Düsseldorf Diary – Season 3

Dusseldorg Diary

Season 3

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.


Dusseldorg Diary - season 3 - transfers

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?

Dusseldorg Diary - season 3 table

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.


Dusseldorg Diary - season 3 fixtures

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.

media prediction

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. Dusseldorg Diary - season 3 - cook


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. @totalfootball71 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.

Don’t forget to check out social media:

Twitter: @marcbowen17

Tifo: @mbowen17

Tifo Group: +limitedfullback


Düsseldorf Diary – End of Season 2

Dusseldorg Diary

Welcome back to the Düsseldorf Diary, we finished the last post at the winter break point of the season. Can Düsseldorf break tradition and avoid the drop? Or will it simply be a swift return back to the 2. Bundesliga?  CLICK HERE if you haven’t checked out how the fist half of the season went. Let’s find out how we got on.

8th April 2017

Düsseldorf take on Augsburg at the ESPRIT Arena in this important Bundesliga match. It is a typical April day, with blusterous winds and heavy showers. Let’s hope it doesn’t put a dampener on the tie. Both sides go into the game off of the back of a win and both are looking to gain another 3 points in the race to survival.

Bowen not only fields a strong side but the same side that ran out 2-0 winners at home to Ingolstadt. Düsseldorf line up: Rensing in goal, the back 4 of Bader, Avevor, Uphoff and Schmitz. Bolly and Marin on the wings with Sobottka, Gartner and Helmke as the midfield trio. Top scorer Schröter sitting just in front of the midfield 5 in the pivotal attacking role.

33,500 fans fill the ESPRIT Arena in full support of their sides, building a fortress and creating an enchanting atmosphere. 15:30 and the whistle blows to start the match. The game starts at a steady pace and Augsburg sit back allowing Düsseldorf to take control. Düsseldorf play there usual style of knocking the ball around with pace and purpose, but so far have lacked penetration. Augsburg are being very physical and bully Düsseldorf, conceding foul after foul in the process. Fans and players alike start to get frustrated and the patient, flowing game they are so used to struggles to break through this tough side. Düsseldorf’s passing game is interrupted and Augsburg start to hold onto the ball a little more, frustrating Die Fortuna even more so.

The referee calls for half time and the fans are not happy with the way Augsburg have come to defend. They had given away 12 fouls with 2 yellow cards but only having 2 attempts on Düsseldorf’s goal, non of which were on target. Die Fortuna on the other hand havn’t had much success yet either, they have been frustrated to only 6 shots at goal with only 1 testing Marwin Hitz. Bowen needs to inject some sort of life into the home side before it’s too late and Augsburg frustrate them so much they cause a mistake and punish the home side.

The second half gets under way and it is evident that Bowen has got them pumped. Düsseldorf start pressing the deep sitting Augsburg and start to give them something to think about. Augsburg start to get more and more frustrated as they are starting to make mistakes, more fouls are given away and another yellow card. Düsseldorf are starting to play the football they have shown throughout most of the season, firing more shots on goal, it is starting to rebuild the confidence in the side and the fans.

74 minutes on the clock, Christian Gartner advances with the ball into Augsburg’s half. He plays the ball out to the right hand side where the full back Bader is in acres of space. Bader looks up and plays a quick ball down the line that pacey winger Bolly runs onto. Bolly takes the ball in his stride and darts into the penalty area, the defender approaches and Bolly fools him by turning back onto his left. He plays a whipped low pass along the 6 yard box where Marko Marin appears completely unmarked to tap into the net. Everyone at Düsseldorf show there emotion, there persistence and hard work has paid off.

10 minutes later, Düsseldorf continue to control the game and are knocking the ball about in Augsburg’s half without much of a problem. Sobottka is just outside the D and plays a short pass right to Bolly, who at this point is just inside the area. First time with his left peg, crosses into the danger area. Augsburg are deep and head the ball clear, but only for a moment, as Düsseldorf’s high pressing pays off with Gartner winning the ball back early and playing a quick pass left to Helmke, who is just outside left of the area. Helmke evades his man a plays a beautiful pass straight in between the 2 centre backs, where Schröter has made the run. Hitz rushes out of his goal to try and put off Schröter, but fails, Schröter delicately tucks the ball into the back of the net. 2-0 to Düsseldorf and surely 3 vital points.

Dusseldorg Diary - season 2 - game

The win was vital in Düsseldorf’s relegation battle. Before the winter break, Düsseldorf had only picked up 4 league wins. Since the break, Düsseldorf continued the fantastic form, picking up 7 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat in the last 10 games prior to the Augsburg match. The Augsburg match watch significant  because it meant that we had avoided relegation with 6 league games to go. A fantastic result to my first season in the Bundeliga, and to finally break the habit of dropping straight back down again. We picked up 2 more wins in the last 6, including a revenge 2-1 win against Leverkusen. I grinned like a Cheshire cat after that one, especially as they beat us 7-1 is the reverse fixture.

Dusseldorg Diary - season 2 revenge

Results after the winter break and the strikerless system

Dusseldorg Diary - season 2 fixtures

As mentioned above, we put together some fantastic form and results. The side showed glimmers of it during the first half of the season, perseverance and persistence paid off and all of a sudden the style of play just clicked with everyone. The rest speaks for itself really. The system is still more or less the same strikerless system I designed at the beginning, aside from a few tweaks here and there.

Dusseldorg Diary - season 2 -  451Dusseldorg Diary - season 2 -  451 instructions

We finished the campaign in a fantastic position, 9 points above the relegation places and impressively only 6 points behind a European spot. That just shows you how close and competitive the Bundesliga is. Bayern of course won the title but they made hard work of it, Köln and Mainz were battling away at the top of the pack for the majority of the season, only to slip up towards the finish line. Bayern being Bayern, snuck in at the last minute to pinch the title.

