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zlatanera

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Oh, Bother

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Those big teams underperforming clearly hasn't helped us out in Europe. It's not like PSG have won 3 in a row or anything - they've made the semis once and the quarters once, so they've not done a huge service to their coefficient. 

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Achim Stocker Stadium

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Its finally happened, my first ever new stadium on FM! I'd love to build us up to fill out that potential 64,500 capacity. 

As an aside, I barely paid attention to the beginning of matches where you can see the stadium, so I won't be able to see if it looks much different. We now have "Top Corporate Facilities" though so I'm hoping for much more than last season's £500k from those. 

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The problem is Bayern and RB Leipzig  selling all their best players to the highest bidder then paying top dollar for those clubs backups...to fill the team sheet until it comes time to sell them also.

Good luck expanding the attendance to matches.

You might want to look at Freiburg's population in game to see if you will ever fill the stadium.

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1 hour ago, Hootieleece said:

The problem is Bayern and RB Leipzig  selling all their best players to the highest bidder then paying top dollar for those clubs backups...to fill the team sheet until it comes time to sell them also.

Good luck expanding the attendance to matches.

You might want to look at Freiburg's population in game to see if you will ever fill the stadium.

1st season Bayern brought in Hector, Lozano, Ginter. 2nd Season sold Kimmich, brought in Draxler, Werner, Weigl as their marquee signings. 3rd season sold Neuer and Thiago but brought in Leno, Tonali, Barella, Witsel. 4th season sold a guy who hadn't kicked a ball for the club for £30m but overall didn't strengthen. They've gotten stronger, not worse, in my opinion. 

Leipzig have been less improved, more stationary - seem to replace players with similar quality (although Arp's arrival two seasons after Werner left is a huge upgrade imo). Until January last season Leverkusen had barely lost anyone important and Dortmund's squad had improved, with Reus even staying injury free. 

I think its just management.

Freiburg's population in real life is around 220,000. I don't know how that translates into the game in terms of how many people we can possibly get in if we were the new Bayern, for example, but I have to imagine they wouldn't build a stadium with the potential to hold 60,000 if our maximum attendance is 40,000.

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On 02/03/2019 at 20:41, zlatanera said:

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%. 

So in summer 2019 Leverkusen spent £30.75m on our players...Roland Sallai last season moved to Oviedo £4.4m, half of which went to us (I would have brought him back but had blow all my money on youth signings) so again an outstanding deal for us and poor from them.

I sold Frommann's 50% sell-on around the same time as he'd fell out of favour. He hung on for another year until...

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Yup, you read that right, £72,000! 

The fans are a bit down on the move, but he's not awful and its good to have a backup contributing to HG squad registration rules. But really, just terrible work from Leverkusen.

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Season Preview 2022-23

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Two years ago we were predicted as nailed on favourites for relegation and nearly lived up to that tag despite having finished 10th. This season, as with last season, we've been predicted to finish exactly where we did the last time.  Although given Bayern have been predicted 1st every year yet haven't made the top 4 since, who knows?

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July 2022

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In the 1st leg against Sofia their GK took a deep free kick, played it straight to Philipp who took a touch into their half and lobbed him :) I knew it would be an easy game after that, they only got 1 goal from distance after we'd been reduced to 9 men from injury and gone to Very Defensive hence no closing down. Then the first game at Achim Stocker Stadium was even better, Ibrahim Sangaré got the honour of our first goal at the new ground but sadly neither him or Petersen could get their hat-trick. With £125k more in gate receipts than our previous record despite not being a sell-out, the stadium is already proving a good investment!

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Transfer Madness Paying Out

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This is Michel Marin. He just signed for Werder, and my scouts don't reckon much to him. In 2019 however, they thought he could be one of the best, so I brought him from Angers for £625k + 15% sell-on profit.

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He never kicked a ball for us, yet Fortuna Dusseldorf were willing to part with £1.2m + 40% next sale, which I accepted as it doubled our money. Werder then came in I managed to get them to pay out £2.2m over 3 instalments (nothing up front, we're rich anyway so if a delay means more money I'll accept it) + 40% of next sale, rejected Fortuna's offer and happily waited for him to leave. That amount might not seem like much in a league that gives out £27m for getting relegated, but if I could get more of these types of transfer I'd be very happy - that's £1.6m+ in profit on a player where I never even bothered set individual training, yet alone give him game time - as it all adds up.

Edited by zlatanera

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August 2022

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Alexander Isak, whom I'd planned on loaning out but can't find suitors, got a debut goal against Beitar Jerusalem, continuing a pattern as Bastien got his 1st goal on his debut in the previous game. A comfortable game for a reserve lineup. We then dominated Hertha, and comfortable finished off Beiter in the away leg, strangely marking the 5th game in a row our MR scored, appearing to be a pattern only for nobody in the position to score the rest of the month. As usual, a reserve lineup dominated lower league competition in the next game, before Brøndby delivered us our first loss in the new stadium: we hit the woodwork 3 times and they scored a brilliant free kick from a newgen. 

