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