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danmcconnell1

Jokes About Frankfurters Are The Wurst

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Posted (edited)

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Eintracht Frankfurt were one of the founding members of the German Bundesliga and have enjoyed moderate success since their formation back in 1899, the most recent of which came in their DFB-Pokal success back in May 2018, which in turn meant an automatic place in the group stages of the 18/19 Europa League. The club's solitary Bundesliga success came back in 1959.

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I took over at the club in June 2018 and first of all got myself used to my new surroundings.

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The spectacular Commerzbank Arena has been the home of Eintracht since 1925 and has undergone a few facelifts over the years, most notably ahead of the 2005 Confederations Cup and the 2006 World Cup. With a capacity of 51,500, we will certainly be hoping to fill the ground as often as we possibly can. After looking into this a little deeper, the club pay rent on the stadium, almost £9m a year which is money that could be spent elsewhere. That's something I'll be looking to address sooner rather than later.

Let's look at what we have to play with, as well as the transfer business I completed as I've already reached December in my save at the moment.

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There are a few names there that aren't with Eintracht at the beginning of the game, therefore let's skip straight to the transfers before a squad overview.

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The club had certainly done some handy work in the transfer window before my arrival, bringing in the likes of World Cup runner up Ante Rebic for a nominal fee from Fiorentina, Fredrik Ronnow, Goncalo Paciencia, Lucas Torro, Almany Toure and Evan N'Dicka for a combined total of just over £15m. There were also a number of players who had arrived at the club on loan including goalkeeper Kevin Trapp from PSG, Martin Hinteregger from Augsburg, Sebastien Rode from Dortmund, Filip Kostic from recently relegated Hamburg and finally Luka Jovic from Benfica. The Jovic loan deal included an optional £6.25m fee that could be activated any time during the loan, something I will certainly be attempting to do as he doesn't wish to go back to Portugal according to his dynamics.

There were no outgoings before my arrival, therefore all of those who left the club were down to me. Tuta and Gacinovic both went out on loan to get valuable first team experience, something I wasn't sure I could offer. Hrgota was sold to Dresden and an ageing Gelson Fernandes was also sold, this time to Celta Vigo. Our biggest outgoing move was for Sebastien Haller who left for Valencia for a massive £17m. He spent one season at Eintracht and scored just 7 goals, so not to stunt the progress and (hopefully) inevitable arrival of Jovic on a permanent deal in the future, Haller was moved on for a fee he is definitely not worth. Finally, fan favourite Marco Russ was sold to Legia Warsaw. He's an ageing centre back and again, I didn't want to hold back N'Dicka therefore he was moved on also.

All of these outgoing meant I had a little bit of money to spend. We were looking very short on wingers, particularly those that could play on the right hand side, therefore I took a punt on Jarred Bowen from Hull City for £5.5m, a deal I think which allows him plenty of freedom to develop in a top league. Soon after signing Bowen, a player appeared in my inbox that I couldn't ignore. Cristian Pavon is a player I've seen many times on FM down the years but not one I've ever signed, therefore as my scouts thought we could sign him for as little as £2.5m, it would be crazy not to try to sign him. We eventually struck a deal with Boca Juniors for £4.2m and Pavon was on his way to Germany. We were also looking a little light in the middle of the park too, therefore a trusty friend of mine on FM came in. Tonny Vilhena from Feyenoord became my third signing for £9.5m, by far the biggest signing of the window. An opportunity came up to sign Mohammed Elneny from Arsenal on loan too for just 30% of his weekly wage with no monthly fee, so with an ageing Hasebe in the side, an extra defensive midfielder would not be a bad idea.

So transfer business done, let's see how our pre season went.

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As you can see, it wasn't a bad pre-season at all. All of these friendlies were organised by my backroom staff before I arrived, so to lose just one, against Barcelona of all teams, was pretty good I'd say.

Moving onto August, following on from the aforementioned DFB-Pokal win last season, this meant that we would play in the German Super Cup against league winners Bayern Munich in our home stadium no less.

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We couldn't have gotten off to a much better start. A penalty shoot out won the Super Cup for us in my first match in charge which was great for the club (the eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that earlier in the post). We then followed that up with a win in the first round of the DFB-Pokal against lowly Jedellah by 4 goals to 1, then won our first league match of the season too against Freiburg.

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September came and went by in a flash. Our good start continued against Werder Bremen but soon came to an abrupt end after a 3-0 away defeat to Dortmund. We did get off to a winning start in the Europa League though, which incidentally we were drawn with Legia Warsaw, the club we sold Marco Russ to, Sturm Graz of Austria and Dutch giants Ajax. I personally think we can win the group, although there would be no shame in finishing second to an Ajax side full of quality. Back to league matters and we ended the month with 2 more wins against Monchengladbach and Hannover.

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October was our busiest month so far in terms of matches. We began the month with a last gasp winner at home in the Europa League against Ajax which was very pleasing. Two more wins followed in the league against Hoffenheim and Dusseldorf, as well as another Europa League win against Sturm Graz. We were on fire and managed another win, as well as domestic clean sheet, this time against Nurnburg. Unfortunately though, our DFB-Pokal defence didn't last longer than 2 matches this time around as we lost on a penalty shoot out against Bundesliga 2 side FC Koln.

