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FM16: GCZ - Oh, to be a Grasshopper!

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I finally finished the Ultimate Football Manager Challenge a while ago and just had to buy FM16 and start a Grasshoppers save. Am I the first one to start with the 16.3 database?

Meet Ricardo Cabanas, Grasshoppers legend, former Swiss national team player and GCZ youth trainer who is now Grasshoppers manager:

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Of course Yoric Ravet has left for Young Boys, which is a big loss, and Shani Tarashaj was only here on loan for the first season, then joined Everton. It seems like the loan move of Georgi Milanov was left out of the transfer update, which left me a bit understaffed on the wings. But at least Philippe Senderos was there to strenghten our defense and with Haris Tabakovic we got a reasonably talented young striker from Young Boys.

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(both screnshots taken at the end of the season, sorry)

I disabled the summer window transfer budget because I wanted to start in peace, without having to reject bids for my players every other day. But we were very short on wingers, so I got Matheus Pereira from Sporting on loan, a young Brasilian who had a great season with 11 goals and 9 assists in 29 games. This is the formation I went with:

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counter, flexible, higher tempo, fairly narrow, closing down more and pass into space. Pretty basic, but we did quite well.

We had a tough start. Beat Luzern 4-0, then drew 1-1 against Young Boys before we went into a run of 4 defeats. After those six games I had my tactics together and we started doing much better. We finished the first half of the season in a surprising 1st place before Luzern and Sion on goal difference. Basel was underperforming, two points behind us in 4th.

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In the winter transfer window the bids for my young players started to come in. I got offers from big clubs like PSG, Arsenal, Manchester City, etc. for a lot of my U18 and U21 players as well as for Harun Alpsoy, Noah Loosli and Nikola Gjorgjev who all started to get more and more games in the Super League. I was really struggling to keep together most of my team. Nikola Sukacev (CHF 4M to PSG) and Jan Bamert (CHF 3.5M to Valencia, stayed until summer) I had to let go but at least made a huge profit for two players who didn't play a single game in the Super League. I was able to keep Munas Dabbur, Loosli and Alpsoy with promises for international football and I refused to let Gjorgjev leave as well (he wasn't happy about that).

I also got in 2 talented players for my youth squads, 16 year old Andi Zeqiri from Lausanne who will hopefully become a great striker one day, and Arthur Njo Léa from Le Mont LS, a right winger for my U21. I also got Ivica Olic for free as his contract was running out in summer, and HSV let him join us at once for CHF 20K. He looked like the perfect defensive forward for my squad, and also a great tutor for my many young strikers, but he did not play well so far. 0 goals and 0 assists in 9 games this season. Going into the 2016/17 season I made him a U18s coach/Player which allowed me to lower his wages from CHF 500K p.a. to 125K p.a. He's a very good coach and will retire in summer 2017. Until then I'll use him to tutor Kamberi and maybe Tabakovic.

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I knew Basel would be much stronger in the second half of the season and I was happy enough we were able to keep up with them and give them a bit more of a fight than GCZ did in real life this year. We stayed close, but it looked like Basel would win the league easily for a long time. We lost our first three games against them and they threw us out of the Swiss Cup in the Semi Finals on penalties. But against the other teams we did better than they did, so we stayed in close second until the end.

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Six games before the end of the season we played them in St. Jakob-Park and were down 0-1 after 90 minutes and it looked like the title race was finally decided. But then Gjorgjev brought in a last cross and Dabbur scored with a wonderful header to equalise after 93 minutes, leaving us a small chance to overtake Basel. In the remaining games we beat Zürich and Thun, but only managed to draw against St. Gallen and lost 0-1 away to Lugano, but Basel didn't do any better. So going into the last game of the season we were still only one point behind. And while we beat Sion 3-1 away from home, Basel didn't manage to beat Lugano. They played 1-1 and we were Champions of Switzerland with 66 points from 36 games.

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Lugano had a wonderful season, finishing 3rd. Young Boys and Zürich were terrible, but Vaduz played even worse and was relegated.

The future looks bright. Even though we lost Sukacev and Bamert there are a lot of very talented players still in our U18 and U21 squad. Devin Manco, Petar Pusic and Nikola Mijatovic might be the best of those who were already there when I took over. The youth intake was a big disappointment, but we made up for that by getting in some regens from other clubs: Azer Dzafic from Servette, Henri Feustel from Young Boys and Can Salman from Xamax as well as Andi Zeqiri from Lausanne (no regen).

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I downloaded a league expansion pack from www.meistertrainerforum.de that goes down to "Erste Liga", the 4th tier in Swiss football, so my U21 could play games as well. They managed to get promoted the the 3rd tier, the "Erste Liga Promotion". I like to have a playable second team so I don't have to loan out players who are too old for the U18. There seems to be a small problem with the expansion pack though, because Sion U21 got promoted from Erste Liga Promotion to the Challenge League, which should not be possible. This is a bit annoying, but as long as no U21 team gets promoted to the Super League I don't mind.

The three biggest talents in my squad are Harun Alspoy, Noah Loosli and Nikola Gjorgjev. With tutoring from Philippe Senderos and Kim Källström they developed very well and are all important first team players already (okay, Gjorgjev might still need some time until he can be considered "important"). I moved Gülen out to the right back position to make space for Loosli. That's what they look like at the beginning of the second season:

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My transfers in the summer 2016 window:

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I sold my first choice goalkeeper Joel Mall and got in Daniel Bentley from Southend for free. He's a big step up. I also got rid of Benjamin Lüthi, Alexandre Barthe and Daniel Pavlovic (was away on loan in the first season) to make room for the talented defenders in my squad. I got in three young players from other Swiss clubs as backup players to fill up my squad: Daniel Lässer (RM from St. Gallen), Tobias Schättin (DL from Young Boys) and Vincent Sierro (CM from Sion). Sierro will hopefully develop into a strong CM and an alternative to Alpsoy, Basic and Källström.