We then finally, 8 games into the season, had our first home league fixture which featured goals from 3 types of players who exemplify what the club is about: the academy product (Nils Brenscheidt, adapting to be a striker), lower league journeyman turned club stalwart (Nils Petersen, with his 91st league goal for the club), the cheap signing from abroad sold on for a profit, and the gem who fell out of favour at a bigger club (both Çaglar Söyüncü). It was also a sell-out, hopefully we get a few more given the quality of football on offer. We then crashed out of Europe in an absolute slog of a game: Cutrone putting us ahead early on was about the only highlight, and it went to a marathon penalty shootout. 3 times Constantin Frommann pulled off great stretching saves, only for our player to tamely roll it down the middle for their GK to collect, before he eventually missed the penalty that sealed it (number 11). The board wanted 2nd knockout round and are not at all happy that we went out in qualifying. In the last game of the month Isak scored a brilliant goal, taking a goal kick down with his head, driving into the box and lobbing their keeper. Sadly they also managed to punt one over the top when we counter-pressed, but a draw away to Champions League opposition isn't too bad.

Thanks to my transfer largesse, in spite of not running Freiburg II we have 114 players on the books which is severely slowing me down during transfer windows. Its working though, we've so far got commitments of £30m in loan fees for this season. 

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Gutting to see you crashed out against Brondby.

I struggle alot to get clubs interested in having my players on loan with good loan fee, how do you manage to do that?

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23 minutes ago, john1 said:

Gutting to see you crashed out against Brondby.

I struggle alot to get clubs interested in having my players on loan with good loan fee, how do you manage to do that?

Yeah I was really hoping to make a deep run in Europe, and perhaps the Cup, sacrificing the league where necessary as I think we're too good to go down. 

Well sometimes I can't, especially with the guys I've picked up on frees. I've got a 28 man 1st team squad for the second year running, I'll hopefully get the likes of Isak, Marc Stendera (another free who was still a free agent in August) loaned out for 100% of wages in January though. For the ones with fees it varies - some, like Ødegaard, Pereira, Toni Lato and Pedro Diaz are simply good players so I can easily get £250k/month for them. Others I've managed to get £100k for after dropping my expectations. I generally don't ask for fees for the young players though, I just want them to get first team football so I can sell them on for a higher fee once they've developed. Sometimes a player just doesn't attract interest for no apparent reason - a young Serb I brought in from Partizan had interest from the likes of City, PSG, Bayern yet once he arrived nobody wants to pay his 7k wages. 

All in all I've loaned out 55 players, 16 for fees. 

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Yes, a good continental cup run would have been nice...

How come you are willing to sell so many players?

I often have the trouble keeping them even with High minimum Release Clauses...because the AI enjoys unsettling them with lowball offers.  Example: My Backup goalie (5 star PA, 21 YO) had a $37 Million dollar minimum release clause. Man City came in at $2.2 million for him and then just about every team did also. (I am Athletico Madrid) I refused every offer, but he was in a funk for about 6 months and had to cut down his appearances. (I rotate my goalies heavily. Starter get about 60% of starts) until one day he "magically" came to his senses  and accepted his lot in life. He then signed a long term deal with a bigger release clause and less promised playing time.

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6 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Yes, a good continental cup run would have been nice...

How come you are willing to sell so many players?

I often have the trouble keeping them even with High minimum Release Clauses...because the AI enjoys unsettling them with lowball offers.  Example: My Backup goalie (5 star PA, 21 YO) had a $37 Million dollar minimum release clause. Man City came in at $2.2 million for him and then just about every team did also. (I am Athletico Madrid) I refused every offer, but he was in a funk for about 6 months and had to cut down his appearances. (I rotate my goalies heavily. Starter get about 60% of starts) until one day he "magically" came to his senses  and accepted his lot in life. He then signed a long term deal with a bigger release clause and less promised playing time.

Its a rare occasion where I haven't really had any players from the start whom I've intended to build the team around - for example at Manchester United, Fiorentina or Dortmund I wouldn't every sell Rashford, Martial, Chiesa, Reus or Götze, whereas with Freiburg I would perhaps have been sad if Petersen had wanted to go to China a couple of seasons back, and I would like to see Nils Brenscheidt become a club legend after coming through the youth ranks but otherwise don't care as long as I get value. Part of my Monchi philosophy was to not be too sentimental, just to be different to my usual. 

