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Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Updated: 24 February 2018 > Season 9 - 2024/5 > Full Report)

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#21 UKFMManager803



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Posted 02 June 2017 - 01:26 PM

The Road to Season 3 [2018/9]


Transfers In (£74m+)




Transfers Out (£75m+)




Team Training Schedule (Season 3)


1.     Week commencing 25 June 2018 > Fitness (Low) + Match Training (Minimal).

2.     Week commencing 2 July 2018 > Fitness (Average) + Match Training (Moderate).

3.     Week commencing 9 July 2018 > Fitness (High) + Match Training (Moderate).

4.     Week commencing 16 July 2018 > Team Cohesion (High) + Match Training (High).

5.     Week commencing 23 July 2018 > Ball Control (Average) + Match Training (Very High).

6.     Week commencing 30 July 2018 > Tactical (High) + Match Training (Very High).

7.     Week commencing 6 August 2018 > Balanced (High) + Match Training (Very High).


·       Until Tactical Familiarity of any new players is up to speed > Balanced (High) + Match Training (High).

·       Then until the start of February 2019 > Balanced (High) + Match Training (Moderate).

·       Then until the end of the season > Balanced (Average) + Match Training (High).


Pre-Season Results




Squad Numbers by XI


First XI (£243m)




Second XI (£137.5m)




In Reserve & Marinating Youth







May/June 2018


·       Straight after reviewing my own team I agree terms with Manchester City for the transfer of Nigerian striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, who agrees to sign with me. The fee? £25.5 million [potentially rising to £42 million].

·       Kai Havertz wins VDV Newcomer der Saison and a place in Elf des Jahres. He joins Kevin Volland in the VDV version of the same. Richly deserved Kai!

o   He celebrates by making Germany’s Russia 2018 World Cup Squad.

·       We’re off to Trento, Italy for our training camp.

·       I have released a lot of expiring scouts as well as recruiting one or two new ones. I don’t need that many as I know what I’m doing in terms of recruitment in the short term. The same goes for Physios.

·       In terms of coaching – I have again got the board to expand the Coaching team. This time I’d like to enhance the Under 19 Coaching pool although I have also found the time to recruit highly rated Portugese Goalkeeping Coach, Hugo Oliveira, from Everton.

o   Alex Brunner joins the Goalkeeping Coaches with David Thiel released from his contract.

·       Kai Havertz makes his Germany debut coming off the bench in a 5-1 win over Venezuela. He promotes me as instrumental in this. Bless!

·       The first attempt at procurement of a Leverkusen player comes from France as Lyon make what I would describe as a derisory bid for Pione Sisto. No - £28 million will do the trick though.

·       Bernd Leno came to see me and said he wanted to join Dortmund. I’d be willing to sell him as I’d previously stated and he agreed with my £28 million valuation so we’ll see. Marian Prinz could be the new No. 1 at BayArena.

·       Nightmare! Fußball-Bundesliga has lost a Champions League place after Germany fell down the rankings. It means finishing third will mean a play-off. Guess I better try and win this thing then, eh?

·       Tin Jedvaj wants to leave amid interest from Atletico Madrid. We have a terse encounter where I don’t want to sell him and he doesn’t like it.

o   I offer him to all clubs at his clause; we’ll see if anyone will pay it.

o   Virgil Van Dijk has been made available for transfer @ £33 million…Hmm.

·       League fixtures are out for Season 3 and…we open away at FC Bayern!

·       Prestige friendlies against the big three of Spanish football [Atletico, Barcelona and Real] are secured as well as inviting Dortmund over to have a look at the players they want to buy next. J L

·       I secure a 1 year contract extension for Joel Abu Hanna. He’ll go out on loan again this season and will continue to try and impress.


July 2018


·       Kelechi Iheanacho completes his big money move to Bayer 04 Leverkusen. I have high hopes for this exciting, potentially world class striker: -




·       Dortmund’s initial offer for Bernd Leno is not £28 million therefore it is not accepted. I have told them what I want, explicitly.

·       Mahmoud Dahoud released by Gladbach on a free? Should I? Maybe. Could I? Yes. Where would he play though? Instead of Kampl who you could then sell. Hmm…

o   I agree terms so we’ll see if he gets a better offer.

·       Moving quickly worked as I secure the free transfer signing of Mahmoud Dahoud on decent terms. I will wait to see what happens with Leon Bailey before deciding whether to offer Kevin Kampl out like a sacrificial lamb [Kampl could potentially move to backup Left Wide Midfielder, Sisto into the first team]. Welcome to Mahmoud Dahoud: -




·       Julian Baumgartlinger suffers a double hernia [ouch!] and is ruled out for 6-8 weeks.

·       Real Madrid whelp on their friendly but I secure Juve (Juve! Juve!) as their replacement. An omen for tonight?