I'm already six games into the second season and we're doing alright, but with loan players Tarashaj and Pereira gone we're now really dependent and Munas Dabbur's goals. We only got 8 goals in those 6 games, 7 (seven!) from Dabbur and one from Olic. I'm really struggling to get my other players to score, especially Florian Kamberi is driving me crazy. He's a talented striker and he scored 5 goals in 6 games for the U21 last season, but after 23 (twenty-three!) games in the first team (OK, most of them he's come on as a substitute, but he's started at least 6-7 as well) he still hasn't scored a single goal. Has anyone had any luck with him so far? This is his profile:

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I'm putting a lot of hope in this guy to become Dabbur's successor one day, but so far it doesn't look like he'll ever become much of a goalgetter... As long as I'm depending on Dabbur's goals so much I'm declining all the offers for him which is a bit crazy considering that Newcastle has offered 13 millions for him this summer.

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That's a really fantastic update. I love the thought process, philosophies and details. I think you are the first to take control on 16.3, but hopefully this will encourage a few of us to continue our saves or start new ones.

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Great stuff cookie. I'm relieved to see somebody start a GCZ save as i thought the thread was startind to deteriorate. Looks like you had a great first season and you seem pretty enthused in your save :thup:

I'm still plugging away at mine and will keep you updated.

The 16.3 update certainly has seen the quad shaken up a bit. Although there aren't too many changes to the playing staff, Ravet and Tarashaj will be big misses. Ravet was my best player in the first season and the fact that Milanov hasnt even been accredited to GCZ (for some strange reason) makes your job even harder.

Ive brought a lot of players up from my U21's etc. and have around 8 competing for places in my first team squad now so make sure not to look past them. Even some that you may not think are worth it, if you give them playing time they'll improve enough to fill a slot in your squad at least.

Oh and i appreciate your loyalty to Dabbur as i am exceptionally loyal to my best players. Just going to throw this out there though, selling Dabbur was my best decision within the save as i replaced him easily and the money i gained from the transfer (£7.5mill) provided a nice platform on which to build my team around and also the club too. Dabbur has also moved clubs 3 times in the last 4 seasons, and the figure his services are commanding are decreasing everytime.

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Season 3 Review



Final Fixtures

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So, despite being two points ahead of Basel at the winter break, the Swiss super club powered their way to a ninth consecutive league title. There was no way we could match their second half of the season, as they accumulated a massive 47 points out of 54 available from their final 18 games.

Luckily we managed to hold off the challenge of Young Boys to claim second spot and to be honest it was results against them that made the difference. Had we lost at their ground on 6th May, we would have been behind them with just three games to go, so that was a crucial victory. The other game that deserves mention was an otherwise unremarkable win at St Gallen in April, where an early goal was enough to clinch victory despite two red cards for us and an injured player after making all of our substitutions.

We finished the league season with a disappointing defeat, but more than made up for it by lifting the Swiss Cup at the end of that same week.

Player Stats



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As you can see, it was Nemanja Antonov and Mbwana Samata that impressed the most over the course of the season. Samata fought his way back in to the team when Victor Osimhen got injured during our mid-season friendlies in the Middle East, and comfortably finished as our top scorer. Antonov, meanwhile, ended his final year with us in good style, ahead of a £4m sale to Braga. Good contributions came from winter arrival Izet Hajrovic, and summer signing Denis Zakaria, whilst captain Saad Samir was his usual reliable self. The winter injury to Osimhen affected his early progress, but I'm convinced he'll be back firing next year, and my other main summer capture Remo Freuler didn't ever let me down. You'll probably notice quite a few of the original U21 and U18 squad getting opportunities last season, and those numbers will continue to rise as some of the loanees will return and join the first team group ahead of the new season. I'm phasing out most of the foreign players, just keeping a handful of the better 'outsiders'.

Season Review



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The above images are fairly self-explanatory, but show our summary of the season in different detail. I'm really happy to share the financial strength of the club, and with summer dealings likely to add to the funds we have created by featuring in European competition, the future of the club looks healthy. It's also quite a moment for Swiss Roll to win the Manager of the Season award.

Season 4 Budget & Early Transfer Activity



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We were given a very healthy transfer budget by the board for season 4, and have added a considerable amount with the additional sale of Antonov. I've signed three men for a combined outlay of £425k, with two more Swiss players joining the club. There might be one or two of our other foreign players moving on, so we're definitely on the verge of something quite special.

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Looking good Jogo Bonito, you have definitely established yourself as the number two in Switzerland. Now it's time to take another step and prevent Basel from winning their tenth consecutive league title.

Interesting to see the youth players that have made it to your first team squad. I've had to sell Bamert and Sukacev in my first season if I remember correctly, now they are back in Switzerland on loan. I doubt they will ever make it at their new teams (Valencia and PSG), maybe I'll buy them back some time in the future. How are they doing for you? I've also noticed Meriton Kastrati and Nedim Bajrami have made some games for you. In my save, they are both still in the U21 and have a long long way to go if they ever want to play Super League football. On the other hand, Gjorgev seems to be developing quite slowly in your save. He's a key player for me now.

I am still playing my Grasshoppers save and have actually finished my 3rd season as well. I realize I never wrote an update on my second season, so I will do that this weekend.

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There have been quite a few transfers following my title winning first season:

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With Daniel Bentley I got in a much better goalkeeper so I sold Mall to Lorient for CHF 1M. Bamert wanted to leave as well, so I sold him to Valencia for CHF 3.5M. And I also sold some older players I wanted to replace by talented youngsters, so I sold Barthe, Lüthi and Pavlovic as well. We made a nice profit of CHF 7M only by selling backup players.

