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zlatanera

Black Forest Football

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The Club

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SC Freiburg are one of the Bundesliga's smaller clubs, hailing from the south-west of Germany. Traditionally a bit of a yo-yo club, they have become one of those "well-run club" that you hear about whenever the owner of another does something crazy. The club have a commitment to developing youth and playing attractive football, seen in the starting philosophies of "Play Attacking Football" and "Sign Young Players", developing the likes of Matthias Ginter and Maximilian Philipp in recent years. Some nobody called Joachim Löw is one of the club legends and their leading scorer with 81 goals. Per @Jean-Luc they were historically ahead of the curve in moving towards a back four with an offside trap, and in pressing. When promoted under Volker Finke in the 1990s they earned the nickname Breisgau-Brasilianer due to their attractive playing style, and Finke went on to become the longest-serving coach in Bundesliga history before stepping down in 2007. 

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The club plays at the 24,000 capacity Schwarzwald-Stadion, which is Germany's first solar-powered football stadium. Internally as you can see it has a bit of the look of an old-school Premier League ground. Interestingly the pitch is 5 metres shorter than UEFA's minimum standard and as such the club had to receive special dispensation to use it when they reached the Europa League qualifiers, I don't know if this is implemented in the game, or if the club would have to play home European matches elsewhere.

In FM:

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The short pitch (101m) is one of only two that aren't the standard 105m, the other being Borussia Mönchengladbach's 111m x 72m Stadion. 

With Great Training and Youth facilities but basic corporate facilities the club clearly has its priorities right, Above average youth recruitment is good enough for the size of club but I would hope to improve on the adequate junior coaching. 

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The club is projected to make some pretty impressive profits over the next three seasons, provided there isn't another relegation. This is no doubt helped by having nobody earning more than £13,750 / week. 

Edited by zlatanera

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The Manager

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Lars Gruber (no relation) is a Freiburg native, but not a supporter. Born on leap day 1988 he will presumably be spared the inane "wouldn't it be nice for the opposition to give you a win on your birthday?" question., and at 30 years old is something of an elder statesman in a league thats dugouts often resemble a kindergarten. In the process of winning 20 caps and scoring 5 goals for Germany (all in friendlies) he spent time in France and England, and so is fluent in the language of all three nations. 

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Having completed the highest qualifications available, Gruber is considered an excellent coach of football, but almost useless when it comes to "the weird guy at the back of the team who can use his hands" (direct quote from Gruber himself). He also knows less than Jon Snow when it comes to players outside of his club (and has also disabled attribute masking for ease of gameplay, and first window transfer budgets). 

Edited by zlatanera

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First Day

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The club expect youth signings and attacking football. I've asked for a meeting to try and add "develop players using the club's youth system" but otherwise am pretty contented with this. 

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We're expected to avoid relegation, and to win two games in the cup - given the first is against a semi-professional side this is eminently achievable. 

I will be sticking to the traditional model of utilising a sporting director, and as such have delegated various responsibilities to Jochen Saier (DoF), Fritz Keller (President), Martin Schweizer (HoYD) and Florian Bruns (Assistant Manager). It is easier to list what I will still be in charge of:

Hire / Fire First Team Assistant Manager and coaching staff

Find and make offers for players in first team and youth team (although in reality I will simply set a player as a target for the DoF to take care of the rest)

Handle player sales / outgoing loans

Train the first team

Team talks, tactical briefings, press conferences and opposition instructions

 

For added realism I will be adding this transfer restriction:

Loan players must have 1 year contract beyond length of loan

 


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We have a large squad with no real weak positions except left back - I'll attempt to retrain defensive winger Mike Frantz to that position. We lack creativity in the centre of the park, and are clearly built for a 442 so I'm imagining a lot of wing play will be necessary for short-term success. One slight concern is that a lot of the players of similar levels of ability, which could lead to complaints as for example the 4th choice CD might not think he's much below the level of the 2nd choice one and quickly become unsettled due to lack of game time, particularly with no continental football. 

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Tactically we'll start out like this - continuity from the previous Christian Streich in terms of 442 formation, offside trap, pressing, counter-pressing, counter-attacking. Attacking might seem too aggressive given our stature but I'd much rather have a go at teams and see where we end up rather than starting out the game as if we're holding onto a 1-0 lead in the 90th minute. 

Edited by zlatanera

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August 2018

Well, I successfully got the board to adopt "Develop Players Using Club's Youth System" alongside our other two philosophies which should help me secure facilities upgrades more easily. I've also had to seize control of more responsibilities, as the Director of Football made no staff signings despite us being under the board suggested minimum in the scouting department. So now I am responsible for bringing in first team and under 19s staff and renewing their contracts, although in practise once they're at the club I'll just tell Saier to renew them and save myself some clicking. 

