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[FM13] Second Star to the Right...

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Summer 2060

Signings

It was a funny old window. There was a lot we could do but not much we needed to do. Even at right-back the previous second choice looked like a much better option than I realised (or maybe the old guy had just declined that much). Getting rid of players proved tricky (which I had forgotten about from January), and I remain stuck with a defensive midfielder on 70kpw! Thankfully a couple of contracts (including his) have just one year left. However I managed to unblock enough to have a decent amount to spend, even if I knew I wouldn't be able to get established players from bigger leagues.

While I was still trying to push players out of the door, the DoF actually made the first move. Better defensive depth was one of the 'maybes' and he grabbed a Moroccan defender who can actually slot in as first choice, the only signing of the summer likely to feature as a regular immediately. The rest fell into an interesting category, joining Michiels to form a group of young players already very similar in ability to their established counterparts, though not enough to replace them in the short term. They do at  least provide much better backup (or even rotation) options than we had before as well as hopefully providing a clear improvement in the longer term.

It took a while to sort out how much I'd be able to spend (and who I could spend it on) but Nene (already scouted and highly rated) was a no-brainer when I saw on the shortlist that he was a free agent, especially with the wing (just the one, for those who don't know) being a position where we needed to upgrade sooner or later, however well Cabraja was doing at the moment. A new forward took a lot more thinking about, but again Serna was someone who had to be replaced eventually and getting in someone who could do just that for a little over 4M seemed like a decent investment to make.

The right-back issue was still nagging away but ideal players (even 'central defenders who can play on the right' types) were hard to find, and the few I could find would have been very expensive, at least 15M, probably more like 18M, and just didn't seem quite worth it. It ended up being back to Heerenveen and Verlhac (and if Nash had been a little better, he might have joined him with a 6.5M release clause as our new keeper). He's not ideal, but for a wing-back role pace (as opposed to acceleration) isn't actually a key attribute leaving crossing as his only short-coming. He's still a fantastic young defender (with a Model Pro personality) and still potentially very useful even if I find a proper full-back soon after all.

I ended up with enough left for one good signing and decided to see who I could find spend it. I'd like a new first choice keeper eventually but it'll be hard to find someone clearly better than the current first choice Kasic. Nash was too much on a similar level, and a young Welsh keeper at Cardiff ended up not being afforable. I was going for a young German midfielder who was decent enough, before spotting Andre. He plays on the 'wrong' side with Dezotti firmly established as first choice on the left but like with all the other young players he provides a good alternative, and while it takes up CA I'm starting to retrain him on the right, at least giving us one suitable option there. It seems like a decent 20M investment on the whole even if we're not really much stronger right away.

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Sorry it's been another gap I've been spending a few weeks sorting out an application to do a postgraduate degree at Dundee (distance learning thankfully) starting in May, though I think that's all done for now. I'm also without internet at home for 2 weeks (don't ask) which might actually allow me to turn my attentions to FM a little more, though not necessarily be able to post. I had started the season already anyway and without any further Freddy Adu...

Sept 2060

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The season started promisingly enough though we couldn't keep it up. It seems to be a common thing to get a non-league team in the first round of the cup in Germany so I played the new younger players, including Michiels (who turned 17 that very day) and a young defender who had also recently come of age. The easy win was expected but the opening day win over Leverkusen seemed like a sign of good things to come this season. Unfortunately that didn' last very long as we lost to Nurnberg from a penalty (which was actually saved the first time around) then were FM'ed a bit at Mainz. There seems to have be a bit of home/away contrast as well, with even the home draw with Hamburg (though we weren't far off hanging on to win) not being the worst result as they're the reigning champions. However Bayern (with a 100% record) away us next. Ouch!

Performances have actually been very good for the most part, and that includes our keeper Kesic (who I've probably been underrating a bit) being on course for another season averaging above 7.00, no easy feat for a keeper. The other highlights include Fabricio already getting some goals (just as well as Mbah hasn't so far this season), as well as Michiels, who is quite a fiesty young tyke, not afraid to really get right in on an opposing player with the ball and managing to judge it right to get the ball and avoid conceding fouls a well.

Our mixed fortunes applied to Europe. We seemed to have a simple enough group with Sparta Prague, Torpedo Zhodino and Niki Volou. No walkovers among there but we're still comfortably the strongest team and we really should qualify. We started easily enough with a big win over Zhodino before going doing down to a penalty in Greece. It would be really awkward if we ended up with a big fight to get through after such a favourable draw.

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I managed to get a bit more done with our fortunes improving. Currently in mid November and should have a few more updates when I get the opportunity next week. 

 

However that's not why I'm posting. This week I got accepted to do a Masters in Archives and Records Management at Dundee. I'm mostly doing it from home but do have to go up in a month's time before I start. I think one of the Dundee clubs (partially Dundee United due to their far nicer kit) should be my next destination ;)

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Oct 2060

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After our messy start to the season, things started to look up. I knew we'd lose at Bayern but we did better than expected, at least in terms of looking like we might fluke a 0-0 draw for a while. That  was our last defeat for a while as we started to really fire, at least at home. That included a big win over Sparta Prague to get our Europa League campaign back on track after our defeat in Greece the last time out. This was despite a few injuries starting to rack up from that Sparta win, starting with Fabricio going off after our opening two goals. The cup game against Gladbach was another messy one. Erlon Joe went off injured and the player responsible (as it wasn't even a foul) grabbed an equaliser right at the end of normal time. Thankfully justice was done as we grabbed our own late winner in extra time.

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Nov/Dec 2060

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Our good autumn form continued, at least until Augsburg, then our away-day demons struck again. Augburg were the season's surprise package, newly promoted but having been in the top three pretty much all season long up to that point. The fact that we went behind made me happier with a draw than I would have been otherwise, especially as it kept us on their tail and potentially opening up a comfortable margin for Europa league qualification. However we then lost at Darmstadt, another promoted team who were more predictably struggling, and Munich 1860 (also fighting relegation) in our following away game. In the cup we faced Braunschweig (who I've always thought were good team for a one-club save as surprise early Bundesliga winners, with a quest to do it again), the only team outside of the top 2 divisions left, and made relatively heavy weather of that as well. The win over Bremen (also challenging for the Europa League spots) was our one positive result.

In Europe things went better. We completed the double over Sparta Prague pretty much ensuring qualification, turning our attentions to beating Niki Volou for top spot. I thought that would require a win in the final match after our earlier defeat gave them a head-to-head advantage but they dropped points against Sparta as we managed to avoid kneeling before Zhod to give us the advantage. We won anyway meaning our defeat in Greece was but a mere blip. However that didn't do us any good at all as we drw pretty much the last team you'd expect at this stage (especially as group winners)...