Tobias Schättin (DL, Young Boys), Daniel Lässer (MR, St. Gallen) and Vincent Sierro (MC, Sion) are three young Swiss players who joined us as backup players with expectation to become first team players in a few years time. Calman, Dzafic and Feustel joined our U18s. I also got Ismael Azzaoui (MR) and Zackarias Faour (ST) on loan to fill up the squad.

Nemanja Antonov had a great start to the season, assisting five goals in the first eight games of the season. I expected him to be a key player for us this season. But then Benfica came in with a bid, I negotiated it and demanded CHF 20M, and to my surprise they accepted. So of course I sold him. It was annoying to lose him three days before the end of the transfer window, but I couldn't turn down 20M. We don't have to worry about money anymore now. I wasn't able to find a replacement though, and panicking I brought in Nwakali from Manchester City on loan. A very good player, but a right back, I realized when I wanted to play him in Antonov's place the next game

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We didn't play very well in the first half of the season. We did okay in the league, battling Basel about the first place the whole time. But disappointingly we were out of the Swiss Cup in Round 1 against United Zürich, a 1. Liga Promotion team (I guess I should have played my U21 instead...) and we didn't stand a chance in the Champions League group stage, where we met Juventus, Monaco and Leverkusen (last place with only two points). Still, we made about CHF 14M in prize money and another 4M in TV Revenue, so at least financially we did well. We were second behind Basel on goal difference after 18 games:

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In the winter break we were finally able to get a replacement for Nemanja Antonov. We bought Loris Benito from Young Boys, a very good 25 year old left back who for some reason only played 8 games for Young Boys in one and a half years. He scored in his first game and got his first assist in the second. After that he didn't contribute to the attack so much anymore, but he played very well and was a great addition to the team. Meanwhile we sold two more youngsters who never made a game in the first team: Imeri and Quintoles left for Inter for an added CHF 3.8M (both came back to the Super League on loan in the 2017/18 season, playing for Lugano and FC Zürich)

Our games in the second half of the season:

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We started well after the winter break. We won against Luzern and then beat Basel 1-0 away which saw us take back the first place in the league. Then we started to struggle a bit, losing against St. Gallen, drawing against St. Gallen and Sion and finally we lost two games in a row. 0-1 against Luzern and then 0-1 against Basel, and we were down to second place.

Basel was far from perfect though, and we would have had the chance to take back the lead in the last few games of the season, but we didn't manage to win any of the last three games against Sion, Winterthur and Lugano. So we finished the league in second place, three points behind Basel:

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We won four points more than last season, but it wasn't enough to defend the league title. I'm not too worried. Our title last year was a surprise, and I knew it would be hard to beat Basel again. I'm here to bring long term success to Zürich, and the money we made this season will be a nice foundation for that.

Let's have a look at the squad:

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Dabbur and Caio were key players again. Dabbur with 23 goals and Caio with an average rating of 7.67 and seven assists. Loosli, Alpsoy and Gjorgjev have definitely established themselves as first team players and will be very important for us in the future. Other youngsters to look out for neyt season are Nikola Mijatovic and Florian Kamberi.

The U21s squad doesn't look so bad either:

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Like I mentioned in my first update, I donloaded an expansion pack that allows me to play the Swiss league down to the fourth tier, the 1. Liga Classic. That means my U21s actually play league games, which helps me develop my youngsters without having to loan them out to teams with worse facilities and coaches. My U21 got promoted to the third tier last year, and now they've won the league again. That means they got promoted to the second tier, the Challenge League. This shouldn't be possible, but the person who made the expansion pack seems to have made an error. As long as no U21 team gets promoted to the Super League I won't mind. I'm looking forward to see how they will do against the teams in the Challenge next season. Njo Léa and Petar Pusic are the brightest talents in the squad, but I think I will let them stay in the U21 for another year.

The U18 squad:

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Some big talents there. Devin Manco and Andi Zeqiri will get promoted to the first team for next season, but will probably play for the U21s most of the time. The three best players from the 2017 youth intake are Slavko Gavric, Cristiano Napoli and Almir Svjetlanovic, some real promise there. Huang Qingliang is a Chinese youngster that was offered to us by his agents this winter. We were able to get him for free, and he seems to be very good. Dzafic, Feustel and Salman joined us from other Swiss teams last summer. At least Feustel will become a star player for us for sure.

The 2017/18 update will come soon ;)

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Fantastic update there, I love the detail especially going in to the U21 and U18 squads so much. It's a shame that form slipped a bit at the end of each half in the second season, but a 2nd place finish (as long as it's to Basel) is nothing to feel negative about. As you say, the first season triumph was a real bonus anyway.

Financially (after those sales and European money) you look strong, and the great thing about a club like this is the steady stream of promising young players. You look well set for a good third season!

As for my progress, yes we are established as closest challenger to Basel, but not very close yet. I'm really looking to continue with the young Swiss players, and even though they don't always perform, I'm comfortable giving them the chances they need. The arrival of Jevtic, complimenting Zakaria, Freuler and Alpsoy means we now have a strong multi-million pound Swiss midfield, and if I can get the back-line and strikers on consistent form, we should have a fairly decent season again unless I get my tactics wrong!

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Well guys, after what feels like a lengthy break from my GCZ save I'm ready to get back to it and continue on from where I left off (January 2019).

During the break I've been managing my beloved Sunderland and I produced a pretty dangerous counter attacking tactic. I'm going to try and gradually produce this with GCZ and with the money I have accumulated already, I should be able to bring in good players that suit and compliment it well.

Now to secure my third super league title and hopefully my first Swiss cup.

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Nice to see you back. Looking forward to reading about your progress and hopefully we can bring back some life to this thread.

I finally found the time to write an update about my third season:

After our transfer profit of 28M and international prize money from last season, we are now on a nice financial basis. I was given a transfer and wage budget high enough to buy myself a team to tear apart the Swiss league. But that's not what I wanted to do. Yes, I am slowly increasing the wages of my players and I now have several players on wages much higher than that of our highest earner in season one. However, their wages still wouldn't even be in Basel's top half. (Actually I just checked and we are only ranked 6th in average wage in the league, so I guess I can spend some more without worrying).