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A reserve lineup easily dispatched the semi-pro opposition, racking up an incredible 31 shots with only 3 being classed as long shots. We then arguably were the better team against Frankurt - although they had more possession and more shots, most of those were from distance and we created 2 CCCs to their 0. However, a long shot, a head-tennis counter classed as a "freak" goal (seriously, from halfway it was 6 passes, 4 were with the head. It was bizarre) and finally one of our defenders heading back towards goal from a cross shortly after a corner for them to score the winner. Finally we absolutely dominated Hoffenheim, but again couldn't score and they nicked one early on with the help of VAR before nabbing a 2nd later when we tired. 

So, now we're in the peculiar situation of being joint bottom despite having created more chances than anyone else bar Mainz (who've started out freakishly well with 4-0 then 5-1 wins). 

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September 2018

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We almost went undefeated, until Augsburg scored in the 93rd minute whilst we were down to 10 men due to injury. What I was saying about CCCs in the August post? We didn't produce a single one in the two wins, then made 5 to Augsburg's 2 in that 3-4 loss...

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Black Forest Football? is that like Black Forest Cake?

I am always interested in smaller teams (but not LLM) career updates.

Good Luck!

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7 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Black Forest Football? is that like Black Forest Cake?

I am always interested in smaller teams (but not LLM) career updates.

Good Luck!

Yeah, Freiburg is in the black forest region, where the cake / gateau originates from. Their stadium is even sponsored by the local tourism board, hence Schwarzwald-Stadion = Black Forest Stadium. 

I normally don't manage anyone who isn't a regular in the Europa League or above (with an exception for Hamburg last season, whose squad was significantly better in FM than real life), but an enthusiastic post in the team recommendation thread and the fact I've actually been to the city drew me to them. I'm enjoying it so far, every game is a rollercoaster due to my somewhat suicidal tactics.

Edited by zlatanera

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October 2018

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An unbeaten month!  Although Leverkusen might have done us more damage had Wendell not gone in with two feet just after we equalised, I'm pleasantly surprised at how well we're doing given we play a barely modified version of a tactic I use with Manchester United. 

That cup game in particular was a rollercoaster of emotions - they kicked off, kept possession for over a minute until Ondreij Duda was able to blast one into the bottom corner from outside of the box and I was worried. When I then had to sub our goalscorer for a man (Borrello) who was barely recovered from a cruciate injury to make his debut, I started to fret again but he scored! 

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Less than a third of the way in and this is how it stands. Normally I would only show the league table at the midway point, but I love the symmetry in our row: 3-3-3, 0 goal difference :) 

The board are being very amicable so far - they've upped the wage budget (after the DoF spent it on extending contracts of seemingly everyone but Christian Günter, who is out of contract in June and is our best and only natural left back), improved junior coaching, youth recruitment, data analysis facilities and are in the process of upgrading youth and training facilities, so hoping I'll get some quality newgens come spring as although at first glance our reserves look stacked, when you realise 2 star for us equals 3rd division quality and 4 star potential means top Bundesliga 2 player...yeah, not quite as good.  

Edited by zlatanera

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November 2018

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We actually had the better of Bayern, holding them at arms length and hitting them on the counter, only Hummels scored two off corners - I'm starting to think my DoF handing Schwolow a new contract in September may have been an error as his 10 Command of Area might be partially to blame to our vulnerability off corners. We then destroyed Mainz, but an international break robbed us of all our momentum. Werder Bremen were all over us, and somehow scored 3 long shots in 5 minutes before finishing us off on the counter late on. 

I have quite an imbalanced squad, and it needs rectified as soon as possible - we have too many players up top and out wide for a team that never makes Europe, and its leading me to rotate too much to try and keep people happy. At the same time, the centre of midfield is pretty weak, and I don't think its a coincidence that it was all 3 players who got time at CM that got below a 6.0 in the Werder game. 

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13 hours ago, zlatanera said:

Yeah, Freiburg is in the black forest region, where the cake / gateau originates from. Their stadium is even sponsored by the local tourism board, hence Schwarzwald-Stadion = Black Forest Stadium. 

I normally don't manage anyone who isn't a regular in the Europa League or above (with an exception for Hamburg last season, whose squad was significantly better in FM than real life), but an enthusiastic post in the team recommendation thread and the fact I've actually been to the city drew me to them. I'm enjoying it so far, every game is a rollercoaster due to my somewhat suicidal tactics.

Conversely, I don't tend to manage clubs who expect to qualify for Europe, and if possible like to start down the pyramid. This looks like a good challenge, though.

Best of luck!

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10 hours ago, withnail316 said:

Conversely, I don't tend to manage clubs who expect to qualify for Europe, and if possible like to start down the pyramid. This looks like a good challenge, though.

