FSV Mainz 05 -3.1

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Welcome back to the latest post in our journey with FSV Mainz 05. This post will be looking at our transfer dealings post our exciting double win, if you haven’t checked that post out yet then click HERE.

Now this last season was arguably my greatest in FM16, managing to overhaul the giants Bayern, in what can only be described as a shock in German football. Our European adventure was something of a delight too, our first journey into Europe and to go onto lift the Europa trophy made our first endeavour that even more special.

So let’s have a breakdown of our transfer dealings this summer:

Starting with our departures:

outs

Not much to say here except young players going off on loan to clubs, including 2 of my prospect players, Fisch and Yilmaz. I am also keeping a close eye on Dekpo, Santos and Hulk. Vestermark came in this summer and also looks a decent prospect, this is his opportunity to develop and maybe enter the first team squad next year.

Transfers in:

Not a huge amount to discuss here, I new that in order to develop from last season’s success we would have to invest, so that is exactly what we did, but not a squad overhaul. Just a few guys who could strengthen the side, improve a few areas and a few prospects that I liked the look of. One key area that I just knew there needed to be an improvement was our GK situation. For the last 2 years I have kept faith in the aging Weidwald, who has been an excellent servant for the club. I also brought in Val, a young GK to add as competition to Weidwald but he never really lived up to the mark. His Mainz career was always going to be a short lived one once he started to throw his toys out the pram when I didn’t give him the game time he required. I’m sorry Val but it turns out that Weidwald is better than you so suck it up and admit that you are my back up. So with Val being a big baby and not actually improving and Weidwald being pretty average in comparison to the rest of the league, I wanted to bring in a dominant figure who can be a real presence not only for me but in the entire division. Now I don’t expect to go get the next Kahn or Neuer regen but I at least want someone who will command my defence and be a brick wall between the posts. Germany has always produced some very talented GK’s for decades and I want one of them at Mainz. All top clubs need a top GK, so that exactly what I was after. Finding such player though was more of a challenge than I anticipated.

After searching and scouting around I only managed to find 1 experienced GK that fitted that profile, Gianluigi Donnarumma. At 23 he is still a very young age but has turned out to be pretty good indeed, the problem that arose was AC Milan did not want to sell him. A 20mil bid was rejected and countered with an 85mil offer. No thank you Milan, I will settle for someone else. So back to the drawing board, a started to look for younger German GK’s who I though could develop into something instead of a readymade star. That’s when I stumbled upon young Raphael Bader. Bader looked great and at only 20 years old he could have at least another 15 years to grow and become an icon at the club, maybe even international level. Stuttgart only wanted 6mil for him, so we took the gamble. He was going straight into the first team and to be used in the pre-season to see how he gets on. Pre-season turned out very well for young Bader so he was granted with first team starts, he conceded 27 in 27 keeping 10 clean sheets.

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The next area that I wanted to strengthen was somewhere in the midfield area, I wasn’t sure where, but felt like I needed a dominant force to fit into the young side. That is when our next bit of fantastic business came along. Now over the last two years I have managed to pull off some amazing bargain buys, with Gotze coming in on a free and Sane last year for a snip at 4.8mil, you could call them ‘moneyball’ signings but I haven’t sold them yet, just have the potential resale value. The next ‘moneyball’ signing was a smidge more expensive than Sane. Thomas Lemar, transfer listed by Dortmund, valued at 38mil, asking price 25mil. That is it, that is the guy I want in midfield, he could go in the AM role and Bardhi could drop back into a DLP role, moving Huber into the CM(d) position, perfect. Big money move from the champions, it’s a statement that we will to be in that same position next year and years to come. He instantly was worth 40mil after arriving, that’s a potential resale profit of 15mil already. All he has to do is perform and that potential value to rise even higher. Lemar started with a few knocks but has shone in the games he has played 11 games scoring 5 goals with an average rating of 8.81.

lemar

So now let’s have a look at the first half of the season and see how the new boys have got on. Can we push on and retain our title, or will it just be a one off fairy tale like with Leicester?

Our first game would be in the Super Cup against Dortmund, most people expect these games to be like an addition to pre-season, like the Community Shield, dull and a bit pointless. This was anything but that, an 8 goal thriller going our favour. Both sides playing attacking football trying to get that win, but we managed to beat them 5-3 at the Signal Iduna. A great confidence boost going into the Bundesliga, where our opening 5 games were extremely tough, if we could come out of this period without defeat then it would be a fantastic start to the campaign. Our run was Stuttgart (H), followed by Bayern (A), Hoffenheim (H), Leverkusen (A) and Schalke (H). In a sense it’s nice to get these games out of the way but all at once, painful. We didn’t start well at all losing 2-1 to Stuttgart; followed by 2-2 draw, 1-0 win, 2-0 defeat and a 3-0 win respectively. After this point we managed to win 8 of our remaining 12 games before the winter break, losing 3 to Monchengladbach, Koln and bloody Freiburg. We finished off with a 2-2 draw with Hannover, of which I was furious about as we let a 2 goal lead slip.

