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JDownie

[FM16] Rejuvenating Rostock

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Hello and welcome :) I thought I'd do a quick introduction to this thread before I got cracking, so here goes! 

I've been a regular member of these forums since 2008 and an avid FM player since 2007 when I first got FM07. Over a decade has passed, which is in itself a scary thought, and I've had a few FMCUs in this time. My two most notable FMCU threads are from FM15 and FM16 - in 15 I went from Union Berlin to Torino and in 16 I attempted to build Hertha Berlin as a superpower in football - both saves were immensely fun and I still remember some of the finer details even to this date. And so when FM19 came out, I was desperately looking forward to building Hamburg up from the 2.Bundesliga and hopefully establishing them as, once again, one of the biggest names in football. They are a club I managed on FM18 and it got me back into the FM series, we're talking over 1000 hours difference between FM17 and 18... Buuut, I've hit a block with the FM series and I'm not finding them as much fun (particularly FM19 - 18 was close to perfect but for some ME issues, my main gripe with 19) and so I've decided that now is the time to go back and see what we can do. Initially my idea was to start an FM15 save with Union Berlin once again - if you check the FMCU I got sacked due to the well-known player power bug at the time, where one unhappy player could cost you your job :D With those days long behind, I wanted to have a take two at getting Union up, if you like, but I failed quickly as I wasn't enjoying the look and feel of FM15 (sometimes you go too far back - I struggle with Pokémon games that are older than 10 years now) and so I jumped into FM16. The problem with going back in time is that Hamburg had never been relegated before this year, so going back to 2015 means finding a new club to bring up through the leagues. I also decided to use this opportunity to manage in the third tier of German football, something I've never done before. Enter: Hansa Rostock

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I've been thinking about creating this thread for a few days now, but I've been unsure of how to set things out. Whether or not I should just catch you up or go in-depth about the club and give you guys the backstory that Hansa deserves. And I've now settled on the latter :thup: Buckle up buckaroo.

FC Hansa Rostock were officially formed in 1965 (50th year celebration of the club in game) in the city of Rostock, Germany, along the Baltic Coast to the North. Despite being in the North, Rostock is also based in the East of Germany, and would belong to East Germany while the nation was split in two following WWII. The term Hanse, now Hansa, is an Old High German word which meant "convoy" and was used to refer to travelling groups of traders and merchants who would go from one Hanseatic City to another (as part of the Hanseatic League), regardless of their mode of transport (typically by sea but not always). Rostock is of course one of the Hanseatic cities we speak of and it is because of the city's great history and involvement in the Hanseatic League that the club is known as Hansa.

Speaking of remembering history - the posters among us who played FIFA or even FM back in the day will probably recognise the badge above. Often forgotten about (by now), from 1995 to 2005, Hansa were involved in the top tier of unified German football - something no other East German team has ever managed. Not only is it a rare feat these days to see an East German team in the Bundesliga (RB Leipzig excepting nowadays, of course), but for 10 whole consecutive seasons?! 

In-game we mark the 10th year anniversary of Hansa's relegation to the 2.Bundesliga and subsequent demise. It is a story that doesn't make for fun reading if you are a fan of Hansa, but it helps to create an idea of what Hansa were and what they are, now. In ten years spent in the Bundesliga, the team's best results were a pair of 6th place finishes. Despite being mainstays in the bottom half of the table over their 10 year run, they would persist as the only former East German side able to consistently challenge the well-heeled clubs of West Germany. However in 2005 the club would suffer relegation to the 2.Bundesliga, and despite coming back to the top tier just two years later, the club would then go straight back down. The story would get worse though, as their woes on-pitch continued and they finished 16th in the 09/10 2.Bundesliga, just two years after their most recent Bundesliga outing. In 2010, the DFB would introduce the third tier of German football (previously the Regionalliga - now the 4th tier) and with that, play-offs to be relegated to said third tier from the second tier. Unfortunately for Hansa, this meant they had to defend their 2.Bundesliga status and they could not do so - losing in both legs to Ingolstadt and going down. The club would yo-yo from 2nd to 3rd tier and back again for a couple of seasons before settling into life in the third tier. Still functioning in the 3.Fussball Liga - Hansa have fallen far, far, faaar from grace. 

And herein lies my challenge. To restore Hansa back to the Bundesliga and possibly more. 