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Seriously! They're not actually that good a Barca team. They were top of the league but they hadn't won the title in 8 years, and finished 6th last season (with Real Madrid in 5th). Their squad is decent enough but without any of the quality you'd expect and this does look like their level, having a decent Europa League run on a regular basis but maybe not being among the favourites.

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Jan/Feb 2061

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We suddenly found ourselves really fighting for Europa League qualification, not helped by defeat at Leverkusen in a match that was comfortable for them as our opening day win was for us. A couple of easy home games helped spark a bit of life and we at least got a draw when we went away again to Dusseldorf. However things gor tough for a while. We went ahead twice in Barcelona and while 3-2 wasn't too bad an away leg result, we messed it up completely at home. This was during what I'm calling our 'Carry On Defending' phase, not least because the usually excellent Kasic seemed to have become as much use as Sid James. However he was far from along at being at fault. We couldn't recover from two early goals for our only home defeat in any competition this season.

We somehow managed a good win over Stuttgart in between the legs but we got easily taken apart by Hamburg, the one team capable of challenging Bayern in recent years. They even had a 4th disallowed, I reckon out of pity. I didn't expect things to go any better in the cup against Bayern, which is why it was written off and it was a case of 'damage limitation;. That seemed to help us when we played them again at home in the weekend. We lost the lead twice (the second time when a Kasic pass was intercepted by a Bayern forward!) but still managed to get a late winner. It makes me wonder what things would be like with better away form given we've been near unstoppable at home. Aside from the Barcelona defeat. I think we've drawn something like 3 times in the league and that's it.

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I live!

Sorry for the silence. The internet was terrible for a while when it finally returned and I had broken my laptop screen just before it did due to carelessness when taking it into town to try and use. Unfortunately I couldn't get it replaced as they don't do screens for the model anymore. I was still able to run it through my tv with an HDMI cable (and still am right now) but it wasn't quite the same and getting a replacement at last (especially as I'm now back to being able to do different things on multiple machines should make it a lot easier to play.

The other reason is my studies. I started my Master's degree last month and I've already had two assignments to submit. However I have a 4-week gap until the next deadline which will help in trying to play FM again. I still don't think I'm ready to pack it in completely (even just doing so for the thread and continuing the save privately whenever I can) but it's taking a lot of time and effort to adjust to balancing all the things I have to do, with my course or otherwise. I'm just about to start it up again for the first time in a while on the new laptop, while I finally get around to posting a few updates from when I was offline.

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4th again! That makes it 6 times in a row and you have to go back to Mexico for the last time I ended up anywhere else. I'd probably take a 5th at this point just to break it up. We managed a good run of form in March (including a couple or rare away wins) before reverting to type. However for once we were reasonably comfortable when it came to the battle for 4th. I like the challenge of competing with bigger and much richer clubs like this but it's very much been a reminder of how hard that can be.

Star Player: An injury restricted Erlon Joe's game time last season, or at least the second half since I arrived and signed him, but we benefitted from being able to use him a lot more in our first full season in Germany. His goals and assists aren't that great but he just seems to be an excellent performer all-round.

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Squad Stats

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Summer 2061

The fact that this was a while ago spares all of you a lot of writing about what happened. I do remember it as the summer where I finally managed to slash the wage bill, maing a couple of big sales in order to re-invest in younger players as usual. I still had to prioritise in certain positions with Calvet as a proper long-term back-up to Dezotti on the left, as well as Tahran giving us a second good young midfielder alongside Michels. The Colombian Maya is essentially first-team quality already while Mallet was a potental wonderkid I couldn't resist. Also up front was Roger (a former teammate of Erlon Joe in Brazil who I'd been eyieng up for a while) as someone ready to be Mbah's strike partner. A couple of future signings (including yet another young forward, from South Africa) and a potential Mexican playmaker (yay for being able to make a Mexican signing!) round off the business.

Signings

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Future Signings

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Europa League Draw 2061

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We comfortably cruised passed Viking (more of that in a mo) in the sole qualifying round we had to face, getting an easy group. Sporting are decent but the other two shouldn't cause too much trouble.

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Sep 2061

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That was so nearly a perfect start, surprisingly so. Neunkirchen in the cup was essentially a free pass but that doesn't take anything away from what happened. We were struggling to make a breakthrough when Fabricio had to go off injured, to be replaced by Luciano Roger (none of the new signings started)... who promptly got 5 goals in around 20 minutes! Poor opposition or not that's quite a way to make your mark at a new club. It was a similar story in Norway in the Europa league despite the fact that we essentually stopped trying after 3 goals to save ourselves for the league. We all know that however easy the opposition on paper, you don't always rack up a convincing win so it was still notable that we managed it.

We started off the league with arguably our three toughest opponents, Bayern aside. Leverkusen had finished in that sweet 3rd place last year, Hamburg were 2nd as the only team in recent years capable of challenging (and occasionally unseating) Bayern while Gladbach were just behind us in 5th but were 3rd the year before. The fact that the latter two were away matches only added to the challenge yet we came away with 3 wins. We struggled to make a breakthrough against relatively easier teams but still have a 100% record after 6 matches. It gets better as since we play our next match on a Sunday I forgot to take the league table screenshot before anyone played, which messes it up a little bit does mean that I got to see Bayern draw at Osnabruck, giving us the chance to go 4 points ahead.

I still don't expect us to come out on top, especially having been there before with Heerenveen (which ended up in the usual battle for 4th). Nor do I think we'll be able to really shake Bayern off our tail while the going is good. It doesn't help that was have a relatively small squad. That includes underage players, 2 more who can't play in Europe, and even a few injuries can be problematic with not being able to rest players (and the international break is the only time we haven't had a midweek match) or having to juggle positions a little bit. In fact we already had 2 injuries (one for the rest of the year) before Augsburg cost us our goalscoring machine Mbah and winger Cabraja for 3-4 weeks, then our excellent keeper Kasic was out for a couple of matches with his understudy being a 17yr old Austrian (with admittedly excellent potential) who had never played before. I was glad we still beat Hoffenheim under the circumstances but the woeful Sporting performance was a warning of how things might turn sour.

It's hard to tell why we've been this good so far, especially as I'd say we were more like Tottenham than Liverpool in terms of being good but still clearly behind the top class teams. Luciano Roger has been a much better partner for Mbah up front than we've had before and even if we discount the 5 cup goals due to the opposition he's still managed 4 goals and assists each so far. He seems to be making Mbah (with 13 goals in 9 matches) deadlier than ever before while still being a proper alternative threat himself. Maybe there's also been a benefit from Michiels and a couple of other young players from last year now being 'run-in' with a full season behind them. They're still young and inexperienced but they're arguably finding their feet at this level. I just wish Michiels wouldn't keep trying to score from outside the area. He's an all-action central midfielder (and even set with a defensive duty) who scored just twice last season, that's not what he's there to do.