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We find ourselves in 4 th place at the winter break, 1 point behind Stuttgart and Bayern but 6 points behind Dortmund. If only we kept our concentration against Stuttgart, Freiburg and Hannover, things could be looking a lot different now. Overall all though I am still proud of the team, it was always going to be a challenge to retain the title this year and by no means are we out of the race, with 17 games left and plenty of points to be gained, we are definitely still in the hunt.

1st table

The one thing that has put a dampener on this half way point though is our Champions League run, we were handed a group of Marseille, Benfica and M. Tel-Aviv, a pretty decent group to advance from, I fancied my chances well to progress. Oh how I overestimated our ability or underestimated our opponents, either way our run didn’t last as we finished 3 rd, but gained access to the Europa League again. To be honest we have learnt a lot from our brief time in the competition, learning that every game you need to be on the ball, otherwise you can get so easily punished.

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I am very optimistic about the rest of the campaign; we are still in the title race, still in the DFB-Pokal and into the knockout stages of the Europa League. Let’s hope we can bring success again this season. Stay tuned for the next post where all will be revealed.

One final thing to mention is a celebration for the brilliant Leroy Sane winning two accolades over the season. First he won the Golden Ball at the World Cup 2022, which he also lifted with Germany. The 2 nd and most impressive award was the Ballon D’Or, which he managed to beat Neymar and Messi to earn the prestigious title. A 3 rd accomplishment was being named in the team of the year alongside Thomas Lemar.

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Thank you all for reading this post and the continuous support. Next post will be the end of season update. Hopefully we can push on from the mid season break.

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FSV Mainz 05 – 2.4

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Welcome back to my FSV Mainz 05 save where in this post we discuss our new youth players and the development of our academy players 1-2 years into the first team squad. It comes at the point straight after our success in 2021/22. If you haven’t caught up with how we got on, you can check it out by clicking HERE.

We will start with looking at the progress of my first 3 academy players, who have now had 2 full seasons in the first team squad. We will look at our utility defender, Sascha Wengerek first.

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Sascha started developing at a relatively steady pace whilst having his individual training plan and a small amount of first team starts. During his 2nd season he managed to gain some more first team football including playing a number of games in our Europa cup run.  Now exactly 1 year ago I stated that I wanted Sascha to play a minimum of 10 games this past season. Unfortunately he didn’t achieve the full 10 starts but a number of substitution appearances having taken his total over the 10 mark. This is something that I will make sure he completes next season as he has approached me asking about being loaned out to gain experience, but selfishly I want him around.

Technical – 131 = +11

Mental – 176 = +22

Physical – 97 = +8

Overall – 404 = +41

Sascha has risen above his projected line of development with his attributes excelling around double the amount of the previous year. At his young age I hope to see this trend continue for at least a few more years. Now I have to state I don’t believe that Sascha will develop into the likes of a Lahm but I do think he can be a solid fullback for any top flight division. My aim is to help these young men reach their full potential and have successful careers. His focus of this year has been set as a right full back for his individual training, in addition to getting more first team game time, he has really boosted his development.

Cem Sahin

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Sahin has continued along the same projected path with his development, increasing by just over exactly the same number as the previous year. Sahin has started much more games this last season including games in Europe. The performances have always been at a decent level and he has even managed to score a couple of goals in the process. Sahin has spent the last 2 seasons training on a specific role as a Ball winning midfielder, for the next season he shall be put on a box to box training regime so some of his other attributes can get a boost. The idea with Sahin is he is to become a vital all round midfielder who will very much be part of my long term plans. His high teamwork and work rate really stands out and that he is going to be someone who I want around the club, always working hard for the team and putting others before himself.

Technical – 125 = +4

Mental – 166 = +7

Physical – 97 = +10

Overall – 388 = +21

Roman Huber

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Ah Roman, my little gem. My love affair with Roman goes on as he continues to mature into a pivotal first team player. His training programme has gone from a CM to a deep lying playmaker with a PPM of dictating the play.

Technique – 140 = +2

Mental – 174 = +13

Physical – 105 = +4

Overall – 415 = +19

Roman has continued to develop along the same rate as last season, a 17 & 19 attribute increase year on year. His performances have been very good so far and he is slowly becoming a hit with the fans. They love to see a local lad playing for the club and believe he is one of them. His reputation is increasing and he has broken into the German U21 squad. As a result of the high performances and international games, Romans value has increased dramatically, rising from just over 1m up to 15m. Roman is in line to become club captain at some point in the future, he is currently my vice-captain and will take the reigns as he matures.