I've gotten rid of most release clauses, you still get the odd one that bites you in the ass. We tend to hit form around a month before the transfer window which helps with the values of my sales - I offloaded Anton Mitryushkin for £26m to Wolves this summer after getting him for £3.7m two seasons earlier. He was valued at £13m, I like to try to get double value. He was a rare one that paid all up front though, I usually get value up front and 3 instalments to fill out the rest. I think our low rep helps in the instance you mentioned though - they aren't looking at my youth, they're looking at Mainz's or Dortmund's or Bayern's youth. Nils Petersen being good at talking professional players out of wanting a move is handy also.

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September 2022

Weirdly only have 3 games, but then 8 the next month - feel like Bundesliga could have given us a mid-week one between Leverkusen and Mainz and then given us a Wednesday off in October or something. 

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You know when the English media get slightly racist in emphasising Paul Pogba's physicality over his technique and guile? Ibrahim Sangaré would be described accurately like that - he's big, fast, has stamina, and can ping it from distance. He's not weak technically (13 Tec / 14 Pas / 16 Fir) but his physicality really came to the fore in the Leverkusen game: a long shot, muscling in on a rebound, and rising high above everyone else to score a header.

There's no shame in avoiding defeat at Mainz, probably the 2nd best team in Germany so far in this save. Werder was annoying but understandable: they're our bogey team, although they finished 3,3,3,1 places above us they don't have a special squad and W2 D2 L5 is a poor record. Still, we're undefeated in the league and if we beat Hamburg in our game in hand we'd go above Mainz and be only 4 points behind Bayern at the top (their record: 6 wins, 1 draw, GD of 12 already).

 

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October 2022

Nils Petersen is on a doomed quest to reach 100 league goals by the end of the season when he will most likely retire. He got number 91 in the first game, since then he’s missed two penalties,  and hit both posts and the bar in the Fortuna Düsseldorf game alone, yet is still on 91.

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So avoiding defeat to champions Leipzig is nothing to be sniffed at. We then allowed Frankfurt to get a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes before Philipp took things into his own hands pinging one in from distance then chasing the keeper down at a tight angle and finishing with the same touch as the tackle. In the Dortmund game when Guerreiro, Sancho and Pulisic scythed through us on the counter early on I feared the worst, but by half time we were back in front courtesy of a player they sold us (Philipp) and we held on. That means in 3 games against them since signing for us Philipp has 3 goals - he only scored 2 league goals for them in the 2018-21 period. We were by far the better team against Hamburg but couldn't get the win, Brenscheidt in particular being guilty of a miss on a par with that time Danny Welbeck tried to lob Neuer from about 1 yard in front of him, but he redeemed himself in our next game - his 62nd minute goal was the first highlight of the Hoffenheim game. Dresden ran a reserve lineup close in the cup, before we put Fortuna down with ease, Dani Olmo twice imitating that Messi goal against Athletic Club a couple of years ago: picking up the ball near the right touch line, beating more than for players on his way into the box and powering it into the bottom corner. 

We now break until January due to FIFA corruption, on the back of a 17 game unbeaten run in the league (19 including the domestic cup). 

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Two big stories in the league table so far. First: Bayern are back with a vengeance: they qualified from their Europa group in 4 games, dumped Dortmund out of the cup and far ahead in the league. The second, obviously, is our rise. Of the four teams we haven't yet played, 2 are formidable (Bayern and Schalke) but we're the only unbeaten team, have scored 2nd most and conceded the least despite having the 17th highest wage bill in the league (even Mainz spend double what we do, never mind Bayern who spend 5 times our budget with room to spare).

There are a lot of games to play from January, so I'm kinda glad we don't have European commitments as I think if we avoid injuries to key players we can have a tilt at the title, and a good shot at the cup (although a trip to Mainz in the next round is not something I relish).

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On 01/03/2019 at 15:41, zlatanera said:

Youth Intake!!

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.

 

On 04/03/2019 at 00:05, zlatanera said:

Youth Intake

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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. 

These three have all made it into my first team, so I thought I'd just give a little update on their progress:

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Nils Brenscheidt broke into the first team as soon as he was old enough, in 2020/21, becoming the club's youngest ever player. It didn't go well, he got sent off in his first game, but by the end of the season he'd made 11 appearances and clocked 1 assist. He then spent most of 2021/22 in the reserves, but got 5 appearances and 1 goal making him the club's youngest goalscorer too. This season a change of tactic and some departures has left him as my 3rd choice striker, and he's playing quite well: 7 games, 3 goals 2 assists so far. I hope to make him a starter next season and potentially have him become our all-time top scorer. His personality changed after his first spell in the first team squad, which helped his development a lot. This can be seen in the graphic of his attribute changes from his 17th birthday:

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The second top quality youngster I noticed in an intake was Dave Smith:

