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wynter

Serenading Sofia - The Final Attempt

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Welcome to my Third Attempt at this save, with a club I know nothing about in real life, yet have come to worship in this game over the better part of ten months.

Attempt #1

Attempt #2

The initial FM18 variant unfortunately died because the very same bug which crippled the FM17 attempt hadn't been removed. So this time we're kicking the official league to the side and opting for Claassen's Bulgarian League File.

WHY TRY AGAIN?

I wouldn't say I'm a completionist by any means. For every FM file I enjoy there's about 30 I throw to the side but Slavia was so very enjoyable both this year and last year, and when I do enjoy a save I do everything I can to achieve success with it. There have been a fair few saves I've legitimately enjoyed this year but I want to win the Champions League with Slavia Sofia more than anything in FM right now and so here I am once again. 

Ambitons

In previous files I had some very ambitious plans to bring back the Bulgarian Golden Generation and that's certainly something I want to do, but to start this save off I only have one goal.

Win the Champions League

Anything else is a bonus

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Let's go.

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Good luck! Are Slavia in the highest league? 

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26 minutes ago, Timetxu said:

Good luck! Are Slavia in the highest league? 

Yeah, they're a solid Mid-Table side with some brilliant youth prospects. Not as big as Ludogorets/CSKA but able to compete very quickly. 

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Will be following! Although I have spent quite some time in the city I know barely anything about the football clubs operating there. Best of luck! 

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Best of luck mate! Hopefully you reach glory in this last attempt.

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Tactics

I did promise Assymetrical madness in the tags and I enjoy the challenge of balancing assymetrical tactics especially given the way I play which is relentlessly attacking, always looking to press high up the park and turn the ball over in the opponents half.

Tactic #1

4-1-4-1 AML DM WB

The Battering Raum

I developed this at Slavia earlier this year and it's my go to tactic. 

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The Raumdeuter is the focal point and the player who makes everything click. Ideally in this scenario I have a quality player who's suitable for the position but being Bulgaria that's not quite within my reach just yet. That being said Ivanov isn't horrid in terms of attributes and I can rely on him making a living out there over the course of this season.

Tactic #2

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I decided to push out of my comfort zone somewhat with this as I've never quite been able to get the Trequartista to click in my tactics. I also have a complete lack of a raumdeuter which also breaks my heart a little bit but it's all in good fun. There is a weakness in the midfield but I have faith in the BWM plugging the hole and I positioned him at DM to balance out the highly attacking WB and CAM. With this one I suppose the Mezzala is given more free reign than in Tactic One and I'd be looking for him and my Advanced Forward to balance out the scoring/assist load.

Tactic #3

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Slightly more conservative with a control mentality. It's an experiment of mine in seeing how this impacts the Mezzala. Basically, I'm trying to see if the slower play in Control brings the Mezzala further into the game by giving him more time to surge into the box, or if it doesn't really make a difference. T3 is the slot likely to change over the course of the year as I look to perfect 1 &2.

Thoughts

You'll notice that the midfield core is the same throughout all three and that's personal preference. I love the idea of an aggressive regista unlocking my front 3/4 and giving them free reign. The BWM is the always reliable card-gatherer who plugs any weak points in our midfield while the Mezzala just pushes into the holes I leave open for him to prevent the team becoming too 'clustered'.

I'm not really a defensive tactician, counter/defensive mentalities don't really do anything for me but I am a fan of what I like to call 'responsible aggression' - My teams are very attacking but the PI's and the positions/roles are calculated to ensure there is defensive coverage in each section of the pitch and that we don't leak goals like a sieve. When the team is fully meshed we're very difficult to break down due to the fact that we will always have at least 4/5 bodies that are able to respond quickly to counters/random attacks.

Dynamics as irritating as they are for some people are great in getting Assymetrics to fully function because when the team is a cohesive unit and the communication develops then every aspect of the play becomes more fluid and assymetrical football is almost entirely reliant on the idea of a measure of fluidity.

Transfers and Early matches up next :)

Edited by wynter

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Transfers

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Did something a bit different this window compared to previous versions. Aboud Omar is a brilliant player for this level, but with our wages 2k over budget and our club out of our home for the season we're losing money fast. 120k is a nice buffer given we only spend 8k p/w and should see us through roughly half the season with our heads above water. It also freed up some valuable wage space so we were able to secure some star prospects to longer term contracts.