Simon Damm

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Simon played a number of games for me over the season, the addition of European games definitely helped here. He seems to be developing reasonably well over the space of the season, with the hope that he can get a little bit more first team appearances as the seasons go on. It has been a little slower than other players and this is something that I will keep an eye on.

Technique – 128 = + 5

Mental – 165 = + 4

Physical – 106 = + 5

Overall – 394 = +14

Dominik Holscher

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I really like the look of big Dom and can see him turning into a really decent centre half. He has the option to be moved up into a DM role, so I may train him as a DLP for a year so we can see an improvement of his vision and passing abilities. He will also learn where a midfielder would like the ball played to him so he shouldn’t give any risky or dodgy passes away.  He is also very athletic for a CB, something which I’m sure everyone would like for a CB. Unfortunately his development has been pretty slow but I aim to stick with him as he is only 19 and I hold high hopes.

 Technique – 137 = + 2

Mental – 154 = + 4

Physical – 114 = + 4

Overall – 401 = +10

Erdem Yilmaz

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Due to the long injury to Leroy Sana at the start of the season, Yilmaz managed to get quite a few games under his belt, unfortunately in this period, he also picked up a knock so I promoted another youth to help out, we shall discuss him a little later. The all-round abilities that Yilmaz has something that I like and he did do very well when given the opportunity. His decision making is the 1 attribute that stands out to me as being very important to becoming a good footballer. His attribute change over the year has been pretty poor and something that I’m a little shocked about. I Think I will be sending Yilmaz out on a loan spell for the season to gain more first team football and see what changes happen then. Otherwise he may not make the grade. Maybe I’m being a little hasty, maybe I should get rid now. I would love to know what you all think.

 Technique – 151 = + 2

Mental – 174 = + 1

Physical – 100 = + 1

Overall – 425 = +4

Now let’s have a look at the 3 new youngsters who will be making their way into the first team. We now have a massive 10 youth academy players in my first team squad, 8 of which I have brought through myself.

Petrik Bade

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Bade is a young RW who filled in for me during the period when Sane was injured and Yilmaz had to miss a few games. The young man saw the opportunity and ran with it, making me think twice about dropping him back to the 2nd team and even picking him above Yilmaz. He played just short of 20 times and scored an amazing 6 goals during his first season. A great little prospect with an eye for goal, something that every manager would like to have.

Eric Fisch

fisch

Eric is another similar defensive midfielder to Sahin and Damm, something that we are becoming overloaded in. This is another reason to why I’m hoping Sahin can become more of a box to box and maybe even trying him at an AM role. Not too sure on that one, literally just came to me whilst writing this down. Eric’s mental attributes are a bit wishy washy, so we shall see how they progress over the season. Similarly to Yilmaz, I may loan him out and see how he does before making and really assumptions.

Jannik Gellhaus

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Now Jannik technically didn’t come through the youth academy, he was signed at the start of the season on a free transfer after being released by Leverkusen. There was something about him that I liked the look of so I took the risk and he was loaned out very quickly to … who wanted him to be a first team regular and the back. At this moment I am undecided on Jannik, although his loan was pretty successful things haven’t changed too much. Let’s hope that now our training and youth coaching has been improved, we can start to see him maturing as a player.

Thank you all for reading this post and the continuous support. Next post will be our summer transfer dealings and a plan to how we can continue to crazy ride we are on with FSV Mainz. Can we emulate last season’s epic achievements? Or will we be a Leicester City and just have 1 great season to remember? Stay tuned to find out.

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FSV Mainz 05 -2.3

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Welcome back to the end of season update with FSV Mainz 05. In post 2.2 we discussed our progress before the winter break, with our amendment in tactical play and our ability to cope with a somewhat injury crisis.

So after the winter break we were forced back into reality with a home game against FC Bayern, followed by a trip to league leaders Hoffenheim. Performances from the players are really starting to click together now and the link up play in the final third is becoming very pleasing indeed. We came out the back of these 2 tough fixtures unbeaten, with a 0-0 draw against Bayern and a 3-2 victory against Hoffenheim. The latter showed me a real sense of character from the team as Hoffenheim really tested us, but our determination and tenacity paid off as we were under threat for many periods during the game.

Top performances continued to follow with the squad managing to cope well with league and Europa fixture congestion. The rotation of the squad during the season really paid off, with many of my youth prospects getting good game time, whilst keeping a very good moral. This is the only time in FM where I have noticed that squad harmony is almost at its maximum. Only twice was I confronted by players asking about first team football, once was from back up Italian keeper Val, who technically looks better than Weidwald but he never seems to command the defence and be the presence I want from him. I think it will be his last season with me as the GK position is one area where I would like to strengthen going into next year.