I have loaded 11 leagues across 5 nations with a large DB starting in June 2015 in Germany. The leagues and nations are:
1. Germany (3.Liga and up)
2. England (Championship and up)
3. France (Ligue 2 and up)
4. Italy (Serie B and up)
5. Spain (Liga Adelante and up)

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Meet Jürgen Dressler (Movember :D) - the man to turn around the fortunes of Hansa. Born and raised in the city of Rostock, Dressler is a former Professional Footballer (National Level) and holds a Continental A License. I've given my manager attributes that I decided upon arbitrarily cos why not? In hindsight I wish I'd had the foresight to screenshot some stuff before I started the save but oh well (minor spoilers, ahoy). But now that you know roughly how we've been doing, I might as well post the results so far alongside the league table, as we are now at the end of November and readying up for Christmas. 

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As you can see, we are actually undefeated in the 3.Liga despite only winning half of our games in all competitions :lol: A lot of draws - especially at home - see us top of the league but it is very tight. 

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There's really very little else to say at this point. I can share any details of the save if people are interested (transfers are non-existent btw, nobody in or out - not a choice or anything, we are just poor), just let me know. I want to thank you if you made it this far into the OP, as you've taken the time and effort to read this dross :D I hope you stick around and follow (and maybe even post now and again too ;)) and most importantly enjoy the ride. I plan to update monthly and will do so beginning with how December goes.

I will leave you with this - traslated to "FC Hansa, We Totally Love You" :cool:  

 

 

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FC Hansa Rostock - December 2015

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December is a short month, and it's not exactly a great one. The win against Preussen Muenster means we finally won two games in a row. We managed that before this season I think...so long ago now. But we followed it up with our first loss of the season, so yay?

We haven't won very much at home, that much is clear in the OP. But we managed to beat Chemnitzer and Muenster!! IN A ROW. We have 4 home wins from 11 this season now, let's go :cool::D Being serious though, Marcel Ziemer has scored in his second game back from a 6 month injury. Chuffed for the guy. He went off injured in the same game but it was only for 6-8 days. Meanwhile top goalscorer Ronny Garbuschewski scored once again :)

But then it finally came. The 21st game of the season, the first loss of the season. Gutting. Down 2-0 at HT, I didn't think we had much chance. Star man Stefan Wannenwetsch scored his first goal for us with a beautiful long range strike and we then had to save a penalty (our GK has saved 2/2 this season :cool:). On the 89th minute Ziemer hit the crossbar to scupper our chances of equalising... we've scored so many late goals this season I just kind of assumed we would again :D Oh well, maybe the loss will help us.

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As I approach the end of 2015, the worst possible news has come in:

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Just before I was looking to move on 4-5 players in January...10%? Damn. That's awful.

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Maybe they have a point :onmehead:

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Meet Melvin Platje. A striker who is also natural in CAM, Platje has excelled for us in the CAM spot as an AP/A. His movement and control of the ball are far too good for this division and he would feel more at home in the second tier. He isn't the most physically inspiring player, hence my use in CAM. It works for him, he is the 3rd highest rated player in the whole league, despite not that many goals nor assists, although his 4 assists is joint best in my team with Garbuschewski (also top scorer) and Soufian Benyamina (ST, 3rd top scorer behind Garbuschewski and Janicke). 

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This guy...what a player! By far my most prized player, he is absolutely fearsome in the BWM/S role. He has dominated just about every midfield he has faced. I was originally telling him to hold position and be more reserved but when I realised how much better than the opposition he is, I decided to just give him the freedom to do what he wants in midfield - his avg has shot up from around 7.45 after 8-12 games. I honestly can't sing this guy's praises enough. He is superb. A lot of yellows but I accept that for what he brings to the team. Only missed one game through suspension (so far). 

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Wannenwetsch is considered to be a star 2.Bundesliga player - I really hope nobody is interested in him this January :( Especially for 10% of the fee ffs! :mad:

I will post a full squad update probably at the end of the season... this first season is just a total mess. Nothing is going as it should. No money, small squad, big injuries, loads of debt, loads of draws, can't win that often (something like 4 wins in our last 10 :D) but top of the league! 

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My first signing as boss of Rostock. Plucked straight from the transfer list for a measly 100k, Jurgen Mossmer joins to give us the best DM partnership by far in the league. 