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Actually an American who's gained German citizenship, Smith came from our affiliate Vardar Soccer Club Freiburg in Detroit, USA. he got 5 appearances in 2020/21 as he played both our cup games and Mitryushkin got an injury. His time in the first team squad did affect his personality, lowering his Determination a point. He then spent a year at Kaiserslautern in Bundesliga 2 and their 12th place finish would have been much lower were it not for him, and when Wolves met my asking price for Mitryushkin he became our first choice. So far 13 appearances, 8 clean sheets, 1 assist, 1 PoM and a 7.03 rating., and if he keeps developing and performing he could play for us until a bigger club unsettles him. Like Brenscheidt the Attribute Changes section of his profile makes good reading:

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Third and finally, was another affiliate player Takeshi Koizumi:

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Coming from Utsunomiya Valentia, our Japanese affiliate, he has also gained German nationality. Like Smith, he made a few (3) appearances in 2020/21 but found his path to the first team blocked by Pascal Stenzel. He spent a season on loan at Arminia Bielefeld in Bundesliga 2 last season, making 32 appearances, and following Stenzel's departure has become our 2nd choice RB this season with 11 appearances and 1 PoM so far. Like Smith he also has arguably got a worse personality now than when he started. I don't think its a coincidence that he probably has the worst development of the three, but its not exactly poor either:

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He's been on individual Long Throw training whenever I remember to set it once General Rehab is done following an injury so its good to see improvement there. That some of his best gains have been made in Anticipation, Concentration and Positioning are also good to see for a defender. I doubt he'll ever be a starter, I see him as more of a Phil Neville type - a good character happy to fill in where needed but never a starter and who will probably leave in his mid-20s should nobody decide to make us an offer we can't refuse earlier than that.

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Gutted to read about the early end of your Europa League dreams, but what a nice Bundesliga season so far!

And those young guys look stunning.

(Also: Bundesliga table looks much more realistic this year. Apart from Mainz of course, but that's part of the fun of this whole What-If? I just don't really like it if everything is turned upside down, and the big guns are struggling against relegation, while all the small clubs are up there. That's a bit too much to believe in...)

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4 hours ago, Jean-Luc said:

Gutted to read about the early end of your Europa League dreams, but what a nice Bundesliga season so far!

And those young guys look stunning.

(Also: Bundesliga table looks much more realistic this year. Apart from Mainz of course, but that's part of the fun of this whole What-If? I just don't really like it if everything is turned upside down, and the big guns are struggling against relegation, while all the small clubs are up there. That's a bit too much to believe in...)

They're not even necessarily my best ones. This guy Caribali, I posted about in the regens thread is unreal:

Yeah I agree with you on the league table - for example when I'm managing Man Utd I expect to be pushed all the way by one of Liverpool or City (London clubs seem to perform similar to rl and finish 4,5,6) and maybe see the odd outsider make a CL place like Southampton or Newcastle). I think if Mainz had managed to win the league last season I would have felt like a failure as although they definitely start out with a stronger squad and bigger budget, I was hoping to have made CL spots by now. I've been shocked by Dortmund and Bayern in this save - you expect Schalke and Leverkusen to be a bit up and down, but those two are most likely going to be 1-2 in 8/10 seasons this decade in real life. 

I'm kinda hoping Bayern win the Europe League this season a) because it'll most likely hinder them in the league and b) because we lost our 4th CL spot, with Ligue 1 reaching 4th place despite PSG not winning the big cup yet, so I'd hope its close enough that one German win would put us back in 4th, and I can't count on Hannover or Mainz doing it in the CL, so hopefully Leipzig go deep in that competition too.

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January 2023

Bayern have won the league. They're 11 points clear after 18 games. 

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The Wolfsburg games was *yawn*. Mainz's keeper played a blinder, we had 8 shots on target. One of their goals was from a corner - expected, given we have quite a short squad and their scorer was 189cm, the other came indirectly from one of those classic FM19 moments where instead of letting the ball said over his head and, in this case, go out of play, Koizumi decided to head it straight to their playmaker who happily hit a through ball straight through our defence for their forward. 

Everything about the Bayern game was weird. Fatih Terim left, 9 points clear in the Bundesliga, qualified from their Europa group in 4 games and in the quarters of the cup, to go manage Lazio instead. Lazio who had finished 7, 4, 7, 10 in this save and were 11th when he took over. We were ahead but Marin got himself a straight red and they scored the rebound off that free kick, so all in all a draw was a good result. The Schalke game was frustrating: our loaned player Marcus Reinhardt (long shots: 10) scored a screamer, Petersen's brace put us back ahead and they equalised with an 88th minute 30 yard free kick. They only had 2 shots from in the box (15 from outside) yet had 10 on target which is unreal.  Stuttgart also scored a distance shot, this guy had 11 long shots, the relief was palpable when Cutrone maintained our unbeaten run after coming off the bench. We finally won at Hamburg: they equalised through one of those VAR penalties off a corner where the camera starts behind the corner taker and can't keep up with the ball so you have no idea what's happening, luckily Cutrone was the saviour again. I honestly believe we would have a chance of winning the league if I wasn't being sentimental with Petersen. However, he's now on 93 with 16 games left so I'll stick with him, and hope that people stop scoring long shots against us from tight angles when they're not exactly being left in acres of space so we can get 2nd place which would be the club's highest finish in their history (3rd in their first ever Bundesliga season being the current record, I believe).