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6 hours ago, bigmattb28 said:

Glad you're still posting dude. Good work.

Thank you. It had been a while since I even touched the game but I never wanted to end it here. Since I started my studies it's felt like I've had more to do than ever (with uni work and other things) and less time to do it in but I hope I get used to juggling everything. Getting used to firing up FM for shorter session than I would have considered worth it will help a lot as well, so we'll see how consistently I can give FM at least a little time.

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Oct 2061

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Once again we finished the month with a defeat, ending our great league run. However I'd rather focus on the rest. We still haven't had a midweek break all season and won't until the end of November, even with the international break a lot of our players would have played in one or both games so that arguably doesn't count either as any sort of a rest. We've also had injuries to key players and the fixture schedule means that injured players tend to miss more matches. Thankfully Eboh and Caranja were soon back after being injured in September but then Erlon Joe was out for a couple of months. It didn't help that his usual backup had already been injured early in the season and won't return until January. Thankfully I didn't have to juggle player's positions and roles too much but since I needed to make a lot of a changes to rest players it didn't help. Under the circumstances I'm delighted that the team kept delivering wins despite the tricky situation.

I'm not the sort of manager to field weakened teams in the cups, but occasionally I do make selection decisions to take off players or keep them on the bench to save them for a particular match. It seemed odd to do so for early league games over European ones but while Bayern aren't quite invincible, if you're in a direct battle with them you expect them to win most games so you can't take any chances. We were rarely that comfortable for a lot of most games, and that included the 4-1 wins over Koln and Darmstadt as their goals gave them the lead and an equalizer respectively. They were also both 5th at the time. We managed to get to the 10 wins out of 10 mark but it seemed inevitable that it was fall apart against Dortmund. It could still have gone the other way but dodgy aerial defending and a soft penalty gave them a 2-0 lead we couldn't overcome. It was a little unlucky but we had ridden our luck often enough that I couldn't complain.

Even with this start I wouldn't mind finishing clearly adrift of Bayern at the end, and would probably take 3rd, certainly 2nd. I'm still keeping an eye on the gap to 4th to at least make progress into Champions League qualification and feel like we're becoming a strong team in our own right, even if we're not there yet. There's still so much of the season to go to make an assessment regardless of how we do in a potential title race.

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Good luck for the rest of the season, Bayern Munich always seem to come out of nowhere when you think they're having a bad year. I know in my save they were 5th in February and 1st and ahead by 6 points when the season finished.

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12 hours ago, psychonaut said:

Good luck for the rest of the season, Bayern Munich always seem to come out of nowhere when you think they're having a bad year. I know in my save they were 5th in February and 1st and ahead by 6 points when the season finished.

Yes, it's interesting seeing how things change when you're many years in (like in Spain where Barcelona and Real Madrid were 5th and 6th a season or two ago or with Newcastle joining the English big boys) but that''s definitely not been the case with Bayern. Hamburg do occasionally beat them to the title but it's been a long time since anyone else had any success. That's why even at such an early stage and with 4 point lead for a month until the Dortmund defeat I was considering every league game to be crucial, and certainly more important than a Europa League group I felt would be easy enough to qualify from. No lead in the league could possibly be big enough to feel comfortable against Bayern, not until a lot later on. 

I often find myself to be the underdog in this situation, since I don't take over teams who are already serious title challengers. The pressure is on to win and success feels un-earned. Taking over a team like Schalke and trying to compete is a lot more my thing, and it's certainly managable. It does mean that I'm often out-gunned not only financially but also with the opposition having at least a few star players who are clearly superior to mine (squad depth being where my teams potentially have the advantage). I've mentioned before we're more like Tottenham than Liverpool or Man City, a good enough team in our own right with some very strong players but not at the same level as a side like Bayern and without the ability to get the sort of stars that they can. It's potentially frustrating and very tough but it feels rewarding. This is our first hint of being able to make a challenge which at least means there really isn't any pressure or expectation to keep it going. 2nd would still feel like a strong finish at this stage.

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Dec 2061

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After our league run ended against Dortmund last month, I was worried we were slowing down, especially after a surprise defeat in Belgium which helped open up what seemed like a comfortable group for ourselves and Sporting Not Lisbon. We still seemed to be able to keep going with wins over Osnabruck and Karlruhe but they were fairly easy opponents. The end of month curse struck again at Stuttgart, where we only rescued a draw in stoppage time (with what was an incredible counter-attacking run from Cabraja). Bayern had already drawn in that round but a failure to make a breakthough against a Munich 1860 (none of that 'lions' nonsense) side we should have beaten easily (and they didn't even have a shot) allowed Bayern to edge ahead at the top of the table.

We at least finished the year with a win at Dusseldorf but against Bayern that 1 point gap feels like it might as well be 5 or 6. Hamburg had actually briefly overtaken us into 2nd as well, though only due to having played 2 matches more. It was still a reminder that dropping just 7 points before Christmas hasn't gotten us as far as you'd expect, and not just when it comes to a potential straight fight with Bayern (who we haven't even played yet). It's still been an excellent first half of the season regardless of how good a few other teams have been as well, with barely a mid-week rest and key players out for a while. I really didn't expect this at all and if we roughly keep it up I would still be happy with 2nd or maybe even 3rd if Hamburg prove to be that strong as well. I'd certainly have been amazed at the idea that we'd head into the break just a point behind Bayern.

We made progression on other fronts as well. Thankfully we didn't need to make much effort to beat Third Division Offenbach in the 2nd round of the cup, but that just lead to a frustration I'd forgotten about when it comes to being a German team in the Europa League in this version. The 3rd round of the cup (the last 16) is played the day before the final match of the Europa League group stage. That just makes it satisfying to win both as we did here (and not for the first time either), even without having a squad that meant being able to just field different teams. Playing the cup match in defensive 'low-risk' mode did the trick against Hoffenheim, setting up a home quarter-final against Augsburg that should be managable. Despite only making a couple of changes, 86% was the lowest condition of anyone starting against Sporting (with a few still in the 90's). It's a little lower than is ideal but is still managable and we came back from a goal behind to seal top spot in the group, having already confirmed qualification with a win against Shamrock previously.

Unfortunately we drew a really, really short straw. Granada are one of those smaller teams that becomes a top side in-game with 2 Champions League titles to their name in the save. They have no league titles but are 2nd as things stand so are still very much a really strong side, sort of like being drawn against Athletico Madrid now. If we beat them, the potential opponents are QPR or Lyon, so not much joy there either. I guess with the situation being the way it is in the league, an earlier European exit wouldn't be the worst thing. It's been clear from the start of this season how much we'd need to put everything into the league, and that might just be to secure a top 3 finish as things stand. Having a much easier schedule in the second half of the season than the first wouldn't hurt.