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My decision at the start of the season was to give out low bonuses for league and cup finish - this would give us 300k to play with in the transfer window. But I had no real knowledge of what the club needed and who was worth keeping or not. A lot of my starting XI isn't the supposed best XI - especially at CB and on the wings where I just wing it and somehow we keep grinding out results :D So I've got a situation that is a bit difficult to wrap my head around. I don't even know the best positions of half of my team - Janicke is my captain and supposedly my best player (at the start of the season according to my coaches anyway), but he is like the worst player in my XI, averages less than a 6.9 :lol: I have Markus Groger who I switch between RB and CB and he's average in both but that's great because he's not awful in either :thup:  Anyway back to the original point (god I rambled a bit there didn't I?), I had no real handle of the squad that the 300k I saved back in July wasn't used until January, hence the signing. 

This squad will take a good few seasons to look anything close to what I want, mainly due to the financial strain on the club... Who knows, if/when we get promoted things could take a big upturn. Does seem unlikely though. 

Edited by JDownie

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FC Hansa Rostock - January 2016

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So January has come to an end (and the Winter window along with it) and it was quite an eventful month. We terminated Julius Pertstaller's contract by mutual agreement - he was barely playing, wanted out, and nobody would take him, not even for £0...so stupid. We also tried to offload two other players in the same way - one simply refused (who also can't be bought for £0) and another threw a hissy fit and said he is outraged, even though he asked to be sold in the window... enjoy rotting in the reserves until your contract is up in 6 months pal :thup: 

On the pitch it was a different story. Having won our last two home games in a row, I was quietly confident about taking on Wurzburg. An unprecedented three straight home wins was definitely on the cards, but Wurzburg thought otherwise - they took the lead twice but we fought back to get a decent point. Wannenwetsch had 2 in 2 after that, having scored 0 in the first 20 of the season :lol:

Then we went to Stuttgart II. Sitting 17th, and with us now 4th due to playing on the Sunday, we needed a good result. They dominated us in the first half, controlling the ball with 68% possession and 6 shots to our 1 at HT. But we did take the lead and that's all that really matters. Stuttgart are brilliant at keeping the ball - they've completed more passes and have had more possession on average than anyone else in the division, despite being 17th of 20 teams. In order to counteract that I went much more direct, stopped our defence from trying to work it out and it worked perfectly...sort of. I did this on the 50th minute, as we had went back to 1-1 with Stuttgart picking up the second half where they ended the first. Instant response from the team and we began balancing things out though, as club captain Tobias Janicke - having a pretty underwhelming season it must be said - popped up with two brilliant finishes and we got a huge 3 points!

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Things in the 3.Liga are very tight... but thankfully Mainz II can't get promoted so I'm hoping that they stay 2nd, or if we are going to not win the league, I hope it is because Mainz beat us to the title :D The promotion picture is between these 6 teams really - the team in 7th are on 33 points and even with 15 games still to go, I think it may be a bit much to ask them to overcome 10 points on Stuttgarter Kickers who are the best team in the division based on GF and GA, still. 

The club is in a precarious position. We are now officially into the red and we seem to be unable to offload any of our players. If things don't pick up over the next few months, we could be looking at having to sell our key assets in the summer and that would be disastrous for us. We have a very strong spine that I am keen to hang on to and if I should have to sell anyone, the only players I have of any real resale value are those within the spine of the team, so naturally I need to try and turn around our financial situation.

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Looking ahead at February - I think the key ties are undoubtedly the latter two in the month, as the two teams in question sit 5th and 6th. If I can win both - or at the very least avoid defeat - then we will open a nice cushion between ourselves and the non-promotion spots, providing the former two games go as I hope...at this point any points dropped open the door for the opposition teams. Once we hit March the key ties against the likes of Stuttgarter Kickers and Mainz II start to pop up, so February is probably more important than you'd expect, but definitely we need to take some good form from February into March as that will make or break our season... just need to try and win it one game at a time. Do that and we will be fine :thup:

On a side note, I've been trying to get Hansa to play the way I want football to be played, attractive attacking football, passing and moving, defenders involved in attacking, attackers involved in defending. The problem I have is that my team (and particularly my defence) is full of average passers (that's me being polite - they're ****ing **** at passing) and I can't really instil the style I want to (yet).