But even though I didn't start spending money like water, I invested in some reinforcements:

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22 year old Swiss defender Kevin Mbabu joined us from Newcastle for a bargain price. He can play DC and DR and still has some potential to develop. Also he's "Touted as the next Philippe Senderos", so I just had to get him. German/Congolese striker Elias Kachunga joined us from the same club for CHF 1.8M, and he was by far our biggest and most important transfer this year. A great defensive forward who doesn't leave the opposition defenders a quiet moment and also scores and assists goals. He helped us a lot this season. Another transfer I was very happy about was the signing of Zvonimir Anicic, a 17 year old Croatian newgen CM with a lot of potential. He joined us from Hajduk Split. Napoli wanted him as well, but it seems like the rotation squad status I offered him convinced him. And don't forget about Rafik Zekhnini, a left winger from Atlético who was on loan at Basel last year, now he's on loan with us.

We also got rid of Pnishi, Sadik (young DC, now first team player at Vaduz, good for him), Basic and Sherko. Sadly we also lost Noah Loosli to Newcastle for his Release Clause of 9.75M (That makes it three deals with Newcastle this summer). I was very sad to lose this great home grown player, but I immediately tried to bring in a replacement. And I found one in Roy Gelmi, a 22 year old Swiss defender from St. Gallen. He joined us for 3.7M, my highest transfer fee spent so far. Also, Vivaldy Mutombo from Thun joined our U18s squad.

Looking back, it was a succesful season for us. Not so much nationally, where we a) had a really bad start in the league and thus never really challenged Basel for the title and b) dropped out of the Cup early once again, but we had a wonderful Europa League campaign and I've seen some real improvements to the way we played after that bad form early in the season.

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We really dragged our bad form from last season into the first games of the new one. By the time we finally won our first game, we had played 7 games, Basel had an 11 point lead and the league was pretty much decided already. But maybe whis was the wake up call I needed, and I finally made some fundamental adjustments to my tactics. The formation (4-4-2) and the roles stayed pretty much the same, but we now play attacking (instead of counter), we press much more and play faster. It worked very well and I've seen some wonderful football this season, especially in the Europa League. Surprisingly, we also defended well and had the best defensive record in the league with only 31 goals conceded.

When I made those chances, we were already out of the Champions League playoffs (0-0 and 0-1 against Lazio). Instead we qualified for the Europa League group stage and we finished first in our group with Athletic, PAOK and St. Etienne. We also started to play better in the league and won most our games. We fought our way back to second place, but Basel had a 9 point lead and I knew we wouldn't be able to catch up with them.

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In the winter transfer window I lost another home grown key player in Levent Gülen. He was upset when I rejected an insulting offer from some club I forgot and he was trying to start a riot in the dressing room. Half the team came to talk to me and I decided I might be better off selling him, even though I didn't want to lose him. Nobody wanted to pay a lot of money for him, but in the end Benfica offered 4M and I sold him. Then of course that wasn't okay for some other players as well. Dabbur, Källström and Kachunga very angry I sold one of our best players. Then Moritz Bauer wanted to leave as well. He was a very useful backup player for me, a fullback that can play on both sides and did well whenever I played him. But he had wanted to leave since I took over Grasshoppers, so I decided it was time to let him go. I sold him to Dinamo for 1.5M and brought back Benjamin Lüthi from Lugano.

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We started the knockout stage of the EL with a 0-3 away defeat against Dynamo Kyiv and needed a miracle to get back into the tournament. A miracle was exactly what happened. We beat them 3-0 at home, taking them to penalties where all my players scored. We went on to the second knockout round. We met Q.P.R. and now it was us who won the first leg 3-0. We lost the second leg 2-3 but it didn't matter, we qualified for the Quarter Final!

Napoli was the opponent. In the home game we were down 0-1 after 15 minutes but equalised immediately. But Napoli scored twice more and we were down 1-3 at half time. But somehow we got back into the game and two goals from Elias Kachunga helped us to a 3-3 draw. 3 away goals for Napoli was a problem, but we never struggled to score goals in the EL this season, so I knew we just had to attack and hope for the best. In the away game, it was 2-2 at half time and suddenly scoring more than three goals didn't look so unlikely anymore. Caio scored after 68 minutes to bring us the 3-2 lead, but shortly before the end, Napoli equalised and it looked like it would be extra time again. But here comes our star joker Florian Kamberi and scores the 4-3 winner with a wonderful header after 92 minutes! On to the semi final against Real Madrid!

To meet a club like Real Madrid in the Europa League is some serious bad luck. I feel like we could have beaten Monaco and Dnipro (the other teams in the semi final) with a bit of luck, but Real proved to be too strong. We embarassed ourselves with a 1-8 away defeat, but kind of redeemed ourselves with a 1-1 draw at home. We were out, but to reach the semi final was a huge success and much more than I could have hoped for.

In the league we did okay but never came close to challenge Basel anymore. We finished the league in 2nd with 71 points (most points we've won in a season so far), 9 points behind Basel. But I feel like we could be able to win the title again next year if we can just avoid that typical run of bad form we've had at the beginning of every season so far.

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Let's have a look at the squad:

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Dabbur didn't have the best season. He was out injured for two long periods this season and struggled to get back on form both times. But overall he did ok. Kachunga took his place as the most important forward though. With 21 goals and 13 assists he contributed a lot and did very well. Big problem: 2.6M release clause. I was shocked when I realized that. Not sure anymore if I didn't see it when offering him his contract or if it just wasn't negotiable. Working on giving him a new contract now but the best thing I can get so far is a release clause of 6M, he doesn't allow me to remove it completely. So it looks like we will lose him this summer after only one season. I'm sure there will be bids for him.