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Feb-ish 2062

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Hopefully one result stands out, but I'll get to that. We returned to action in January with the games coming thick and fast, and not easy ones either to mirror the start of the season. I was delighted to get the home wins over Hamburg in particular (for reasons I'll get to) and Gladbach and while Leverkusen have been under-performing this season, they can still be considered to be a strong side so defeat wasn't entirely surprising, if disappointing. That dropped us to 4 points behind Bayern, which looked near-impossible to make up.

Looking through their team I had a little revelation about Bayern. They were just not as good as I thought they'd be. Maybe that's a consequence of Germany being the lowest ranked of the big 5 leagues (which won't be helped by Bayern's early exit from Europe this season) but they only had a few players at the sort of level I though they'd have. They're still a strong side of course but really don't really look much better than we do. The big advantage they have is experience. That assured me that they weren't a team to run scared of at all. Even then it was still a surprise to wipe the floor with them so convincingly. Since they had dropped rare points to Werder Bremen in the previous round, that meant we re-took top spot by a point.

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Staying top was the difficult part, as throughout the season we've struggled to make our superiority count against weaker sides. That was very much the case against struggling Frankfurt and against in-form Augsburg until they scored. Actually that's a rather generous description for what was essentually bundling the ball over the line. Thankfully we quickly turned the game around but had already lost our Nigerian goal machine Mbah (with 24 goals in 30 matches this seasn, 15 in 20 in the league) for up to 6 weeks with a broken arm. Our luck finally ran out against Hoffenheim but only just, as we looked set for another decent 1-0 win when Fabricio got on the end of a free-kick with a great header. Unfortunately it was their free-kick and the usually excellent 'Princess' Jasmin Kasic was understandbly stunned as the ball flew into his net. That was all it took to hand top spot to Bayern again, not helped by messing up an away leg win against Granada to go out of Europe in the following match.

Assuming we don't try and mess up what should be an easy top 3 finish by this point, this should still be seen as a great season whatever else happens. Bayern and Hamburg (who have quite a few titles of their own) have been an unbroken top 2 for over a decade and they have both been incredibly consistent winning machines this season. Aside from all it's taking to even keep close to Bayern, Hamburg have remained pretty much on our tail the entire time despite the fact we beat them both times. While we still have to go to Munich (and I expect Bayern to get payback) we otherwise finished with most of the tougher teams after we played them the first time so hopefully we can keep it up a while longer. I like to imagine that this season was a potential warning shot across both their bows that we want to get in on the action at the top as well.

I decided to continue with the quarter-final with the cup as it was only at the very start of March. Unfortunately that competition's questionable scheduling struck again as we had a lot of players who weren't quite back from internationals, forcing a lot of changes and a limited sub's bench. Thankfully it didn't weaken us too much (most notably in goal) and we were able to overcome them pretty comfortably. The semi-final is away to Stuttgart but if we overcome that we would face either Darmstadt or Second Division Freiburg. Definitely a decent shot of a trophy there. 

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April Cliffhanger

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I haven't quite got the time to finish the season and upload so I thought I'd leave this here. We're part of a top three that just haven't given each other an inch all season, with the advantage changing a few times over the past couple of rounds. Whatever happens I'll be delighted to have pushed the other two (who haven't been beaten or split for over a decade) so hard. We go to Munich 1860 before finishing at home to Dusseldorf, Bayern are at home to Frankfurt then travel to Augsburg while Hamburg are away both times to Werder Bremen and Leverkusen.

Oh and check this kid out...

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I've already got a couple of youth players featuring in the team with a couple more waiting in the wings for the chance, or even to be old enough to play. That will be helped by upgrading the youth facilities to 'top' over the past year and managing go expand junior coaching to 'excellent'. I rarely get really good youth players coming through so it'll be nice to be able to have quite a few here.

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May 2062

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Yes, we did it!!! It was a close run thing though with the advantage shifting between us and Bayern quite a few times. The first shift came during our wins against Nurnburg and Bremen, during which time Bayern surprisingly lost to Karlsruhe then they were kind enough along with Hamburg to hold each other to a stalemate. That gave us a 4 point lead but we still had to go to Munich, and failing to keep a lead against Dortmund put us 'in range' when we played them despite having managed to overcome Koln (4th at the time) in the other potentially tough game we had left. We fell behind to Bayern and despite an equaliser giving us hope, I had to admit we fully deserved our defeat. They had a game in hand so didn't go top but it put things back in their hands.

Bayern barely had time to celebrate when they ran up against Stuttgart in the aforementioned game in hand and drew... only for the same to happen to us. Like with Dortmund it was a case of a 1-0 lead not being enough. This time Kasic went out of his area to clear the ball and while he didn't go anywhere near as wide as some instances I've seen, it was still enough to present an open goal that they took advantage of. Bayern however stumbled again so we remained top by a squeak, as you can see above. As it happened the final two matches were fairly simple as we got the two wins we needed. Meanwhile Hamburg's fixtures were too much for them as they lost then drew (though they still had a small chance going into the final day), Bayern won then went behind at Augsburg and missed a penalty. They eventually equalised but we were home and dry by that point so for the first time in 12 years someone other than Bayern or Hamburg claim the title. In fact it's probably been that long since anyone even split them and finished 2nd.

We followed up our league triumph by completing the double, though by that point it was ours to lose. We managed to beat Stuttgart in the semi-final already knowing that Freiburg (who finished 14th in the Second Division) had beaten Darmstadt on penalties in the other semi-final. Despite the final being played just a few days after the end of the league season (itself just a few days after the penultimate round) we easily cruised home. Admittedly the scheduling was a tougher challenge in the cup this season than anyone we actually drew (Stuttgart being the highest ranking team we had to face) but I hope that doesn't take any of the gloss off.

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It's been quite a season, and a great reminder of why I just wasn't ready to pack it in just yet. This season was a great blend of being brilliant (winning 26 out of 34 league matches and dropping just 19 points) while still facing a genuine challenge from both Bayern and Hamburg that made it feel very rewarding to somehow overcome such a high bar. That goes double with the fact that weeks without a midweek match were very much the exception, though we were lucky with injuries after a handful (though to key players) in the first few months. The exception was Mbah getting a 3rd injury shortly after recovering from his second but we could easily cover that. Aside from Luciano Roger turning into a goal machine in his place, 17yr old Klim Barbaev was one of a few squad players who suddenly shone later on, having previously only gotten a small number of appearences but still getting a few goals and assists. Honourable mentions to Nene and Andre as well, unseating more established players. It was very much a squad effort, and which that fixture congestion it could hardly be anything else.