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"domestic accident"...hmm...

sounds like he was running from a jealous husband...

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February 2023

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So after defeating us twice last season, Ivan Petrovic once again marked a game on loan against us, this time by giving away the penalty for our 3rd against Hertha. Beating M'gladbach 2-0 could almost be characterised as "routine" which is quite frankly bizarre  given they won the league in 2020/21. Hannover have completely collapsed after two consecutive CL placings, they were 18th so I felt free to completely rotate my team, and we won. Leverkusen finally ended our unbeaten run at 25 games in the league, and it would have been nice to go unbeaten all year but given we most likely won't win the league it would have been odd to go unbeaten. It was close too, they raced into a 3-0 lead with one close-range rebound, one where we allowed their AMC to drive from near halfway to the edge of the box and scored, which was really annoying, and a free kick, We then fought back in the second half, ending up with 11 shots on target, 2 CCCs and 1 hit of the woodwork, and I thought we'd done it in the 93rd minute only for VAR to call out Cutrone for about the tightest offside FM's graphics can depict. We then finished the month on a high, beating Mainz for only the 3rd time in 11 meetings so far. 

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Youth Intake

Last year's intake appeared at first glance significantly worse than previous ones. I realised upon this occurring for the second time in a year that this might be more a reflection of the improved strength and depth of our squad.

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Strangely no strikers in this one, but every other position is covered. One player was picked out as "one of the most gifted players to come through...in recent years":

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He has decent technicals already, but that potential doesn't look great. I'm hoping that's just my assistant underestimating him compared to my HoYD. 

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What's your league position now? You should be still 2nd after all these decent results, no?

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6 hours ago, Jean-Luc said:

What's your league position now? You should be still 2nd after all these decent results, no?

Yeah, I briefly dropped to 3rd in January but got back up to 2nd pretty fast. Everyone's played 25 games except Leipzig (24) and Frankfurt (26) and I'm currently 7 points behind Bayern as they've stumbled a bit (they also succumbed to a late equaliser at home to Schalke, theirs in the 92nd minute). Disappointingly Europa League was 1-legged ties for the first two knockout rounds, which a) I wish I'd got to do as it would be interesting and b) it isn't injuring all their players. I'm also 5 points clear of Mainz thanks to that 1-0, so 2nd is ours to lose. 

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March 2023

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We were dominant against Werder - the sort of performance you need to put in at least 25 times a season to be in with a chance of winning anything. Commentary on our game last month against Hannover suggested Nils Petersen had reached 100 goals for Freiburg: given that won't count any cup goals he scored before the start of the save its most likely higher, but this brace put him on 96 league goals. 

We'd beaten Dortmund 4 times in a row, but when they scored in the first minute I new that streak was over. When Cutrone tackled Früchtl in goal to make it 1-1 only for us to almost immediately concede I was fuming, but our focus on set pieces paid off as Dani Olmo smashed it in following a corner-induced goalmouth scramble. Constantin Frommann's first league start for the club didn't begin well as a deflection left him stranded for Vincenzo Grifo, former Freiburg man, to score. His second was after some Barcelona-esque one-two football. Twice we equalised, before going Very Attacking and brining on Youri Tielemans for the last 5 minutes - it paid off almost immediately as his corner was heading down for Philipp to score the winner. We're back to 9 points behind Bayern thanks to the Dortmund draw, but 6 clear of Mainz.

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I've never heard a 9 point gap referred to as a "title race" "heading to the wire" before, even if winning our game in hand against Fortuna Düsseldorf (not on the graphic) would make it "only" 6 points. 

That said, the fact that we're even involved in this graphic is brilliant progress (*sigh* where we could be if I'd just played this 442 from the start...), and Leipzig may not be retaining the title but depending on the result of our game against Bayern, their games against both of us could make them kingmakers.

We've loaned players to 3 of Bayern's opponents: Hertha have 3, Werder have 1, Fortuna have 2, so hopefully they do us some favours. 