·       I’d forgotten but Sam Schreck is actually on a 18 month loan at FC Ingolstadt 04 so will play all season with them in Fußball-Bundesliga which will be great for his development.

·       Tomás Conechny agrees to join Asociación Atlética Argentinos Juniors on a 2 year loan deal. The combination of playing regularly and being restored to his native environment will hopefully mean that the player I get back is closer to the Chelsea one in my preceding database with Rovers, Blackburn.

·       Daniel Nesseler returns to Kaiserlautern for another (12 month) shot at locking down the Right Full Back role that I am determined to shoehorn him into. Get. In. There. Daniel.

·       Borussia Dortmund no longer appear to be in for Bernd Leno. Marian Prinz will have to shelve his immediate plans to be No. 1 it seems.

·       And I was just thinking – I wonder what’s happening with Leon Bailey? Manchester United is what’s happening with Leon Bailey. They have put in the £32 million required to secure his services and you know what? I wish the lad well. I can’t see them pulling out of the transfer either but as a Jamaican international I suppose Work Permits come into play.

o   I’ll add him back on to my list in case it doesn’t work out.

o   Pione Sisto comes into the first team, moving from reserve Left Wide Midfielder to First Choice Right Wide Midfielder. He’s been training well and I’m curious to see how well he can do compared to previous “grunty” versions of him in other Football Managers.

o   Kevin Kampl gets to stay as a reserve, versatile Left Wide Midfielder.

o   With Kevin Volland owning the Deep Lying Forward position and Kasper Dolberg needing to play a large percentage of games I have decided to loan out the latter pending any stupendous move for the former.

·       Joel Abu Hanna is the latest young player to head out on loan and it’s another 2 year one (phwoar!); VfL Bochum the lucky recipients.

·       Kelechi Iheanacho sprains his ankle in a friendly and will be out for 3-4 weeks; phew - could have been worse but he’ll have to be worked slower into the mix as I need that Tactical Familiarity.

·       Chinedu Ekene will assist with Frankfurt’s attempts to right themselves after a hurtful relegation. Two years playing at Commerzbank-Arena for the young German Deep Lying Forward.

·       Julijan Popovic joins SG Dynamo Dresden, a 3. Fußball-Liga team, on a season long loan. Should be a good opportunity for him to get some ‘bread and butter’ football and learn his trade.

·       Tin Jedvaj whelps on his earlier outburst over a proposed transfer and agrees new terms [still reasonable at £2m p/a] on an extension. I raise his escape clause to £40 million.

·       Leon Bailey completes his £32 million transfer to Manchester United after scoring his last goal (?) for us in a friendly and securing a work permit.

·       I still feel I need something extra in the attacking department off the bench and investigate moves for either Maximilian Meyer of Schalke or Nadiem Amiri of Hoffenhiem.

o   Looks like Hoffenheim put a £27 million clause in Amiri’s contract so he could be mine, under duress.

o   Meyer will cost me more but excites me more I feel. Choices, choices.

o   No. I cannot have them both. That is madness.

·       Kasper Dolberg will join Hoffenheim on a season long loan to get game time. The papers are no doubt rushing to connect this and the potential Amiri deal. I couldn’t possibly comment…

·       Comparing the two it seems clear that the best deal, excitement be damned, is Amiri. He’s had two seasons of top drawer displays at Hoffenheim, is on modest wages and can be secured for a reasonable fee. Assistant?! Fetch my cheque book.

o   His terms aren’t too prohibitive and the only real concerns I have over the transfer is splashing £27 million up front and perhaps that his best form with Hoffenheim was at AMC and I intend to play him in various roles. This will likely reduce his consistency.

·       Adrian Stanilewicz completes a season long loan move to FC Ingolstadt 04. Pleased to see the young BWM getting some Fußball-Bundesliga exposure with Maik Walpurgis’s outfit.

·       Nadiem Amiri completes his £27 million deal to join Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Welcome Nadiem: -




·       Amiri will compete with Pione Sisto for the Right Wide Midfield berth. The knock on consequence of this is that my reserves will be moved around and now Danny da Costa will work on his second role of Central Defender whilst Charles Aránguiz will move back to Right Full Back (as well as covering at least three other roles).

·       Atakan Akkaynak is off to France for a season long loan with Nice. Again he should play lots of games which is what he needs right now as heir to the Captain Lars throne.


August 2018


·       No one wants Tomasz Kucz, even on a salary free loan. Odd. I’ll try offering him out on a month loan and on a rotation basis.

·       Das Bayern suffer the setback of selling Polish goal machine, Robert Lewandowski, to Manchester United for £37 million. They seem to be relying on Javier Hernández as their single striker. I also note that they saw fit to bolster Dortmund by loaning them Emil Forsberg.

·       Ramazan Özcan completes a move away for a nominal fee to 1.FC Magdeburg. He never complained.