It occurred to me when actually checking the club finances compared to the rest of the league. I figured surely other clubs are collapsing financially, it can't just be us. Maybe we have a huge wage budget compared to everyone else (does not feel like that, though). It turns out we don't, really. We are the 10th highest Wage Bill in the division, which is right smack bang in the middle. We have an annual spend of 1.92M compared to 1st place Wehen Wiesbaden, who are spending 3.19M! But yes, we are the only team with Insecure finances. Not good :( We have poor attendances (46% - also 10th in the league), but that's not irregular in this division. Mainz II for example have 9% attendance. Stuttgart II 13%. Probably expected as they are reserve sides, but Bremen average 35%. The best in the division is Dynamo Dresden with 82%, then it goes to 71% and then everything else is below 60%, bar Hallescher with 61%... We have great facilities, especially for this division, so I guess that the upkeep of the facilities coupled with our shocking income, particularly thanks to not bringing many fans to the stadium but also not on TV, not selling merchandise etc... It's just a really difficult situation to juggle. I can't even find what sort of prize money we get from this division so things might not even improve over this summer, which is what I am honestly quite terrified of :D

Anyway, going back to my original point - as I was looking through all these stats, I noticed just how bad we are at keeping the ball. We are the 2nd worst for pass % and 3rd worst for number of passes. It's quite strange actually because watching our games I feel we pass the ball well - especially in the final third. The problem really is that we don't spend all too much time in the opposition's half, our average possession is the 5th worst in the division. So I've gone for a total opposite in terms of tactics. We no longer play the ball out from the back, we're actually quite good at crossing so I've gone back to mixed crossing and I'm basically just playing Brexit football by this point. The only thing I'm still doing that I was before is closing down more, that's the only thing I always like to see my teams do. I'm hoping that these tactical tweaks will allow us to play to our strengths and we will start winning more games. But the reality is that a lot of our games are so close and tight and that we probably shouldn't be doing as well as we are. We've stolen a lot of draws and that's mostly come thanks to mid-game tactical changes. It's been pretty clear to me that my tactics haven't been working, but I kept persisting with them as we have spent more or less all season on top ffs! We've having a good season, we're just not conistently winning. Hopefully that changes here.

Hopefully you guys are reading and enjoying :thup: It would be good to hear from anyone who is making the effort to read my essays :lol: The February update will follow in the coming hours when I've played Feb :)

e: Spotted a mistake with my post. I thought we played Wehen and Hallescher back to back, but now I realise Energie Cottbus is in between. But this is our fixtures between now and March:

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We play all of the teams in my League table screenshot above across these two months, including 3rd, 2nd and 4th (currently, might be totally different come end of March of course) back to back to back. Grim reading. But if we are somehow top by the end of this run, I think we will be able to seal the title. 

Edited by JDownie

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Damn :(

Dorda is not only my best left back, but my only natural LB :lol: He is also one of my best players, though. This is a huge miss. Gardawski (natural AMR) and Rodriguez (natural AML) will cover the LB role between them... gonna be a tough 2 months I feel. I lost Dorda for 7 weeks earlier in the season and coped quite well, but we had mostly easy games through that run. This time we are up against the best teams in the business end of the season... 

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Huge miss. 

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FC Hansa Rostock - February 2016 + Youth Intake Day

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February was a pretty great month, truth be told. Scoring 11 goals in 4 games, keeping two clean sheets, and coupled with the end of January, we are now on a run of 4 wins in 5 games, which is our best run of 5 games since the very start of the season, where we won 5 of 7 drawing the other 2. So yeah... this is looking great for us!

The month started with us hosting Osnabruck. Midtable and with their manager under serious pressure (even tough he's had the job for 10 years and oversaw two relegations from the tier above! :D), it felt like the perfect time to play them. I had no expectations of a player ever scoring a hattrick for me this season though... we rarely have anyone look close to dangerous enough in the final third to score more than one, nevermind three! :D But I was delighted. A little disappointed not to add to our tally, but a win is a win and I am chuffed.