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As we enter the winter, November saw us get back to winning ways, this time in the league away to Stuttgart. Another Europa League win against Sturm Graz ensured we would qualify for the knockout phases. We then managed yet more wins and clean sheets against Schalke and Augsburg in the league, then ended the month with a goalless draw at home to Legia Warsaw in the Europa League. 

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I've played one match in December so far and we dropped points in it at home to Wolfsburg. That was only the 4th goal we have conceded in the league all season so far.

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All of this means that we are sitting pretty at the top of both the Bundesliga and Europa League group G. Our league form has been scintillating and despite not scoring a hatful of goals, those that we do score are very rarely cancelled out. We have had one poor result against Dortmund which I can let slide considering how outstanding the start to our campaign has been up to now. It was disappointing to depart the DFB-Pokal so early but Koln should be a Bundesliga side therefore I'm not too disheartened.

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Going back to the team, here are the figures so far. Kevin Trapp has been outstanding between the sticks. He's not missed a minute so far and has kept an incredible 15 clean sheets in 20 appearances. As you can see here, club captain David Abraham will be leaving the club in January, he'll be joining Turkish side Basaksehir. 19 year old Evan N'Dicka has been a rock at the back, generally alongside either Hinteregger or Falette. Danny Da Costa has been great at right back too, as well as Jetro Willems on the left. Makoto Hasebe has played the anchor man role and has basically become the new Claude Makelele. In the more advanced midfield roles, generally we have gone with Vilhena and either Elneny or Rode. Torro and Stendera haven't seen as much game time as they would perhaps like. Pavon has been a class apart on the right wing and Bowen has shown his versatility in becoming the new number one left sided player. Rebic has been making noises about being unhappy at a lack of game time which is understandable considering his World Cup exploits for Croatia so I said I'd give him some starts to show his mettle. Kostic hasn't really done much for me yet. Jovic is of course the first choice striker and has a return of 8 so far, 4 of which have come in Europe. Paciencia has bagged a couple off the bench but is well and truly the backup striker when Jovic is fit.

So there we have it. I will update monthly as the season goes on.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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December 2018

So after a highly successful start to the season, we were looking to take this form into what would be a busy December. After the Wolfsburg game above, we got some bad news.

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Our star goalkeeper Kevin Trapp won't play again until the new year, so Frederick Ronnow will get his chance in goal.

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Unfortunately, we picked up just one win in December. It came in the first match that Trapp missed at home to RB Leipzig. We then got a creditable draw away in Berlin. Our final Europa League group match away at Ajax was a disaster though, losing 3-0 which meant we finished 2nd in the group despite confirming qualification after just 4 matches. Then 3 defeats on the spin ensued against Leverkusen and Bayern at home with an away defeat to local rivals Mainz sandwiched in between.

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This all meant that we ended 2018 in 6th position. In all honesty I'd have taken that at the start of the season considering our predicted position was 9th, we're exceeding expectations which is positive. I can't help but feel that we need to get back to keeping clean sheets though. This bad run in form has coincided with the injury to Kevin Trapp which has really hurt us. The sooner he's back the better as it's the only significant injury concern we've had all season so far, which again I suppose is good fortune. Also, we've been drawn against AC Milan in the first knockout stage of the Europa League. The board expect us to reach the 2nd knockout round, although I think they may be slightly more lenient considering the size of the opposition.

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January 2019

After a disappointing end to the year, we were hoping to get back to winnings ways and stake a claim for the top spots in the league.

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It was a relatively quiet month due to the end of the winter break. We won a couple of friendlies which gave us a small confidence boost, but our first league match back ended in defeat against lowly Freiburg which was very disappointing. We did manage a win against Werder Bremen though which was pleasing. 

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We remain in 6th place but there's only 6 points between us and leaders Bayern who have recovered brilliantly over the winter months. Trapp is back from injury so I hope we can start to keep some clean sheets again as well as grabbing a few goals to nick a few points as we approach the tail end of the season.

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Posted (edited)

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Transfer Update January 2019

Just one player joined the club on deadline day, Mickael Cuisance joined on loan from Monchengladbach until the rest of the season.

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We did make one loan move permanent also, Luka Jovic is staying at the club as we activated the release clause in his loan deal with us.

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He's got 11 goals in 24 appearances so far this season so we're now hoping he can kick on and reach the 20 goal mark this season.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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February 2019

After a mixed start to 2019, we were hoping to kick on in February and get our European push back on track.

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It was a disappointing month domestically. We got off to a decent start with a draw against Dortmund, but losses against Lepizig and Hannover were especially disappointing. We did manage to beat Monchengladbach which was a crumb of comfort though. That win came in between 2 brilliant results against AC Milan. We got a goalless draw in the first leg then snuck an away goal in the second which really put us in control of the tie with them needing 2 with just the second half remaining.

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Slap bang in the middle of the month we got some awful news, Luka Jovic would probably miss the rest of the season, potentially bar a couple of matches towards the end after picking up a broken ankle in the first leg against Milan.