Im very happy about Florian Kamberi's development this year. I complained about his lack of goals in my first season report in this thread. Now he finally started to score, and how! 14 goals and 5 assists in 34 games (only 18 from the start). He was very effective as a sub, scoring most games in the second half of the season. If I manage to keep Kachunga around I might think about selling Dabbur and making Kamberi my first choice CF next to Kachunga. If Dabbur stays, Kamberi can do very well as a rotation player.

Other players who did very well this year are Alpsoy (rejected a 15M bid from Leicester, being rich is nice. He wasn't even angry about it, hope he will stay here for years to come), Gjorgjev (12 goals and 11 assists, very dangerous on the right wing) and Caio (wants to leave and play in Brazil the last few years of his career. Really don't want to lose him, he's crucial for our game as a Wide Playmaker, but will have to start looking for replacements this summer). Mijatovic and Manco (central defenders) made their first steps towards becoming first team players. Manco will make it in a year or two, not sure about Mijatovic yet.

The U21 squad:

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They did very well in the Challenge League, finishing 2nd behind Winterthur. I'm really glad they didn't win it, I have no idea what would have happened if they got promoted to the Super League :eek: I guess I will have to download the in game editor at some point in the future. Until then I will just make sure I don't have too many good players playing for the U21.

Look out for Huang Qingliang, Arthur Njo Léa, Petar Pusic and Andi Zeqiri. All four will get promoted to the first team next season.

The U18 squad:

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Seven players will get promoted to the U21s squad, with Can Salman the most exciting prospect of them. He has a lot of potiential, but his stats are still terrible. He has a long way to go before he can hope to make the step to the first team. Henri Feustel will get promoted straight to the first team. A very exciting centre back. Senderos will have to play very well if he wants to keep his place in the team with Feustel and Manco waiting. Gavric, Napoli and Svjetlanovic from last years intake still look very well. Looking forward to seeing them develop in the U18s for another year. This years youth intake was a bit disappointing. Strömberg is the best of them, a promising CM, and Frei could become a decent goalkeeper with some luck.

I now added the five big leagues to the game, hopefully the added players in the database will stop the big European teams to bid for my youth players every other day. It's getting ridiculous. In summer and winter I have to reject two or three bids every day, and I've already sold so many players, who would probably never have made it here, to foreign clubs for ridiculous fees. Hopefully adding France, Italy and Germany will help balance this a bit better.

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Another great update there, very enjoyable reading! I'm still alive on my GCZ save too, so please keep posting!

My short reply didn't do your post justice, sorry. I lost Gulen to an unknown release clause in season 1 of just £3,500 to overseas clubs, so I know exactly how that can feel. I also had Bauer refusing to sign a new contract so was forced to sell him for a nominal fee as he was going to run his contract down. In real life Luthi has played a fair bit at left-back this season, so maybe he can be the new-old-new Bauer for you? I also sold Caio back to Brazil, and make quite good use of Kamberi.

You probably know that a fair number of the U21 and U18 players also have the wrong positions listed for them in game, unless they were corrected with the 16.3 update? For example, Kastrati is mainly a left-midfield player, Oliveira Alves is generally a central forward, Manco is mainly a right-back, Mijatovic is a left-back, Jordi Manuel more of a centre-back etc. However, maybe they can't play those roles well in game!

On your signings, I like Gelmi and that's a really solid player to buy.

You had a great run in Europe, good luck for next season in the domestic stuff!

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My GCZ save has taken some strange turns. Unbelievably, England just won the 2018 World Cup, and Urs Fischer has just left Basel to become Swiss National Team manager.

Meanwhile, my squad has had a summer overhaul, and is now nearly all Swiss (U21 and U18 squads too). I've got a week or so left of the summer transfer window, so will post full details when it's closed. I'm happy with how we are looking for the 2018/2019 season though, and have made another £4m transfer profit in the window.

After trialling a crazy narrow 3-1-3-1-2 formation in pre-season that saw us draw all three games, I've decided to go with a traditional 442 formation for the new season, the first time I have tried this since arriving in Zurich. Unfortunately, our first Champions League qualifying draw saw us paired with Sporting Lisbon, so cash boosts are likely to be limited to a Europa League campaign only.

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Season 2018/2019

Well, it's been a while, but this is a great save to pick up and continue from time to time. Now entering my 4th season, I've not yet managed to snatch the title from Basel, and that's the primary aim for the new campaign. Below you will see the expectations from the board, together with my transfer business.

It's been a very active summer transfer window for me, which is not something I usually like to do. However, opportunities came up to add more Swiss quality to my team, and apart from striker Malick Evouna from Gabon, everybody else that joined during the break is Swiss. Most of the new players are ones I have been tracking for a while, but with good transfer income from sales (and the money from European football), I was now in a position to do some deals.

The top six in the list are all likely first-team starters, and very sound signings for a this level of football. I'm particularly pleased to capture Yvon Mvogo, as the Young Boys 'keeper has been my target since I arrived. Right-back Moritz Bauer is welcomed back to the club for a modest fee of £250,000, whilst defender Manuel Akanji should take up residence at the heart of my defence after Basel let him go. Darko Jevtic is a very useful midfielder, who I'm likely to use on the left instead of his usual central role, and Francois Moubandje should be a very solid left-back after a number of years in France. Evouna has enjoyed good times in his home country and then with Al-Ahly in Egypt, and I expect him to deliver plenty of goals for me. The final three are promising young Swiss players, who won't be in the first team squad just yet. I've agreed loan-back deals on striker Andi Zeqiri and central midfielder Matteo Bontempi (a regen who looks to have a really bright future ahead of him). The final deal sees left-winger Cendrim Kamaraj arrive, and he will be monitored very closely in the U21 squad to begin with.

