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FM17: Athletic Club Bilbao - Basque in the glory

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O what to do resign or not to resign this was my youngster from the academy who left 6 months ago has is release claus of 80 million was activated 6 months later sneaky 130 million bid accepted testing the water and they accept , wages are high he is a model pro and near on inpossible to replace but omg 130 is a lot , or should I say let buygones be buygones and give the youngster a chance even though chances are they will never be as good as him ,

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18 hours ago, Jean0987654321 said:

@Chappy2509 I sold and resigned Laporte and that has gone well. So, if you have the money, resign Ruiz!!!

Yep took your advice and resigned him 300k a week on the wade budget 115 million transfer  but got champions league again so all,is,good 

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Career Summary

I've now reached the end of my Athletic save for FM17, I'm going to keep playing it, but for the purposes of sharing my progress this is my final update. The only progress I will update from here is the final development of my ridiculous wonderkid Ivan Santamaria who you'll see below. I'm going to use the rest of my time on FM17 with this save to experiment with funky tactics (I'm going to play next season with 2 CD's and a half back (and two centre mids in front of him), wing backs, two raumdeuters and some sort of unconventional lone striker.

Final Season

Victory in La Liga after two years of disappointing domestic campaigns. We had an insanely good second half of the season to scrap the league title by a single point. We would have lost on goal difference had we not come back from 0-2 behind in the final 7 minutes to draw 2-2 in game 35 of the season.

We were knocked out in the quarter finals of the Champions League in what I can only describe as a surprise result. We came up against Galatasaray after knocking out the very strong Man Utd in the first KO round, I expected a fairly comfortable victory which was only backed up by a 3-0 victory in the first leg at San Mames. They were playing a 4-1-3-2, so I lined up with 3 central midfielders including a ball winner, one out and out winger, an overlapping full back on the other side taking up the space vacated by a raumdeuter. The goal was to play with heaps of width to stretch their 4 central midfielders as I knew we wouldn't break them down through the middle. It worked perfectly and we ran out comfortable 3-0 first leg winners. In the second leg both teams lined up with the same formations so I expected more of the same, however we were surprised by a 25 yard screamer after 10 minutes to go 0-1 behind. I wasn't worried though, we'd played them off the park in the first leg and we set up the same in leg two. After 40 minutes we'd missed two clear cut chances and they hadn't threatened us again, then all of a sudden another 25 yard screamer goes in from no where...2-0. I took a break for 5 mins at half time to have a think about what is going on, they'd had 4 shots, 3 from long range and were 2-0 and we'd missed a few easy chances, so no worries I figured. The second half rumbled on and we missed another easy chance, by 80 minutes they'd had 6 shots, 5 from outside the box. Then a highlight starts rolling...we have it in midfield a couple of quick passes and Aranbarri is through on goal, but he fluffs his lines and allows the defender to make a last gasp tackle. They pick the ball up and aim one long to their front men, it's headed clear by Xabi Sanz our commanding centre back, but only as far as one of their centre mids. A couple of passes from their centre mids and they're 30 yards out, we're well organised and ready for their attack, but their centre mid takes a look at goal and hammers one into the top corner...an unbelievable strike, leaving them with a total of 7 shots, 6 from outside the box, zero clear cut chances, zero half chances, 45% possession, 55% passes completed and a 3 goal lead. The game went to extra time, and to be honest not a great deal happened and it went to penalties, which they won in sudden death after 7 pens each (they didn't miss one). Probably the most "Fm'd" I've ever felt.

None the less, they then won the semi final, and then they took on Chelsea in the final.

f0FElsQ.png

An extra time winner left Galatasaray, the 38th ranked team in Europe as Champions League winners. It generally felt like one of those Leicester City moments which was great to watch unfold, even after our disappointment. 


Over the years...