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Despite a poor month in the league we remain in 6th with a decent cushion over Augsburg a place below us. A gap is starting to appear between ourselves and Dortmund and with us already having played them twice it's starting to get worrying, we need to make sure that doesn't get much bigger.

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March 2019

The beginning of March means youth intake time. I won't lie, I've never been a huge developer of talents from my own academies, I just never seem to have the patience to nurture my own players, but this may change after this intake...

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There is a bright star in there already, Marko Saric.

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Already rated at 2.5 stars CA, this lad could be special. He's got some cracking mentals there already and backs that up with some very good physicals too, I'm certainly going to be keeping him around for the future. I haven't checked this but from managing in Germany in the past I believe players have to be 17 or over to play in the Bundesliga, so he'll be sticking around for now and playing youth football to keep developing.

Moving on, here are our March results.

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Again, not the most pleasing of months in the league. Another defeat came against Hoffenheim, followed up by a draw away to bottom club Dusseldorf. We did manage another win against Nurnburg but ended the month with another defeat against struggling Stuttgart. This was all in and amongst another amazing result for us in Europe. We managed a 2-1 win away at Arsenal no less, then followed that up by thrashing them 3-0 at home giving us a 5-1 aggregate win against a tough Premier League side, I was extremely happy with that.

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Our stop start domestic month meant that again we remain in 6th. The gap between ourselves and Dortmund has increased, while the gap between ourselves and 7th has decreased, albeit only by a point at this stage. All in all as we enter the twilight of the season, I'd be happy with a 6th place finish. I'd certainly have taken it before a ball was kicked, we just need to pick up our league form if we're to secure it.

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Finally, we're off to London again, this time to play Chelsea in the quarter finals of the Europa League. We've already beaten AC Milan and Arsenal to get this far so in my opinion, there's no reason why we can't beat Chelsea too.

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April 2019

As we approached the final embers of this season, we were looking to consolidate a European place for next season as well as trying to progress to the semi finals of the Europa League.

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Unfortunately though, we couldn't manage either of those things. We began the month with an away defeat to Schalke, then a damaging away defeat to Chelsea in the first leg of the Europa League quarter final. We did manage an away goal but it wasn't enough as we could only manage a goalless draw at home after a morale boosting 4-1 victory against our nearest rivals in the league Augsburg. An away draw with Wolfsburg followed and we ended the month with a home defeat to Hertha.

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This again meant that we stayed in 6th and now couldn't finish any higher with just 3 games remaining and a 10 point gap between ourselves and Dortmund. Just 3 points separated ourselves and Schalke in 7th and with a tough run in, we faced a challenge to ensure we qualified for European football again next season.

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Posted (edited)

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May 2019

The final month of the season was going to be a tough one for us as we faced the top 3 sides in the league.

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To manage 6 points out of 9 against that opposition really does show we can mix it with the best of them. Leverkusen away was always going to be a tough match so a defeat is not surprising there, but to beat Mainz in the derby at home was very pleasing and to follow that up with away win against Bayern Munich of all sides was a fantastic way to end the season.

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The Mainz win ensured we would finish in 6th which meant the final day win against Bayern was academic in terms of league position for us in the end, but it was no less pleasing to go away to a European heavyweight and win. Bayer Leverkusen were the surprise champions, winning the league for the first time in their history. If they can keep a lot of their young talents they'll be a real force to be reckoned with.

All in all, as I've said before, I was happy with a 6th place finish. The first half of the campaign was outstanding league-wise, the second half not so much, although we did manage some brilliant results in Europe against the like of AC Milan and Arsenal as well as domestically against Bayern Munich. The aim for next season will be to qualify for European football again, but I'd be disappointed if we didn't put up more of a sustained challenge to break into the top 5.

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Awards night in Frankfurt was a very good one for player of the season Cristian Pavon, who ended with the fans player of the year, signing of the season and young player of the year. Marc Stendera's last minute winner against Ajax in the Europa League group stages won goal of the season. 

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Pavon made 48 appearances in total, scored 14 goals and assisted 7 too. For his first season in Europe he's been fantastic and a real thorn in the side of Bayern in that final game, amongst many others. The first challenge will of course be to keep him, his value has certainly increased compared to what we signed him for, but with European football on the horizon again there's no reason why we can't.

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Another bit of news was that Kevin Trapp, our keeper on loan from PSG, had absolutely smashed the clubs clean sheet record, keeping 23 in total for the season. The previous record was just 14. He's certainly someone I'd like to keep around, and with PSG offering Buffon a new contract and Areola waiting in the wings, I may well be in with a chance of at least trying to keep him for another year on loan.

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Finally, our budgets for next season have been announced. We have almost £15m to spend and a spare £150k in the wage budget, so there's room for a signing or two without having to sell, although should some offers come in for some squad players I'll certainly consider it. We have 6 players in on loan too, 3 of which have definitely been needed in Trapp, Hinteregger and and Elneny. Cuisance and Rode were only used sparingly so the wages they'll free up will certainly help when they go back to their parent clubs. Kostic is here on a 2 year loan deal so will be around again next season.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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Not a bad start. It will be hard to win the league because Bayern, Dortmund, et. al. have huge resources and ALWAYS have a surplus of wonderkids.

