FM15 Dortmund: Unbeaten season — that’s a wrap

It’s been a while since my last post. That’s partly behind having a break from the game and partly because when I have been playing, it’s been slightly more in-depth than merely ploughing through games. In the last post, I detailed how we’d attempt to achieve a feat I had never before achieved on any Football Manager: the unbeaten league season.

Eventually we got there. It took two seasons after my last article rather than one, and it took a slightly different tactical approach. Whilst the 4-3-1-2 worked excellently well, and I would massively recommend it to mid-table teams looking to overachieve, it was a flat 4-4-2 that did the business. The 4-3-1-2 would attempt to overload the centre of the pitch, but often teams would play a very flat back four against me where the full-backs didn’t attack at all. As well as this they’d have a defensive midfielder and sometimes even defensive wingers too. All in all, they’d always have at least ten men behind the ball.

This meant the full-backs could tuck very narrow and their wingers could man-mark our onrushing full-backs. Whereas with a 4-4-2, our wingers would stretch the pitch much wider and this created more space centrally for Robert Wechner, who had a truly inspiring two seasons. He’s turned into quite the player.

At the end of the 2024-25 season, he now has 189 Bundesliga goals in 197 games. At the age of only 24, he would be 6th in the rankings of all-time Bundesliga scorers. The fact he won’t break Gerd Muller’s record of 365 Bundesliga goals is more down to the fact this save is largely finished rather than any flaws he has as a player. The fact he now regularly contributes 30 assists a season in all competitions make me believe he’d be rated alongside the greats of the game. I’ve had great scorers on previous editions of the game, but in the Treqaurtista – Attack role, I’ve never seen someone combine such potent finishing with such creativity.

Part of the reason Wechner’s assist levels are so high is the emergence of his deadly strike partner, Paulao. The Brazilian was signed as an alternate option to Wechner, as the team’s preference was 4-1-4-1 at the time. But the pairing worked so well together that it became impossible not to play them both almost all of the time. Over the two seasons, Paulao scored 60 league goals in 57 games. This partnership was to the detriment of behemoth Kemal Guler, but the Dutch striker came in very handy in tough games and the 4-4-2 with quick wingers meant we were able to utilise his aerial ability against deep defenses. He was something of a super-sub, and also scored at better than a goal per 90 minutes.

All three of the strikers being so clinical in front of goal was crucial. But the midfield also created a huge amount of chances. Martin Odegaard (0.64 assists per 90 minutes), Diego Vandre (0.60), Marcelo (0.57 — particularly impressive given he played the vast majority of his games at RB), Raffael Sprecher (0.54) and Youri Tielemans (0.51) were all incredibly creative. The fact Odegaard (RM) and Vandre (LM) led the assists table illustrates the point I was referring to earlier, with regards to our 4-4-2.

The defense also performed well. I broke my all-time Football Manager transfer fee record when I spent £72m to bring Leonardo Lopez from Real Madrid (although I gave them 29 year old Kurt Zouma for £35m in return). He proved worth it, and his partnership with Choi Jong-In was incredibly robust; both were technically excellent and physically terrifying. This meant that they could often be left exposed but still manage to keep the opponent out. Lopez’s signing was a key reason for my switch to the ultra-attacking 4-4-2.

All of this combined for a pretty dominant season. 4.62 goals scored per league game versus 0.47 conceded. 30 wins, 4 draws. But most importantly, 0 losses. Finally.

We broke just about every team & individual record going. Every player award seemed to go to us, and whilst the perfect season (winning every single trophy) is still unfulfilled, this feels like a decent time to finish the save. I might play it in the future, but it’d be at lightning speed and not interesting enough to write about on here.

I don’t know if I’ll play another save; it largely depends if something interesting comes up. Being so utterly dominant for a fairly long period of time, it’ll be somewhat refreshing to have more of a challenge. Either Scandanavia or the USA might work (if anyone knows a good US expansion download, then do let me know). If you’ve got any thoughts then you’re welcome to comment below. If you’d like any other screenshots or info from the Dortmund save then you can also comment below, or I might get to it quicker if you ask me on Twitter.

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10 comments

    • 13s

      I’m not in the game, but I use Run at Defense, Short Passing, Press More in all of my tactics. The rest of the TIs and PIs will vary depending on lots of different factors.

  1. leslie

    Hi MrEds, an enjoyable read yet again, just a short note to say thank you as I have just completed an unbeaten season as well – on my Southampton FM13 save and it ‘only’ took me 141 seasons to do it! I was using a slight variant of the tertiary tactic posted in your Wolves save (dropped the WBa and Wa back to DL & MR, Rigid, Standard, Play Out of Defence, Pass into Space, Work Ball Into Box)!

    • 13s

      Fantastic, that’s great to hear! Not only that someone else has struggled with the unbeaten season thing as much as me, but also that there’s still people that read the posts from the Wolves save. That was undoubtedly my favourite save of all-time and I’m glad it’s still of help.

      Cheers for the comment.

      • Feddo

        The wolves one of my favourite stories out there. I really like the exploiting space updates in there and am going to try to recreate the inverted wingback within fm15. Have you tried that allready??

        Oh and congratz!!!

      • 13s

        Well they’re supposed to have the IWB role, but it doesn’t really work. Unfortunately it’s quite tricky without sliders.

      • Feddo

        I’ve had a test match with cwb-a wich cut inside. I haven’t seen at work in fm13 so I can’t compair, but it seemed like a good starting point. I think it will be down to ppm’s to make it work really well.
        Will keep you posted!!

  2. El-Mano

    This is fantastic, congratulations. But I ask you to be so kind as to share more of your tactical setup for the 442 formation. The world needs to know 🙂

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