Germany has often been described as the most efficient nation on the planet with their football being described in the same way. Their teams have always been well organized, hard working, resourceful and tough. Playing an attractive, quick tempo possession based football is not something that comes to mind. The Bundesliga was always thought as slow, boring, uncompetitive league with very little to offer in Europe (aside from Bayern Munich). But the rise of German football over the last 10 years has made the Nationalmannschaft and the Bundesliga much more entertaining and dominant in world football.
This all came to light over 10 years ago when German won the Euro 96 with not necessarily good football, but hard working efficient football. The following two tournaments – World Cup 98 and Euro 2000 – Germany were abysmal and the DFB made the decision that something needed to change. Why wasn’t Germany producing the talents like they used too? The likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller where not around anymore. And why were smaller nations like Croatia and a Portugal B team easily playing them off the park? With the Bosman rule in place, German sides were looking and signing players from all over the globe and simply put, the young German youth players were never given a chance, thus affecting the ever ageing national side.
The DFB knew that they needed to take action otherwise the legacy that had been built in the past could be tarnished. The DFB acted by spending around €600m on building 350 regional youth centres around Germany in an attempt to create the best players and the best league. The effects of this have been apparent with more and more young players coming through into the national side and with those young players Germany have reached the minimum of the semi-finals in the last 4 major tournaments. Winning the World cup in 2014 was a sign that the DFB’s projective planning had paid off, with 8 of the starting 11 in the 2014 final coming through the youth development system. The DFB had made a blueprint that will continue to develop youth players and bleed them through the academies and into the national and club sides. Other nations have to play catch up whilst Germany and the Bundesliga continues to thrive.
Founded in 1895, the Flingeraner have not experienced a massive amount of success during their 121 year existence. Pre WW2 Fortuna won the German championship – this was before the existence of the Bundesliga – and was made up of different regions. After the war, Fortuna was very much a yo-yo side, moving up and down divisions, winning titles gaining promotions. Arguably their most successful period was during the late 70’s into the early 80’s, reaching the German Cup final 3 years in a row and winning the competition twice. This entered them into Europe and excelled in the 79 UEFA Cup Winners Cup reaching the final, only to be defeated by the mighty Barcelona 4-3 after extra time. Barcelona having the talent of Rexach and Neeskens in their line up, they were simply too much for the North Rhine side. Even arguably Fortuna’s best ever play and top goal scorer Klaus Allofs couldn’t do enough to beat the Catalan giants on that day.
10 years later they bounced up a down the divisions, but never managed to retain some consistency. In the turn of the century they dropped down to the 4th tier and have struggled with financial issues around this period. Since then the financial issues are well behind them and have found their way back up the leagues and made it back to the Bundesliga in 2012, the following season they finished 17th and was relegated back to 2. Bundesliga where they currently still play. Fortuna are the only side to ever be relegated from the Bundesliga down to the 4th tier within 5 years, then make the massive recovery back to top flight 10 years later. This is a record that only Fortuna hold within German football.
The Fortuna fans have also a reputation of being very passionate about their club, showing incredible support. They hold the all-time attendance record in the 3rd tier with over 50,000 showing support. There have also been incidents where some fans have let off fireworks and flares onto the pitch before games have finished out of pure excitement.
The Bowen Era
Now we enter 2015, and I, Marc Bowen, have just been appointed the position as manager at Fortuna Düsseldorf. I have been lining up a potential German save for a while now, after the loss of inspiration and competition with Steaua. I was recommended by @DerFM to read Das Reboot: How German football reinvented itself and conquered the world by Raphael Honigstein. If I wasn’t set on having a German save before, I was now completely sold. I set off into the save with a few personal objectives that I will attempt to complete.
- Gain promotion to the Bundesliga – the board only want to achieve a mid-table finish so I do not expect to be in the mix for promotion this season, but this will be a slow burn to get into the top flight.
- Concentrate on youth development and try to bring as many young players into the team. Take advantage of the fantastic German youth talent the DFB has heavily invested in.
- Invest in youth facilities.
- Establish us as an efficient top flight club, with the idea to progress and eventually challenge for the title.
- Become German and European champions, a super club.
- Eventually be given the chance to take over the nationalmannschaft. Could the DFB give the opportunity to a young British Manager?
So taking over the club the first thing I wanted to do is assess the squad. We have plenty of CB’s and decent fullbacks, so defensively I believe we are pretty sound for our division, Avevor being the stand out CB with 17 pace (jaw dropped when seeing that), 17 pace, shut the front door! Moving onto our midfield I can see we have a number of decent CM’s along with some pacey wingers. Now the wingers can’t really do much else except run but that is beside the point. Striker wise we don’t really have an out an out striker, more like attacking midfielders who could perhaps play up front at a push, but I’m not really happy about that. With a massive £0 to spend on new players I knew that bringing a decent striker in would be tough.
So tactics wise I have decided to go with what strength we have, a fluid 4-5-1. Now with only have 1 out and out striker I could not rely on him being fit throughout the whole season and able to play every game. So I ventured into the dark side and have decided to go strikerless. That’s right you heard me correctly strikerless. I have been reading the jedi masters work for quite a while and he is constantly bringing success with his strikerless tactics. I wanted to play a counter press, similar to Steaua as I really enjoy watching that on the 2D pitch, the German’s call it gegen pressing. So far it seems to be working reasonably well, but it is still early days. I will for sure keep you updated with the tactical progress.
I am hoping that this save will bring a lot of fun and I am looking forward to updating you throughout the season.
Don’t forget to catch me on social media
Tifo Group: +limitedfullback