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Hoffenheim Journey - 2nd Season Troubles

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My first attempt at football manager 2016 is with mid-table Bundesliga team Hoffenheim. In my first season I suprisingly finished 2nd in the Bundesliga which in my opinion was an overachievement regardless of the success I had in the transfer market that year. However, by coming 2nd and getting champions league football it enabled me to keep hold of my best players (Volland and Sule) and I got a reasonably big transfer budget to Improve my squad.

I'm now in my second season in the month of February where I currently sit 4th in the Bundesliga with a much greater squad. Although 4th doesnt seem like such a bad season, some of the bigger teams in the leagues have lost key players to other leagues such as Leverkusen losing Hernandez and Shalke getting raided as well as Dortmund hiring their third manager since I took charge of hoffenheim. My problem has been with draws, I've drawn 11 of my 20 games so far with the majority of them being 0-0's and I am struggling to get the same success using the same tactic as last year which was a 4-2-3-1 wide. I now change between the 4-2-3-1 wide and a 4-3-3 to try to find a more suitable style for my team but i'm yet to be successful.

Current Squad: 1st Eleven

GK - Baumann

DR - Peruzzi - (3.3m Summer 2015) Fullback

DC - Mammana - (4.2m Summer 2015) Ball playing defender

DC - Sule - Central Defender

DL - Jonathan Silva - (7.5m Summer 2015) Fullback

DM - Thiago Maia - (11.5m Summer 2015) Ball winning midfielder

CM - Lucas Romero - (Free Summer 2016) box to box midfielder

CM - Hojbjerg - (16m January 2017, was transfer listed by Bayern) Deep lying playmaker

AML - Pavon - (4.2m Summer 2016) Inside forward

AMR - Volland - Raumdeuter

ST - Gabriel Barbosa - (11m Summer 2015) Poacher

Bench/Reserves:

GK - Rajkovic - (2.4m Summer 2016)

AMC/AML - Juan Cazarez - (Free January 2016)

ST - Divock Origi - (Loan)

DM/CM - Joshua Kimmich - (13m Summer 2016, was transfer listed by Bayern)

DL - Alex Telles - (6.25m Summer 2016)

AMR/AMC - Zivkovic - (1m Summer 2015)

DC - Schar

DM - Sven Bender - (5m January 2016, was transfer listed by Dortmund)

CM/AMC - Maximillian Arnold - (6m Summer 2016, was listed by Wolfsburg) currently out for 5 months with a broken leg

I feel like my squad is good for the league I am in although it is fairly thin and a few injuries could be a real problem. I usually play a controlling tactic at home with shorter passing and retain posession as well as a reasonaby high line along with the slightly more attacking 4-2-3-1 wide formation rather than 4-3-3. Away from home I play either standard or counter attack in a 4-3-3, playing counter attack against the better teams away from home. My home form has been my biggest concern as I seem to have the majority of possession and usually create at least 15 attempts at goal, however I dont score many and seem to be very open at the back.

I'm just wondering whether anyone could help me to improve my current tactic? or even choose a more suitable tactic/formation for my squad?

Thanks:)

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1. Yes your squad is good and you should be doing slightly better.

2. I have an ongoing Hoffenheim save too. I would sell Schaar pronto as he has serious pace issues which caused me to lose a number of crucial points. You need better cbs than him and its unbalanced to only have 3 cbs in your team.

3. A number of things may be happening:

(a) Your 2nd place last season has increased your reputation so teams play differently (more reserved) against you. So you need to tweak your tactics to deal with that. Without screenshots/more info you wont get more definite/concrete help on tactics.

(b) You bought too many players so your team has not gelled yet.

I would advise you to:

(a) Talk to your misfiring forwards: warn them preferably by telling them that though they havent been scoring you have faith.

(b) Team train attacking movement and match train attack for 2/3 weeks.

© Watch what you say in press conferences and speeches to team and try to increase morale.

Have a look at this (from my thread on FMBASE):

Remember that chances are that in the second season your reputation will have risen, so now your team is much more of a threat in the eyes of your opponents.

This may have the following results:

1. Teams will often be happier to take a draw against you.

2. Deeper defensive lines: the space behind the lines that you were exploiting will get smaller.

3. Man-marking of your star players will be much more common - so tweak your tactics to have more varied danger sources.

One cannot be too specific about any recommended tactical changes because you must consider what will work best for the players at your disposal, but I would advise doing the following:

(a) Only recruit players you are sure you need.

(b) Look for players with good Creativity, Determination, Off The Ball, Composure, Vision and Anticipation, as these are the types of player who will help you to stay in games, break down narrow defences and retain possession.