Best of luck!

As a Manchester United fan, any team that may actually lose out on a target due to money seems like a challenge :lol:

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December 2018

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If you'd told me I'd have 10 points from that run at the start of the season, especially whilst missing my best striker for the first four, I'd have bitten your hand off. As it is, I felt we were comfortably outclassed by Dortmund (although with Witsel scoring from 30 yards the scoreline could have been tighter), and were the better team against Leipzig. But what's most important is beating 3 of our direct relegation rivals by 2 goal margins. 

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We head into the winterpausen 3 points off the Champions League! But more importantly, I'd be sacked if Nurnberg or Dusseldorf looked like making up that gap, and 12 points is a nice buffer on Stuttgart too. The league is bizarrely tight at this stage, and I don't expect it to stay this way, so hopefully we move towards the top half. 

The board were happy though, and gave me a contract extension and a wage rise to £20k, putting me level with my top paid player Pascal Stenzel!

The transfer window is opening of course, and I may have to beg the board to negotiate some transfers. Mike Frantz hasn't made any progress on learning to play LB although he performs ok, and on our budget Kevin Rodrigues at Real Sociedad, recommended by my scouts, is one of the best you could find so I may have to move for him whilst he's unhappy. And although Schwolow has been performing well recently (he's a good shot-stopper), Dominik Livakovic  often ends up at Manchester City or the likes, warming the bench on silly money, so striking whilst he's available could be a good move. Still, Schwolow signed a new contract in September and will be hard to move - 3 clean sheets in 17 games hardly grows a GK's reputation. Lewis Holtby is transfer listed too, and more of a goal threat from midfield would be welcome but sadly I think both the fee Hamburg would demand and attempting to meet his wages would be beyond us at the moment. 

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January 2019

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Two winning performances...3 points. Frankfurt came from behind late on - a tired defence against the ex-Hamburg wing pairing of Müller (Acc 17, Pace 15) and Kostic (Acc 18 Pace 16) broke us down in the last 20 minutes. But a win over struggling Hoffenheim (rumoured to be sacking Nagelsmann, which would be weird given he joins Leipzig at the end of the season) brightened moods.

The board laughed away my request to sign Dominik Livakovic, but we did make some movement late on, loaning out one of our 6 strikers, Tim Kleindienst, to warm Mainz' bench instead of ours for £100k/month, offloading Caleb Stanko (CM) for £600k to Union Berlin despite only 1 sub appearance and with only six months remaining on his contract, and allowing 3rd choice GK Konstantin Fuhry to leave on a free to Halle. We also brought in two players from Spain on loan with optional purchases at the end of the season (disclaimer: I didn't realise DoF could negotiate loans or I would have let him do it).

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Kévin Rodrigues will provide some competition for Günter at LB, although his lack of a long throw threat means he probably won't become first choice he's one of the better options available on our budget. 

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I'd never heard of Okay Yokuslu, but he's a well-rounded midfielder perhaps better suited to a CB role in the long term. For now though he'll compete for a CM spot as that's an ageing position for us. 

Edited by zlatanera

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So Petersen marked his 125th appearance for the club with his his 66th goal (making him 4th top scorer in the Bundesliga) and then this happens the next day. Given his age, that may be him ruined. I just hope that 14 Natural Fitness does him some favours.

In the immediate term, that's 1/5 of our goals gone for a serious chunk of the season. 

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February 2019

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In a word, inconsistent. Augsburg was the only game I would have said we really should've won, but that was also the first one without Nils Petersen after his injury. The Heidenheim game was a classic though: they fought back from 3-1 down to equalise in the 96th minute (when there were only 3 minutes added time), but our heavily rotated team finished them off eventually. Hertha are now 6 points ahead of us in 4th (we're 11th)  so I think we can kiss our champions league hopes goodbye :lol:  

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Youth Intake!!

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A lot of dross, but a few decent prospects and one who "could possibly emerge as one of the best players of his generation"

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That personality needs work, and he plays in a position I don't use, but I think he could excel either as a wide playmaker on the left, or perhaps if I move to a more creative type as a support striker. He won't be able to play for us for two years though, because they come through so young in Germany and can't play until they're 17.

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March 2019

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Probably our toughest month of the season - 3 high-flyers and a team with a new manager (Ralph Hassenhüttl took charge at Mönchengladbach right before our game). We were dominated in the first two, deservedly losing as although we had our chances, none of our strikers were up for it. Then I reintegrated Lucas Höler (demanding a First Team contract after 5 apps all season) and he got a goal and an assist as we ruined Ralph's debut. I feared an international break robbing us of our momentum, and given we have the German Cup quarter final in 3 days decided to play an entirely reserve line up, attack Bayern and see where we ended up. Manuel Neuer, take the stage!