Stergiakis

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Velkov

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Hristov

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All of their contracts have been extended to the longest possible time frame and the trio are the sort of players I need to turn this squad into a force. So while it was a difficult decision as we lost a brilliant player on the left, it has long-term strategy behind it and hopefully we can cope with his departure. Hristov and Velkov is a great CB partnership, only problem of course being their lack of pace and our high line meaning they could easily be caught on the counter if we're not careful.

Matches

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Solid start, we're balancing tactics around and trying to find the one that really clicks for the team. That being said the 4-1-4-1 dismantled Plovdiv in the last game and might have earned itself some more runs in the immediate future.

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Predicted to Finish 7th and we're looking for a Top 4 Finish to kickstart our Bulgarian Career. Making the most of this start will be pivotal.

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Very solid start!! Just out of interest who is the main derby against? Love when you have a fierce rival in the same city. 

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4 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Very solid start!! Just out of interest who is the main derby against? Love when you have a fierce rival in the same city. 

The Oldest Derby vs Levski is the main one with the pair of us being the oldest clubs based in the city. 

CSKA are our fiercest rivals though if I remember correctly. Or they become it since they have the strongest squad in the league. 

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41 minutes ago, SixPointer said:

Few very interesting derby games then! Be great to dominate the city!!

Indeed, would also love Lokomotiv Sofia to get promoted to the main league and all four of us can really go at it. 

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Mixed run, utterly demolished by Leto-Gorets and then we bounced back in epic fashion to take out the Oldest Derby vs Levski in an absolute insult to the notion of a stable backline. No player on both sides who played defender finished with a rating above 6.0

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Mixed form has kept us relatively in the mix, CSKA are rampant though and surging up the ladder.

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On 26/03/2018 at 21:38, wynter said:

I am a fan of what I like to call 'responsible aggression' - My teams are very attacking but the PI's and the positions/roles are calculated to ensure there is defensive coverage in each section of the pitch and that we don't leak goals like a sieve.

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Presentation done and back into the action!

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We head into the winter break doing what we do best these days, leaking goals like a faucet yet still pulling out results. We went 5-0 up on Lokomotiv Plovdiv and I then subbed in some youngsters with the Cherno More game in mind. Cue a nervy comeback where I actually though we might fall to 5-5. CSKA continue to be dominant and we succumbed in a fine game.

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Ludo and CSKA are out of sight. Now I've just got to finalise 3rd or win the cup to ensure we'll be playing Europe next season. Either is fine, both would be great if only for the purpose of Silverware.

 

Player of the Update

Ivalyo DImitrov

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22 Games, 18 Goals

For someone who had 29 Goals from 162 games until I joined he's doing remarkably well. Although, I don't think he's ever been in a side that caters for him as well as we do.

 

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New Tactic and by new it's been my go to since Game 5 of the league this year, it's fun, horrible defensively but damn do we score golasos <3

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19 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

Doesn't look very Fraud-esque?

:(

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"Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles."

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Someone forgot to give Ivanov the memo that our defence is diabolical.

That being said Atanas Ivanov and Emil Palikrushev looks very promising and are likely to be core parts of our midfield in 2-3 years.

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Not ideal that we've dropped to 4th this late in the season.  Ludogorets, Beroe and Levski are all good sides, but  a win there would have been ideal. We play Levski twice more this season so it's definitely far from over as we enter the Championship Phase.

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Season ends, we lost vs the Top 2 but picked up a vital win vs Levski and finished the season in 3rd. Securing European Football via the European Playoffs, smashing Botev Plovdiv 3-1 in the final match.

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Play of the Season had to be Ivalyo Dimitrov, 27 Goals this year and an absolute god when we needed him to be.

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Immediate Goals for next season is finding a way to shred the gap between ourselves and the Top 2, I want to start competing for the title as soon as possible. A good Europe Run will aid in that tremendously by way of funds.

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European football is good staters! 3rd place is a decent first step on the ladder. In position in particular you need to strengthen?

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1 hour ago, SixPointer said:

European football is good staters! 3rd place is a decent first step on the ladder. In position in particular you need to strengthen?

Defence, especially the flanks. In my tactics our WBs are the most integral aspect of the team and arguably the players we have in them are the worst in our XI. That and an improvement in BWM or Midfield. Another extra hand in there could be invaluable.

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41 minutes ago, wynter said:

Defence, especially the flanks. In my tactics our WBs are the most integral aspect of the team and arguably the players we have in them are the worst in our XI. That and an improvement in BWM or Midfield. Another extra hand in there could be invaluable.

Yes your wingbacks must be all action with your tactics!!!  

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nice steady progress, hopefully you can strengthen your wingbacks and kick on next season

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Like so many great stories, it begins with the smallest of comments and then things spiral out of control.