·       Kevin Kampl will miss 4-5 weeks with a Sports Hernia.

·       Bayern open the bidding for Kevin Volland with a desultory non-negotiable fee. I’ll think you’ll find that £57 million will be what is needed; you already have £37 million from Lewandowski, you just need to find £20 million more…J

o   Bayern turn their attention to Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and offer £66 million rising to £89 million. Guess they won’t be able to afford both.

·       Real Madrid are lined up for a lucrative friendly after all. Tasty.

·       Tomasz Kucz does eventually go out on loan – back to his native Poland with Wisla but that’s okay, first team football is all that matters right now for the young Keeps.

·       Outrageous! Manchester City pay £43 million to get into negotiations (and surely purchase) my Vice-Captain, Benjamin Henrichs.

o   Henrichs was willing to negotiate terms on a new contract but his wages request was far beyond anything we can offer him.

o   I looked at Jeremy Toljan but wasn’t entirely convinced. It’s still not entirely out of the question but I am thinking of moving Tin Jedvaj to his native Right Full Back role and bringing in a marquee partner for Jonathan Tah.

o   I agree terms with both Southampton and player for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk, I player I’d be delighted to manage, and await finalisation.

·       Man City have opened negotiations over Kevin Volland now! Their initial bid of £28.5 million is rejected as I make it clear that nothing left than the £57 million clause will do. Will they bite? What is it about my players that they love so much?

·       Benjamin Henrichs completes his £43 million move to Manchester City. We wish him well and have listed him in case any future opportunity for him to return presents itself.

o   Kevin Volland steps up to Vice-Captain.

·       Not content with just buying my Right Full Back, City are now after my Left Full Back. What is going on and will/can they pay £46 million for Sead Kolasinac? At least their interest in Kevin Volland seems to have cooled.

·       Virgil van Dijk is a Bayer 04 Leverkusen player people! This is a fantastic signing: -




·       Having withdrawn from a Kolasinac deal [this week] City are back in for Volland with an improved bid. This might actually happen. Say Kasper? Fancy coming back from Hoffenheim early?

·       Dortmund are sniffing around Kai Havertz. No. No. No. No. No.

·       Dortmund move on to sniffing around Jonathan Tah. See above.

·       Man City are back in for Kolasinac – still not sure they’re willing to pay the clause.

·       Elsewhere Porto move for coveted Bernd Leno (future) replacement, Predrag Rajkovic, and I agree terms to challenge him for his signature. Hope there’s time to loan him back out.

o   Porto win the race. Still, should be able to buy him for a reasonable fee if the circumstances are right. Bright side – I don’t have to do another screen grab. J

·       Deadline Day excitement as some big deals go through.

o   Ousmane Dembélé moves to Manchester City to surely end the Kevin Volland saga positively for Leverkusen. J

o   Dortmund do now have the funds to raid me for Havertz but will they balk at the £60 million fee?

o   I block a move to FC Bayern for Karim Bellarabi. He is disappointed. Get on the phone and tell them to pay £30 million then Karim.

o   Kevin Kampl is a big Bellarabi mate it appears. Not happy. I care so much about what he feels…

o   PSG make a left field move for Wendell. A pitiful bid is rejected.

o   Yannick Carrasco joins FC Bayern for £53 million. That’s another Volland pot depleted then.

o   Bellarabi hands in a transfer request which I accept. Still going to be £30 million though. Hope you enjoy the bench when Iheanacho is fit.

o   Napoli make a late bid for Pione Sisto but it’s weak.


Season 3 – 2018/9 – Phase 1 – First ten league games (plus cup games) – Fixtures




·       Other than the starting trip to FC Bayern, the other nine Fußball-Bundesliga fixtures of the first ten look like games we can compete in. A great start and who knows? Hopefully we will not have to bed in too many new players but at least these fixtures mean we can do so with some margin for error.


Season 3 – 2018/9 – Champions League Group



#22 UKFMManager803



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Posted 09 June 2017 - 08:26 PM

Season 3 – 2018/9 – Phase 1 – First ten league games (plus cup games)




·       Only one injury of note to report. Lars Bender suffered a 2-3 week injury that would keep him out of action for the second half of Phase 1.

·       Captain Lars excelled in the first half, averaging 7.61 from 9 games and I’m looking forward to getting him fit and ready for what looks to be a challenging Phase 2.


Training, Contracts & Transfers


·       Neither amendments to the previous team training plan nor any contract renewals occurred during this Phase.

·       Dortmund are presenting major interest in Jonathan Tah (£50 million release) and Kai Havertz (£60 million release). Presumably they are not about to cough up £110 million but maybe one or the other? I stand ready to offer new contracts if interest dissipates.