Especially until you can get a few of your own.

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25 minutes ago, Hootieleece said:

Not a bad start. It will be hard to win the league because Bayern, Dortmund, et. al. have huge resources and ALWAYS have a surplus of wonderkids.

Especially until you can get a few of your own.

May be a long hard slog but it's one I'm up for, if Leverkusen can do it there's no reason I can't, especially after the first half of the season :)

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Posted (edited)

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Pre Season Update/August 2019

After what I would consider a very successful season on the whole, it's time to build on what we have achieved already and try to finish even higher up the table this time around.

First of all, we have news regarding the Commerzbank Arena.

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By this time next season we will no longer be pouring money away in rent costs and will hopefully own the stadium outright and will be able to take all matchday revenue and put it back into the club.

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We also sold a few more season tickets this time around, so things are definitely going in the right direction.

Let's take a look at some of the transfer business we undertook.

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It was certainly a busy summer. In total, we brought in £56m and spent £40m, a modest total which I'm very happy with if I'm honest. Alongside the savings the club will make next season with the lack of rent being paid, I'm very happy to make a profit on transfers.

We sold de Guzman who had been out for most of last season with a knee ligament injury, so to get £4m for a 31 year old with his injury problems I felt was a good deal. Lucas Torro didn't get as much game time as I'm sure he'd like so he was also moved on for a decent fee. Danny Blum and Andersson Ordonez were both out on loan last season and didn't make the grade here anymore so were moved on too. Nicolai Muller is another ageing player and one I wanted to cash in on, he went to Hannover. Nils Stendera, Patrice Kabuya and Fredrik Ronnow also left the club for modest totals equalling around £1m before some add-ons. Fynn Otto was a deal I didn't really want to happen, but on the other side of the coin would have been silly to pass up on. He's a 17 year old centre back and has left for Dortmund for a fee of almost £7m which could rise to over £10m. Not bad for a player who's yet to make his professional debut. Kamada was another player out on loan last season and one I couldn't see fitting into our plans so also left the club to join rivals Mainz. Jetro Willems was outstanding at left back last season but I couldn't deny him a big money move, despite my best efforts. We compromised before the summer began that if a club offered £19m for him he could leave. A few weeks later we haggled Lyon into £25.5m for him, all upfront too which really helped our coffers. Also, my other wing back Danny da Costa left for Schalke after making noises about wanting to move to a bigger club, despite Schalke finishing below us last season.

There were a few players I sent out on loan too, those being mostly youngsters who I'm hoping can make an impact next season. Out went Siebert, Finger, Cetin, Tuta, Makanda and Paciencia.

Moving on, we had some holes to fill.

First through the door on a free transfer from Celtic was Dedryck Boyata. The former Man City defender was a perfect replacement for Hinteregger and for modest wages and of course no fee I was delighted to get this one across the line. Next in was former Burnley keeper Nick Pope. With the departure of Trapp we needed a top keeper and with an England cap to his name too I'm confident Pope will be the new number one. Andrew Hjulsager is a winger from Celta Vigo who I'm hoping can provide some competition in the wide areas. Sergi Samper has also come in. He's a player I really like and I see as becoming the long term replacement for the evergreen Hasebe in the holding midfield role. John Souttar is another centre back from Hearts that I'm delighted with. He's young and still has plenty of time to grow into what I hope will be a top centre half. Bernard Mensah was next in from Atletico Madrid. He's never really had the chance to shine there so hopefully he can be a real battering ram in midfield alongside Vilhena. With the departure of Willems we needed a new first choice left back, Ivan Erquiaga is that man. Signed for a modest fee from Estudiantes in Argentina, the 20 year old could be a revelation. Joel Pereira is next through the door from Manchester United. He's still a young keeper so hopefully has his best days ahead of him. He'll be the understudy to Wiedwald who returned from his loan spell and could perhaps go out on loan for some game time. Our 2 biggest deals came towards the end of the window. Leonardo Bittencourt was transfer listed for a meagre £7.75m and it was too good an opportunity to turn down. We're very well stocked in the wide areas now but there's plenty of games to be played so everyone will get the chance to impress. Finally, Michael Gregoritsch arrived as another option upfront following the loan departure of Paciencia. He's also the new club record signing.

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So, after all of this transfer business meant there was only one thing left to do and that was play some football.

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Pre season went very well as we remained unbeaten, beating the likes of Bordeaux, CSKA and Ufa as well as drawing against Waldhorf, FSV and Rennes. We won our first competitive match of the season in the first round of the DFB-Pokal against Neustrelitz thrashing them 4-0 but have had a steady start in the Bundesliga with 2 score draws against Hannover and Monchengladbach, who incidentally only stayed up in the Bundesliga play off last season, so I'm sure they'll be looking for some improvement this time around.

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This meant the table looked like this at this very early stage of the season. There are of course plenty more points to play for but I'd much rather have a win on the board sooner rather than later.

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Our 6th place finish last season ensured Europa League football again this season and we've been drawn against Anderlecht, Zorya and Sporting Lisbon. It's a tough group alongside Sporting but I feel we should be aiming for minimum second place.