© Look for pace as well - even where you wouldnt think that its that important (eg starting xi/back up cbs with less than 11/12 pace should be avoided. The ideal is at least 14).

(d) If you got promoted in the previous season, you have turned from one of the top teams in the previous division to one of the lesser ones in the division you now find yourself in so: tweak your tactics to reflect this.

(e) Understand your reputation has changed and play according to it.

(f) It is reasonable to want to build on your squad after the first season in a better divison (or after a season of success) but being too busy in the transfer market will damage your team more than improve it. Do NOT go on spending sprees. Rather decide what you need and buy the best players you can for it. Buy quality not quantity. Not more than 3/4 players per summer (up to two in January). Even if you do buy with restraint you still have to introduce your new players gradually (one per starting lineup for a couple of months plus one more as a sub).

(g) Conversely dont offload too many players at once. Remember TEAM COHESION is very important. Aim for a gradual shift towards a more balanced team. A team which stays together for long will play better than a team which keeps changing even with the introduction of better players. Language is also very important. It takes players about 6 months to learn the language and this will affect their performances.

(h) Look at the candidates you want to buy and esp their character. Dont bring in disruptive players.

(i) Are players who previously played tremendously now looking lazy or demotivated (watch the games closely: who is misplacing passes they shouldnt, who is getting caught on the ball, who is skying shots from 6 yards?)? Remember that motivation issues emanate from the way you approach press conferences, team talks, private chats and media comments as well.

(j) Match train (and general train) to combat specific issues. Or try attacking training for longer periods as Ive found this works quite well.

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1. Yes your squad is good and you should be doing slightly better.

2. I have an ongoing Hoffenheim save too. I would sell Schaar pronto as he has serious pace issues which caused me to lose a number of crucial points. You need better cbs than him and its unbalanced to only have 3 cbs in your team.

3. A number of things may be happening:

(a) Your 2nd place last season has increased your reputation so teams play differently (more reserved) against you. So you need to tweak your tactics to deal with that. Without screenshots/more info you wont get more definite/concrete help on tactics.

(b) You bought too many players so your team has not gelled yet.

I would advise you to:

(a) Talk to your misfiring forwards: warn them preferably by telling them that though they havent been scoring you have faith.

(b) Team train attacking movement and match train attack for 2/3 weeks.

© Watch what you say in press conferences and speeches to team and try to increase morale.

Have a look at this (from my thread on FMBASE):

Remember that chances are that in the second season your reputation will have risen, so now your team is much more of a threat in the eyes of your opponents.

This may have the following results:

1. Teams will often be happier to take a draw against you.

2. Deeper defensive lines: the space behind the lines that you were exploiting will get smaller.

3. Man-marking of your star players will be much more common - so tweak your tactics to have more varied danger sources.

One cannot be too specific about any recommended tactical changes because you must consider what will work best for the players at your disposal, but I would advise doing the following:

(a) Only recruit players you are sure you need.

(b) Look for players with good Creativity, Determination, Off The Ball, Composure, Vision and Anticipation, as these are the types of player who will help you to stay in games, break down narrow defences and retain possession.

© Look for pace as well - even where you wouldnt think that its that important (eg starting xi/back up cbs with less than 11/12 pace should be avoided. The ideal is at least 14).

(d) If you got promoted in the previous season, you have turned from one of the top teams in the previous division to one of the lesser ones in the division you now find yourself in so: tweak your tactics to reflect this.

(e) Understand your reputation has changed and play according to it.

(f) It is reasonable to want to build on your squad after the first season in a better divison (or after a season of success) but being too busy in the transfer market will damage your team more than improve it. Do NOT go on spending sprees. Rather decide what you need and buy the best players you can for it. Buy quality not quantity. Not more than 3/4 players per summer (up to two in January). Even if you do buy with restraint you still have to introduce your new players gradually (one per starting lineup for a couple of months plus one more as a sub).

(g) Conversely dont offload too many players at once. Remember TEAM COHESION is very important. Aim for a gradual shift towards a more balanced team. A team which stays together for long will play better than a team which keeps changing even with the introduction of better players. Language is also very important. It takes players about 6 months to learn the language and this will affect their performances.

(h) Look at the candidates you want to buy and esp their character. Dont bring in disruptive players.

(i) Are players who previously played tremendously now looking lazy or demotivated (watch the games closely: who is misplacing passes they shouldnt, who is getting caught on the ball, who is skying shots from 6 yards?)? Remember that motivation issues emanate from the way you approach press conferences, team talks, private chats and media comments as well.

(j) Match train (and general train) to combat specific issues. Or try attacking training for longer periods as Ive found this works quite well.

You mention signing 4 people only. Does that include youth team members? Do they effect the team cohesion?

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