The other player to get unhappy was veteran defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. Now as great of a defender Papa is, I wanted to play Simon at the back with Kempf. Kempf wanted to leave and Simon was his replacement but when no one actually came looking to buy Kempf I stuck with the two of them as my main partnership. Papa also had a 3 month injury during the season so I could give 2 of my youngsters a bit of a run. The simply wasn’t a place for Papa anymore and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season I just couldn’t promise him the game time anymore. Apart from these two occasions, we had no players coming to me bitching or moaning.

Back to the Bundesliga and the run just kept going, the front 3 of Sane, Lukasik and Gotze were really starting to put fear in the opposition. Young Bardhi who came in at the start of the season, cemented his place in the side as my AM, he has come on so well during the last year and finishes off my attacking diamond if you will. He scored an incredible 11 goals his first season and assisting 12. Sane was a standout, scoring and incredible 18 and 12 assists, whilst Gotze also scored 7 and assisted 13. Lukasik was my man of the moment scoring a quite brilliant 23 goals in 32 games, considering he had the long spell out at the beginning he has done ever so well. He was also given the captaincy after Julian Baumgartlinger left the club in the summer.

Our run continued through the season, managing to avoid defeat going into the last 2 games. We found ourselves in a great position in the table and it was incredibly close, basically 4 points separating the top 4. Hoffenheim top with 70, us in 2nd on 69, Bayern in 3rd with 67 and Dortmund 4th with 66.

Now Hoffenheim initially had a 8 point lead but recent form had dropped and were starting to show nerve at the crucial end of the season. I was chuffed with our progress so far and obviously wouldn’t turn down a run for the title but would happy anywhere in the top 4. Our last 2 games were against Gladbach and away to our arch rivals Frankfurt, 2 very tough opponents. All I knew is that we needed to continue the rich form, give it our all and hope that other results went our way.

We managed to demolish Gladbach 4-1 at the Klopp Stadium, goals coming from Sane and a hat trick from Jakub Lukasik. Taking it down to the wire, we was technically still in it with a game to go. All 4 sides still very close, it could be anyone of us to lift the title.

So it all comes down to this. the final game of the 21/22 Bundesliga season and what better way to end it with an away trip to arch rivals Eintracht Frankfurt at their fortress that is Commerzbank-Arena. I field a side that would clearly be the strongest and one who I had ultimate faith that the would put a shift in and do the very best for the team. Weidwald in GK, with Kuijpers, Kempf, Simon and Schmeltzer making up the back 4. Huber and Christiansen in the middle with Bardhi just in front of them, Gotze and Sane on the wings, with Lukasik our main man up top.

The game started and after 14 minutes we were 1-0 down to a Brayan Perea goal out of nothing, oh God please don’t let us be dicked right at the end, we have worked so hard. A live score update shows us that Hoffenheim are losing to Köln, not only that but they are 2-0 down. Come on lads, let’s turn this round, this is our chance. To make matters worse Bayern were in the lead against Braunschweig, they were currently sat top of the live table. Half time and we are still 1-0 down and the worst part is we haven’t even looked like scoring, a shadow of the last 20 games. I sat the boys down and calmly asked them “do you even want to win this match?”

Credit where it’s due Frankfurt played a very good first half, all I was hoping for no was a response in the second 45. a response is exactly what we got and on 48 minutes the boy wonder Lukasik popped up to level the game. Bayern were now 2 up and top by goal difference. Just past the hour and Bayern were 3 up and cruising, Hoffenheim managed to square things off at 2-2, what a dramatic end, but till enough time for another twist.

At this point I use the ‘touchline team talk’ and try to encourage the lads to push on, in search of a winner. Bingo, Lukasik pulls another one out the bag, we are now 2-1 up and looking good. Word is getting around the stadium that Hoffenheim have gone behind again, its now 3-2, drama with 15 minutes to spare. Then with 10 minutes to go Mario Gotze slides a cracking ball through the high line of Frankfurt and Lukasik is onto it in a flash, he takes one touch in his stride, then from an audacious angel drives the ball into the back of the net with his left foot. 3-1 up with just over 10 minutes left of play, the fans are delirious. Surely we can hang on, surely.

Then it blows…

glory

Not only have we beaten our arch rivals 3-1 in their own back yard, but little old Mainz, went there and won the Bundesliga. Something that at the start of the season I neve thought would have been possible. i believed the side could be handy and cause a threat and generally hoped for 5th or above, never did I think we could go all the way under the radar and sneak in at the end, pure magic.

final fixtures

table

To make this incredible season even more of a epic one, we managed to gt ourselves to the Europa League final. Our run was pretty kind to us and we managed to draw Sampdoria in the final and well all I can say is… we made the season a double winning season. A 3-0 win in Lisbon saw Mainz bring home a European trophy home. Another excellent achievement for us as a club and the players. All the young academy boys who have come through and played a part in the historical year. No one more than my little gem of a midfielder, Roman Huber. I have grown a real soft spot for Huber and I’m not the only one, Roman picked up the fans player of the year award, beating the likes of Gotze, Lukasik and Sane.