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Finally, we'll be facing Sandhausen in the 2nd round of the DFB-Pokal at the end of October.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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One final piece of transfer news is that Ante Rebic will be joining Burnley in January. After signing for just over £1m the previous summer before my arrival, we've managed to get £17m for hi this year. He did a great job for us last year, particularly when both Jovic and Paciencia were both out injured and he stepped up and did a great job leading the line whilst out of position, but the wide options we have now, in my opinion, are better, so I've decided to cash in. I have noticed that Fiorentina his former club will get a large percentage of this deal, a clause I didn't notice initially but couldn't have done anything about.

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What Leagues do you have loaded? If Holland is loaded Anderlect will give you trouble otherwise only Sporting do you have to worry about.

 

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I have a fair few loaded including both Holland and Portugal. I don't think Anderlecht are the club they once were so I'm not too worried about them. Sporting will be a challenge though and I fully expect to beat Zorya.

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September 2019

After a slow start, it's time to try and kick on and get a few more points on the board, as well as starting the European campaign too of course.

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We began the month with a shocker of a performance away to Werder Bremen as we were thrashed 3-0. Things did get slightly better as we started with a win against Anderlecht in the Europa League though. I was hoping that would give us some confidence as we entertained the champions 3 days later but that wasn't to be and we lost again. We finally got a win on the board away to Stuttgart after a fantastic hat-rick by Jovic. We then followed that up with another win, this time at home to Schalke.

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We ended the month in mid table thanks to the 2 wins we picked up at the end of the month. Jovic has started the season very well and has 5 in the league already and is currently the leagues top goal scorer. Not quite the same in goal though, Pope started the season poorly and was dropped after the Werder Bremen game, Wiedwald has deputised since then and results on the whole have taken an upward turn so he'll keep his place for now.

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After the win against Anderlecht, we sit in second in the group as Sporting breezed past Zorya. I'd be happy with a second place finish considering the strength of Sporting, anything more than that would be a bonus.

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Finally, a piece of bad news to end the month. Marc Stendera will miss the majority of the rest of the season with a knee injury, leaving us a little light in midfield, hopefully Hasebe will be back from his injury sooner.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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October 2019

After a good end to September, it was time to kick on and try to push our way up the table.

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We began the month brilliantly with an away win against Zorya by 5 goals to 0. We then got our 3rd league win in a row at home to Hoffenheim and were looking good at that point. Unfortunately, after the international break we had a few tired legs and were embarrassed away to Freiburg, losing 3-0. We travelled to Portugal and got a creditable away point against Sporting. We then beat Mainz in the derby but ended the month horribly, losing to Bundesliga 2 side Sanhausen and for the second year in a row, we go out in round 2 against a side in the division below us, although for more embarrassingly this time around.

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All of this meant we ended the month in 7th. Jovic scored another 3 in the league taking his tally to 8. Only wonderkid Fiete Arp has more this season. I hope he can reach the 20 goal mark this time around after a bad injury curtailed his season last time around.

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After a good month in Europe, we now find ourselves top of the group. Sporting lost against Anderlecht which opened the door for us when we beat Zorya, so the 5-0 win really helped our goal difference as well as points total. Hopefully the second part of the double header against Sporting doesn't result in a loss so we can keep our place at the top of the group.

 

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Posted (edited)

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We have one more piece of news which I think deserves its own post, Cristian Pavon has signed a new deal, extending his contract by 12 months. His agent was clear from the start that a deal would not be struck unless there was a release clause of £30m for clubs in the CL in the contract which I couldn't do much about, but it did mean his wage has stayed the same. There are a couple more bonuses in it to sweeten him up, but at the very minimum we'll get £30m for him should he leave any time soon, which of course I hope he doesn't.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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Is the second match with Sporting Home or Away?

Good news on Christian Pavon , you might be able to keep him this season.

Dial back his appearances....Don't use him against Relegation fodder, bring him on as a Super Sub against equals and only start him in Big Matches. Because Teams will become interested if he's banging in the goals for fun with his release clause.

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Return leg is at home where we've been a bit stronger so far this season.

Interesting about Pavon, as part of the deal to sign him initially I had to promise CL qualification so if that doesn't happen this season I imagine he'll kick up a real fuss, hence the insertion of the clause in his contract, but hopefully we'll be able to keep him. If we do qualify I may look to extend the contract again and get rid of the clause but of course, have to get there first!

I'm pretty resigned to losing him over the next 12 months now though.

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Just one thing... the Commerzbank Arena was build in the early 2000s, before that Frankfurt played in the Waldstadion

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14 hours ago, Carambau said:

Just one thing... the Commerzbank Arena was build in the early 2000s, before that Frankfurt played in the Waldstadion

I learn something new everyday! Apologies and thank you! :)

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November 2019

It's been a stop start season so far therefore we really need to make sure we try and hit a bit of form before the festive period.

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Unfortunately, that sought after form was not evident in November. We began with a draw against Hamburg, then another which was more pleasing I have to say against Sporting in the Europa League at home, then another away draw against Wolfsburg. We got our only win of the month against Dortmund at home, Jarrod Bowen scoring both the goals before half time. We ended the month with a poor defeat against Anderlecht which I wasn't happy with at all, especially as we took the lead against 10 men yet still let it slip.