I wouldn't have minded if we had missed out, not just because of how well we performed but since there's a feeling that this was a team whose time was yet to come, though in many cases (like Heerenveen and Gillingham) it potentially never does. I might find myself overstocked all over if I'm not careful with players due to arrive or come of age at different times. For example we had 5 forward available with one more set to arrive in the summer on a free (though he might play on the wing instead), the young South African waiting to turn 18 to arrive and little Mallet already here and waiting to be old enough to play. There are certainly decisions to be made over who is most likely to be part of a successful team in the long-term with some players I might otherwise keep having to be sold with 'regret', probably starting with Fabricio this summer. A little squad redundancy isn't a bad thing but only to a point and individial players can only be kept around on that basis for a little while for the most part. In the case of the forwards at least out current first choice duo both being 28 would help create openings when the younger players are potentially ready to fill them.

Star Player: From very early on I knew it would be Luciano Roger, whatever else happened. That wasn't so much on the basis of his goals (he was doing fine, but didn't hit his stride until later) but how he seemed to be one of those individual signings that just makes a big difference to a team, being a far more effective partner for Mbah than we had before. Even the fact that it took a while for him to score multiple goals in a match (his eye-catching cup debut aside) was something I saw as a positive as he wasn't racking up the goals against just a few opponents. He proved effective as our main goalscorer in his own right when he had to take over for Mbah. I wonder if things would have gone very differently in the Netherlands if he hadn't just been out of my price range in my last summer for Heerenveen.

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Squad Stats

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World Cup call-ups

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Summer 2062

This was a relatively quiet summer, and for a while it looked like there would be no deals completely done within the window (as opposed to previously arranged transfers going through or setting up any for the future). It would have been nice to build on our title win and solidify our position so I could feel more confident about doing it again but that wasn't an easy thing at all. We're a bit of a 7/10 team, and still without the money or reputation to really improve on that. More experienced players in particular (like Luciano Roger) seem very thin in the ground making younger signings almost a necessity rather than a policy. Even then, clear cut potential stars like Michiels aren't popping up very much ether. I guess that's more realistic but not how it often happens in the game.

There were a couple of free signings waiting to arrive... which in hindsight I may not have made. I hadn't quite forgotten about last year's future signings (both due next year) but neither did they feature in my calculations when it came to making deals for two players in much the same position, who might only end up a as very short term options. Michels is at least a bit of an upgrade as a squad player (and means Nene doesn't have to deputise in multiple positions) but I didn't have a clear role for Martinez, aside from 'slightly better than a couple of players I can now get rid of'. However aside from the slight improvement in squad depth being able to play on the wing may help. A few of the forwards we have or will soon have (either getting old enough to move or play) can do so which may help resolve the severe overcrowding we might have up front before long.

For a while the only deal made was with another Mexican youngster to arrive in a couple of years time for £3M. As good as Verlhac and Reuter were at right-back last year that's not their best position so making sure we have enough proper full-backs will help, and there's no immediate rush. Otherwise I didn't want to risk getting in more players who might never get much of a chance (we already have one or two players at severe risk of that) meaning I held fire on more young players. I did lob bids for a few players but they wouldn't have been worth their potential fees for mere 'maybes'. Perhaps being out of the game for a while meant I wasn't so sure about players I'd have previously gone for.

There was one deal fully sorted within the window. I went back to Heerenveen (for the second time this year and the fourth overall) for Bosch, a young central defender who had appeared through the youth system while I was there. He did seem like he would end up as an upgrade so seemed worth pushing the boat out for at £11M. Along with a player from our own youth ranks now being old enough to play and the aforementioned Verlhac and Reuter more available to play in central defence, that made at least one of Benali or Breu potentially obsolete (for one thing Bosch was already as good as either). I held off selling either (though I could have gotten as much as 25-30M for both) as it seemed like a bad idea to ditch our experienced defenders but maybe grumblings about a lack of playing time will make the decision for me. Having previously resisted, I finished off the summer with a cheap deal for a young Mexican forward, because why not by this point? A Mexican restaurant in Gelsenkirchen is looking like a sound business investment for anyone who spots the opportunity.

In general with couple of exceptions up front, there didn't seem to be any need to get rid of anyone right away, not wanting to judge players too harshly. There are definitely decisions to be made over the next few years not just about who to keep but where there might play, for example Vilson might move up to central midfield if I can't get a good long-term alternative to Michiels, which in turn would leave the door open more for Reuter to take over his existing role. I'd say we already have a lot of promising ingredients for a very strong team in the future, without needing to make a big shopping trip. I just need to work out what to do with them.

I'm not specifically thinking about retaining the title, especially if Bayern set the bar anywhere near as high as last time. It doesn't help that they made 3 very strong signings for £68M over the summer, money we can only dream of for players we have no hope of attracting ourselves. That includes my former Heerenveen full-back Jefferson Severino, though he had already moved to Marseille. He could have quite a reunion with our former Heerenveen players. Instead I think top 3 is a more realistic goal, and see how we managed to do in the Champions League. Hamburg by contrast have't signed a single player going into the start of the season.

Signings

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Future Signings

 

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CL Draw 2062

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Oh that's a tricky one! Juventus seemed tough enough for begin with, then looking through the other teams I saw the quality that St.Etienne have some incredibly forwards in particular. Rangers aren't quite as good but they still have some pretty strong players so they won't be easy opponents either. It's definitely set to be an interesting group.

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I like the Mexican that you got on a free, cracking deal. That is a very tough set of fixtures for you. 

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Oct 2062

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The season did not start too well with two defeats in out first three league games already making it seem like a tall order to challenge for the title again. Thankfully things have stabilised but we're still not quite winning consistently. In general we have been playing very well, with the opening day defeat to Koln being a classic case of being 'FMed'. The other defeat is the only case of being genuinely poor as a team though I have found myself making performance-related changes frustratingly often. Otherwise it's been more of a case of lots of dominance and pressure that hasn't always amounted to goals.

Things have been going better in Europe. The early draw with Rangers was part of the stumbling start to the season (and their only point so far) but wasn't too bad a result in an off itself. With the group being as tightly fought as expected, home wins against St.Etienne and Juventus (just!) leave us in a very good position at the half-way point. However we still have to go to France and Italy so I know we've got a bit more work to do in order to make it through. With a draw like that this was always going to be a group where it would feel good to do so however close a call it would be.