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April 2023

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At Köln yet again an AMC we'd loaned out scored a screamer against us and Dave Smith played an absolute blinder, saving a penalty then going full De Gea with a series of point-blank saves with his feet and one spectacular one leaping to the top corner after they countered off a corner in the 90th minute because of that bug where your full backs take corners leaving us overexposed. Against Fortuna Düsseldorf we hit the woodwork 3 times, and they had a real-time minute-long possession outside our box late on where I was convinced they were going to score a screamer, but eventually we got it cleared. Bayern then lost to Hertha meaning with a win against Wolfsburg we could have closed the gap to 3 points. Sadly, we failed to clear a cross allowing Mukhtar to volley home, then saw Mauricio Lemos score a free kick too. Against Leipzig we went 2-0 in 5 minutes after half time and had another questionably chalked off (VAR claimed Cutrone pushed someone leaping to head home from a free kick but given there weren't any Leipzig players near him I don't know what's happened). They then scored a counter off a corner (again, despite Tielemans being set as a taker our full back took it, leading to them having 3 on 1 on the break), and a header off their corner (being a short team biting us in the ass yet again). 

This meant that anything less than a win would see Bayern lift the title. 1st half they kicked us all over the place, but Cutrone missed a 1v1 amid the chaos and also saw Nils Brenscheidt hit the post with an overhead kick. 2nd half was the same, Cutrone missing another 1v1 before late in the game I threw on Petersen and stuck Brenscheidt out on the flank, where he assisted Cutrone to finally win it! This was probably delaying the inevitable - the gap is 5 points with two games each left. We play Schalke (7th, H) and Stuttgart (9th, A) whilst they have a Euro Cup semi-final at Spurs then Fortuna Düsseldorf (18th, A) and Leipzig (5th, H). But still, I have to have hope of a miracle.

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May 2023

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Sometimes lack of highlights is even worse than your opposition having all the highlights. I knew, as time ticked on in the Schalke game and nothing appeared to happen we were screwed, and so it proved to be as Amine Harit got a late equliaiser, handing Bayern the title. The lesson of the Stuttgart game? I really should have played Alexander Isak more. His record this season is 6(1) appearances 4 goals 1 assist. In comparison Nils Petersen had 25(8) appearances 8 goals 4 assists. He may have made the difference, but I let sentimentality get in the way. I won't do it again, Petersen will be a backup next season if he doesn't choose to retire in the summer (likely due to his declining performances).

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Overall a brilliant season, securing our highest ever finish, only losing twice in the league, four times in all competitions. Hard not to feel unlucky though, given in the last three seasons our 70 points would have been enough to finish as champions (69, 63, 67 points being the winning totals). Curiously Bayern’s two Bundesliga titles in this save have come with 77 points. Dani Olmo joins our favoured personnel list (Antonio Marin is an icon) - given this season’s achievements, not to mention a cup final, I expect to be favoured personnel by now. 

I’ve told the squad we can qualify for Europa next season, given the added strain of the Champions League group stage and presuming we make a deep run in the cup like we did the first few seasons. I hope to raid Hamburg for Vagnoman and perhaps a CB to replace the presumed loss of Caribalí, our Ecuadorian CB who is attracting attention from pretty much every club with money. 

As well as setting a club record unbeaten streak this was the club's highest ever league placing and we also had the fewest wins ever in a season with only 2. I won both German Manager of the Year and German Players' Manager of the Year, Mauricio Caribalí won German Players' Newcomer of the Year, and Dave Smith (GK) and Çaglar Söyüncü (DC) were picked in both the Bundesliga Team of the Year and the Bundesliga Players' Team of the Year. 

As the awards suggest, our improved defence was a significant part of our improvement over last season. Whereas goals only increased by 7 (52 to 59), goals against dropped by 19 (45 to 26), and a huge part of this was the performance of our CBs. I've talked about Smith in an earlier post so I'll just show our main defenders:

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Çaglar Söyüncü has been brilliant since returning from two years at Leicester for a third of what we'd sold him for. After complaining back in the first season about a lack of aggression in our defenders he's made a great partner to a succession of less aggressive defenders - the likes of Heintz, Kock, Lienhart and more recently a couple who will be shown below.

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Mauricio Carabalí might be one of the greatest newgens I've ever seen (most saves only last 2-3 seasons, which is part of it). Exceptional Marking, great Position, Anticipation, Concentration and Agility (an underestimated attribute in that its what allows defenders to recover when an attacker steams past them on a counter). He was one of the first I signed once I took over control of scouting and transfers for myself - despite a 90 recommendation he'd never been the highest recommendation in a scouting meeting. A mere £1.5m was enough to secure him from Independiente del Valle, he's currently a little unsettled with a promise to sell him to Man City or the likes for his release clause by the end of the summer window - that release clause being £76m would be a spectacular return on our investment, but he'd be worth it. If he doesn't go, I hope to keep him for a decade.