I've cleared out most of my non-Swiss players now, including reliable captain Saad Samir. That was a tough call, but at 29 and with an expiring contract, a fee of £1.9m for my Egyptian centre-back was too good to refuse. Nemanja Antonov was the biggest sale, but I replaced him with a good quality Swiss left-back for a quarter of the price. Shani Tarashaj was another big money transfer, but having been capped by Albania, it was time to move him on as he hadn't ever been a key player for me.

As you can see, I have added a few new coaches to my U21 squad, because I have decided that very few of my U21 or U18 talents will be loaned out. Those that have been given time elsewhere are the goalkeepers, and a couple of players that asked for an opportunity to play regular football. Hopefully my own coaches, who are better standard than our rivals, will see the U21's progress quicker and give me some selection headaches sooner rather than later. Three of these new coaches are Swiss, plus Raul Cabanas, who has dual Spanish/Swiss nationality and represented the club as a player in the past.

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Pre-season saw me trial a rather odd, awkward and narrow 3-1-3-1-2, but after three draws I wasn't convinced, and switched to a traditional flat 442 for the proper season opener. That worked well in our opening day victory, and we also had the lead against Basel for most of the first clash this season against our big rivals. Unfortunately we lost the plot though, and eventually conceded two late goals which sent us to a disappointing defeat.

Unsurprisingly, Sporting Lisbon were much too strong for us in the Champions League qualifier, and we were dumped in to the Europa League at the first stage. Unfortunately, we also gave ourselves too much to do in the second league against SK Rapid Wien, and have disappointingly exited that competition already too. In the league, we have been doing ok, and without the extra fixture congestion, I'd expect us to be challenging Basel more strongly this year.



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As mentioned previously, it's been a conscious decision to make my squads virtually reliant on Swiss players. The first team squad now has four non-foreigners, with Izet Hajrovic a former club favourite that I brought home last year amongst them. I've got three foreign strikers, but might allow Mbwana Samata (with my Tanzanian roots it bugs me that on the original version he was not called Samatta!) to leave if a bid in excess of £3m comes in. On one hand I want him to stay with me forever, but on the other hand, I'd like to give Evouna a crack at partnering Victor Osimhen and then the home talents can apply pressure to take some of their game time away if they show good form.

Senior Squad



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In the U21 squad, I have the young American midfielder Tyler Adams, who will be classed as 'trained at club' soon, but he isn't likely to break through now as I am well stacked with very good Swiss central midfielders already. Striker Sherko Kareem was here when I arrived, but is never going to force his way ahead of the others and will be released this season along with Adams. Everybody else is now Swiss, along with my entire U18 squad, which contains some promising talents that are filling up the Swiss youth team at present. After deciding to decline most loan requests, my U21 and U18 coaches are getting to work on these groups, and the results so far in both categories are impressive and encouraging.

U21 Squad



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Great to see others managing in Swissieland, the leagues seem super balanced and a lot of fun! Keep going out there,

lads.

I picked up Servette from the third division and trying to get back into the top flight - season one was successful and just kicked off s2.

Shameless pitch: if anybody fancies another save in the country after being done with GCZ I can totally recommend it - good youth and horrible finances, a current international on the payroll, home for a time to a certain Karl-Heinze Rummenigge and that absolute legend known as Christian Karembeu, 2k fans attending home games in a shiny 30k seater, 17 league titles and 7 domestic cups to its name making it a fallen giant but no serious continental success meaning you can take the club to unprecedented heights... your next club :p

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This is a great thread everyone really interesting choice of club. I'm looking for a new save in a smaller league so I may join you in here.

What leagues do you have loaded in your saves? I've seen Egyptian signings mentioned, is that a good league to have loaded?

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Great to see others managing in Swissieland, the leagues seem super balanced and a lot of fun! Keep going out there,

lads.

I picked up Servette from the third division and trying to get back into the top flight - season one was successful and just kicked off s2.

Shameless pitch: if anybody fancies another save in the country after being done with GCZ I can totally recommend it - good youth and horrible finances, a current international on the payroll, home for a time to a certain Karl-Heinze Rummenigge and that absolute legend known as Christian Karembeu, 2k fans attending home games in a shiny 30k seater, 17 league titles and 7 domestic cups to its name making it a fallen giant but no serious continental success meaning you can take the club to unprecedented heights... your next club :p

Good to hear from you. Servette is indeed a famous old name, and I agree they would be a nice club to manage. The former Tottenham legend Martin Chivers also played there back in the 1970's I believe.

Gooner, come and join us. WP and foreign limits are great so you can pick up Africans, South Americans, Americans etc. I personally only ever load up the league I am playing in, but do load up all African nationalities on the player list - for reasons that go way beyond Egypt. You're right about the little bit of Egyptian history in the Swiss league though.

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They are definitely one of the teams I'm considering for my final save on FM16. Between GCZ, Austria Wien and Sparta Prague at the minute.

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Jogo Bonito I realized I never replied to your last post. Are you still playing? How did the season end? I'm really interested in your All Swiss approach. I'm always trying to have as many homegrown players in my team as possible, but I'm never as consistent with it as you seem to be. By the way I saw you listing Izet Hajrovic as a non Swiss player. Hajrovic was born and raised in Switzerland and learned to play football at GCZ, so I think you can count him as a Swiss player even though he has dual nationality ;) In my save, Florian Kamberi now plays for Albania. I wouldn't count him as a foreign player though.

In my own save, I'm now in summer 2020 and things are starting to become kind of big here in Zürich. I'll try to summarize the last two seasons as good as possible.

The 2017/18 season ended in a nice way with our reaching the semi final of the Europa League and playing better in the league again. Because of our bad start to the season we were far from winning the title and finished 9 points behind Basel. But I was optimistic about our chances this year.