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As you can see we had some great success, particularly domestically and also scattered European success. Our main strength in Europe was our consistency - we reached at least the quarter finals of the Champions League each year and generally got knocked out by the winners. We appeared in 3 finals, winning 2. We also won a Europa League title in our first season, a few Super Cups and Club World Cups. The main strength of this save was domestic domination - for a long stretch in the 2020's we were exceptional in the league, normally finishing with over 90 points, and a few seasons above 100 including one record point totaling year. For whatever reason we just had the right mix of players - led by Laporte at the back, Herrera in central midfield, Oyarzabal in the AM role and VIllalibre up front, then with the mixed attacking of Muniain and Williams, and the support of a few good regens we had the right mix. We started to struggle at the end as we transitioned away from that group of players to the next generation, with a 3rd place and 2nd place finish before regaining the title (just) this season. During those couple of years Barcelona were exceptional and deserved to win the league...one of the characteristics of our years of dominance was the poor quality of Barca/Real over that period (just look at their European coefficients!). The English teams are just dominant.

Players

Although we had great success as a team, aside from a few golden boy awards there wasn't much individual success..our players functioned exceptionally well together, but no one was really at a level to compete for the Ballon D'Or. Finally now we have the individual quality to do it in Ivan Santamaria and Mario Aranbarri. Aranbarri took out the European Player of the Year this season, so is likely a strong candidate for the Ballon D'Or in 6 months time. Ivan Santamaria is equally as good and at only 22 has years ahead of him, although I likely won't see him in his peak years. Here are some of our key regen players during the save:

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Cesar Pena is our dirty moustache loving number 1. A superb keeper for us for many years.

 

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Ander Bilbao - A world class full back who has been the epitome of consistency over the years.

 

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Xabier Intxausti - A quality central midfielder who did well with very little quality around him after the departures of Herrera and Oyarzabal.

 

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Mario Aranbarri - Incredible centre forward who I converted to a raumdeuter. Had he continued as a lone front man in a 4-4-1-1 he would have ended up breaking goal scoring records, but the emergence of Ivan Santamaria and my desire to fit them both into the team led to the goals being shared around. Aranbarri had the attributes to play as an inside forward/raumdeuter, so I moved him out wide. Naturally he didn't score quite as many, but still has an excellent career goals record and he's not done yet.
 

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Still not at his full potential Ivan Santamaria. In terms of overall attribute spread this guy is just ridiculous. I've had players with better attributes in certain areas obviously, but as an all round player this guy is just amazing. As we play a very fluid style, I wanted all of my players to be able to do everything and the training schedules reflected that. Santamaria is a product of that philosophy. While naturally a front man, he could play across a wide range of positions if needed. Next season he is going to be moved wide left to make the double raumdeuter tactic happen. I might download genie scout to see what this guys CA is, because given his attribute depth, it must be in the 190s. 

 

So there we have it, another fantastic Athletic Club save with only Basque players (no Spanish under 16s). Thankfully we've had some solid talent through Basque academies...bring on FM18!

Edited by bowieinspace

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3 minutes ago, Jean0987654321 said:

Not too bad, @bowieinspace

For me, I'll keep going until FM18. I've only won one trophy thus far but I want the CL

Thanks! It was an interesting save...domestically it might be my most successful in recent FM games but Europe was more mixed. Overall we were perhaps fortunate that Barca/Real were quite poor during the 2020s on the whole, it gave us a few easy league titles and we had a team/tactic that meant we would easily see off lower half teams. As we transitioned away from that generation we had to change tactical approach to fit the new players, and we got stronger against good teams, but struggled to put away weaker sides who would defend in numbers. Our peak years were in the late 2020s when we still had Laporte, Williams, Villalibre and Oyarzabal in peak years (plus a few others), and players like Aranbarri, Ander Bilbao, Intxausti and Cesar Pena had emerged to provide more quality across the pitch. Our central defence lacks a Laporte level player now, but our forward line is stronger than ever...the challenge moving forward from here will be replacing Ander Bilbao at right back as he's now 31. He has a few more seasons left of course but we have no decent basque right backs, or youth prospects out there so I'd need to retrain somebody (and they'd be nowhere near the level). I've already started to retrain one of my midfielders who could do the role, but he's going to be more defensively orientated so I'd need to make a tactical change down the line,

I fancy we are in a much better place to win more in Europe now than we were, but if Barca continue to perform our domestic dominance wouldn't re-emerge to the same level. I've started the next season experimenting with the following:

GK (D)
CB (C) CB (D)
WBR (S) HB (D) WBL (S)
AP (A) BBM (S)
RMD (A) RMD (A)
CF (S) (or DF S/D, or DLF (S) depending on opposition).

Standard mentality, very fluid, high intensity pressing game which has been our style from the beginning across a few different formations. 