We followed that game up with the toughest of the season in my opinion. Wehen Wiesbaden. Even just the sound of it is quite intimidating. Wiesbaden hosted us on the back of an 11 game undefeated streak, and if you look at the league table in the previous update, you will see that Wiesbaden are very similar to ourselves in the way their season has gone - loads of draws, hardly any losses. We are very similar in the sense that we are hard to beat but not that great at winning consistently either :D Just the week prior when Ziemer scored a hatty, the Wiesbaden striker matched the feat (and as a result stole player of the week!) with a hattrick. How pleased then you can imagine I was when once again Torsten Oehrl scored two hattricks in two games, smashing us. The game is quite cruel, really. As I posted above, Dorda is injured and a huge miss. So of course the first two goals they score come from crosses down our left side, with Gardawski being nowhere near his man - two free headers (because my CBs forgot how to defend apparently) gave them the advantage and despite pulling one back, we would then go down to 10 men and concede a third late on. A bad loss but these are a quality side and, as I've mentioned before, they also spend 3.19M on wages per annum, dwarving our figure of 1.92M. 

Things weren't all sour though, as we'd get straight back on the horse and smash Cottbus. They're in a relegation battle but I never really expect us to smash anyone... it's just not the Hansa way it seems :lol: But Ronny Garbuschewski is some man. He's our top scorer this season with 10 goals and also has 7 assists. He's been class. Platje also added a great goal to make this nice and comfortable. 

And to round out the month, we had an absolute barnstormer against Hallescher. We wait 26 games for one hattrick and then two come along in quick succession. Delighted for Benyamina. Anyway, game day approached and it was met with terrible ugly news - Marcel Schuhen, our GK, is out injured. We have little luck when it comes to this sort of thing, it seems. A lot of important injuries starting to mount up and at the worst possible time! 

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3-4 weeks will hopefully mean he is back for the end of March when we take on the teams in the promotion picture! But anyway, back to the game. So things got off to a flier when Benyamina scored after just 17 seconds. Within 5 minutes it was 1-1 thanks to calamitous goalkeeping from #2 goalie Brinkles (no, that is his real name...Johannes Brinkles :D). And then after about 20 minutes, even worse GK allows them to take a 2-1 lead. He literally stood still in a 1v1 and didn't move until the player was about 4 yards around him :seagull: But thankfully Benyamina decided today was a good day and equalised - we then won a penalty and for some reason the game decided Benyamina shouldn't take it for his hattrick... and Platje missed it. Rather ironically, his agent would come to me after the game demanding a new contract for Platje since he's in great form... uhhhh, dude, I subbed him after he was playing a 6.4 :lol: So I assertively told Platje we couldn't afford it atm, which he accepted. Anyway, we went into HT at 2-2. And then we come out after HT, fired up and smash Hallescher - Janicke and Benyamina for his hattrick. A great result and one that gives us a commanding lead in the title race.

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Chaos :D

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With a huge 6 point lead over Wiesbaden, the confidence is increasing and I'm feeling like promotion is almost certainly on the cards now. Mainz have fallen off a bit so we don't have that lovely cushion of being able to drop a spot and still get automatically promoted (well, we do - but you know what I mean). But we really have hit form at the perfect time and if we can carry this into the games in March, then I fancy our chances. As said before, the second half of March is really key. If we can somehow extend our lead at the top, even better. All of the teams below us have kind of fallen apart in February. Only Wiesbaden had a good month, but even then I still moved away from them as they are drawing games for fun. Sucks to have that issue...believe me... :D

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Platje is actually no longer my highest Avg. Rating - Stefan Wannenwetsch has usurped him with his avg. of 7.73, compared to Platje's 7.71. But it is undeniable that this is a monumental blow, especially as he is the only CAM I have. My back-up plan is to play Janicke there, but then I have nobody to play AML with Stephan Andrist out for a few more weeks... It's getting pretty desperate in attack. I'll probably have to shift Benyamina to the LW and slot Janicke centrally, with Ziemer up top. 

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Thankfully Ronny will only miss one game but it's still another injury I cannot afford. My next game I'm not really sure how we will line-up. What I do know is that my usual front 4 of Janicke-Platje-Garbuschewski in behind Benyamina/Ziemer has been obliterated for the next game. We will probably line-up Benyamina-Janicke-Gardawski with Ziemer up top and Rodriguez filling in at LB...what a mess :(

On the brightside... Youth Intake Day! :cool:

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A surprisingly good intake - certainly much better than I expected. The top three prospects there are indeed all very decent looking in terms of living up to those stars. 

