year thanks to the 3 DCs in the 3-3-3-1 formation. Mățel was an absolute rock at rightback, Diallo* seeing very little time there as backup, I don't think Mățel was ever injured. Leftback was hellish at times. Boudebouda started injured and was slow to break back in the team. Mtiliga decided to put on his best Roy Keane impression, getting sent off 4 times in multiple competitions. Eriksen couldn't be relied upon, so loanee Carleto filled in for 3 months. Vass and Haugen traded the DM role, the position was for Vass to lose. Stokholm at 39 is still holding down a first team role, keeping out Petry and Oumarou at times. AC getting play time when fit, though was injured on and off, which saw Issah getting called up to the first team. Upfront was once against Maierhofer and Nordstrand, though Bech saw more play time with Nordstrand's slow decline and Onuachu getting rotated in for minutes. Søren C. and Dennis Sørensen very much playing bit parts in midfield, attacking midfield and upfront.

Season

Superliga:

XwzJh81.jpg

Was closer than it actually looks. AGF, much like AaB last year, pushed me right to the end, leading the top of the table for much of the first half of the season, after an early collapse by my team.

Had high hopes at the start of the season, with a 6-1 thrashing of newly appointed Kasper Hjulmand's Brøndby on the opening day of the season. Looking back it was more of a statement of Brøndby's poor quality than anything. Alarm bells started ringing as early as the third round with a big 2-0 loss to Randers, which didn't help with Mtiliga getting sent off. Poor form continued for the next few rounds winning only 1 game out of 5, often failing to create chances. Aarhus really put their statement of intentions down in the 7th round, dismantling us 6-3 at NRGi Park. AGF would go top and hold the position until late March the following year. At this point I was torn between whether it was the bedding in peroid of the new players, or my tactics, I decided to create my 3-3-3-1 formation (as seen above), which helped us get back on track, seeing us go on to win our next 9 matches, including a record 5 game clean sheet. AGF would continue to be hard to beat, holding out for a 1-1 draw at Farum Park, in the last game of 2014.

The league continued in March, starting with a few games in hand due to the Royal League. We would go on to beat the previous 5 game clean sheet record, going to 6 games, 5 wins with a single 0-0 draw, until a surprise loss to Silkeborg at home. We were one point from going top at this stage, and pressure was on, Aarhus would once against beat us soundly, 3-0 to stay top, players struggled, goals leaked, Hansen looked dodgy in goal, I had to drop him and promote Jensen, who would only concede 2 goals and kept 4 clean sheets in the last 6 games of the season. The title was won in the second to last game of the season, as AGF struggled to win their remaining games and Maierhofer, Bech and Onuachu saw us across the finishing line.

Brøndby would shockingly be relegated, after sacking Hjulmand, and selling Makienok to Palermo, who had carried them last season.

Stefan Maierhofer ended the season as our top scorer with 21 goals in all competitions (2nd in the league with 14, behind Aleksandar Stankov's 17), followed by Bech and Onuachu with 16 each. Nordstrand had a few injures, missed games, and didn't score as many as he should, with only 6 goals, but did become a bit of an assist machine in the 3-3-3-1 as a False Striker, racking up 9 assists, most of them to Bech. Mățel was outstanding, 16 assists and 8 goals from rightback and getting the Superliga player of the season award (Bech got 2nd). Stokholm was our consistent midfielder, scoring important goals. Runje and Martin Hansen would break into their national teams, including Oumarou, who has gained interest from PSG, but is yet to perform as he should for us in the league.

With Martin Hansen's dip towards the end of the season, and only one year left on his contract, his position could be up for grabs next year. I'm very happy with my fullbacks, though Boudebouda still needs to settle and Mtiliga broke his leg, so he decided to retire at the end of the season. Could be looking at another DC as Gregor and Maxsø weren't setting the world alight when they played, especially when I'm playing with three DCs. Vass is most deffinietly underperforming in the DM role, if he doesn't step it up soon, I might look for a more utility DM who can offer something on dead balls. AC's contract has one year left, so a decision is needed there and Nordstrand has become second choice, and may very well become third choice, as Marcondes looks ready for the first team after his loan in Cyprus. Overall, I got some major decisions to make, but preferably don't want to lose any more Danes than I already have, as it is vital for the team to not lose their idenity.

Super Cup:

Final

Won
: N 1-1
14-13p
Vejle

Super Cup Champions!

Should have been an easy Super Cup against surprise Danish Cup champions Vejle. Vejle shocked us with a goal in the 33rd minute, we were lucky to tie it before half time, thanks to Maierhofer. No extra time, the game went straight to penalties. Believe in the current match engine, the penalty miss rate is very low, as I've seen some ridiculously high penalty results. Ours went to 16 penalties, which included the keepers taking one each. We fortunately won.