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Pretty much everyone out of Lyon's academy has been recommended to me by my scouting team, but they're usually impossible to acquire. Abdou Gomis, who came to them via their Senegalese affiliate Dakar Sacré-Coeur, was upset at receiving only 2 first team appearances aged 17, and was transfer listed for a cut-price £1.6m. He made 15 starts averaging 7.12 with 1 PoM. If he sticks around long enough, he may be able to become Homegrown at 3 clubs (Dakar Sacré-Coeur, Olympique Lyonnais and Sport-Club Freiburg).

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I've been raiding Serbia for their young talent with great success, Milosavljevic is the only one who's actually been in the team. This was a disappointment to be honest - when beating the likes of Man Utd, Barcelona and Juventus to his £525k signing I promised him a loan move, but nobody was interested. He made 9 starts, mostly at LB but averaged a 7.08. His personality needs improvement but it started out at 7 Determination Unambitious, he could replace Caribalí quite well if needed. That's a key part of my Monchi gambit - always have a replacement lined up for every player in the squad. 

EDIT: P.S. I think we can just call Mainz a Champions League club now for the purposes of this save. 

Edited by zlatanera

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Glad to see you make Champions League...the money will help balance the books.

You knew Bayern would have a renaissance...

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Transfer Summary

Incoming we had 5 free transfers and 27 others for a total of £33m.

Outgoing we had 9 permanents (The highest value being Anton Mitryushkin for £26m) and 62 loans for a total of £81m. 

We're projected to lose a lot of money in the future, but I think there are threefold reasons for this:

1) If we actually had to pay all these wages we'd probably be a lot higher than 15th in the league for wage expenditure.

2) We're paying of £24.5m of the original bank loan for the stadium, plus £6.75m interest, by 2030. Hopefully when everyone returns from loan in the summer and we get our % transfer revenue downgraded, I'll be able to raise enough that the board decide to pay it off.

3) We have some long (5-8 year) sponsorships ending in the next couple of seasons, and the projection doesn't assume we'll replace them when hopefully they'll be much improved if we can cement ourselves as a European club.

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2 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Glad to see you make Champions League...the money will help balance the books.

You knew Bayern would have a renaissance...

Yeah it was overdue, that squad underperforming so badly was bizarre. Leverkusen were the only "big" team that in real life challenges for Europe regularly that didn't make it this year, so I think its only going to get more difficult, not less. Still that makes it more fun!

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My Tactic

I realised I haven't shown the new tactic I've used for the past 1 and 1/2 seasons. It's based off @fmsamo's 442 from FM18, but whereas he added a bunch of PIs to the full backs to cross more and the GK to be more cautious, I've left it without any PIs as I trust my multiple playmaker-type players to play a more varied game.

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Offside Trap, Tight Marking and Counter-Pressing were taken directly from Christian Streich's tendencies - as I said at the start I wanted to have some continuity from my predecessor's time, and results did get a lot worse when I messed about with a Libero.

I may look at adding more pressing to the team in order to increase our potency against the weaker sides - at the moment we're slightly too passive in some games and a change of mentality or added Attack duties would leave us completely unbalanced, but as Jürgen Klopp says, pressing is a great playmaker. Phasing out Petersen means everyone will have the physicality to pull it off too.

 

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Carabali looks like a beast. I love him.

Söyüncü definitely one of those players who left Freiburg too earls for his own good. Nice to seem him back and performing (although I see despite all his years of experience, he still kept his rather low stats in decision).

Leverkusen having a weak season, or even two, seems totally legit and possible to me. They have the money, but one of their main themes has always been that they underperform almost every year, despite their talented squads.

Hamburg and Bremen both relegated is a big thrashing and an apocalypse for Northern Germany, though.

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Cracking season :cool: Made me laugh when it said title race heads to the wire when there huge gap between you and Bayern :lol: 

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23 minutes ago, Jean-Luc said:

Carabali looks like a beast. I love him.

Söyüncü definitely one of those players who left Freiburg too earls for his own good. Nice to seem him back and performing (although I see despite all his years of experience, he still kept his rather low stats in decision).

Leverkusen having a weak season, or even two, seems totally legit and possible to me. They have the money, but one of their main themes has always been that they underperform almost every year, despite their talented squads.

Hamburg and Bremen both relegated is a big thrashing and an apocalypse for Northern Germany, though.

My favourite newgen since FM17, possibly FM16. 

Söyüncü definitely can be improved upon - if I get a decent offer (I like to get value up front plus value again over 3 12-monthly installments) I could see him leave, I've got Jemerson coming in on a free from Monaco and a young Mexican CB who could be incredible. I always look at Decisions later on CBs - I want Marking, Tackling, Height / Jumping Reach, Concentration then secondary are Anticipation and Agility - either making interceptions or turning to be able to recover - then I'd look at Decisions and Speed. 

