Welcome back to the Düsseldorf Diary, we are at the end of season 3. Firstly apologies for the delay in this post coming out, I’ve had some time away with the family and have been distracted by the Euro’s.
We were given a massive transfer budget in comparison to last season, a massive €16m war chest. Overall our funds were spent very wisely to build the squad, many of our signings were a free transfer or a few loans to add numbers. My first 3 signings, all on a free, were arguably my most important of all the signings. The fact they were free makes them even better. Clemens, a very talented winger who was instantly worth €8.75m, great addition to the team and a great potential resale. Jan Kirchhoff, costing me a massive €38k a week, but to be honest, there aren’t many home grown defenders with the size, strength and pace that he has. He instantly comes in to the team and strengthens in massively. Lewis Cook, my favourite of the 3 freebies, a hugely talented young midfielder who demands the ball and influences the game. He is like a conductor of play, I also didn’t know until midway through the season but he is classed as a wonderkid, eyes wide, cha-ching.
A few other signings also boosted my team, including attacking left back Günter from Freiburg, Holzhauser, a young Austrian deep lying playmaker, and my record signing, €8m Max Christiansen from Ingolstadt. Max is a young talented holding midfielder but he has all the attributes for a ball playing CB. So that’s were he has been playing for me and hasn’t disappointed. Schröter returns to us on loan again to lead the line in the shadow striker role, I mentioned last time I wanted to improve in this area but couldnt afford or attract anyone else to fit that position. This is somewhere I will make a priority next season.
So how did we get on?
The board expectations were to avoid relegation and like I mentioned before i didn’t want the dreaded 2nd season syndrome. We saw those expectations and we smashed them out of the park. the lads really clicked together well and put in some exceptional performances. As the table shows an incredible 6th place finish and European football next year for Düsseldorf. The Bundesliga itself was very close at the top with only 4 points seperating the top 3, Leverkusen just piping it in the end. 4th place was decided on the last game and Bayern just got it, with ourselves and Mainz right on there heels. Only finishing 1 point outside of a CL place has literally blown my mind. Obviously I believe that we will be winning it at some point, but never thought we would be this close this soon into the career. Truly amazing.
Some brilliant results along the way including wins against Leverkusen, Schalke, Mainz and Wolfsburg, not forgetting some memorable draws against Bayern and Dortmund. My only disappointment was resting a few key players against Bochum in the DFB-Pokal, a really poor performance and Valdes conceding 4 against a Bochum side in 2. Bundesliga and they only had 4 shots in the match. Next year I want to progress in this competition as well as building my reputation in Europe.
I was awarded manager of the season to add to my accolades, something that I am very proud of and hope to continue in the future.
The board have made an attempt to purchase the ESPRIT Arena from the council, which will boost our finances. It also means I doubt I will get a new stadium anytime soon, The only hope is that when the deal goes through they rename it. Hopefully after an icon, hopefully that icon will be me, but I am not holding my breath for this.
Another positive this season is the performances from my wonderkid Lewis Cook, his dazzeling play has earned him a call up to the England team and he got his first cap. What makes this so brilliant is that Ranieri is the England manager, he continues his mastermind managerial skills he showed at Liecester and won the World Cup 2018 in Russia. Bloody Ranieri, the tinkerman.
France, Italy and Portugal all were knocked out in the group stages and subsequently sacked their managers. After the season I had, I was a wanted man and offered the job for them all. I deliberated over it for a while as my long term aim is to become the German manager. Will it be an advantage taking another international job boosting my national skills, or would they see it as a negative being in charge of a European rival? I put it out as a poll on twitter to the FM community and the outcome was 50% in favour of the Italians. I also was given some good advice to take it, have success and beat Germany so badly they have no choice but to hire me as manager.
So taking the Italy job I have my wired Euro league group with France and Germany, it is going to be a challenge but fun. I am hoping to try something out of my comfort zone and aim to keep Italian tradition by having a 532 or a 352 system, a catenaccio if you will. I have always wanted to try a libero but have never had the bottle, wether I give it a go or not we shall see, but the solid system is a definate. @ is currently doing a Inter save and is working on a simular system that was so effective and historical in Inter’s success. Check him out at https://t.co/dmDPJNEQVq
Thank you again for reading and the continuous support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, subscribe and share. If you think of any improvements to the blog or any feedback at all please comment or send me a DM.