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We then switched to Cautious, held them at arms length all game long before Waldschmidt finished them off late on (and should probably have had a hat-trick tbh). 

One minor problem this season - my assistant advised me to recall Tim Kleindienst as he wasn't even getting on the bench at Mainz. As my strikers were misfiring (this is before the Leverkusen game) I did so, only to find I couldn't register him. He's eligible for the cup and that's it. 

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April 2019

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Looking at the form you might be able to tell that we're mid-table...given we were expected just to avoid relegation, that's progress. But it doesn't feel that way.

My Bayern gambit continued to pay off as we demolished Dynamo Dresden, before an early red card against Mainz, shortly after conceding, had me convinced we were going to lose. That late Waldschmidt goal said otherwise, but then we conceded again. Against Dortmund I again rotated my entire outfield, and something about doing that inspires mistakes in opposing goalkeepers. This time Hitz pushed one onto the post, where it bounced back onto him and in, then pushed another straight into the path of an onrushing attacker to help us on our way to a 4-0 win. Then our "strongest team" struggled for 117 minutes against Hamburg, twice equalising before Lukas Kübler went from an 8.0 against Dortmund to giving away a penalty for a shove on the very edge of the penalty area in the 118th minute, with the man running away from goal, that cost us the game. Then Leipzig hammered us, as is expected when they're 2nd. I'm gutted about the Hamburg result though as the other finalist is Leverkusen, who we have beaten (2-1 at home, we also lost 2-1 away). 

We finish the season playing 18th, 15th and 17th so may yet have more of a say in who gets relegated, and with Nils Petersen hopefully back for the first of those perhaps he can get 5 more goals to make his best Bundesliga season ever before I start looking towards next season.

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May 2019

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Like most of the second half of the season seems to have gone, our stronger lineups fell short against Dusseldorf and Nürnberg (18th and 17th respectively), whilst a lineup with two promoted youngsters (Constantin Frommann, GK, and Lucas Hermes, RW) overcame Hannover, the better of the three teams we faced.

 

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End of Season Stuff

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Those final results leave us a respectable 9th place - the club has only finished higher twice this century (possibly only three times ever) - and with a Cup semi-final to boot! I'm kinda glad we didn't get into Europe as it would have been too much too soon in terms of raised expectations on myself - given the limitations I've set in terms of scouting, transfer negotiations and contracts I don't expect to turn this team into title winners within three seasons like I usually do when managing a smaller club. 

I'm kinda excited to see what Dortmund could potentially do to the league with no European football - they've sacked both Lucien Favre and Leonardo Jardim this year, so basically an even worse version of their real life 2017/18.

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After selling out 10 of our 17 home games the club have decided a new stadium is needed! Much too soon for it to be named "Lars Gruber Stadion" sadly. We're also getting Youth and Training Facilities upgrades, so the club really is looking forward. 

I don't expect to go mad in the transfer market as I've been given no budget, but we have arranged one incoming free transfer so far:

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Borja Garcés comes highly rated, an Atletico youth product who will have no route to the first team there. He's coming cheap - £950/week but with a 5% wage rise. He'll probably play for Freiburg II for a season given our depth up top.  

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Summer Transfers

I spoke too soon about getting no money - the season ended weirdly late, I think because of the time it takes for the promotion / relegation play-offs. We were given £7.02m transfer budget, which I've turned into £25,326,723 whilst strengthening the squad, largely due to the largesse of Bayer Leverkusen.

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I'll only touch on the major transfers:

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After a successful loan spell, I instructed our DoF to make Kévin Rodrigues' transfer permanent and he did so for about £100k less than the agreed fee! However, that release clause is very low and I do worry a trigger-happy CL club will take him off our hands.

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Abdülkadir Ömür was identified by our scouts as having great potential and I figured he'd make an excellent Wide Playmaker if I switched our wing roles, so Saier made a call to Turkey and now he's ours! A much better job done on the release clauses.

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Pedro Díaz was given something ridiculous like a 90 recommendation by our scouts - two-footed, well-rounded and with great room for improvement. If we push into Europe I'd say he could be here a decade, but as it is he'll probably do well for us for at least a season. 

At this point Leverkusen then got an itchy trigger finger. Young GK Constantin Frommann, valued at £205k, had made 1 first team appearance for us in his career - when an enquiry came in he couldn't be persuaded to stay so I was thinking "oh god, there's going to be a drawn-out saga with non-negotiable £50k bids...but no! £6.5m + £6.5m over 3 years plus 50% of the inevitable next sale is outstanding business (85% board confidence).