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Nikola Mijatovic was sold to Sion because he wasn't good enough to become a first team player. Caio was allowed to leave to spend the rest of his career in Brazil. He was replaced by Mikkel Duelund, a Danish left winger from FC Midtjylland. We also got rid of some deadwood from the youth squads. And we sold U18 player Cristiano Napoli to Arsenal for an insane 8M CHF. He was a big talent, but I'm not going to reject 8M for a player who hasn't played a single game for the first team. With Beruatto, Bolme and Isgren we got three new talented players to develop in our U21 and U18 squad.

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We had a bad start to the season again. Lost our first two games against Thun and Luzern, but we were able to turn it around in time to beat Galatasaray and Schalke in the Champions League Qualifiers and reach the financial eldorado of the Champions League group stage. We also beat Basel and started to win more games in the league. We finished the first half of the season only two points behind Basel. In the Champions League group stage however, we were not able to win any games. We got a draw and a defeat against each team and finished the group last with only three points.

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In the winter transfer window I decided it was time to invest some money if I finally wanted to win that title. With Michaël Frey I brought in a Swiss striker I had my eyes on since season one. 7.5M is the highest fee we ever spent so far. But if I want to beat Basel I have to start using some of the money we made with transfers and prize money in the last years. Joakim Svärd was another player I wanted to sign for a while now. He's ideal as a wide playmaker on the left wing, a 20 year old Regen from Malmö FF to strengthen our Scandinavian connection and rotate with Duelund. With the Frey transfer we now had too many strikers in the team and I decided to send Kamberi out on loan for the rest of the season.

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But our form in the second half of the season was a disappointment. We lost two home games against Zürich and Winterthur and drew too many games. We also crashed out of the Swiss Cup again with an extra time defeat to St. Gallen. Even our two 2-0 wins against Basel weren't enough to win the league. We finished second again. Three points behind Basel this time. Again we won more points than in the year before. 75 it was this time, 9 more than in our title winning season 15/16.

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During the seond half of the season there were already rumours of a takeover. After the season ended it actually happened. Alexandre Lacombe (President of Sochaux in real life) took over and invested about 30M if I remember correctly. But there were media reports about the presidents plans to sack me and install his own manager:

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Luckily he didn't. After a few weeks of worrying I finally got this message:

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I will continue my report of the 19/20 season in a new post tonight so this one doesn't get too messy.

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Again, not a lot of transfer activity in the summer window. Our goalkeeper Daniel Bentley joined Lazio for 900K CHF and was replaced by former Grasshoppers youngster Timothy Dieng who came back for free from MSV Duisburg. Elias Kachunga, the striker who didn't allow me to remove the release clause in his contract, finally found a club that was willing to pay 6M for him. I didn't feel the need to buy a replacement. With Frey, Dabbur and Kamberi I still had three top class strikers in my squad and from the U18 I promoted Almir Svjetlanovic to the first team.

With Devin Manco and Andi Zeqiri I sold two more players young players who wanted to leave and never really lived up to the expectations for a total of 7.2M. Benjamin Lüthi left us again and our first choice right back Kévin Mbabu was moved to central defence to make room for two young talented right defenders from the U21/U18 squad: Huang Qingliang and Slavko Gavric. We also got in Jean-Paul Boëtius from Basel for free as a backup for Gjorgjev on the right wing and with Nassim Ben Khalifa we brought back another ex GCZ youngster on loan from Hannover. He can play on every position in midfield and as a striker. A valuable backup player.

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We had a much better start to the season than last year. We drew some games in the league but only lost a single game against Young Boys. A bit unlucky in the CL qualifiers where we met Real Madrid (second time in three years), so we only qualified for the Europa League and missed out on the CL money this year. At least we did well in the Europa league and won our group with Twente, Sevilla and Austria Wien. In the Swiss Cup we beat Le Mont, our own U21 (:cool:) and Basel.

We still finished the first half of the season behind Basel, but close enough to have a chance to overtake them in the second half.

Munas Dabbur's injury proneness started to become a real problem. He had missed most games and struggled to regain his form after every injury. So I decided it was time to replace him with someone more reliable. And I found the perfect player in Mariano, a wonderkid from Barcelona's legendary youth academy. The 12.75M CHF we paid for him is a new record and really a lot of money. But so far he has been worth every penny. He scored in almost every game and has been a real reinforcement. Dabbur was sold to Red Bull Salzburg for 4M (like in real life this summer).

And with our new star striker we've been playing on another level:

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We won 16 of our remaining 18 league games, with only a draw against Luzern and a defeat against St. Gallen. We beat Basel twice more, we qualified for the final of the Swiss Cup for the first time, and we made it to the quarter final of the Europa League, where Lazio proved to be a bit too strong. We took the first place from Basel after 24 games and secured the title with two games to go. We set a new record for points won in the Super League and finally won our 29th league title. To round off a great season we also won the Swiss Cup with a 2-0 against Young Boys in the final.

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This second league title feels completely different than the first one in 2016. Back then we were just the best of a bunch of bad teams. We won that title with only 66 points, less than in any other season since then. It was an unexpected and even lucky title. Now, after three years of finishing second behind Basel, it was a success we worked very hard for. Basel was much more of a competition and we had to keep our concentration up until the end. We also had to change our philosophy in a way. We still have a lot of homegrown players in the team. With Dieng, Gavric, Gjorgjev, Alpsoy, Kamberi and some others we still have a few real Grasshoppers in the team. But to get on the next level we also had to invest money. We spent 20M on Frey and Mariano alone, and I had to reject eight figure bids for some of my homegrown talents to keep together a team that was able to beat Basel. Now we have to make the next step to really establish Grasshoppers as the number one in Switzerland and to start having some success in the Champions League as well.

I will make a short report about the squad going into the 20/21 season in another post.