·       Kasper Dolberg has lit up Fußball-Bundesliga whilst out on loan with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, scoring 11 and creating 7 with an Average Rating of 7.61. It’s hard to ignore the Recall from loan button when presented with such riches. More on this ahead of Phase 3…J





















·       -2 on FC Bayern, +1 on Dortmund and -3 the lead with the best Goal Difference in the league. In contention.


Champions League




·       On a knife edge. Defeat at home to Lyon will almost certainly condemn us to the Europa League – it’s a must not lose, at least.


Analysis: The Wins


·       Halberstadt. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: Kevin Volland’s Hat-Trick.

·       Freiburg. Rationale: Player Quality. Highlight: Kelechi Iheanacho scoring both the goals to edge a close game.

·       Gladbach. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: 7.88 Team Average Rating.

·       Ingolstadt. Rationale: Tactics. Highlight: Substitutes [Nadiem Amiri and Bobby Wood] changed the game with an Assist and Goal, respectively, to produce a positive outcome when a draw was on the cards.

·       FCSB. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: 8.29 Team Average Rating.

·       Bremen. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: 8.33 Team Average Rating.

·       Mainz. Rationale: Team Perfomance. Highlight: Mahmoud Dahoud scoring the decisive third goal with delicious aplomb from 20 yards.

·       Augsburg. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: Kelechi Iheanacho scoring four of our five goals.


Analysis: The Draws


·       Schalke. Rationale: Fouls(us). We had 21 fouls to 8 given against us. This allowed Schalke, who always looked dangerous, to maintain a foothold in the game. We also could have slowed the game down via tempo at 1-0.

·       Lyon. Rationale: Luck(us). We were holding on a bit at the end in an even game. Attacking would have been too risky and a point here, certainly in the context of the group was a good one.

·       Köln. Rationale: Luck(them). They were down to 10 men, scored from a hopeful shot. We could have perhaps packed the midfield on assessment of their commitment to seeking an equaliser and Team Talk > Concentrate to try and keep the team focused. The goal was scored only a few minutes after Kevin Volland scored the second of his two goals.

·       Shakhtar. Rationale: Luck(us). A very close game but I always felt that the dangerous Ukranian team with Mario Balotelli leading the line were capable of getting the three points. In the end Kevin Volland scored a penalty to cancel out Balotelli’s opener and we lived to fight another day. A relief.

·       Leipzig. Rationale: Chance Scorning(us). An even game to a certain extent, in the first half definitely. However, we created two clear cut chances and were pressing hard in the end. Bobby Wood couldn’t make the most of being set through by Nadiem Amiri.


Analysis: The Losses


·       FC Bayern. Rationale: Luck(them). Opening the season at Munich is never easy [nor travelling to face the Bavarians at any time for that matter!] but we set up to defend and gave a good account of ourselves. In the end, Kingsley Coman dug one out for debutant Roberto Firmino to lash home.

·       Hannover. Rationale: Tactics(us). The worst defeat of the Phase saw us come back off the International break and fall to a disappointing 0-2 defeat away to a seemingly beatable team, albeit one who has made a habit of getting notable results over the top teams in this Database. We had vast swathes of possession and didn’t do anything notable with it and more importantly it was mainly in midfield where we couldn’t hurt the opposition. We should have pushed the defensive line up and engaged them further forward.

·       Shakhtar. Rationale: Player Quality(them). We arguably played better here than we did at our own ground although it may be that the morale lost in this defeat had an effect on that subsequent result. Taison, Shakhtar’s skilful attacker allowed them to edge a game that we could have secured a useful draw out of.


Season 3 – 2018/9 - Phase 2 – Remaining league games (plus cup games) before the Winter Break – Fixtures




·       Six fixtures rather than seven this time around. That will mean an eight fixture finish in Phase 4. What delights will I have seen by then?

#23 UKFMManager803



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Posted 11 June 2017 - 05:10 PM

Season 3 – 2018/9 - Phase 2 – Remaining league games (plus cup games) before the Winter Break




·       Virgil van Dijk picked up a month’s injury, spraining his ankle, in an International Friendly match against Venezuela. At least it was right at the start of the International break so a week of recovery before we get to the next set of fixtures; van Dijk hadn’t been training well either so would likely have been dropped to the bench anyway.

·       Tin Jedvaj suffered a minor injury but it took a few games to get him sharp enough again to start…at which point he fractured his arm and is unlikely to play again until the start of Phase 3.

·       Kevin Volland pulled his hamstring during the critical win over Lyon and was ruled out for a couple of weeks. Good opportunity for Bobby Wood to get some game time.

·       A minor injury to Wendell means cover at left back was reduced.

·       Andrija Zivkovic picks up a two week injury that will rule him out for the second half of Phase 2.

·       Jonathan Tah is injured in training and misses the final three games of Phase 2. He should be fully fit for Phase 3, at least.




·       As we enter Phase 2, training performances start to be assessed on a week to week basis.

·       Andrija Zivkovic and Kelechi Iheanacho are both dropped to the bench as their training levels aren’t up to scratch.