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Dec 2062

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After a wobbly start to the season it looked like we had hit our stride with a 100% record in November, and that was despite the hectic fixture schedule which included a trip to Juventus and an away derby against a Dortmund side that were above us in the table at the time. We seemed to carry it on into December but I knew we couldn't keep it up right until the fixture break, not with a top of the group decider in the CL in France and a trip to Bayern just after that in the league. We were clearly far from our best in either match though away defeats to both by a single-goal margin is hardly unexpected or anything to be too frustrated about. We sort of bounced back with a cup win over Dusseldorf to make the quarter-finals yet again but it still wasn't convincing.

With Hamburg in particular absolutely flying at the top of the table, I knew our early stumble meant retaining our title was unlikely. In fact I knew that from the evidence of of the league table pretty much the entire time since I got here with Bayern and Hamburg maintaining their dominant 'Big 2' position. Instead a comfortable 3rd would do nicely, especially as I didn't feel the need to be so scared of a CL qualifier. I had hoped we could push Bayern for 2nd but the defeat just before the winter break put them comfortably ahead of us. At least we seem to be in a decent 3rd which I expect we can maintain. That aside, there doesn't seem to be as much pressure this season.

The CL group seemed more comfortable than I imagined. When we went to Turin I realised that a draw would be enough to almost see us through, though it wouldn't be mathematical. In the end we managed to complete a surprise double over Juve that helped cement the idea that we belonged in the top level. We easily saw off Rangers to set up a decider against St.Etienne. Again a draw would do us but we stumbled to a 1-0 defeat. Rangers actually took the lead against Juve at the same time which would have dumped the Italians out of Europe altogether and given the Scots the Europa League spot but sadly it wasn't to be. It was a disappointing end to what was otherwise an excellent showing in an incredibly tricky group, and we paid the price once the draw was made...

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Oh dear. Barcelona haven't been one of the top Spanish teams for a while now actually. They won a title a couple of seasons ago but that was the only time in the past 9 years they even finished in the top 3. That hasn't damaged their ability to have some amazing players and they're certainly a scary proposition. To think we could have had PSV instead. I know it doesn't work that way (especially since we couldn't get teams from the same country) but I still like to look at the other team's draw to see whether we dodged a bullet or found ourselves in the path of one with our group position. Looking at all the teams, given we couldn't face Bayern or St.Etienne again, most of the possibilities had we topped the group seem like they'd have been a fairly generous draw. Maybe the French teams not so much.

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Feb 2063

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In contrast to our strong autumn form with a little wobble at either end, the second half of the season has been a mixed bag so far with a couple of impressive performances as well as some missed opportunities, like losing the lead 3 times against Hoffenheim and going behind 3 times against Gladbach. We at least had Luciano Roger scoring 10 times in the first 4 matches to shoot to the top of the league's goal and average rating rankings. There's not a lot going in the league at the moment. We remain quite a bit adrift of the top 2 (though even going into the season I thought that was a clear possibility anyway) and still sitting relatively comfortably in 3rd, which was more my expectation. That was despite a key game against Stuttgart which nearly went badly wrong.

We went 2-0 down early on which forced my hand with a triple sub to avoid things getting worse. I know you're advised against it as something managers would never do but as it's only FM there aren't really the same consequences if it goes wrong (nor do real managers have low rating numbers screaming at them) and I accept the risk rather than moan on the forums that it's somehow inevitable that you get an injury afterwards as the game's way of screwing with you. This was a particular 'shore up the defence and fast!' situation as far as I was concerned and I wouldn't hesitate to do the same again every time I feel three changes are urgent enough. Usually it works and I get away with it but this was one of the occasions which was followed up with an injury, to Pinhal, with Reuter being the best we had to plug the midfield gap. Despite being a man down (though I might have forgotten) we still had to push and were rewarded with an unlikely comeback to get an important draw, keeping them 5 points behind us.

I was wary going into the first leg against Barcelona. I knew it would be tough, especially as having managed to get away with hardly any serious injuries for over a year (and nor did we have a single red card last season) we had a few in the run-up to the match. We took an early lead but failing to hold onto it deals a big blow to our chances of going through. I wouldn't have minded so much but their kit designers had a 'mare for the 2012-13 season. The main colours run into each other rather than being nice proper stripes and the away kit looks like a lemon and orange ice lolly. that's starting to melt together. At least afterwards we bounced back with two wins over Nurnburg (who were a respectable 5th), the second of those wins taking us into the cup semi-finals though I know we'll face Dortmund or Bayern.

Oh and you know I felt the potential opponents if we had won the group looked mostly easy? Maybe they wouldn't have been quite to easy judging by Olympakos beating Man Utd 6-1 in their first leg!

 

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3 hours ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

Amazing career. :applause:

Why thank you Jimbo. It hasn't seen a lot of love for at least a year but I've been trying to change that recently. It's a good thing to pencil in as something to allow myself to play for a little bit at a time once I've done some work on the assignments for my Masters. I have my final deadlines for my first module in almosy 3 weeks time which means it may require a bit more attention but I'll feel more freedom (at least for a couple of weeks) after that.

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One More Thing

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Really not sure why I did this. I mean he could be part of a fabulous long-term defensive partnership with Bosch (who has been the main bright spot of this season), but as the bids kept rising maybe another time I'd have stopped before 14M for a 17yr old, bearing in mind 16.5M is still the top fee I've paid in the entire career, even at Milan. I guess it helps that with a season of CL money (with the big payment still to come) and hopefully continuing to get it going forward we can freely spend more. Otherwise I would be only leaving a relatively small amount for this summer.

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What the ****, you still playing this? :D 

I don't like Schalke :( Good job with them winning the Bundesliga though

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Posted (edited)

Love that you´re still playing the good old FM13...and how long this save is goin on already   :)

Keep them updates coming, I for sure be reading them :thup:

Edited by Carambau

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On 09/08/2019 at 00:10, noikeee said:

What the ****, you still playing this? :D 

I don't like Schalke :( Good job with them winning the Bundesliga though

Well there's not much point trying a new save as I wouldn't really make much progress with it ;) .Shame you're not fond of Schalke, for a while I've been keen to managed them as a once-great club (ok, it was a very long time ago) deserving of some more recent success. It'll be tricky to win the title again but it's nice to have managed it already.

 

On 09/08/2019 at 12:06, Carambau said:

Love that you´re still playing the good old FM13...and how long this save is goin on already   :)

Keep them updates coming, I for sure be reading them :thup:

Thank you. You're in luck with updates, about to post the end of the season ;)

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May 2063

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There's not much to say about the rest of the season, much to everyone's relief I'm sure. The trouble with playing at home first (as much as I prefer it) is that if you don't win (well 0-0 isn't too bad) it feels like the chance has gone and so it proved against Barcelona. We could have finished early chances to keep us in it but we were already 3-0 and 4-1 down respectively when getting our second leg goals so it felt like we were half-out already. In the German cup, losing to Bayern in the semi-final wasn't unexpected but I was disappointed at how easy we made it for them. That seemed to sum up a season where we showed that despite our double win last season, being able to keep it up and compete with Bayern and Hamburg constantly is still a tough prospect.