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Some stats from last season:

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Joakim Svärd has been an absolute beast this season. He joined us in the winter transfer window of the 18/19 season and took Duelund's place as a wide playmaker on the left wing this season. 6 goals, 14 assists and an average rating of 8.01 show how important he was for us this year. But others have contributed even more. Nikolas Gjorgjev is wonderful right winger with 13 goals and 17 assists. Michaël Frey proved he was worth the 7 millions I paid for him by scoring 19 goals and assisting 14. Florian Kamberi came back from his loan in Spain and scored 18 goals, and finally there was Mariano who joined us in winter and scored an incredible 20 goals in 23 games which earned him a place in the Spanish national team that went to the European Championship 2020 this summer.

The transfers so far:

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I found this guy Adil Abdellaoui in a report from one of my scouts and had to buy him immediately. He's a 17 year old French centre back and from his stats he looks like he should be my best defender by far already. Auxerre was ready to let him join us for 5.5M CHF. A lot of money for a 17 year old. But not a lot for a player who will become one of the best defenders in the world if he develops like I hope he will. He will be in the starting eleven immediately. So I sold Kevin Mbabu to Everton for 8M to make space and to get back the money I spent on Abdellaoui. I also needed a backup on the right back position and I found Michael Ahlfänger, a Austrian player who joined us from Hoffenheim for only 100K.

Now my squad for next season looks like this:

Goalkeepers: Timothy Dieng is my first choice goalkeeper. He's not perfect but he's a solid Super League goalkeeper and started his career at the club. I'm always keeping an eye open for a better player though. Mirko Salvi is his backup.

Defenders: In the right back position we have Slavko Gavric who was promoted to the first team from our U18s a year ago. He's very fast and a good player overall. With only 19 years he can hopefully become even better. Michael Ahlfänger will be his backup.

On the left we have Loris Benito and Tobias Schättin, two very solid Swiss players. Both could play very well for any Super League team. Benito is my first choice.

In the middle I hope Adil Abdellaoui can make a big contribution. Next to him, Henri Feustel who joined us from Young Boys when he was 16 will play most of the time. Huang Qingliang, Roy Gelmi and Alain Zwicker are the other options.

Midfielders: On the right wing we have Nikola Gjorgjev. He has played for Grasshoppers his whole career and I hope he will stay for many more years. Jean-Paul Boëtius is the second choice. A good player as well.

On the left, Joakim Svärd has been incredible last year. But I have missed the right time to renew his contract. Now it runs only one more year, and this summer there have been offers from Premier League teams and he wants to leave. If I refuse, I risk making him unhappy so he will leave for free in a year. If I accept, I doubt I will find an equivalent replacement. Mikkel Duelund could play the part as well, but he's not as good as Svärd.

In central midfield my captain Harun Alpsoy is the first name on the team sheet. Next to him I'm rotating Zvonimir Anicic, Vincent Sierro and Petar Pusic.

Forwards: Michaël Frey is waiting for a call up to the Swiss national team. Meanwhile he's scoring and assisting and just generally making life hard for the opposition defenders. The perfect defensive forward. Mariano plays next to him. He's incredibly fast and can score from any position. Sometimes he's playing a bit selfish and trying to score himself when a pass would be the better option. But he's learning. After scoring for Spain at the EURO 2020 he is now valued 16.5M. Florian Kamberi and Almir Svjetlanovic round off the team. Kamberi has been around since season one, but maybe this is his last season at the club. His contract is running out, and his wage demands are a bit over the top in my opinion. Svjetlanovic was promoted from the U18s a year ago. He's doing well as a defensive forward backup to Frey, but he's missing a lot of games through injuries. A pity.

I'd like to have a look at the youth squads as well:

U21:

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4 goalkeepers might be a bit too many, but I keep getting offered talented free agents on this position. Thompson was on loan at Vaduz this season and did well. Bassolé joined us in winter. He's an Ivorian talent and the only one of these four that I really can see joining the first team in the future. There are not so many exciting talents in this team. It is now more of a transfer station for players who are not good enough to make the step from the U18s directly to the first team. Still, players like Strömberg and Bolme could make it to the first team with a bit of luck. The rest will hopefully become valuable players for other Super League teams once their contracts are over. THey are doing very well in the Challenge League. Finished second behind Lugano this year.

U18:

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Mattia Inauen was the only real talent from our youth intake in the last two seasons. Manchester United already tried to buy him this summer, but I'm keeping him here. Benjamin Fenske joined us from 1860 München last winter. If we don't have the talents in our intake anymore we have to get them from somewhere else. I'm putting some hope in Serge Tapoko as well. He only has two stars potential, but he's already quite strong and I think he will become a good Super League striker in the future.

It is time we increased our youth recruitment from "Well Established" to "Extensive". Does anyone have any idea if I can have an influence on that? Or is it unchangeable?

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Fantastic updates, I love the detail and additional focus on your other squads too. Congrats on your second title, I've not yet got my first so this gives me something to aim for!

I'll update again once I have made some more progress with my Swiss meisters!

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Im not Grasshoppers, but I am playing in Switzerland as Luzern. 5th season and the squad is shaping up nicely, containing big names such as Rudiger, Phil Jones, Sadio Mane, Lucas Moura, Alen Haliloviic, Jack Wilshere, Divock Origi and Moussa Dembele (the young one). Plus plenty of other talent.

To keep it on a GCZ theme, they dont seem to be managed well by the AI and its Basel who remain the main team competing with me for the title each year (we have won 2 each so far, but I expect to win it again this time round).

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Very tempted by a Grasshoppers save! Someone convince me ;)

Im not Grasshoppers, but the Swiss league is decent. Top 2 get Champions League, just 1 cup... the winter break is a bit long, but nothing major.

You will probably be able to pull in some decent players pretty quick with Grasshoppers too. Ive had a fair few stars at Luzern, so reputation appears to be buildable.

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So I started a save on pro0's latest update (have Milanov, but no Dabbur or Tarashaj) and the amount of potential in this squad is unreal.

However, I can't seem to get my tactics working, every team we've faced so far has been better than us (with regards to posession/creating chances) and went out in the first round of the cup.

Here were my transfers

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And here is my tactic, any suggestions?

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