Transfers & Contracts


·       With Arsenal circling their soon to be real life Left Full Back, Sead Kolasinac, I make the Bosnian defender a £6m p/a deal that he cannot refuse. The Gunners will have to pay £76m to prise him away from us.

·       Praise be! Dortmund drop their interest in Kai Havertz and I immediately fire off a tasty new contract that will see him payed handsomely [just under £6m p/a] for another 5-7 years and with his release clause smacked right up to £80m.

·       Dortmund have obviously cleaned up their shortlist as the same can now be said of Jonathan Tah. Another massive 5-7 year contract with an £80m release clause.

·       Kevin Volland’s Highest Earner Clause secures him parity with Sead Kolasinac’s salary.

·       The next vulnerability to the transfer vultures would be Andrija Zivkovic and I offer him a new contract [his terms are not exorbitant like the above] with a £76m release clause.

·       I accept a not unreasonable £20 million bid for Kevin Kampl from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. That’s decent fair for a decent player.

o   Kampl goes on to reject their offer during contract negotiations. I suggest in our subsequent conversation that he is making a mistake and he is in agreement. I offer him out again. Fingers crossed!

o   Nothing doing as we conclude the Phase; Zivkovic’s injury has also allowed Kampl to play and he seems happier. Perhaps he will remain part of my plans this season, after all.

·       I will also offer out Karim Bellarabi as I feel that with my plans for January and beyond, his shelf life is limited. Bobby Wood would step up to Poacher-in-Waiting. There doesn’t appear to be any immediate interest.

·       I extend Marian Prinz’s contract via his contract extension clause. As this is a 3 year clause it means that the young Keeps will stay with Leverkusen until at least 2023.

·       As he continues to perform well, Pione Sisto’s base value is rising exponentially. He deserves a new deal and one is signed. Crucially this raises his release clause to £50m.

·       I recall Kasper Dolberg at the conclusion of Phase 2. 15 goals, 10 Assists at an Average Rating of 7.40 in the first half of Fußball-Bundesliga for Hoffenheim. He will start at No.10, playing Deep Lying Forward.

o   Kevin Volland will move back to Box To Box Midfielder, Kai Havertz moving out wide to play Right Wide Midfielder.

o   It is harsh on Pione Sisto but he’ll move to the bench. Karim Bellarabi slips into the reserves and Bobby Wood moves to cover Poacher.

o   Nadiem Amiri will cover Dolberg at Deep Lying Forward.


















·       -1 on FC Bayern, +2 on Dortmund and -5 on the lead and still with the best goal difference. I also have a game in hand as the fixture computer decides my home fixture against Stuttgart should take place at the end of January 2019.


Champions League




·       We get the job done and with two wins as well. This secures top spot of a challenging group and gives me a competitive tie against Napoli in the first knockout round. Will Kelechi Iheanacho come back to haunt last season’s employers of the ace striker?




Analysis: The Wins


·       Lyon. Rationale: Team Performance. Highlight: Pione Sisto’s surging run from deep followed by a nice finish to make this critical game safe.

·       Hertha BSC. Rationale: Team Performance. Highlight: The calmness in which we put together patient attacking movements. Two of our goals resulted from turnovers in possession from Hertha’s attacking free kicks.

·       FCSB. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: A tricky game against a team that won home and away against Shakhtar who I struggled with was made to look easy.

·       Wolfsburg: Rationale: Tactics. Highlight: Turning a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win was an extremely satisfying way to finish Phase 2. Yes, we rode our luck and our defending left a lot to be desired but an Aggressive Team Talk at Half-Time coupled with the return of Kevin Volland off the bench to make and score one proved decisive.


Analysis: The Draws


·       Dortmund. Rationale: Luck(them). Only to an extent, though. We played the ultra defensive game plan against one of our big rivals and came for a point and that’s what we got. However, after Pione Sisto’s wonderful strike to put us 0-1 up with 10+ minutes to go we had to feel that they have done well to get back on level terms. Another sumptuous strike though – Turkish star Emre Mor with a screamer.

·       Augsburg. Rationale: Fouls(us). Nearly double the number of fouls were given against us and that didn’t allow us to assert ourselves on a generally even game. I tried to reduce this, even deliberately switching to easy tackling on the Augsburg attackers who were getting the decisions. It didn’t work on this occasion and it was disappointing to not get the win after Augsburg went down to 10 men with 30+ left to play.

·       Hoffenheim. Rationale: Sending Off(us). Games against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim have largely ended in parity so it was no real surprise that this finished the way it did. We just about shaded it but having to sacrifice an attacker for Charles Aránguiz after the Chilean Full Back was sent off for two yellows in the 38th minute meant we were always chasing the draw rather than anything more.