Dusseldorg Diary - season 2 table

Expectations for next year will not be too high, I am not going to be setting high targets as I don’t want the dreaded 2nd season syndrome. My only 2 focuses will be improve the squad and avoid relegation for the 2nd year running. I am hoping the board will give me a little more money to play with come the transfer window as we were awarded  €58m. My ideal transfer target will be someone who can fill the shadow striker role a little more effective than Schröter, he scored 12 goals which isn’t bad, but I would like a more complete player who won’t squander as many chances as he gets.

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.

Don’t forget to check out social media:

Twitter: @marcbowen17

Tifo: @mbowen17

Tifo Group: +limitedfullback



The Throwback Series


The Throwback series – CM 01-02

Championship Manager 01-02, a classic game that stuck with me for probably the best part of 12 years and made a huge impression on my football management life. I started playing the 2000-01 edition and from there I was hooked, but it wasn’t until 01-02 that I really became an addict. I have spent a ridiculous amount of hours, even straight days playing this game over the years and even though more recent additions have been released, I have always found myself going back to CM 01-02. I have owned every edition of FM since the SI split and have always played a huge amount of it, but I have always found myself going back to 01-02 up until FM15, that’s when I finally put the old game down and dedicated my time to solely FM.

This blog entitled ‘The CM01-02 Throwback series’ will be a monthly series dedicated to my love of the game. It won’t take my time away from my regular FM save but will just be something a little different for you, the FM community. This is purely something that I would like to write about and is just for fun. It won’t take away any focus from my FM save commitments; they will still be coming out weekly if possible.

So the game itself, what will I be doing?

Now when it comes to the game, I have been almost every team in England within the Premiership and Division 1 (that’s the Championship to my younger viewers). So I want to test my skills within the game. Do I stick with a side in England, do I travel abroad within Europe, or really test my addiction and try other parts of the world.

After thinking long a hard about what will inspire me, I have finally made a decision. I will be taking charge of a side in the Serie A and the goal is to become a dominant side in Italy and in Europe.  This time period is at the peak of Italian football so the chance to break into Europe will be tough as we will be facing stiff opposition. In addition to this I will have one strict rule that will be implemented; i can sign who i like but mainly will be Italian players to be signed for the club, with a minimum of 90% of the squad being whole hearted Italian. If i want any additional foreigners then i must offload some others in order to keep the percentage of Italian players at the high.

The Italian Job

During the 2001-2002 season, Serie A was full of some big clubs with the likes of Juventus Milan, Inter, Parma, Roma and Lazio all pushing for the title. This was during the boom of Italian football where tons of top international players wanted to be, players like: Rui Costa, Edgar Davids, Fabio Cannavaro and Gabriel Batistuta. This is how the table panned out in real life:

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1st Juventus 34 20 11 3 64 23 +41 71
2nd Roma 34 19 13 2 58 24 +34 70
3rd Inter 34 20 9 5 62 35 +27 69
4th Milan 34 14 13 7 47 33 +14 55
5th Chievo 34 14 12 8 57 52 +5 54
6th Lazio 34 14 11 9 50 37 +13 53
7th Bologna 34 15 7 12 40 40 0 52
8th Perugia 34 13 7 14 38 46 -8 46
9th Atalanta 34 12 9 13 41 50 -9 45
10th Parma 34 12 8 14 43 47 -4 44
11th Torino 34 10 13 11 37 39 -2 43
12th Piacenza 34 11 9 14 49 43 +6 42
13th Brescia 34 9 13 12 43 52 -9 40
14th Udinese 34 11 7 16 41 52 -11 40
15th Verona 34 11 6 17 41 53 -12 39
16th Lecce 34 6 10 18 36 56 -20 28
17th Fiorentina 34 5 7 22 29 63 -34 22
18th Venezia 34 3 9 22 30 61 -31 18


The options I have in front of me are of a very different position, do I attempt a relegation battle with either of the bottom 4 or the 4 sides who just missed the drop? Or do I take a mid-table side to try and push onto a European spot? Or maybe take a side that finished between 5th and 10th and try challenge for the very competitive title? After deliberating who I should be, I decided to take charge of Venezia, who in real life finished bottom and quite frankly were pretty poor only achieving 18 points. It will be a tough ask and will test my managerial qualities but I am eagerly anticipating the challenge, to be honest any improvement on 18 points is a success.


I will be focusing on working a classic 442 formation, with nothing too fancy about it. We will be playing a pressing game with a standard mentality, our wingers will focus on getting forward with support from our fullbacks, centre midfielders sitting a little deeper and one of the strikers dropping off in the number 10 role, filling the gap between the midfield and front line.

The squad is made up of pretty average palyers, so improvements will defiantly need to be made. Unfortunately the transfer funds at about £1m so hardly anything to spend at the moment. The 2 signing we did make were: versatile defender Isaac Okoronkwo and the young Swede Jonas Lunden.

throw back squad

The only plus side is that we have 2 decent strikers and 1 stand out defender. I am hoping that the front 2 can push me on to do well and then we can improve the weak areas once the first season is over.

throw back magallanes

throw back maniero

throw back viali

This will be a long term save with the overall aim to become dominant in Italy and Europe whilst producing young talent.

Still early days into the first season and only just finished the pre-season. I will be updating this series once a month to show my progress, but once again this is just for fun and wont take anything away from my dedicated save. If you want to check these CLICK HERE.

Thank you for reading and please share and comment on the series. Let me know if this is something you like or subsequently don’t want to see. I am happy to do a little more of this game if it is well received.

Don’t forget to check out social media:

Twitter: @marcbowen17

Tifo: @mbowen17

Tifo Group: +limitedfullback