An easy run at the end of the season helped bring back our flair and confidence and we even managed to finish off by beating Bayern and getting closer to Hamburg in 2nd than it looked like we could possibly get, not that it makes any difference. Making sure we didn't mess up 3rd was all we had to realistically play for in the final few months and at the start of the season I felt that was more realistic than another close title challenge. We didn't do too badly in our debut CL season despite being thrown in the deep end with Rangers, Juventus, St.Etienne (who ended up winning the thing and I hadn't realised had won 5 French titles in a row as well, though that ended this season) and Barcelona as our opponents.

I was hoping that a season of CL football (and qualifying again) would give us the money and reputation to attract better established players but despite being in a better financial situation, we still only start off with a £13.5M budget. However aside from the fact that it leaves plenty in the bank for the future, I was already thinking of selling a few players who had done well for us but otherwise were either surplus to requirements or not quite the quality we now need. That should raise quite a lot more (as well as take a bit off the wage bill) to help fund more expensive signings if need be. The fact that we already had a larger squad than we needed (with quite a bit of versatility) also means there's no rush to try and find suitable replacements for them all either, as I can trade a bit of quantity for what will hopefully be increased quality.

Star Player: I was going for Bosch given the great debut season the young Dutch defender had but having started the season in fine goalscoring form, Mbah made up for lost time once he finally got his place back from Barbaev later on and I can't look beyond him and his record.

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Squad Stats

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Summer 2063

It was a long and slow summer, as I was like a predator patiently waiting for the right prey. The focus was on selling at first to get as big a budget as possible, ending up turning the initial £13.5M budget into £62M, with £250kpw spare in the wage budget and almost £100M in the bank. Even with all those departures we were in a position where I only needed a couple of newcomers to ensure we had a large and diverse enough squad, especially with two signings from a couple years ago to come through. There was also the English defender from Tottenham that I secured in the spring and having seen a young French player almost right from the start I thought that an initial £800k fee was small enough not to make a difference. The percentage of profit clause was another matter entirely though.

I was determined to spend big on specific players if need be, hence the delay as scout reports kept coming in to make sure it was being spent on the right players. In the end the standout signing was my former Heerenveen right-back Jefferson Severino, filling one of two high priority positions, coming in the same summer as I offloaded two more of my former players from the Netherlands. He had been a big signing for Bayern last season though not played much, however his career had been excellent beforehand. While not a massive upgrade, I hope having a strong established signing like that in the position can help just like Luciano Roger up front a couple of years ago, filling in a weakness in the team.

He was supposed to be followed by another big signing to use up the remaining budget, which would have fitted how I planned things to go. Having gotten rid of both the aging (though still reliable) Pinhal and the decent but 'never likely to really make it' Hakki Tahran we needed another central midfielder, but the key difference here was that I wasn't getting a first choice player. Even at the age of 19, Michiels has become too much of a top class midfielder for any realistic signing to be anywhere near his equal, which is why I abandoned a deal for a player I had my eye on from pretty much the start, especially with massive contact demands. That meant going young again for an English midfielder from Everton, who is a slight gamble but he does look like he could be a good all-rounder.

That signing actually summed up our summer more that the Jefferson Severino deal, which wasn't what I expected. In the end I was still going for stars for the future (and suddenly the £14M for Farley doesn't seem as odd after all). However I was still able to attract and afford young players I could be more confident about developing into a top quality team, and as some players in the squad age, opportunities could open up, especially up front with Mbah and Luciano Roger being 29 and 30 respectively, with Erlon Joe in midfield now 31. Kasic in goal is also 31 but his position is a lot safer for now and I rejected the opportunity to get rid of him in favour of a younger Welsh keeper who was on a similar level.

In some respects I'm already planning for the departure of players. I used the remaining transfer budget on a French playmaker with an eye on having him and Corona as our long-term options in that position, as well as the fact that despite being under-age for the first half of the season, he will still be able to play there before the young Mexican wonderkid who has to be trained from scratch. Up front we have more forwards that we know what to do with. I kind of feel sorry for Mandlazi after a 2 years wait to move, especially since he couldn't develop in South Africa. I'm not going to move on our established forwards yet, especially given their records, and we have Barbaev and Rangel as an established back-up pair, Mallet (signed 2 years ago) is now old enough and Hoxha (a youth teamer like Barbaev) will follow next year. And that's with Martinez mainly being deployed on the wing. Well we're not short of forwards at least.

The expectation for the season is to challenge for the title, which isn't that much different from the goal of Champions League qualification last time and I reckon another 3rd would still be acceptable. However I don't want to be left in the dust again like last year even without being able to make the couple of 'statement' signings I imagined we would. There still weren't really many options we could attract even with the greater spending power. I can still imagine us being in a stronger position on paper than when we won the title two years ago, and while that was probably overachievement, it now feels like we're closer to being the real deal, so there's no reason why we can't run at least Hamburg and Bayern close now.

As for the Champions League, I was fine with 3rd last season partly because I didn't expect we were likely to get anyone too tough, especially as we were seeds for the playoff draw. I was wrong as we ended up with... Arsenal! To make matters worse, our opening German Cup match was scheduled for the Monday, just 2 days before the way leg. Thankfully we can still field  a strong second choice line-up that should easily see off our cup opponents, even if I don't think making so many changes to the line-up in one go afterwards is a good idea.

Signings

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Aug 2063 European Update

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Oh you've got to be kidding me! It's like a very old Jurgen Klopp is president of UEFA given what our European draws have been like since we got Granada in the Europa League first knockout draw a couple of seasons ago. That was followed by a real baptism of fire in the Champions League last year and then Arsenal in the qualifying round despite being a seeded team. As I expected they were a bit too tough, though yet again the defence sort of lost it by being below par. In the away leg we quicky found ourselves 2-0 down, and eventually conceded a third before Barbaev got an away goal to keep us in it. Unfortunately we conceded again at home and having come back to lead 2-1 it was an agonising last 20 minutes as a number of shots were saved or blocked. It would only have forced extra-time but it would have been better than nothing.

I had anticipated this happening and thought that at least we could have a stronger Europa League run to help both ours and the nation's rankings (as Germany is still at the bottom of the top 5) but even as top seeds the group draw was not what I expected. The game actually claimed it was an easy draw though it was clearly one of the tougher possibilities even before I looked at the squads and saw they all had some very good players, though less so for Spartak. We should still make it through but it might not be too comfortable.