Yeah Leverkusen wasn't that surprising. What is is that apparently if I'm willing to smash our transfer record I can get Leon Bailey for around £30m as he's unhappy they're not in Europe. I might just do it as although that'd be double our current record (Youri Tielemans, which seems ages ago now), I could easily double if not triple that if he has a good season. On the other hand I could also buy 20 16-year olds and have change to spare to hand out some improved contracts.

I never thought of that, yeah that's bad. I think they'll be back though - there's very little interest in Bremen's players but they should be good enough to get promoted, and Hamburg have much better players but few of them are unsettled. 

12 minutes ago, john1 said:

Cracking season :cool: Made me laugh when it said title race heads to the wire when there huge gap between you and Bayern :lol: 

It came out of nowhere, I'd been operating under the assumption they'd win the league since January when it began to look like nobody was going to overhaul me, let alone them. Weird contrast with some of my FM18 Bundesliga saves where with 5 games to go there'd been 7 teams in with a shout (record I've seen is 8 in Argentina Superliga, also FM18). 

Edited by zlatanera

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3 hours ago, zlatanera said:

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I could never manage Liverpool. They finished 3rd in the Premier League last season, winning the F.A. Cup. Klopp has then taken the Real Madrid job. But even if I was going to do a journeyman, I just don't think I could manage Liverpool.

We will have to agree to disagree. Too bad...Liverpool is ALWAYS my final destination in a Journeyman save, but then I would NEVER manage United or City!

I chose them as my Premier League team because I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox...

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27 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

We will have to agree to disagree. Too bad...Liverpool is ALWAYS my final destination in a Journeyman save, but then I would NEVER manage United or City!

I chose them as my Premier League team because I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox...

Weird reason, but I've heard weirder.

I absolutely hated that Klopp went to Liverpool because I really liked him, would have loved to see what he could have done taking over from Van Gaal.

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So my computer (not FM) crashed and I lost about a month of game, which translates to about four hours of tedious transfer negotiations :( 

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So yeah, I really need to turn auto-save back on - it was annoying me when I was going through those months of nothing to do in the 2022 World Cup. I'd got all the way to September and now I'm back to 13th June :( 

Edited by zlatanera

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So yeah, after heroically  pushing my way through two months of transfer window (time consuming to the max when you have 120 players on your books and a lot of those are to loan out), getting an even better price for my RB than last time, I then missed out on all three transfers I'd made last time - a great newgen ST, Diogo Dalot and Andrija Zivkovic all went to other clubs. So I quit, for now at least. I may go back to this, but it probably won't be for a month or so as I'm going to go play FM on easy mode

Edited by zlatanera

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Gutted crash keep popping up  :( But understandable you are taking a break from this save :thup:

Edited by john1

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The Lars Gruber Cinematic Universe (LGCU)

So the way I see it, you can sort of divide the progress in this thread so far into NUMBER of phases in how I've played it, so that's what I'll do:

Phase One - Challenge

I imposed a bunch of restrictions on myself in the beginning: allowing the Director of Football total control over staff hires and all contracts, having my Chief Scout run scouting and my DoF to bring to my attention the best players, and have the DoF conduct the negotiations for signings. Playing a similar style to my Monaco-inspired 442 we achieved a 10th place finish and cup semi-final in the first season, followed by 13th and the cup final in the second.

Phase Two - The Madness of Lars Gruber

I seized full control of every aspect of the club, in effect abolishing the B team. Transfer madness ensued, brining in the likes of Dani Olmo and Youri TIelemans, and along with it tactical madness that saw me switched to a 5212 with a Libero. We promptly exited the German Cup in the 2nd round as I also began what I refer to perhaps erroneously as my "Monchi gambit" (more like what Chelsea do) wherein I started using our healthy finances and the pull of the Bundesliga to bring in large numbers of youth and free signings to then loan out and sell for profit. We ultimately finished 10th in 2020-21. I switched to a balanced 442 in late 2021, reaching the cup semi-final and finished 7th in the league, meaning our new stadium opened with a Europa League qualifier!

Phase Three - 44effing2 but still a lot of transfers

In 2021-22 we didn't make it into the Europa League proper, but didn't look back in the league eventually securing a club record 2nd-placed finish! 

There are a bunch of free transfers incoming, but I hope to slowly starting ending the transfer madness from 2022-23 onwards, and move towards a more German squad (but any wonder kids like Caribalí would still be snapped up). Instead of 130 players on the books I'd hope to have about 48 (2 per position in the first team, 11 out on loan in lieu of a B team and 11 in the youth ranks). That would then usher in phase 4, club maturity where with a new stadium and healthy finances we hopefully become regulars in the European scene, finally win a trophy and start contributing to the German national team. 

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