Champions League:

3rd Qualifying Round

Won
: H 3-1
Sheriff

Draw: A 2-2
Sheriff

Playoff

Draw: A 1-1
Celtic

Lost
: H 0-1
Celtic

Eliminated in the Playoff!
Qualify for the Group Stage
of the Europa League!

Fortunate with the Sheriff draw, even with Mtiliga's sending off in the first leg, we looked to be in a good position but got pushed hard in the away return leg. The playoff we weren't so fortunate, though it could have been worse. Our defense put in a good display, keeping the score 1-0 to Celtic, away from home, we failed to create any real chances, until a great piece of individual skill from loanee Carleto, who snatched us an away goal. We failed to capitalize at Farum Park, going 1-nil down early and couldn't get back into it when Vass got sent off shortly after half time.

Europa League

Group Stage

Draw: H 0-0
Galatasaray

Draw: A 0-0
AZ

Draw: A 2-2
M. Haifa

Won
: H 2-1
M. Haifa

Draw: A 2-2
Galatasaray

Lost
: H 0-1
AZ

Finished 2nd, qualify for First Knockout Round!

1st Knockout Round

Draw: H 1-1
Stuttgart

Lost
: A 1-2
Stuttgart

Eliminated in the 1st Knockout Round!

Draws galore. I always seem to over perform against Turkish teams, which continued here against a strong Galatasaray. We were struggling in the league at the time, so maybe we could have got a win if we went into the game in better form. Disappointingly got a draw against Maccabi Haifa after a cluster F@&$ of a game, with two sendings off and an own goal, when we should really be beating them. Our chances of getting out of the group stage was slim at this point. Showed better composure in the return leg at home, their single goal being an own goal from Bech. Managed to take the game once to Galatasaray, at the Türk Telekom Arena. A very much a seat of your pants game, which we led 2-1 until 94th minute goal from Drogba to salvage them a draw. It all went down to the AZ game, who had already qualified. They didn't go easy on us. Some how Galatasaray lost to Haifa, giving us 2nd place. AZ finished top with 11 points, FCN second with 7, M. Haifa third with 7, but 1 less goal difference with -1. Galatasaray under performing with 6 points.

Stuttgart would prevent us from another Semi's run in an uneventful 1st Knockout Round. As for other Danish teams in Europe, AaB and FCK both failed to get out of the Europa League group stage, Aalborg coming 3rd in a group with Inter, Braga and Sparta Praha and København coming bottom in a group with Dnipro, Maccabi Tel-Aviv and a surprise 3rd place Bayer Leverkusen.

Danish Cup

3rd Round

Won
: A 3-0
Nordvest FC

4th Round

Lost
: A 1-2e
AGF

Eliminated in the 4th Round!

4th round again, argh. AGF, who I've failed to beat all season beating my rotated team in extra time, a game we very much chased and I had hoped to push into penalties. With the success we had this season, it pains me to have the Danish Cup being the main black spot of the season and look to rectify in the next campaign.

Royal League

Group Stage

Won
: A 5-1
B36

Won
: H 3-0
MYPA

Draw: H 2-2
Hammarby IF

Won
: H 3-0
B36

Lost
: A 0-1
Hammarby IF

Won
: A 7-0
MYPA

Finished 1st, qualify for Quarter Final!

Quarter Final

Lost
: A 1-2
Rosenborg

Won
: H 3-0
Rosenborg

Semi Final

Lost
: A 2-4
Malmö FF

Won
: H 4-0
Malmö FF

Final

Won
: H 2-0
AaB

Royal League Champions!

Big improvement to last season, winning the group comfortably, though we failed to get a win over Swedish side Hammarby. Our big 7-0 win resulted in their manager Toni Korkeakunnas to hate my guts! Tough Quarter Final draw against Rosenborg, probably the hardest opponent I could have gotten (København hadn't qualified). The Malmö game was a disaster, with Boudebouda getting sent off in the first 7 minutes, I was fuming. We got the game tied 2-2, until a 74th minute penalty and conceding again in the 93rd minute. Absolutely destroyed them at Farum Park, I threw both Maierhofer and Onuachu at them, desperately knocking direct balls and crosses at them, which paid off. We'd faced last season nemesis Aalborg in the final, who we'd beaten all season, including 2 out of the 3 matches last season. Comfortably going ahead 1-0 early from a set piece, we ended the match champions with goals from Gregor and Runje.

Who Won What?

Superliga: FC Nordsjælland

Danish Cup: AGF

Danish Super Cup: FC Nordsjælland

Royal League: FC Nordsjælland

Champions League: Juventus

Europa League: Tottenham

European Super Cup: Dortmund

Club World Championship: Atlético Mineiro

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