Then they decided to have another of our players, this one I didn't want to lose - Roland Sallai, our young Hungerian who had made the WP slot his own in his debut season with the club. Again, he couldn't be persuaded to stay, but was surprisingly very reasonable at a price of £17.75m (valued at £4m). I managed to get £10m + £7.75m over 3 years + 50%. 

This did leave us with a hole on our right flank, so back to Turkey went our Director of Football...

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From the same club as Abdülkadir Ömür comes Yusuf Yazıcı! Another poor job on the release clause - potentially only £3.75m profit if he comes good. 

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Oddly enough we've been given worse odds than last year, now one of four joint-favourites for relegation. I think we can surprise everyone though, and push for Europe. 

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Are you doing a DOF Challenge?

 

The players you added had smaller reputations than other teams signees...so bookmakers underestimate you. 

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5 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Are you doing a DOF Challenge?

 

The players you added had smaller reputations than other teams signees...so bookmakers underestimate you. 

Not exactly, no. I'm not doing any specific sort of challenge, I just set myself certain limitations. My Chief Scout sets up scouting, DoF handles scouting meetings (every 1 week / 10 reports) and then recommends a player, who I add to my shortlist for 6 months. Which I might change to 1 year when I'm not doing it myself. I hire / fire staff just because the DoF wouldn't hire any, but DoF also does all contracts, and though I decide who we buy he negotiates the bids. DoF also runs Freiburg II. I handle sales though.

Yeah makes sense. I think the preview might have been set in June too, as it appears at the season start date, when none of our signings came in until July. 

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August 2019

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A B team in the cup, who went to 10 men early on, easily dispatched Kassel. Then Werder did what they always do - have Jiri Pavlenka play a blinder. Our results against them go 0-4, 0-0, 0-1 and their GK's ratings go 7.3, 7.5, 7.2. We bounced back though with a demolition of newly promoted Ingolstadt. Ömür getting on the scoresheet was a bonus, fellow new signing Díaz missing a penalty was not ideal though.

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Posted (edited)

September 2019

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A good month! That Hannover loss came around to me rotating trying to keep players happy - not offloading Lucas Höler may be a mistake, he's quite a high opinion of himself so have to play him to stop him blowing his lid, and he is playing pretty badly. It's cut off, but Abdülkadir Ömür scored his first hat-trick for the club against Hertha! 

We're getting a really easy start to the season, the biggest club we play in the first three months is Monchengladbach. But come November we have Leipzig, Bayern, Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt then Dortmund in a 6 game run that could get pretty brutal. Nils Petersen seems incapable of seeing out a full 90 minutes which is a concern too.

Edited by zlatanera

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October 2019

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Dropped points in those first two games was really disappointing, and could cost us come the end of the season if we're in and about the European places. We got back on track though with back-to-back 3-1 wins with completely rotated XIs. 

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November 2019

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As tough a month as they come. The Bayer was an absolute travesty but to be honest 4 points from that run isn't bad, and the comeback from 2-0 down against Leipzig showed character. 

I'm starting to think I need a new CB and another CM - none of my CBs have aggression above 8, and sometimes it does seem we're just that slight bit unwilling to leap into a tackle, allowing a player to get a shot off. My BBM Jérôme Gondorf meanwhile seems to have ample opportunities to score from the edge of the box - he has 3 in 13 so far this season and got 6 in 30 last year. Given he has Finishing and Long Shots of 9, perhaps a player with better attributes there could get a few more goals for us. 

One January signing we have already arranged though, is one of the most popular FM19 wonderkids Antonio Marin:

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Another solid job on the release clause for Jochen Saier. Given our current first choice LM, Ravet, is 30 and wanted by Bordeaux, and his backup is 33 and entered an abrupt physical decline mid-September, he couldn't have been recommended to me at a better time. 

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December 2019

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We've now won just once in two months, slipping down the table. Although it was inevitable, we scored first in three games this month yet won none of them which is extremely disappointing.

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From our peak of 3rd we've slipped back down into mid-table mediocrity. We're still in the CL race though really, which given our expectations are to avoid relegation is no bad thing. Interestingly we actually have 1 point less than this stage last season, which shows just how much our early fixtures flattered us. We've scored less (28 compared to 33) but also conceded less (22 compared to 30). 

That midfield goal threat I mentioned in the last post?

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I would have preferred someone with more Flair, but those 16 Long Shots should get us a couple. He comes at a discount as Toulouse got relegated last season. I'm not a fan of DoF's wage rise habit, but at least its not 15% or anything ridiculous like that. 

I could really do with my scouts finding some full backs and aggressive central defenders. So far my only real options for improvement are either to break the bank and the wage budget for Benjamin Pavard (another low Aggression Covering defender) or break our transfer record for Gianluca Mancini. 