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So where do we go from here, well next season FSV Mainz will get to taste champions League football. I will look to strengthen but only in areas where I see fit, it definitely wont be a huge spending bonanza just because we won the league. 3 more youngsters will make their way into the squad and the next post will be taking a closer look at them and the development of the last 6.

Thank you for reading, I really hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have playing it. Writing about it brings back the same feeling making the glory even more special. Crazy to think this is where we have come since Dusseldorf sacked me.

Thank you again for reading and continuing to support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, follow and share. If you think of any improvements to the blog or any feedback at all please comment or send me a DM.

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FSV Mainz 05 – 2.2

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Welcome back to the next instalment in my Mainz career. We are that point again, the winter break, so a perfect time to update how we have been doing. In  FSV Mainz 05 – 2.1 we covered the transfer deals of the summer and the tactical issues we were facing, especially in the RW position.

So at the start of the season the club was buzzing from the arrival of Leroy Sane but things didn’t start off the way I had hoped for. Before we approached our first game, Sane picked up an injury in training forcing him to the sidelines for 3 months. To make matters worse our wonderkid striker Jacob Lukasik picks a 2 month injury forcing him to also miss the start of the season. Now people will always tell you that things always come in 3’s, well in this case those people were absolutely correct. Mario Gotze forced off in our first competive game with a torn groin muscle, putting him on the shelf for 3 months. Just as FM likes to stick 2 fingers up every once and a while our opening Bundesliga match is against champions and German powerhouse FC Bayern.

So my front 3 all injured for effectively the first quarter of the campaign, this means a start for my youngster Yilmaz. I also promoted another youth Petrik Bade who plays on the right side of midfield to act as rotation with Yilmaz. Zoltan Imrik will also get to play on the left leaving an opening up top for new signing, American Michael Hawkins.

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Now considering the injury problems hindering the start of our season, my faith in the youngsters actually work very well for me. Apart from the inevitable defeat to Bayern, we went on a great run, unbeaten in 10 games. The remain 6 games finished with 2 win, 2 draws and 2 defeats, 1 I accepted against Dortmund but I rested quite a few players against Dresden as they were sat bottom of the table with only 8 points. In typical FM fashion, they beat us and not only beat us, they kicked us off the park. Livid at the full time whistle was an understatement. But considering this blip, we found ourselves in 4th place only 5 points behind Hoffenheim at the top, you read right, Hoffenheim. Overall a promising start for the carnival club and I am hoping that now the front 3 are all back, they can slowly start forming an effective attacking trio and push us onto bigger and better things.

The DFB-Pokal was a very short lived affair, which due to our entry into the Europa League i’m not overly fussed about. We smashed Altludersdorf 4-0 but then were drawn once again against giants Bayern. We put up a fight and my young guns impressed me by taking the game to extra time following a 1-1 draw. We came undone to an extra time goal making the final score 2-1.

Our Europa campaign saw us have to go through 2 qualifying rounds just to get to the group stage. First up was Zurich which we dismantled 5-1 over the 2 legs and secondly Belorussian side Shakhter Soligorsk which we dismantled 8-0 on aggregate. I felt a little bad for them only because in CM 01-02 they had a player called Sergei Nikiforenko, a player who would become an icon in almost every save I had on that game. What a player. Sorry, back to the Europa League, our group saw us draw a relatively easy group with the likes of Qarabag Agdam, which we beat 5-1 and 3-1, Krasnodar, which we also beat 3-0 and 2-0. Our only touch opponent was Sporting (POR) which we also picked up points against beating them 2-0 at home and a stunning 3-3 draw in Lisbon. We qualified top o the group and await the mighty Torino in the next round.

Now over a number of posts I have discussed my tactics and how I want the side to play. I have also discussed the issues I was having, especially on the RW. After some analysis in my opening few games I looked at the movement of the midfield and the front 3.

tactics

I decided  that my CM(a) wasn’t joining the attacking movements as well as I would like, he also seemed to be treading on my DLP(s) toes quite often. So I pushed him up as a AM(s), where from his position he joins in the attacks nicely supporting the AF from deep. I also changed my RW to an IF(a), matching the opposite flank. As we a playing fairly wide this still offers us width and with both FB’s on support duty, we have the option to overlap if needed. The goal threat that this has now created has made us more clinical in the final third. No longer do we miss the target aimlessly, instead we create lots of decent chances and most importantly we take a large number of them.