·       HSV. Rationale: Tactics(us). Whilst the game was even and yes, we went down to 10 men again [Walace would join Danny da Costa late on for HSV] in the 52nd minute we needed a different approach in attack, tactically, as things just didn’t click. Perhaps taking a chance and pushing up a bit more, even for 10-15 minutes, might have yielded the win or perhaps I would have lost a valuable point…


Season 3 – 2018/9 - Phase 3 – Next eleven league games (plus cup games) – Fixtures




·       Given (not Shay J) what the fixture computer has done to the Stuttgart fixture I’m expecting to revert to a 7 league fixture finish with the Phase 3 Table hopefully showing us all having played 27 games with Leverkusen on top.

o   Plenty of points on offer and wouldn’t it be sweet to beat FC Bayern in the first post-Winter Break fixture?  

#24 UKFMManager803



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Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:06 AM

Season 3 – 2018/9 - Phase 3 – Next eleven league games (plus cup games)




·       Not an injury but Kelechi Iheanacho is off to the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria. Not ideal but an expected drawback when signing a top African player. He’ll miss 3-5 games.

o   Or more, as it seems, after he gets a 3-4 week injury whilst there. L

·       Kevin Volland joins him with a 2-3 week recovery time but thankfully Mahmoud Dahoud is champing at the bit to get some game time. Silver linings and all that…

o   Volland repeats the injury after a couple of games back in the team.

·       Julian Baumgartlinger faces 7-8 weeks out with a lower back stress fracture, ruling him out of the rest of Phase 2, four games in.

·       Jonathan Tah suffers a 3-4 week injury which means he may not play again until the last 3-4 games of the season.

·       Closing in on Phase 4 and Kasper Dolberg suffers a 2 weeker; shame as he’s playing an absolute blinder.

·       It’s been a while but Karim Bellarabi is back on the injury trail with a 4 week injury sustained in training. Just entering the International Break so knock some competitive time off that.




·       Sead Kolasinac is the first player to drop out of the team this Phase due to poor training form. A rare opportunity for Wendell.

·       Bobby Wood is struggling with the opportunity handed to him by Kelechi Iheanacho’s injury and compounds it with poor training form.


Transfers & Contracts


·       Barcelona make an enquiry for Tin Jedvaj. Will they pay his release clause of £40m? Seems unlikely as his base value is £8 million and sure enough they withdraw their interest.

o   Barca later come back in with a paltry £10.75 million bid which is rejected.

·       I sign a new contract until 2023 and Kevin Kampl is the one who is pleased. Really? The guy who wants to leave as I’m not playing him enough?!

o   I negotiate for an extra 500k with Shanghai SIPG after their £22.5 million bid for the one and same. They whelp.

·       Barcelona are sniffing around Kasper Dolberg but subsequent talks with my young Dane go well – he wants to be a key player. Guess what Kasp? You’re a key player.

o   I agree a new contact with Dolberg that will see his release clause rise to £60m. He’ll earn £2.2 million p/a until he’s played 30 games for Leverkusen after which he’ll be upgraded to £4 million p/a.

·       Felix Uduokhai is the subject of a hefty bid [worth c. £23 million] from RasenBallsport Leipzig. It’s rejected but it’s close enough to his £32m release clause (and considering his van Dijk comparable performances) to warrant the offering of a new deal which he accepts at £1.9m p/a with an enhanced release clause of £42m.

·       It almost feels wrong to sign a player so synonymous with a club in (perceived) futures born out of previous Football Manager Databases and real life player opinions but I can’t turn down the chance to sign Felix Passlack when Hoffenheim try to sign him from Dortmund. I agree a £13.75m with clauses deal with the German Right Full Back set to report for pre-season with Leverkusen.

·       Jan Boller is the subject of a bid from Leipzig as they come back for another of my Centre Backs. I don’t want to sell as he is going to be good I feel but was going to loan him out next season so why not get a head start? Off he pops on a loan to the end of Season 4.

·       The January Transfer Window concludes with no further business.


Transfers In (£74m)




Transfers Out (£75m)




















·       3 points clear of Dortmund (who lie in 2nd), 4 points clear of Hoffenheim and 11 points (!) clear of FC Bayern represents a healthy position to challenge for the title in the last seven. Some massive games to come though.


Analysis: The Wins


·       FC Bayern. Rationale: Tactics(them). I don’t want to detract from the team’s performance (which was excellent btw) in our first Database win over Bayern Munich. However, there is a reason why Ancelotti has been dismissed as manager and his inability to hold what he had at 1-2 up at Half-Time was as unlikely as I was thrilled at the final whistle. Highlight: A delicious free kick from my increasingly beloved winger, Pione Sisto, to get us back into things at 2-2. He found time to go on a mazy run and put in a cross that Jerome Boateng could only stab into his own goal.