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I'm not feeling the South African striker much, but the rest, holy ****, that's a transfer window packed full with amazing potential! You need to take Schalke for the long term here and let all these kids develop

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8 hours ago, noikeee said:

I'm not feeling the South African striker much, but the rest, holy ****, that's a transfer window packed full with amazing potential! You need to take Schalke for the long term here and let all these kids develop

I'm not actually convinced by the South African either. It was actually a deal made two years ago (same with Corona) as a gamble worth taking at just £500k and he clearly couldn't develop at all in the 2-year wait for the move to go through. He's can still be pretty good but in the meantime the bar has been raised a lot higher as well as well as how overstocked we are with forwards at the moment, even with the established first choice pair being set to move in in a couple of years or so.

I definitely intend to stay a while longer to see this team reach its potential, especially as having tasted success I know we can establish outselves at the top in the longer-term and it would be a shame to leave before that happens. I already know Dundee United will be next (as I'm doing my Masters course at the University of Dundee so it makes sense to try and go there in-game as well) and I'm in no hurry.

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37 minutes ago, deltablue said:

I'm not actually convinced by the South African either. It was actually a deal made two years ago (same with Corona) as a gamble worth taking at just £500k and he clearly couldn't develop at all in the 2-year wait for the move to go through. He's can still be pretty good but in the meantime the bar has been raised a lot higher as well as well as how overstocked we are with forwards at the moment, even with the established first choice pair being set to move in in a couple of years or so.

I definitely intend to stay a while longer to see this team reach its potential, especially as having tasted success I know we can establish outselves at the top in the longer-term and it would be a shame to leave before that happens. I already know Dundee United will be next (as I'm doing my Masters course at the University of Dundee so it makes sense to try and go there in-game as well) and I'm in no hurry.

Okay, that makes sense, I've done deals like that too - often for promising 16 year old Brazilians who seem to have developed absolutely nothing by the time they arrive 2 years later... 

Dundee United, yes, that would be brilliant!! I like them a lot, managed them in FM16 I think. 

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On 16/08/2019 at 10:17, noikeee said:

Okay, that makes sense, I've done deals like that too - often for promising 16 year old Brazilians who seem to have developed absolutely nothing by the time they arrive 2 years later... 

Dundee United, yes, that would be brilliant!! I like them a lot, managed them in FM16 I think. 

Well I still think he could be a decent player and might have worked out if the bar hadn't been raised a bit since I made the deal (and you can imagined how good he would have looked as a 15/16yr old at the time) and if he didn't have too many players potentially blocking his path to get any proper playing time. Still for only £500k it was worth a try I guess.  If you count Martinez (though I'm using him as a regular on the wing) we have 8 forwards now, even with one of them being a youth player not quite turned 17. I remember at Bucaspor when we had all our forwards (and wingers I think as well) injured at the same time for a bit and at least I don't have to worry about that here :D The regular first choice pair will be moved on in a couple of years or so to help make way for some of the younger forwards but even then at least one of them will have to go and it'll probably be him. 

Either Dundee team would have done fine but at the moment Dundee are a Second Division team stuck in a serious financial mess while Dundee United are a (mostly) stable SPL side, even having just come back from a brief trip to the First Division. I would probably have been my prefered choice anyway for various reasons.

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Sep 2063

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We quickly managed to put the disappointment of Arsenal behind us with a strong start to the league season, winning the first 5 matches while our rivals dropped points. That gave us an 11-match winning run going back to last season, which had included a win over Bayern. It was a shame that we couldn't extend it against Hamburg but they seem to the ones making a stumbling start this year and otherwise the away leg defeat to Arsenal is our only blip in all competitions. Bayern lost one of their early games so even having dropped points for the first time this season we're still early league leaders. If nothing else I hope we'll make sure they don't leave us in the dust this time.

The Europa league seems to be going smoothly so far after all. Cardiff away was possibly the toughest group match on paper so getting a comfortable win was a positive sign. I actually played the second match as well (which was the first of the following month) and beat Spartak who had also won their opening match, meanwhile the other two only drew putting us in an even stronger position already to easily qualify. The next match is also at home, to Feyenoord, and a win there (especially if Spartak fail to beat Cardiff) should help us feel even more comfortable. 

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Spent entire day yesterday reading this and finally finished it this morning. Wow. Just wow. To last this long, get through two or three laptops... Wow.

That Milan side was ridiculous. Pure filth. Romantic in me loved the fact that you had Dutch striker in there. Also, is that Magical Milan thread still alive? Would've loved to read it.

Hopefully you stay a bit longer in Gelsenkirchen. You cannot comprehend my hatred for Bayern so always love to see someone put them in their place :D

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13 hours ago, Constantine said:

Spent entire day yesterday reading this and finally finished it this morning. Wow. Just wow. To last this long, get through two or three laptops... Wow.

That Milan side was ridiculous. Pure filth. Romantic in me loved the fact that you had Dutch striker in there. Also, is that Magical Milan thread still alive? Would've loved to read it.

Hopefully you stay a bit longer in Gelsenkirchen. You cannot comprehend my hatred for Bayern so always love to see someone put them in their place :D

Good effort. That dutch striker is actually one of my coaches at Schalke along with his French strike partner, I like the idea of bringing the band back together. When I returned to Milan in that career you mentioned I also brought bacl as many players fro my original team as I could, including as my Ass Man. The Milan team from this save was never quite able to dominate in the same way and none of the three Champions League wins were that memorable as finals. The original thread is still around, but the screenshots won't appear any more as the site they're hosted on started charging and a lot of us weren't having any of it. I now add them straight to the thread, including taking a couple of days to do all the ones on this thread so they still appeared. I still have some saved relating to player profiles, league tables and cup finals. It's also my longest ever career (lasting over 60 seasons) though this one will pass it eventually.

 

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Nov 2063

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Our strong start to the season continued for a little longer, and the draws in Stuttgart and against Feyenoord weren't that disappointing in and of themselves, but then things took a clear turn for the worst. Only drawing again Nurnberg was a bit more of a blow before defeats in the derby, and more critically against Bayern. That was coupled with defeat in Rotterdam. Yet it could all have been different. The Bayern match could easily have gone the other way, while we had taken the lead against Feyenoord. Since our title winning season we've very rarely been on the back foot in individual matches, instead we've either been a little soft at the back or blunt up front. Thankfully after Bayern we had already played everyone else in the top six, with an easier run helping us get back into form. A cup win against Freiburg was followed by relegation battling Frankfurt and Karlsruhe which allowed the Mexican forward Rangel to shine for the first time. That gets us back to 2nd (just) and hopefully avoiding slipping behind Bayern much further, while we still top the Europa League group. It's not too bad a position even after our poor run.

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