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Fiorentina are currently twelfth in Serie A. Although they have some better players than us (Giovanni Simeone, Alban Lafont) this is very much a sideways move, perhaps backwards given the Bundesliga is a richer league.

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Posted (edited)

January 2020

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Yet again we scored first, yet again we conceded. Then in the second game of the month Pavlenka played a blinder yet again. They were good for their two goals against us, but we should have had at least 2 as well. 

With the addition of Sangaré we were overloaded in midfield. Jérôme Gondorf was our oldest midfielder, and in a toss up between offloading him or the poorer Höfler he lost out as he isn't homegrown at the club. So off he went to Schalke for £3.3m. Brandon Borrello is impossible to shift, but I did eventually persuade Union Berlin to loan him for about half of his wage. Our reserve goalkeeper did his cruciate in training and will be out for 10 months, after scrambling around to find a new backup I ended up telling my DoF to loan Christian Früchtl. He promised Key Player so that'll probably come back to haunt us as I don't intend to play him.

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He's a good player, with the potential to be a great one. But I don't intend to nurture Bayern's prospect when I have a perfectly good first choice GK. He's on loan for 18 months but hopefully we can sign someone and I'll send him back in summer. 

Edited by zlatanera

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Posted (edited)

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Athletic Club are 11th in La Liga.

Edited by zlatanera

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Posted (edited)

February 2020

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Only two wins (and a penalty shootout) from the "Easy" part of the second half of the season is dire. We really can't catch a break. Mainz' winner was in the 94th minute as we let Aaron Martin break right up the pitch from left back to finish at the near post - a mistake from Schwolow, as at that angle even Messi shouldn't be scoring on you. Even when we then strung two wins together, in the Hertha game Schwolow scored an OG as a far out free kick bounced off the post and off his arse into the next. I'm debating giving Früchtl some game time now, but as Schwolow received his 2nd new contract of this save in November and is one of my top earners, I need to play him to keep his value up to eventually sell and replace him.

My DoF is getting a bit carried away with new contracts - I've discovered the trick is to manipulate is so our wage budget is in the red, although we then run the risk of a reduction in transfer revenue. He game Ömür a new contract in January - that's 6 months after joining the club. 

Edited by zlatanera

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Youth Intake

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A potential 'Golden Generation' that for once appears to live up to the hype - 3 5 star potential, 2 4.5 star potential and 1 4 star potential players! 

In particular, our affiliates came through - the GK and DR came from Vardar Soccer Club Freiburg (Detroit, USA) and Ehime FC (Japan). 

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Dave Smith looks potentially incredible - often you find the good young GKs are significantly lacking in some way, Positioning for example. But he looks quite well-rounded. If I'd known I was getting him I wouldn't have loaned Früchtl as he's old enough to play for the first team already.

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 Koizumi is also old enough to play for the first team, I believe. Aside from the Jumping Reach he has the profile of a CB despite being a natural full back. 

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Villarreal are 8th in La Liga, whilst we've only won 2 games in 14. The Gruber brand is still strong!

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March 2020

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Our late February resurgence appears to have been a blip - only some spectacular goalkeeping performances earned us those draws. The Leipzig game was an entirely reserve lineup, most of who weren't fit due to not being internationals, as we have the cup quarter final midweek. I'm going to stick with our tactic until the end of the season though, or at least until relegation is mathematically off the table, then change things as I want to switch formation but the squad is built for a 442 so I'd make players unhappy pretty fast by leaving them out. The league looks weird at the moment though - we're above Dortmund on goal difference (12th and 13th, respectively) and the top four is Bayer 04 - Schalke 04 - FC Augsburg - Mainz 05.

Also, we've arranged our first summer signing:

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Alec Georgen has great potential but he'll never get a chance at PSG, so was out of contract. He'll be an upgrade on Lukas Kübler as a rotational RB, or perhaps get a chance to make the spot his own if I move Pascal Stenzel back to midfield next season. 

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What Formation are you thinking of switching to?

 

If you have a bunch of good MC's and Attacking Midfielders. I would suggest a 4-3-3 Wide with a Mez-DLP-Car all in the MC Strata. Put the DLP on Defend duty and he will act more like an offensive minded DM and still give the back for cover.

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26 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

What Formation are you thinking of switching to?

 

If you have a bunch of good MC's and Attacking Midfielders. I would suggest a 4-3-3 Wide with a Mez-DLP-Car all in the MC Strata. Put the DLP on Defend duty and he will act more like an offensive minded DM and still give the back for cover.

I'm thinking of going towards a 433 yeah. Perhaps Herne's Tiki-Taka, and play the majority of games on the Cautious mentality. The only thing is that my only Flair forwards are Haberer (no Composure) and Borja Garcés (a Poacher, not well-rounded enough). Haberer does have interest though - so perhaps if Schalke bid high enough I let him go, then bring in someone else to be backed up by Petersen and either Garcés or Kleindienst. My wide men are good enough, as are my central midfielders given we won't be in Europe - I've got 3 good ones coming through the youth ranks, Keitel, an AP newgen and a BWM newgen. 