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This meant we ended November slap bang in the middle of the table. No more goals for Jovic this month either, but he remains the 2nd top goal scorer in the league.

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We also go into a final day shoot out for qualification in our Europa League group. We sit in 2nd place, Anderlecht confirmed qualification with their win against us, we have to beat Zorya in our final game to ensure qualification in 2nd which would knock Sporting out.

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22 hours ago, danmcconnell1 said:

I learn something new everyday! Apologies and thank you! :)

No need to apologize ;)

Good luck for you further career in Frankfurt :)

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December 2019

After a poor November on the whole, I wanted to get back to winning ways before the winter break.

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We could only manage a largely inconsistent month again. We began with another home defeat, this time to Koln, but followed that up with an away win in the capital against Hertha. We then lost at home again to Leipzig but won our final Europa League group game against Zorya to confirm qualification to the knockout phases again. We then drew away in Munich and won the final match before the break against Augsburg by a goal to nil.

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This meant we ended the month a couple of places higher in 7th, again knocking on the door of European qualification again. Jovic managed another hat-rick, his second of the season, against Hertha keeping his goal scoring tally ticking along nicely.

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Again, we qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League for the 2nd season in a row.

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We will face Copenhagen.

 

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Just now, Carambau said:

No need to apologize ;)

Good luck for you further career in Frankfurt :)

Thank you :) 

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Posted (edited)

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January 2020

We're very well rested now and ready to go again for the 2nd half of the Bundesliga season.

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We played a couple of friendlies to get the legs going again and won the both of them, the first in Poland against Krakow and the other a little closer to home against FSV Frankfurt. We carried on from where we left off before the break too with a win against Monchengladbach but could only manage a draw away to Hannover.

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This meant that we remained in 7th place, just 2 points behind both Mainz and Hamburg above us. Jovic is going through somewhat of a dry spell and hasn't scored for a few matches taking his league tally out of the top 3.

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A fair bit of business was conducted in January, mainly due to outgoings which needed replacing. First of all though, we signed young goalkeeper Francis Uzoho from Deportiva La Coruna for just over £1m. He looks strong so I'm hoping he can stake a claim for the number 1 spot. Rebic left on new years day as was agreed with Burnley earlier in the season. Pereira and Cavar left on loan going to Everton and Thun respectively. Bayern came knocking for Vilhena which was a shame as he's a player I really like, but they were offering more than double his value and what we paid for him so I was happy to negotiate a deal for £23 in the end. This funded a deal for Jack Grealish to come from Southampton who'd been relegated last season. He'd scored 8 in the Championship already so I was happy that he was ready to make the step up. We also lost N'Dicka due to his release clause to Dortmund for £8m. This again meant he needed to be replaced, hence the signing of Ezri Konsa from Brentford. Another young English talent, he's a player I'm quite excited about. The final outgoing was to end the nightmare that Nick Pope had endured since his arrival in the summer. He's only made a handful of appearances but has been extremely poor so I'm happy to move him on, especially with the arrival of Uzoho now with Wiedwald in reserve who's played well so far this season. Another couple of incomings arrived on deadline day, Ainsley Maitland-Niles came in on loan from Arsenal to bolster midfield until the end of the season and Rogerio arrived from Juventus for a decent fee. He's a left back and will challenge Erquiaga. We initially signed him on a pre-contract but the opportunity was there to sign him now for a small fee so we decided to take them up on the offer. Tawatha is out of contract at the end of the season too so will not be offered a new deal as we have plenty of cover at LB now.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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February 2020

After a positive start to the new year, it was time to maintain that decent form into February.

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Unfortunately, it was probably the poorest month to date of my tenure in charge. We began with a defeat again at home to Werder Bremen, then probably the best result of the month, grabbing a 2-2 draw away to defending champions Leverkusen. Then we lost 2-0 at home to Copenhagen in the Europa League, drew 0-0 with lowly Stuttgart and then were knocked out of the Europa League as we could only halve the deficit in the second leg, winning it 1-0 but still going out. We then ended the month with an unlucky defeat away to Schalke then finally a very poor 3-0 defeat away to Hoffenheim.

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We ended the month in the bottom half of the league in 11th. We are only 7 points from European qualification again, but with our form the way it is currently we're not going to get anywhere close.

The end of February did mean one thing though, youth candidates.

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Not quite as good an intake as last year but some really raw talent in 14 year old Andrea Modesti.

Following the Hoffenheim match, this appeared, rather unsurprisingly in my inbox.

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I managed to buy myself some more time by quite selfishly and simply blaming the players for not turning up. The board, for some reason, agreed with me and I was sent on my merry way without any more ado.

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March 2020

After a shocker of a month in February, we really need to get back to winning ways, especially after a ticking off from the board to end the month.

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As you can see, there is still one more game to play in March. We began the month with a morale boosting win against Freiburg then drew with local rivals Mainz away from home. This prompted yet another board meeting.