The formation works really well...we morph between a 3-4-3 and a 4-1-2-3 depending on the situation, it's going to be fun exploring this one and I plan to use it as a test run for taking the formation into FM18. I was worried the RMD's wouldn't offer enough defensively but right now it's not caused us any issues...I will just change them to IF roles if needs be

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On 9/20/2017 at 17:12, bowieinspace said:

Well I've been playing my Athletic save on FM17 a lot recently, and I actually started this save on the beta last year but then had a long break from the game Jan-Aug. Athletic has been my main save on FM for many years and I will do it again on FM18 for sure. I will explore all things Athletic again when the game comes out, but I might not get into the save straight away....as I've been playing this FM17 save so much recently I want to keep things fresh as well. I will certainly be involved here though, and will create the Athletic Club guide/drive the forum thread again alongside @Ghents if he's keen to help out with some of the initial stuff (if you're not keen Ghents I can do it alone, no stress).

I don't mind helping out with the guide. Just let me know some parts to cover.

During FM18 beta I'll probably screw around with Newcastle, but I'll be for sure running a Bilbao save on full release.

I've been experimenting with a deep 4411 with Newcastle right now that looks like:

SKD

FBS CB CB FBS

BWMS DLPS

WMA WMA

APA

DLFS

Has done pretty great, but high end teams can pin me down.

Edited by Ghents

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8 hours ago, Ghents said:

I don't mind helping out with the guide. Just let me know some parts to cover.

During FM18 beta I'll probably screw around with Newcastle, but I'll be for sure running a Bilbao save on full release.

I've been experimenting with a deep 4411 with Newcastle right now that looks like:

SKD

FBS CB CB FBS

BWMS DLPS

WMA WMA

APA

DLFS

Has done pretty great, but high end teams can pin me down.

Nice. Well to be honest with everything you did last year I can probably just copy sections across and update/add to that where necessary alongside providing a bit of credit to you in the header.

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Guest El Payaso
1 hour ago, bowieinspace said:

Nice. Well to be honest with everything you did last year I can probably just copy sections across and update/add to that where necessary alongside providing a bit of credit to you in the header.

That opening message of the thread was actually the one that I made for FM 2016, not that I mind though. :) But you can count me on board and delegate some part to me too. 

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Seventh season

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The best season we had was the best season during my stint. Too bad Real Madrid was almost unbeatable. Koldo Lopez this time left us due to the release clause. Honestly, we got too many good strikers in the ranks so its not the end of the world. Gutierrez went to Brugge last year with a buyback clause and now after a a great stint there, hes back as my Matic and possibly Merino's succesor. Some other transfers were mostly for the B team but they can only get a playoff spot in the tight third division. I need the side to promote soon

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Second place as RM kept winning and winning

 

Now some players

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The Basque Matic

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Looks good as a playmaker.

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The man who got away from RM. Was in great form for Malaga last year and now he's taking the mantle

 

Edited by Jean0987654321

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On 10/6/2017 at 13:23, El Payaso said:

That opening message of the thread was actually the one that I made for FM 2016, not that I mind though. :) But you can count me on board and delegate some part to me too. 

Nice one!

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On 10.8.2017 at 08:57, bowieinspace said:

FINALLY back playing the game after a computer meltdown, it took me quite a while to get a new laptop to play on!

Update:

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One of my greatest achievements on FM in many ways...the way we played particularly in the second half of the season was truly special, unbelievably tough to beat and with a team who, to be honest aren't a squad you would normally consider strong enough. We have added Azpilicueta and Herrera in previous seasons, and we also managed to get Javi Martinez in January. I was a bit 50/50 on whether to sign him as he cost me 17million and he only really added depth, but none the less important depth. He started 50% of the games after I signed him and he did a good job, but didn't transform things by any means. 

Tactics:

 I'm a firm believer in playing 'our way', so I tend to stay with one system and tweak it in game if necessary, but maintain a lot of consistency with our set up. I'll sometimes just make some mentality adjustments but will nearly always start with this (ignore the players who are in the 11, it's not far off my full team but it's not by first choice XI:

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Our way of playing revolves around taking what you would normally consider a more defensively orientated style, and using it as a method to dominate possession with aggressive pressing, with player roles designed to destabilise opposition shape. The defensive shape lends itself to be doing tough to break down through the middle, focused on winning the ball back in three ways... 1) if they want to distribute short from the GK we press it and force mistakes. However if they play through the press, the defence/midfield are sat back far that they restrict space and teams can't take advantage of us, 2) If they want to go long, we're deep enough that our defenders don't get caught out, and 3) if they want to play through us, the counter mentality/fluid shape means we defend in tight lines as a unit, so if they build slowly from the back, once they're in our half they get suffocated for space.