The comments came from both sides, honest questions receiving honest answers. What no one prepared for however was the clash of egos that would soon follow.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Slavia Sofia 3rd Knockout Round Draw Press Conference

The press conference was filled with journalists, a first for the Bulgarian Capital in quite some time, but recent results had been… interesting to say the least.

“You’re Third Round Opponents are a notable step down from the Koln side you faced previously. Does that impact how you prepare your side in any way?”

“Not at all. We have our game plan and we stick to it, regardless of the competition we face.” Price replied.

“That being said, you now face Apollon Limassol in order to move onto the Playoff stage. How happy are you to be facing them and not Lazio, one of the other teams you could have drawn?”

“The opportunity to test myself against a team of that caliber is rare. I would’ve loved to have faced them, and I would have loved to have beaten them as well.”

Europa League Qualification

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Europa League Groups

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And so it begins...

Edited by wynter

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7 minutes ago, Mr_Demus said:

In the OP you mention a bug. Which bug is it?

The bug essentially saw the league forget to reschedule the next season and so there was no longer a domestic league of any sort. Apparently it got removed in the latest update but I hadn't heard of that by the time I decided to restart so I went for a custom league. :lol:

But yeah, you'd finish the season, get through the Transfers and by the time the league was meant to start there'd just be no games. Europe still worked but nothing on the Bulgarian domestic front. 

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"I'll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it."

Pre-Game Conference

Slavia Sofia vs Lazio

"Fillipo, Price set headlines in the knockout rounds by claiming his side could beat yours, what are your thoughts on matching up against Slavia Sofia tomorrow night?"

The man who asks the question is short in stature, his brown hair in disarray from days of travel but the question he asks sends ripples through the attended crowd.

"I think Price was just trying to motivate his troops." Inzaghi replied. "And it's worked wonders given the fact they're here in the group stages, it's a phenomenal achievement by him and a great step forward for Football in Bulgaria."

"Do you think his statement has any actual merit though?"

The manager laughs at the question, as do some of the journalists within the conference.

"At the end of the day, it's 11 v 11 so it's not impossible. On the whole though our squad is better prepared, the quality of players we possess dwarfs theirs by quite a bit and 9 times out of 10 Slavia would be lucky to escape with little more than a hiding. We'll see if his words have any weight tomorrow night."

The rest of conference passes by with little incident but those words reach the Bulgarian Camp quickly and those words are enough to light the first feud in Price's story.

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Europa League Group Stage - Game 1

Slavia Sofia vs Lazio

The handshake at the dugout is cold, the atmosphere between the two men is tense and both sides enter the field of play with something to prove.

First blood is drawn on the cusp of half-time, domination on the half of the Bulgarians bears fruit as Ivalyo Dimitrov continues to flourish under his latest manager. The Slavia fans within the stadium are beside themselves, urging their heroes on as they enter the tunnels at half time.

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Lazio is far from done though and they emerge with inspired play, bullying the Bulgarians back into their own half as they try desperately to retake the game. Slavia meanwhile try desperately to hold on.

Something has to give and in the 88th minute it does.

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1-1

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We'll settle this in the Olimpico

 

Transfers

Dimitar Filipov

A reward from the board for securing the Europa League Group Stages, came in and asked for them to pick him up. They were more than happy to oblige. If I can raise that finishing attribute I might have one of the most lethal strikers in the game within a couple of seasons.

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Edited by wynter

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Domestically things are beginning to spiral a little, we crashed out of the cup early and a fire start has quickly evaporated as we begin to struggle in the league. A combination of not enough squad depth and a mass deluge of games with Europe Factored in, raising that co-efficient and dropping the amount of games we'll have to play is an immediate priority.

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Luckily no-ones raced out early, plenty of time to get our **** together.

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So now that we've got some money in the bank from Europa League Qualification I've decided to prepare a list of the best Bulgarian Prospects and the players that I'm looking to definitely add to the squad over the next 1-3 seasons.

Wynter's Brilliant Bulgarians

Kristian Dobrev

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I'm looking at a 4-3-3 formation exclusively with this guy in mind, probably the best Bulgarian talent who starts in Bulgaria in the game. At least from a potential perspective.

Kun Temenuzhkov

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Long-Term signing because we definitely won't have the funds to pull it off for a long-time barring some miracle. Heir Apparent to Berbatov and could be one of the best strikers in the game. Maybe a loan next year, if things work out well.

