Before I’d achieved an unbeaten season with Dortmund, I genuinely thought it was impossible.
Each year, we’d lose a game in an away game against some dodgy mid-table side and I’d whinge before not playing Football Manager for weeks. To me, anyone who achieved an unbeaten season was either ridiculously lucky or ridiculously good at the game.
But it turns out, maybe not.
Another Bundesliga. Another DFB-Pokal.
But a Champions League loss.
As seems to be the case regularly these days, it’s been a long while since my last [Dortmund] update. In that update, I suggested the save may well be done & finished as we completed our aim of an unbeaten season. This proved not to be the case, and I’ve actually completed a number of seasons since them.
This is largely because a variety of new objectives have taken priority; back-to-back(to-back) Champions League titles, a new stadium, creating a new side after dismantling the old one for massive transfer fees and, most importantly, Robert Wechner’s goal tally. One of the main joys of Football Manager is finding regens who fit your style & philosophy, and morphing them into a deadly player capable of ruining the opposition. Wechner is just that, and he happened to come through the academy. In the last article I wrote, I noted that he’d never reached Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record of 365 goals; but not because of a lack of ability, just that I’d never manage him to that point as the save was done. But I continued, and at the end of this season I checked it. How many Bundesliga goals had he scored?
Achieving a constant upwards progression under strict financial constraints is incredibly rare in real-life. However, this is Football Manager and it’s a damn site easier. Despite making a £15m profit on transfers, as well as performing a complete overhaul, we were able to turn 14th position into 6th.
Following a horrendous start, we seemed to be battling relegation rather than fighting for a top-half finish. After game-week 15, we were in 15th place. But a 2-1 win against European contenders Lazio turned our season around. After that point, we only lost twice in Serie A; a very much undeserved 3-0 at Napoli, and a placid final day performance at the San Siro against AC Milan.
The new season promised to make up for the disappointments of the year before. We made very little impact domestically or on the continent, and despite finding ourselves in the Europa League, I was determined to go far.
Transfer dealings were performed largely based on my attribute & role rating system I mentioned in my previous posts. Five of the signings were made for the first team, with four having a strong recommendation from the system; whilst the other was a keeper (Timo Horn). I’m not quite sure why I didn’t set up the system to cater for goalkeepers, but it doesn’t so there we go. Something to add for future.
Selling a few key first teamers gave us a fairly large transfer chest. One of our top performers in 16/17 was Douglas Costa, but a move to Manchester City turned his head, and the club was more than happy with the £23m fee. Max Kruse (£14m), Walter (£8.5m), Milos Jojic (£9m), Jonas Hoffman (£5m) and Erik Durm (£9.5m) were also shipped out after the system insisted they were all pretty rubbish. Leo was then sold for £6m after the opportunity to sign the high potential Lucas Boye arrived, and Kevin Grosskreutz was going to stay until a £15.25m offer arrived from Leverkusen; too good to ignore for a 29 year old.
.. okay, not quite.
Following a successful 18 months at Southampton, I suggested that if a decent offer came in for me to move elsewhere, I’d accept it. Well Joachim Loew had just won the EUROs with Germany, and felt enough was enough, resigning following his second successive major tournament win. The man to replace him: Jurgen Klopp.
When Dortmund come calling, you don’t say no. I don’t usually like managing an already large club on FM, but it’s slightly different when you don’t just drop yourself in there at the start. Maybe that’s just me.
First order of business was to put Marco Reus on the transfer market. And when the £41.5m bid came in from Bayern Munich, to accept it. There’s method to the madness. Hear me out.
Having featured radars heavily in the previous few posts, they received very positive feedback. So I’ve put a bit of effort in, and now have much more accurate data that gives values I’m happy with.
One of the main pieces of feedback was that it was too easy to reach the outer boundary of each stat. I’ve tried to rectify this somewhat whilst still keeping with the initial data collection methods.
Each boundary represents [roughly] 5%/95% of the total population. This was previously the top three leagues in Europe, but it now contains two seasons worth of the top six leagues.