Instructions wise, I have taken the early cross tab off as now we focusing on cutting inside and the work ball into box option fits in very well here. I have also asked the lads to play at a slightly slower tempo, I want it to be pretty quick still but just for them to have a little patience and though before charging forward. The last extra instruction is to be a little more expressive. Due to us having Gotze and Sane, I may as well use their expressive talent to good use. This gives them all much more creative freedom and encourages them to move more fluidly in our pressing system. They tweaks should hopefully now be the last as our performances have really improved and some of the football we are playing is great to watch.

Just to round up with Italy, we won the Confederations cup so that’s 2 international competitions wins for me.confederations.png

We have also qualified top for the World Cup in the summer. We suffered 1 defeat in the process and I can only called it one of those bloody FM situations where you do everything but win.

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Join me again for the next instalment for the end of season review.

Thank you again for reading and continuing to support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, follow and share. If you think of any improvements to the blog or any feedback at all please comment or send me a DM.

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FSV Mainz 05 – 2.1

leroy sane

Transfers

After a very good first season and the anticipation of the new campaign, let’s have a look at our transfer dealings doing into the 2021/22 season.

Now after the very good performances from last season, the vultures were circling and turning the heads of a large number of our players. I knew that things were going to be very difficult trying to keen hold of the nucleus of our side. But unfortunately the vultures had turned a few heads. No less than 5 players stormed into my office demanding a move because as bigger club was on the prowl.

Gotze, Kempf, Correa, Gallardo and Lenis all wanted a move to a bigger club. Now i believe that everyone has a price but I will only sell if I think it is right for the club. let’s have a look at who left during the summer.

outs

The Gallardo and Correa deals also have additional add on’s so more money could be coming our way. Gallardo was the one I really didn’t want to let go of but ultimately I couldnt have an unhappy player bringing the atmosphere down in the rest of the squad.

So 2 right wingers have gone, 2 star CM’s have gone, my RB has retired and 2 older more experienced CM’s have left for a new challenge. A whole lot of rebuilding and an opportunity to give some of the youth prospects more time.

Let’s have a look at the replacements that we made.

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Some marquee signings with the likes of Leroy Sane for 4.8m, Bayern just didn’t see him in their plans. Their loss is our gain. Let’s have a look at some of the other signings in a little more detail.

Michael Hawkins

hwkins

Hawkins contract was due to expire, so I nipped in there quickly and picked him up for a small fee of 2.2m. Initially Hawkins was brought in as back up to Lukasik, but Lukasik picked up a 3 month injury so Michael will get his opportunity to show me what he can do. He has some very good attributes and hopefully he can add a little extra.

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Now Simon was brought in as a replacement for Kempf, but Atletico never acted on their interest, so he now will partner Kempf. He got some valuable first team experience with Leverkusen last season and I really like what he has to offer. His value has also increased instantly so I am hoping for potential resale here.

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Now Kuijpers was brought in as a replacement for my retired RB, I was pretty desperate here as there were lots of very expensive overly priced players out there and at 14m Brian is nowhere means cheap. in an ideal world he wouldn’t be my ideal signing, he was more of a panic buy as I really struggled to get what I wanted. Overall he is pretty decent, it’s just he aggression that lets him down, he is a bit of a softy with not much desire. On the flip side his value has increased so I’m hoping he will do well for a year then move on for more money so I can get the ideal RB.

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Young Salmir here was brought in as a clear replacement for Correa and at a snip. At 21 he looks great and I can only see him improving, he has some great attributes, with aggression and first touch really standing out to me. He can mould into a proper leader for the side. I am very excited to see how he develops.

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Lastly an old favourite of mine, I guy who I am very familiar with as he was at Dusseldorf for a while before Schalke snapped him away from me. He fell out of sorts with them and he was mine for the taking. Gallardo you were fantastic and I wish you the best but I have you replacement for just over 20% of you sale price. Max is an all rounder and can do a decent job in any role in the midfield, I am yet to decide if he will be my playmaker or my defensive CM.

The next post will look at how the season has planned out so far and how the tinkered system is working. We shall return at the mid season break.

Thank you again for reading and continuing to support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, follow and share. If you think of any improvements to the blog or any feedback at all please comment or send me a DM.

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FSV Mainz 05 -1.4

Mainz6

Welcome back to the FSV Mainz 05 series where  last post we look at my youth players and the impact of training and first team experience. This post we are looking at how the season ended and where we shall go forward tactically.