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I was given the target of gaining 9 points from the next possible 15. Here is the table and our next 5 opponents in which I need to gain these 9 points, or 3 wins.

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First up is Hamburg. It's their first season back in the Bundesliga and they're flying so it's going to be a tough match, but we are at home in our first match after the international break. We then welcome Wolfsburg who has just appointed a new manager so I'm hoping the bounce of a new boss will have faded by then. A trip to Dortmund follows which could be very tough although we did beat them earlier in the campaign. We then face Koln away and then finish that run of matches against Hertha at home. Again, 9 points is the target and I have 5 matches to reach it otherwise this story will unfortunately come to a premature end.

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March/April 2020

So, the time had come to really earn my mettle. It was my poorest run in charge and things now had to go my way otherwise I'd be out of a job.

Before we get onto results, there was one piece of big news that happened just before the Hertha Berlin match.

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With us failing to qualify for the Champions League, both Pavon and Jovic handed in transfer requests. Pavon's release clause was £30m therefore when Lazio, although not in the CL themselves, offered the full amount upfront, it was difficult to say no, especially after promising him a move should the release clause be met and not delivering on CL qualification. Jovic is slightly different however, his contract includes an £80m release clause, so I do have a little more leverage there.

Moving on, here's how we got on in the 5 game spell.

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Unfortunately, we didn't meet the 9 point target, winning 2 matches but losing 3. We started brilliantly with a win against Hamburg, then proceeded to lose to Wolfsburg due to defensive errors and Dortmund who were just the better side. We got within touching distance after a great comeback win against Koln but couldn't manage to see it out against Berlin, leading up to the 71st minute but for Davie Selke's brace and an OG by Boyata to seal my fate.

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I left the club in 10th place, in no danger of the drop but not challenging the European places this time around.

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I will see what jobs are available and potentially continue the story should I decide to, but for now I'll conclude my Frankfurt journey. Auf Wiedersehen.

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Posted (edited)

After much deliberation, I decided to continue my career and see what jobs I could find as we approached the end of the season when there are always a sacking or two. 

After a short while, I noticed a few jobs available for Under 23 sides ahead of the Olympic games. I decided to try for the France role and see if that could tide me over until the new season came and voila! I was the new manager of the French Under 23 side.

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Crowned world champions for the second time in 2018, France are competing in the Olympic games for the first time since 1984 and arguably have one of the best sides to choose from going into the tournament. If I remember rightly from the only time I ever took a keen interest in football at the Olympics going back to 2012, I believe sides are allowed 3 players aged 23 or over, so depending on how many had been called up for this summers Euros for the senior side, we may well see some more established faces playing in the Olympic side too.

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My squad going into the tournament is as follows.

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It's just an 18 man squad for the Olympics, so no room for anybody to be carried. The most notable names in the side include Moussa Dembele, Evan N'Dicka, a player I know well of course, Matteo Guendouzi and Mickael Cuisance, another player I've managed previously.

Also, you'll see our opponents in Group B, we face Canada, Iran and DR Congo. I'm expecting some tough ties, particularly against DR Congo who's squad includes some well known names like Cedric Bakambu and Gael Kakuta.

Before all of this though, the side will play 3 friendlies, all against sides who will not be contesting in the Olympic games, South Africa, Egypt and Ghana.

The next post will include the results of those friendlies as well as the tournament progress.

Next stop, Tokyo!

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Edited by danmcconnell1

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For those of you interested, here's how Euro 2020 panned out.

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There was a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final where France faced Croatia, but it was the team in red and white which had the last laugh this time around, thrashing the French 4-0 at Wembley to win their maiden European championship, resigning the French to their second defeat in as many European Championship finals.

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Posted (edited)

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I begin my journey as the French under 23's boss with 3 friendlies before the Olympics get underway, here's how we got on.

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Three convincing wins came against South Africa, Egypt and Ghana. South Africa had 2 men sent off in the opening 11 minutes so we had plenty of time to thrash them. Egypt were very poor and Ghana did give us a fair game, we scored 3 in the last 10 minutes which flattered us a little.

Before we knew it, we were off to Tokyo.

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We faced 3 group matches against Canada, Iran and the DR Congo before we could even think of the knockout stages.

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We navigated the group with ease. The quarter final was a very tight affair against the Germans though, we won via a penalty shoot out. We then thrashed Italy in the semi final to qualify for the gold medal match, which incidentally guaranteed us a silver medal, but of course we wanted gold. We beat Argentina in the final and won Frances' first Olympic gold medal in football since their last appearance in 1984.

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This is my second major honour as a manager so I'm hoping this will stand me in good stead for any future ventures that may come my way.

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With just one tournament every 4 years with the under 23's and as it had just ended, I decided to resign from my post with the French FA. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the French Olympic team and will cherish the gold medal, but it's time for pastures new.

Edited by danmcconnell1

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So following on from the success of the Olympics, it was time to look for work again. I was offered an interviews at Porto, Nice and my old club's rivals, Mainz. I was not offered the Porto role, but was offered the job at both newly promoted to Ligue 1 Nice, as well as Mainz.

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I took a big leap of faith and decided to go back to Germany and take over a Mainz side who just last season were playing in the Champions League following a 3rd place finish the year before.