On the attack the system allows us a couple of options. If we win the ball back deep, our wide players, CM (A) and CF (A) provide outlets for our RPM and BPD to find. The RPM and CM (A) are always making runs, causing havoc, while the CF(A) drifts around up front and makes space for our midfield runners. On the left, Muniain/Sabin make aggressive runs inside, and the left back pushes up to stretch that flank. If the CF(A) drifts left, the CM (A) floods into the gap he creates, and if he drifts right, the IF (A) on the left has more space to work with. The CF (A)'s movement causes a lot of issues, and the amount of runners behind him make it hard for teams to deal with us. With the counter mentality, if the break isn't looking like it'll work out, the RPM, DM (S) and CM (A) slow the tempo down and we focus on playing through the middle, again using the movement of the various attacking players to pull the defenders around and create gaps. Probably one of the more interesting tactics I've created.

At the end of the season PSG offered Laporte's release clause. I knew I'd have to go massive with the contract offer to keep him around, so I gave it everything I had. After all, there's literally no one I can replace him with

..who needs money.

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He is never being an unused sub

 

 

This setup looks promising, did you have any special PIs to go with it?

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5 hours ago, Chappy2509 said:

Any one started a AB save on fm2018 beta yet 

Nope. I'm just trying a few saves in order to get my tactics together. New roles and a replenished ME would do that to you :p

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undecided if ill wait for the full game or start mine in the beta 

 

from previous experience is it worth waiting for the full game or doesnt much change from the beta in regards to ab?

Edited by ChrisBones1990

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I did. Playing the friendlies right now. Have to play against St. Johnstone at the EL 3rd Qual. I'm using a 4-1-2-2-1.

Kepa

De Marcos, San Jose, Laporte, Balenziaga (bought Isma Lopez and could be a replacement in winnable matches)

Iturraspe

Beñat, Raul Garcia (he's the only one playing outside his natural AMC position)

Williams, Muniain as wingers

Aduriz.

I think 4-2-3-1 is to open at the middle and will struggle a lot against the top teams and also in away matches.

Let's see what we can do. I'll post when the official matches start.

 

EDIT: DO WE NEED TO OPEN A NEW THREAD FOR FM18?

Edited by Ricotero_uy

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6 hours ago, Ricotero_uy said:

I did. Playing the friendlies right now. Have to play against St. Johnstone at the EL 3rd Qual. I'm using a 4-1-2-2-1.

Kepa

De Marcos, San Jose, Laporte, Balenziaga (bought Isma Lopez and could be a replacement in winnable matches)

Iturraspe

Beñat, Raul Garcia (he's the only one playing outside his natural AMC position)

Williams, Muniain as wingers

Aduriz.

I think 4-2-3-1 is to open at the middle and will struggle a lot against the top teams and also in away matches.

Let's see what we can do. I'll post when the official matches start.

 

EDIT: DO WE NEED TO OPEN A NEW THREAD FOR FM18?

Yep.

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I set up a game to check out the player ratings etc but I decided to wait until the full game to start an Athletic save, and I might wait a bit to get properly into the save as I only finished my FM17 Athletic save recently...it's fun to do something a bit different.

Once I've done the Athletic 2018 thread over the weekend, I'll probably be well up for an Athletic save!!

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7 hours ago, Ricotero_uy said:

 

EDIT: DO WE NEED TO OPEN A NEW THREAD FOR FM18?

Yeah I am waiting for the full game to come out to do that. I'll get it done over the weekend :) 

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6 hours ago, RvN#17 said:

Never had a save with Bilbao, I think I'm ready for one.

1.jpg

Hey bud,

There is a new FM18 thread on the forum, this is last years one!

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I know, I'm playing FM 17, didn't get 18 this year. I didn't want to "spam" that thread with FM17 content.

Edited by RvN#17

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