·       Stuttgart. Rationale: Team Performance. Highlight: We absolutely nailed them and an unlikely combination of my left sided Central Defender (van Dijk) clipping a cross in for my Right Full Back (Jedvaj) to, first time, side foot home like a master Poacher in the six yard box stood out.

·       Schalke. Rationale: Team Performance. Highlight: Mahmoud Dahoud smashing home after another Pione Sisto inspired move. On another day this would have been a draw as we were a trifle fortunate with some slack defending.

·       Ingolstadt. Rationale: Player Quality. Highlight: the three points; they won the ball slightly better than us but we used it much better and to brutal effect.

·       Bremen. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: An absolute belter from the young Dane (the new one not Pione). Kasper Dolberg has settled right into competitive football after raising his game to the next level with his hugely successful half season at Hoffenheim.

·       Hannover. Rationale: Superiority. Highlight: 7.68 Team Average Rating and a blistering start to the match. We were 2-0 up just after the 2nd minute.

·       Mainz. Rationale: Luck(us). I’d be tempted to say it was my tactical change [Nadeem Amiri and Pione Sisto on] but it was more luck that contrived to reach the highlight of this critical away win which was Amiri’s somewhat fortunate [albeit accurate] strike into the net after more great work down the right flank by Sisto.

·       Köln. Rationale: Player Quality. The player in question here being Kelechi Iheanacho, back and ready after his Cup of Nations injury problem, who proved the difference in a largely even game. Highlight: Victory in the Rhein Derby at an important time, close to Phase 4.

·       Leipzig. Rationale: Player Quality. The player in question here being Kelechi Ihea…you know the drill. My star striker, not distracted by Das Bayern sniffing around him [you’ll need £80 million! L], makes the difference. Highlight: Nadeem Amiri’s outrageous free kick. The unhappy German starlet also found a slide rule pass for Iheanacho to power through to slot the winner. On the other side Timo Werner gave a very good audition ahead of Season 4’s transfer business. Can we do a deal? It’s too early to say…J


Analysis: The Draws


·       Freiburg. Rationale: Luck(both). What can you say about this 4-4, insane, draw? Quite a few things about our defending not fit for this forum, for sure. Tactically I was sluggish, off my game, and looking back I can see that I could have taken the sting out of the game at around 2-2 [we were 0-2 down] and instead was indebted to Kasper Dolberg’s tremendous hat trick and luck that Freiburg couldn’t close the game out at 3-4. The opposition had six shots on target and scored with four. Bernd Leno got a 6.3. Generous…


Analysis: The Losses


·       Gladbach. Rationale: Team Performance(them). Our only league defeat in Phase 3 came at Borussia-Park where Gladbach outplayed us 7.35 to 6.73. I haven’t the foggiest as to what I could have done to change things back in our favour but the next time we’re in this situation I will pause the game and consider thinking outside the box [maybe go three at the back] to improve our performances and as a consequence, our chances of clawing back something.

·       Napoli (two legs). Rationale: Luck(them). We lost the first leg in Naples 1-0, won the second leg in Leverkusen 1-0. We had two chances in the ensuing penalty shoot out to go to the Quarter Finals with a successful conversion but spurned both. Luck, happenstance and all that. A bitter pill to swallow but much better in terms of actually competing and we shaded it over both legs. Virgil van Dijk was sent off in extra time but that didn’t seem to make much difference.

·       HSV. Rationale: Team Performance(both). We pretty much failed to turn up to our 3rd Round DFB-Pokal Cup exit to Hamburger SV and we cannot afford to do the same in the upcoming league fixture. We recorded an unacceptable 6.69 Team Average Rating. Fouls, largely under control after paying greater attention to them since Phase 2, were significantly up compared to them so that didn’t help.


Season 3 – 2018/9 – Phase 4 [Final Seven League Games (plus cup games)]


Please see my next post as we go LIVE for the last Phase of this Season.

#25 UKFMManager803



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Posted 17 June 2017 - 08:15 AM

Season 3 – 2018/9 – Phase 4 [Final Seven League Games (plus cup games)]


Leverkusen Fixtures & Results




Dortmund Fixtures & Results




Hoffenheim Fixtures & Results




Schalke Fixtures & Results




Hertha BSC Fixtures & Results




FC Bayern Fixtures & Results




HSV Fixtures & Results




Fußball-Bundesliga 2018/9 Final






·       17 June 2017. This couldn’t have gone much better if I’d written the script myself. I won my two tough fixtures – home to Dortmund and away to Hertha BSC. The other teams failed to pick up maximum points and therefore I have an 8 point [+6 GD] lead over Borussia Dortmund with 15 points left to play for.

o   Rationale for Win over Dortmund: Luck(me). This should have been a draw but a special display from Andrija Zivkovic took me over that edge into a narrow win. Highlight: Zivkovic’s free kick to give us the lead.

o   Rationale for Win over Hertha BSC: Luck(me). Again another draw and very closely matched. We found what we needed in the end such to Virgil van Dijk’s corner from another set piece; these are really working out well for us as the season reaches its climax.

o   Elsewhere, Jonathan Tah is approaching full fitness but Andrija Zivkovic may not be back until the penultimate game of Phase 4 with a groin strain and Felix Uduokhai is a doubt for the rest of Phase 4 after straining his back. A real bargain, by the way, is Uduokhai and you would do well to snap him up if you need a Central Defender on the cheap with a high ceiling.