We may yet get relegated though - I'm near the end of April and it hasn't been fun. Weirdly we've still created more clear cut chance than opposing teams have created against us. For example I just lost to Leverkusen 6-2 and we created far more than them, they scored 3 from the edge of the box and we missed a couple of one-on-ones.  

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April 2020

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We're into the German Cup final! We needed the lottery of penalties after going from 1-0 up to 2-1 down in the space of 5 minutes either side of 90 minutes. But our league form has been atrocious. The worst performance was the 3-1 loss to Wolfsburg, against Bayern we would have probably held out for 0-0 except off a clearance from a corner Günter did that stupid FM19 defender thing where instead of heading the ball backwards, or to his nearby teammate, or letting it over him and running onto it, he headed it straight into the path of Müller who sprinted down the pitch to set up Lewandowski. Then they hit another within 1 minute of the restart. 

We're only 4 points off 17th, and our fixtures are Dortmund (H) (12th), Hoffenheim (H) (9th), Schalke (A) (2nd). We're still 13th because nobody at the bottom can put a run of good results together but I'm worried. 

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May 2020

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Out of sheer desperation to arrest our losing run, I switched to my 433 for the Dortmund game and we dominated them from start to finish, finally finding our cutting edge near the end. Then Hoffenheim brought us back down to Earth by scything us open repeatedly on the counter, but relegation was still avoided. For the Schalke game, facing a growing injury list in only two positions (AML and DR) I went back to the 442 with a heavily rotated team. Given they were 2nd, a 2-1 loss isn't bad. 

I went back to 433 against Dortmund for the cup final, and we just lacked that cutting edge again, Mario Götze's early VAR-confirmed goal sinking us. 

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Too bad about the Cup final... would have given you Euro Cup games and a little money.

Congrats on staying up!

I am interested to see your version of a 4-3-3.

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End of Season Stuff

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We finish 1 stage further than last season in the Cup, but 11 points and 3 places worse off in the league than last season having scored less and conceded more. Part of that could have been down to ditching my goalkeeper for the last two months (Schwolow did still play in the cup, however) but more it was just my inability to arrest a sinking ship. 

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The board have approved our new stadium! There's no way I'm playing this save for 25 seasons so there's absolutely no chance of a Hans Grüber Stadium, but this will still be a nice drain on our resources!

I'm not sure how to proceed tactically, which in turn affects my squad building so I'm going to take a day or two to think before progressing with the save further.

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@Hootieleece its just literally stolen from Herne's Tiki-Taka thread, nothing spectacular. Won me a Champions League with Ajax though. 

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Posted (edited)

So I've had enough of my Director of Football's inconsistent effectiveness with release clauses and transfer negotiations, so I'm taking controls of scouting meetings, transfers and contracts. Still not sure where I'm going tactically though. I would perhaps go for a 4312 or 5212 but Antonio Marin's presence complicates this. One thing's for sure though, it'll be Balanced mentality. I need to get back to basics a little, Attacking was emphasising our defensive frailties whilst our strikers weren't good enough to take the chances we were generating.

Edited by zlatanera

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To add to the above post, I'm effectively abolishing the B team. I see no growth from the young players there, so I might as well just use it for those on youth contracts who are too old for the u19s with no potential to see out their contract. Perhaps the "promotion" will increase their rep and allow them to find other clubs.

I encountered a bug with my last Bundesliga save where the B team will still sign players even if I'm in control, usually older ones even though I'll then be told they're too old. Hopefully that doesn't affect us this time. 

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Unlucky to lose to Dortmund in the cup final. Looking forward to your transfers activities for next season.

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Posted (edited)

Transfer update is going to be a doozy, but given clubs go nuts on deadline day in-game more than real life, it'll have to wait until I've played a few games. 

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Our safest prediction yet is, coincidentally, our league position last season (not that it felt like it given how well we started and how poorly we finished). Luckily board expectations remain the same for the 3rd consecutive season: avoid relegation and reach the third round of the cup.

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Tactically this is how we're setting out - a prospective loan move for Frenkie de Jong fell through (he picked a bigger team in Italy) but it prompted me to re-read Cleon's Libero thread. Now the role is selected from CD I think it'll be easier to implement. This change of shape prompted a huge turnover in the squad - some stellar signings among them. 

Edited by zlatanera

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Summer Transfer Window 2020

Watford-esque is how I'd describe this transfer window. 9 First teamers in, and quite a few outgoings too. I'll just do the incomers alphabetically. 