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There is real talent in the squad and despite not quite hitting those same heights again last season, they did muster an 8th place finish as well as their maiden German Cup win, meaning Europa League football will be coming this season.

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Mainz play at the Opel Arena and its capacity is 34000.

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Mainz haven't enjoyed a huge amount of success down the years, although the German Cup and Super Cup were both won this year. Here's what we have to work with.

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A fair few of these players were listed before I arrived, therefore they may well be some business done before the window closes. After looking at the team report, I'm certainly looking for a backup striker, perhaps some cover at left back too as captain Aaron Martin will be out until December at the earliest. RB is another position I'll look to strengthen as we look short of quality there. All in all though there are some very good players here and I'm looking forward to beginning a new adventure with Mainz.

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August 2020

It was time to begin a new season in Germany, this time with Mainz.

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I only took charge on the 28th of the month, therefore have managed just the one match so far against Wolfsburg which was a 2-2 draw. Gbamin scored a 91st minute equaliser to give us a point on the road and our first of the season.

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This meant after just 2 league matches we were in 11th place.

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The draw for the Europa League had also been made and we've been given a tough group it has to be said. Chelsea are of course the overwhelming favourites to win the group and I see it being a hard slog to beat Brugges to a qualification spot, but we will give it our all of course. I don't anticipate Zurich causing us too many problems.

Finally, there was some late transfer business done following my arrival.

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It was a very busy few days in terms of outgoings, all of which were confirmed on deadline day. First out of the door was Gerrit Holtmann, he joined Austria Vienna on loan. Anthony Ujah left for Lausanne in a £1.5m deal. Danny Latza and Daniel Brosinski both joined Holtmann in Vienna but signing for Rapid. Sverko, Barreiro and Nielsen all left the club on loan too while the only other permanent departure was Karim Onisiwo who joined Stuttgart for £3.5m

The club did do some business before I arrived in terms of players coming into the club, Patrick Roberts being the first man signed on a free from Man City. He's a player I've admired for a while so I'm hoping he can make the grade here in Germany. Rafik Zekhini joined on loan from Sassuolo and Ismaila Sarr was the big money signing of the window from Rennes. Juan Foyth also joined on loan from Tottenham. When I arrived, due to the amount of outgoings in the process of being completed, I felt it necessary to a little more business. Phillip Deusch was signed by my HOYD so I'll be interested to see how he develops. Jordan Ikoko was signed as RB cover following the departure of Brosinski. I like Ikoko as one, he's younger and two, he's better than Brosinski, although my staff don't agree, Ikoko will be the first choice RB for now. Next in was fan favourite Andre Schurrle on loan from Dortmund. Schurrle began his career here at Mainz so to get him back, with Europe on the horizon of course, is a huge boost. Toni Lato was the final man through the door on deadline day from Valencia. As mentioned previously, club captain Aaron Martin will be out for a while so we were a little short at LB, hopefully Lato can stake a claim for a starting berth sooner rather than later.

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September 2020

So after a tame start to life at Mainz, it was time to start my first full month in charge as well as attempting to gain a win in the solitary Europa League match too.

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We began the month with another draw after the international break against Werder Bremen at the Opel Arena. We then thrashed Zurich in the Europa League by 5 goals to 3, thanks mainly to a hat-rick scored by star striker Jean-Phillipe Mateta. We then proceeded to lose horribly away to Hannover but recovered well to end the month with back to back wins, first at home to lowly Darmstadt, then away to Freiburg.

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This meant we ended the month in a much healthier looking 9th place, just one place below the club's rivals and my former employers Frankfurt.

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We also top our Europa League group by virtue of the 5 goals scored in Zurich.

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Good to see you still in Germany. Is there still the rule on this version about having to be at least 17  to play? 

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21 hours ago, deltablue said:

Good to see you still in Germany. Is there still the rule on this version about having to be at least 17  to play? 

Yeah the rule still applies. I have looked into the possibility of signing Saric from Frankfurt but it would take a big deal for it to go through, I'd rather see how he develops before committing to such a big fee for a youngster.

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3 hours ago, danmcconnell1 said:

Yeah the rule still applies. I have looked into the possibility of signing Saric from Frankfurt but it would take a big deal for it to go through, I'd rather see how he develops before committing to such a big fee for a youngster.

I think it came in with FM13 as I had to use youth players for the bulk of my squad in the lower divisions and I don't remember anything specific at Dortmund on FM12. It was Hoffenheim where I first ran into it after signing a couple of good Portuguese 16 yr olds and suddenly had a squad depth problem. Players still get sent out on loan which seems pointless as they can't play in lower divisions either. I still signed an underage player since but clarified that it wasn't a mistake this time, it was just worth the handful of months I couldn't use him to get the player he was already turning into.

I'm really enjoying my time in Germany with Schalke, having not managed in the country that much before. One thing that has surprised me is not being able to get a lot of fantastic young players from other clubs, having been able to at various foreign clubs over different careers in the past. Thankfully the youth system is making up for it a handful already in the squad after just a few years (including a couple already there but too young at the time). It's definitely become one of my favourite FM leagues. 

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