So let’s cut right to the chase, how did we end up? If you cast your minds back to the mid-season post, we were sat nicely in 6th place, with a mixed bag of results, mainly too many draws. Deep down I knew that it would be a matter of time before the new faces would start to understand the system better and blend well as a team. After the winter break we actually put together a decent run of form, beating rivals Frankfurt and Wolfsburg, only to be stopped in our tracks by bottom of the table Augsburg. After that another 6 match unbeaten run picking up 2 draws and 4 wins, including revenge against personal rivals Dusseldorf. Although it seems like years ago I was there it’s still pretty raw, but unbeaten in 3 since they dismissed me, happy times.

With the recent run of form we were charging up the table until we were knocked back again from leaders Bayern, it’s always them, haven’t been able to beat them yet since the save started. A 1-0 defeat due to Lewandowski reacting to a weak back pass from Kempf to our keeper, it’s a shame but these things happen.

We finished on a high in our final 4 games, especially as we were up against Hertha, Hoffenheim, Dortmund and Leverkusen. An impressive run saw us pick up 3 wins with 3 clean sheets and a 1-1 draw with Dortmund.

league

As you can see we had a cracking first full season with Mainz with us finishing in a very respectable 5th place. Our defensive record was the 2 nd best in the league behind Bayern, this is something I am immensely proud of and considering we play offensive football it is good to see we are solid in positions to cover on the break. On the flip side we really did not score enough even though we would have plenty of chances to kill a game, we struggled to penetrate. Overall though a very pleasing first season with European football awaiting us next season.

achievment

The cup run was pretty successful only to be denied a trip to the final from and extra time goal from Dortmund.

pokal

So how can we move forwards?

In the mid-season post I discussed the tactical view and the philosophy I have put in place on the brand of football we play. Aside from our league finish, I want to turn those draws into wins. Defensively we are pretty tight and although we control most games, we simply don’t punish teams.

So let’s look and discuss the changes I am going to implement. As mentioned in my last tactical piece my AML was set to a AP(s) so he could drift infield picking up the pockets of space and exploiting them. My intentions were for Mario Gotze to thrive in this role but his performances were nothing spectacular. I also stated that I found the IF to be too direct, well that maybe exactly what we are missing, a little more direct goal threat. Gotze here should be more of a threat towards the opposition’s goal or at the very least it could give them something to worry about.

Another thing I was concerned with was our BBM, he was giving a little too much space behind him, something which could have caused us problems along the way. This I changed during the season and believe helped towards our form during the 2 nd half of the campaign. He was changed to a DLP(s) so he would dictate the play from the middle, joining in with attacks but being cautious of the space behind him. Gallardo sat in this role beautifully and he picked up a fantastic average rating of 7.84.

tactics

Another thing that I am planning on changing is a few team instructions. I wanted us to play short simple passes around the midfield breaking down the opponents and working the ball into the box, not having hopeless long range efforts spooning into the stands. The issue that I found with this is we seemed to hold onto the ball too much and not really doing much with it. Another issue we had was our Right Winger Lenis was great at making intelligent runs and being in great positions for a cut back, but the selfish bugger would always shoot, regardless of how tight the angle was and even though his PI was to pass rather than shoot. Very very frustrating indeed. I am hoping that I can train Yilmaz to play this system exactly how I want a RW too and cut the bloody ball back to our striker or an advanced midfielder.

So my thinking of how to be more clinical in front of goal was to remove the retain possession and work the ball into the box instruction and replaced them with be more expressive and look for earlier crosses. In my mind I am hoping this will go well with the quick short game we currently play. As preseason approaches I am eager to try the new adapted system out in the upcoming friendlies and Europa qualifiers. Another thing I may try would be to push the mentality up to attacking but we shall see how thing pan out first.

instructions

Oh one last thing, I won the confederations cup with Italy and I getting continually ticked off with international management on FM. I will aim to stay around for next years World Cup but may resign afterwards. My original aim was to become German manager but with international management being so poor in FM I my reconsider this. Watch this space…

Thank you again for reading and continuing to support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, follow 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:

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FSV Mainz 05 – 1.3

 

Mainz4

Welcome back to the next instalment in this series. We are currently at the end of the season, but all season results and analysis will be in the next post. This post will be on the development of my young players, what has worked, what hasn’t worked so well and what I will try in the future.

I mentioned in FSV Mainz 05 – 1.1 that my focus will be on developing young and academy players so they are ready for first team football, something in which I admit I have been pretty poor at in the past. Today we look at the same 3 players at the start of the season and what they look like now. We shall look at the factors that will influence their own development, such as:

  • Coaches & Facilities
  • Individual training routines
  • Tutoring
  • Game time

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Now as you can see we done have the best training facilities in the World, hell not even in Germany, but the coaches we have can still make a difference on our players development. In the Bundesliga we are ranked at 1st in all categories except fitness which we are 2nd, so this tells me may coaching staff are the best in comparison to our rivals and our players should benefit. My Head of Youth is also going to give huge benefit to finding the prospects on intake day and influencing their development, his overall attributes are average but in my view he has high numbers in all the essential areas including a determined personality.