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Abel Blanco is an Atletico Madrid youth product, he was transfer listed for a measly £300k so in he came! He's being retrained to play RWB as he doesn't fit in our formation, and is reasonably well-rounded. Most importantly he has pace and stamina, wing backs need both. 

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Aleksandar Radovanovic has such a long name I'm kinda hoping he flops :p Coming in for £160k (£235k after appearance bonuses) he's rated as 5 star potential at striker, hopefully he'll be able to step up in a season or two when Nils Petersen is sold on / retires. 

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Unplayable in my Manchester United save when long shots were OP, Andreas is still an exciting player. Was willing to sign on for about £500 / week for the two years United are paying him £66k, but I perhaps overpaid as I locked in 5 years, no wage rise, no release clauses except relegation, no competition bonuses etc. and worried about irritating his agent. He'll be a backup at Libero, also capable of filling in at CM / AM.

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I needed an upgrade on Schwolow and Mitryushkin was one of the best around for the right kind of money. Factoring in Schwolow's sale I've effectively made £8m in upgrading my goalkeeper. He's already shown a knack for saving penalties (2 against Mainz, but one rebound was scored).

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In real life Freiburg's record purchase and sale, Çaglar was transfer listed at Leicester, and I saw an opportunity to finally add an aggressive defender to our ranks. He's our highest-paid player, but when I offered the contract I had also offered Benjamin Pavard £60k so didn't worry too much about it. 

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Inspired by Rashidi's use of Houssem Aouar as a Libero, I sought out AMCs for the role and was surprised to find Dani Olmo languishing in Dinamo II. He's our 2nd highest paid player. I'm hoping that Gets Into Opposition Area trait will encourage him to pass the "invisible wall" a Libero can hit that I doubt has been removed since Cleon wrote a whole post about it for FM18. He's two-footed as well which is nice for distributing from the back. 

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I offloaded 4 strikers and knew I needed a rotational option to back up Antonio Marin as Borja Garces (a youth signing last season) is an ok Poacher but not ready for the CF role I'm using to partner it with. Ponce was out of contract at Roma and is very good at all the right things - better passing would have been nice but we have plenty of other technical players to do that for him.

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A handy relegation release clause sees us snap up one of Chievo Verona's best defensive prospects. I see him as a long-term option at CB due to lack of Off The Ball, he'll understudy Dominic Heintz this season the left of the back three, but having him able to slot in at LWB is useful. 

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Paraguayan players are brilliant value on FM, and Ferreira is no exception. I had planned to rotate him with Alec Georgen but Georgen got upset at his arrival so was loaned out to St. Etienne for the season, Blanco will back up Ferreira instead. 

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One negative in the transfer window. For some reason this outstanding striking prospect had not been secured to a pre-contract when the DoF had control, and I didn't realise until PSG had already bid. We get compensation for league appearances (unlikely) and a sell-on, but I'm really gutted to see him go as I've not developed youth as much as I'd like yet and he would have been ready in a couple of seasons. No doubt he'll end up transfer listed at some point, so maybe we'll see him return. 

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I couldn't believe Youri Tielemans was interested in joining us! Luckily Monaco hadn't signed him to a bigger contract yet in the save so his wage demands were low, and a disinclination to play in Ligue 1 or Serie A put him off other suitors. He'll be my No. 1 DLP and also penalty taker (a promise in the contract negotiations), possibly a future captain if he sticks around long enough.

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August 2020

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Early signs are this season is going to feature some long games despite my playing on Key Highlights. A rotated squad easily dispatched our cup opponents as has been the case the previous seasons. We then played a cracker against Hertha Berlin, coming back three times to secure a 4-4 draw featuring a Pavard-at-the-World-Cup-esque debut goal for RWB Ferreira, and a 30 yard free kick from Marin, taking to his new forward role like Federico Chiesa did for me on FM18. Mainz brought us back down to Earth though, as is their wont. They were 4-0 up at half time, with two soft penalties awarded  that Mitryushkin saved, but did nothing on one of the rebounds. They were clearly scything through us one the counter though, so I dropped the high line (it was meant to encourage the Libero to be involved, but other than our positionally suspect AMs playing that role, none of our back three are particularly fast) and we clawed two back. So I'll keep the D-line at standard for the next few games and see how we progress. I wasn't expecting an outstanding start given the high turnover in the squad - between new signings and a couple of youth promotions only 13 of our first team 24 were involved last season, between that and the formation change it'll take us a little while to get going, especially with the Libero players not having any positional familiarity. I'm hoping for the opposite of last season - a slow start but a Europa League places level finish. 

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Keep Plugging away...Tactical changes take time.

Very interested in how the Libero works out.

I fell in love with the Regista in FM17

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