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I will primarily use this kid as a CAM I think - not least because I got a good AMR alongside him in the youth intake, but also because his crossing isn't great and I prefer IFs anyway. I suppose I could retrain him to an AML but I think the CAM spot will do him just fine. He has better physicals than half of my attack atm tbh. 

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This kid needs a haircut and a lot of work, especially technically, but his mentals aren't that bad and his physicals are good for someone his age - again, better than half of my attack currently. The problem with Amft is he is Right Only, and like I said I want IFs. Maybe I will retrain him to the other side.

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A technical disaster - so many 1s. But none in things that matter too much. Can't position himself, has crap balance, composure, anticipation etc etc. but he's a kid god damn it, give him a chance :D He has potential apparently, and some of his mentals are good!

Anyway, that's that for another update. I'll be around tonight after work to update and hopefully finish the season, as there's only March and April/May (two games in May so will do those two months together). For now I need to sleep :D Thanks for reading once again. 

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We have been ravaged by injuries. This makes for grim reading man :(

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This is honestly so depressing. He's out for the remainder of the season - second top goalscorer. Admittedly not having an incredible season, 7.08 avg. rating this season, but even when he plays like crap he is a threat and always capable of scoring. Not only am I another man down, I've lost my captain. 

e: and now back-up CB gets food poisoning and is out for 6-8 days :mad:

Edited by JDownie

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FC Hansa Rostock - March 2016

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As the last few posts will clearly demonstrate, we've had a really serious injury crisis on our hands and when that is taken into account, I think two wins, two draws and only one defeat this month is magnificent, to be quite honest. We've been without our star CAM, Melvin Platje, and we played the first three games of the month without our GK, Marcel Schuhen - notice how when Schuhen is injured we keep 0 clean sheets, but upon his return we go back to instant clean sheets again? He is my hero :D 17 clean sheets in 26 games says a lot about the importance he has to our side, I think. That's almost 66% of his appearances resulting in a clean sheet!

Anyway, we would start the month with a trip to Aalen, languishing in the bottom half of the table. With no natural CAM, I was forced into a new shape that I was, to be quite frank, winging. I had no idea what the tactics I sent the boys out with were supposed to be doing... in fact, at no point this month would I say I was comfortable with my tactical setup. It was, from start to finish, a case of "let's hope for the best with this, this and this". We looked absolutely abysmal and it became clear that what had been working almost all season for us no longer would. In total fear of this month being the beginning of the end of our promotion hopes, I immediately switched to probably the most defensive tactic I have ever used (for more than 1 game) in FM history. Still using a 4231, but with a CM on CM/S instead of an AP/A in CAM, and with my two DMs on Defend duties (as opposed to both on Support). I also changed both of my wingers to attack duty (as opposed to 1 support 1 attack) and changed my lone striker to a DLF/S, instead of the usual DLF/A. In all, the changes were designed to make us tough to break down, give us a good outlet with two wingers bombing beyond to create space and threaten the box. I also went from "Control" to "Defensive", changed the team to sit deeper, close down less than usual and exploit the middle. I would say that, considering I had no real idea what I was doing, this proved to be a masterstroke. We spent the full month without Janicke, Platje, Dorda and more than half without our GK Schuhen. Ronny Garbuschewski - who has been our top scorer for most of the season (now 2nd, 1 behind Benyamina) and is still our top assister - missed a game or two, too, which didn't help matters. 

So the decision to totally switch up our approach worked for the best and we ground out the results we needed. Two home draws was disappointing but our away form all season has been fantastic and it was nice to see that continue - the last three games of the month were of course the massive, pivotal three that I highlighted back in February as being the most important three-match sequence for us. So to beat two of those teams away from home was really quite something. We faced Sonnenhof in a 2nd v 1st battle and led comfortably at HT 2-0. We managed to give them two goals within 6 minutes of the restart and I figured we'd blown it, but thankfully Gardawski - who hadn't scored any goals until this game - came up clutch and we took all 3 points, giving us some breathing room. 

Mainz would provide a different type of challenge to Sonnenhof. They were much more compact, but this meant they were much less of a threat. Or maybe Schuhen in goals just made sure that their chances weren't allowed to go in with ease :D Either way, we got a good point against a side we had already beaten this season. It was disappointing not to repeat the feat but we got lucky first time round so to get lucky twice against the same opponent was asking a bit much :D The draw, coupled with Stuttgarter Kickers' increasingly good run of results, meant that we held just a 3 point lead now, cut down from 6 at the beginning of the month. A loss to the Kickers would see us lose top spot for the first time in... I dunno how long. A long time anyway!