Aleksandar Ivanov

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No great RWBs in the Bulgarian Player Pool at the moment. This guy has everything I want in a Wing Back though. Hoping to get him in ASAP and push his development to the next level.

Mateo Stamatov

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Instant upgrade out left, just a matter of having the right funds.

 

The 4 also represent the key areas of our squad I anticipate will need improvement if we really want to challenge in Europe. RWB and LWB are my biggest weakness and Filipov isn't a natural finisher, especially when compared to these two. Ties in with my ideal of a strong Bulgarian core and reflects 4 players that could definitely be part of a competitive CL team with the right tools and attention.

Edited by wynter

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4 very exciting players there. Dobrev at 17 with the right guidance will be a star. Kun is already on his way but will you be able to attract him back to the homeland? Wing backs look to be massive in your tactics very complete players needed and the left wing back has it all already. Ivanov as a kid looks   Unreal going forward already!!

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Minor Hiccup with one of the save files and I lost my November chapter, I want to keep the next Lazio vs Slavia game for a separate post so you won't see the Group Standings, but you'll see how we've performed in the group since.

Heading into the Winter Break

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Getting thrown out of the cup was apparently a blessing in disguise, reduced any potential games so we could focus on keeping the team fit and we flourished over the period. A definite advantage also came in the last minute signing of Ivalyo Klimentov 

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He signed after the EL registration window so his recent development and upturn in form has been really useful in having a First League Only player to rotate the midfield around.

What does our form mean?

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We've put ourselves in a great position. Whether its purely us strengthening or Ludo/CSKA declining I'm not sure, but we're a definite chance of Champions League Football this year.

Keeping with the subject of Europe

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Really easy to navigate group so far. The next match vs ourselves and Lazio is essentially about who comes 1st in the group, R32 Qualification essentially guaranteed.

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Great start mate. Stergiakis must be very good, I think he will continue to Olympiacos IRL for 700,000... :thup:

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On 10/05/2018 at 17:22, SixPointer said:

4 very exciting players there. Dobrev at 17 with the right guidance will be a star. Kun is already on his way but will you be able to attract him back to the homeland? Wing backs look to be massive in your tactics very complete players needed and the left wing back has it all already. Ivanov as a kid looks   Unreal going forward already!!

Yeah Kun's going to be a bit of a hassle, definitely interested in coming back but Leeds want massive amounts for him which is irritating. 

On 11/05/2018 at 20:24, Sheriff7 said:

Great start mate. Stergiakis must be very good, I think he will continue to Olympiacos IRL for 700,000... :thup:

:( I was already planning to use him next year hahaha

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I was never a great player. The sort to turn the game on its head, or the type to conjure the goal from nowhere that was needed to save the game. I was the grafter in midfield, the one that got the ball back and ran his legs off to make sure he could never be accused of giving anything less than his all. With all this being said, I don’t really know what set things off between Inzaghi and I. Maybe I didn’t like how he’d played throughout his career. Maybe I just didn’t like him as a person. I respected him and his accomplishments, he’s one of the greatest strikers in Italy’s history after all.

There was just something though, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, that made me want nothing less than to utterly destroy him on the football field.

Olimpico, the field of dreams. Dreams of qualification already secured but here we could push ourselves even further and finish atop of Group G. A definitive statement of our future intentions.

The tensions between the two of us is no lesser than it was on opening day. A desire to get off to a good start now replaced with a desire to simply realise who between the two of us is better. The simplest desires though, are often the most intense.

And you’re probably thinking I couldn’t walk into Italy and expect a positive result, but I honestly believed we had a chance.

It’s what made the first nine minutes so depressing.

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A horror start utterly ruined us. Some small changes were made and we salvaged a measure of dignity but we flunked big time and it was so disappointing to watch.

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We absolutely strolled to 2nd place courtesy of a poor Maribor and Viktoria Plzen. I was always expecting to get out of the group but it should have been at least a little closer. Positive sign that it wasn't though.

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Shakhtar will be a massive test after the Lazio debacle. Curious to see where we stand.

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JUST Survived the First Round. Very close run thing and could easily have gone against us.

Next Up

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Loving this read, you're giving a very clear analysis of your results and I like how you picked out the Lazio games for a little extra touch. Keep it up! 

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Not Ideal. We lost every battle in midfield, and Torreira just ran the show as reflected by his MotM rating. I was personally hoping for a slimmer loss, ideally 1-0 or 2-0 given the sheer difference in quality between Liverpool and the other opponents we've faced but things didn't break in our favour. Hopefully we can maintain a measure of dignity in the 2nd Leg. 

Edited by wynter

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