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So let’s start by looking at one of the lads I showed you previously, Sascha Wengerek.

Wengerek

Now at 17 years old Sascha shows me that he has potential to grow and with the ability to play anywhere across the back line could become and ideal utility defender. His only downside is his height, at 5″4″ he is possibly one of the smallest players I have ever seen on FM, so realistically he will be more suited to a fullback position. The things that stood out to me initially with Sascha was his first touch, aggression and teamwork. the last two are clearly great currently but the first touch has room to increase higher, these are 3 attributes that I look at when signing players for the first team, they all have a huge influence on the high pressing system we are building, more on that next post.

I wanted an initial all round increase to start with and his individual training regime was set as a Complete Wing Back on the Right. This focuses heavily on a huge amount of attributes specific to this role and can be influential in carving Sascha into a great all round Right Back. He also had an additional focus on strength so his tiny little frame doesn’t blow over in a strong wind or so he doesn’t take off when accelerating.

Sascha started with:

  • Technical – 114
  • Mental – 145
  • Physical – 82
  • Overall – 341

End of season:

  • Technical – 120 +6
  • Mental – 154 +9
  • Physical – 89 +7
  • Overall – 363 +22

An increase of +22, For a 17 year old with average training facilities in my view is pretty good. He made 9 first team appearances during the season playing across all 3 defensive roles so he gained a variety of experience there. He also spent the season being tutored by our veteran right back Brosinski. All together this has aided towards his development towards a decent player. Next season I shall aim to start a minimum of 10 games and continue with the CWB training regime. The following 2 years he shall change to Full Back as his individual plan and by then having a minimum of 20 games under his belt. He will then be 20 and hopefully have increase along this same pattern of trajectory.

Sascha

The next prospect was Cem Sahin our little Turk who I like the look of a lot.

Sahin

Sahin’s individual plan was set a to train as a CM with the role of a ball winning midfielder. This would go in conjunction with some of his better attributes but for me pushing his aggression to help with pressing opponents. He was tutor by defensive midfielder Oldrup Jensen and managed 12 appearances over the season, mainly from the bench but all helped with his learning. Sahin increased overall by +20, taking his rating from 350 to 370. Once again very pleasing and will aim for him to have more starts next season and continue as a BWM so he can push on. The following 2 years will be firstly a general CM then as a DLP so he becomes more versatile.

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The last but defiantly not least, my favourite of the 3, Roman Huber.

huber

Now Huber is a  local lad and is clearly an all round better player than Sahin and Sascha. Now he played a massive 34 times over the season filling in beautifully in the CM(d) role, 28 of the 34 were starting positions. His training plan was as a CM an all round to start with and next year push on to more of a ball winner. Now his determination is 11 but Guido done a fantastic series on youth development and the experiment showed that determination isn’t the be all and end all when development is concerned. He was tutored by club captain Baumgartlinger who filled that role excellently last year, he gave the lad vast experience of playing in the Bundesliga. Also Huber’s personality is Professional which also should show good progress. in comparrission to the first two Huber only increased by 17, which is still great and has come on very well, but I’m puzzled to why. Maybe his hidden attributes held him up here, or maybe more determination is needed here, or maybe it is actually only a small amount and I should just stop bitching. Either way he has improved and I really am developing a soft spot for Huber. I can see him as becoming a vital pivot in the side for year to come and eventually becoming captain lifting trophies and tutoring younger prospects as they come through. Sorry i got all excited and carried away there. Have a look a Huber now and you’ll probably understand.

huber

Now as mentioned in 1.1 I will be looking to bring a minimum of 3 players up from either the U19’s or the 2nd team. Let’s meet the lads and we can see there development next year.

Simon Damm

damm Simon I see as a similar player to Huber and Sahin, the spine of the midfield. With 6 attributes 15 or above I’m looking forward to his progression.

Dominik Holscher

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Big Dom will be a great CB in the future and will also train him to push up as an Anchor Man so he can be more versatile as he ages.

Lastly Erdem Yilmaz

yilmaz

This season I have struggled with consistancy on the right wing, Yilmaz will 100% give me a different option and be taught to play how I want as opposed to trying to teach old dogs new tricks, which is proving tougher than a $2 steak. His defensive game shall also make his pressing skills more effective and he could develop into a great winger.

I am looking forward to seeing these 3 grow with my eyes glanced over many others that I wont bore you with now.

I will be back with another quick update in a few days on our season stats and where we shall go next with Mainz and Italy.

Thank you again for reading and continuing to support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, follow 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