But thankfully we won the game. It was a game where neither side really created much, but then the point of the tactic I made was to stifle teams and play for draws. In the first couple of games of the month it was pretty clear to me that without Platje, our attack in the final third was shocking. We were totally devoid of creativity. So we were looking for draws in every game, because at least that way we wouldn't be giving up too much space for our rivals to attack us. The gameplan away to Stuttgarter - who we'd drawn with at the Ostseestadion earlier this season - was much the same. Play for the draw. They came into the match as the top scorers in the division, the best defence by number conceded and had the best GD of course as a result. Really all they needed was a win over us to cement the fact that they are the best side in the division... but then Stefan Wannenwetsch had other ideas, because the boy can play :cool:

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One of the top three earners at the club, I think it's fair to say he justifies his wage. He's only scored three but all three of them have been the first (or in the case of two of the three instances, the only) goal in the game. He is just fantastic and I absolutely adore the guy. He is the type of player I want to keep around forever. Even if in 10 year's time we are in the Champions League, I want this guy there - even if just sat on the bench. He gives everything and he is such a strong BWM. He is a joy to watch. His finish - a long range effort off the post and in - was enough to seal a 1-0 win over Stuttgarter, and push us ahead of the pack with little time remaining for them to try and catch up. 

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We are 12 points clear of the first non-promotion spot, and with just 6 games left it is basically a case of "when" we get promoted and not if. I want to wrap the title up as soon as possible to give us a chance to focus on strengthening the team, identifying who is going and who is staying and trying to make sure we are in the best shape possible for attacking the 2.Bundesliga. Only 3 losses all season in a division as competitive as this one is really quite an achievement I feel. Especially given we are neither the best attack nor the best defence - although I think I could make a very strong case for us being the best defence in the league when Marcel Schuhen features in goals:

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Conceded the least goals in the division (helped by having less appearances than the other players perhaps, but his con/90 is very similar to theirs too), and also has the most clean sheets despite playing less than the other guys:

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Oh and quick side note. All hail Wannenwetsch :D

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He's a MACHINE :cool:

Anyway, we have six games left to go before the season ends and things are looking great. I'm hoping we will seal promotion sooner rather than later and then we can focus on next season. Hopefully our financial situation will pick up soon too - had the board not invested 260k (130 over two months each), I don't know what state we would be in right now. 

On the bright side, we are almost back to a full squad with a clean bill of health. Only LB Dorda and Captain Janicke are still injured, and Dorda will resume full training in the next week, which is perfect timing for the run-in! Janicke is still 4-6 weeks out and I don't think he will play again this season. We can return to normal tactics now and hopefully end the season in style :thup: Or many draws...whatever.

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With three games to spare, we've secured promotion to the 2.Bundesliga for 2016/17! :) With one win from our last three games we will seal the title - two draws from three will also suffice. 

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Might want to think about offering me a new contract then, please... :onmehead:

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Given my top earner is on 3.5k, the 17k spare wages plus 151k transfer kitty is a huge step up. That's like... 5 new players :D Priorities will need to be decided upon at a later date. Right now all I know is I need cover for LB and CAM and probably a new ST too. 

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Wish the board would listen to this guy :D New contract for Dressler!! 

The fans are also understandably over the moon and say I am a manager who thrives on chasing success - they ain't wrong. 

Will update the last month or so once I've played my games and then I'll post an end of season update. 

e: I am of course forgetting that quite a few of my players will be due annual raises as part of their contracts plus also probably promotion raises, too. But I have about 4 players leaving on frees and I plan on offloading a couple others too - hopefully all in we have a very healthy balance. 

Edited by JDownie

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Well, we won the title without even playing another game. Sonnenhof beat Stuttgarter Kickers to jump into 2nd, but they are 7 points behind with two games left. We have won the 3.Liga :cool:

The board thanked me for doing a great job, and the option to "Request New Contract" was there, so I did, and got told "We cannot offer you one due to the financial strain on the club so unless it's absolutely vital, nobody will get a new deal"... so ummmm...are you just gonna let me go? :D So confused. I don't even need a wage increase ffs, I'll take a pay cut if necessary, just offer me a new deal so I can stay as manager!

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