·       18 June 2017. I won the Fußball-Bundesliga with two games to spare! The title is Leverkusen’s which takes me to three trophies in my first three seasons – DFB-Pokal 2016/7, DFL-Supercup 2017/8 and now Bundesliga champions 2018/9. With nothing left to play for I went through the remaining fixtures; I hope I can keep this team together – with one or two squad tweaks I can be competitive in the latter stages of the Champions League which is the next frontier as well as aiming for consistent league retention.

o   Rationale for Win over Augsburg: Superiority. A tricky fixture historically and also for the bigger teams against Roger Schmidt’s men. We blew them away and they couldn’t even get a shot on target. Highlight: Captain Lars scoring the opening on his Birthday no less.

o   Rationale for Draw with Stuttgart: Luck(them). We played well again although the game evened out over 90 minutes. A sloppy give away in possession by Mahmoud Dahoud inside our penalty area led to an inevitable outcome. Stuttgart were happy with the point and didn’t push out which also didn’t help.

o   Rationale for Win over Hoffenheim: Team Performance(both). The team delivered and a normally competitive and high quality TSG 1899 Hoffenheim side simply couldn’t live with us as we took the league title in front of our fans. Highlight: CHAMPIONS!

o   Rationale for Win over HSV: Tactics(us). Heading for a credible draw in the first Post Title fixture, I switched a few things around which included withdrawing the Poacher and playing a Deep Lying Forward with an Attacking Midfielder behind him; it was this midfielder, Nadeem Amiri, who came up with a classy half volley, the highlight, to secure a satisfying revenge win over the team who knocked us out of DFB-Pokal.

o   Rationale for Win over Wolfsburg: Superiority. We finished the season by thrashing already relegated VfL Wolfsburg who have had a dramatic fall from grace after challenging in the top tier last season. A warning to Leverkusen and myself that the mighty can fall hard in Fußball-Bundesliga. Highlight: A hat trick of assists from Crown Prince Havertz. J

#26 UKFMManager803



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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:09 PM

Close Season Review - Season 3 [2018/9]


Player Stats (Overview)












Rationales for Wins / Draws / Losses (collated)


Wins (26/42) 62% (Superiority prevalence @ 35%)


Luck(us) (3/26)

Player Quality (4/26)

Superiority (9/26)

Tactics(them) (1/26)

Tactics(us) (3/26)

Team Performance(both) (1/26)

Team Performance(us) (5/26)


Draws (11/42) 26% (Luck(them) prevalence @ 27%)


Chance scorning(us) (1/11)

Fouls(us) (2/11)

Luck(both) (1/11)

Luck(them) (3/11)

Luck(us) (2/11)

Sending off(us) (1/11)

Tactics(us) (1/11)


Losses (5/42) 11% (no prevalence)


Luck(them) (1/5)

Player Quality(them) (1/5)

Tactics(us) (1/5)

Team Performance(both) (1/5)

Team Performance(them) (1/5)


UEFA Europa League Final




UEFA Champions League Final




Major European League Winners


England: Man Utd

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

Italy: Juventus

Netherlands: PSV

Portugal: Sporting

Spain: Atlético


Season 3 – 2018/9 – Highlights


1.     Mahmoud Dahoud – GOAL in the 3-1 victory over Mainz in Bundesliga.



2.     Pione Sisto – GOAL in the 2-0 victory over Lyon in the Champions League.



3.     Pione Sisto – GOAL in the 1-1 draw with Dortmund in Bundesliga.



4.     Pione Sisto – GOAL in the 4-2 victory over FC Bayern in Bundesliga. Voted goal of the season at the end of season awards (two years in a row now for the Danish star).



5.     Mahmoud Dahoud – GOAL in the 1-3 victory over Schalke in Bundesliga.



6.     Kasper Dolberg – GOAL in the 0-2 victory over Bremen in Bundesliga.



7.     Nadeem Amiri – GOAL in the 2-3 victory over Leipzig in Bundesliga.


#27 CoachLee55



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Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:10 AM

Really enjoying this story so far. The addition of highlights is great. We get to see more of the form your boys are in.

Keep it up :)

#28 UKFMManager803



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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:54 AM

Thanks CoachLee55. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and glad you're enjoying the highlights.


To all regular/occasional viewers of this story - it is alive and well. After a holiday, the restoration of screenshots after the PhotoBucket hosting cessation and being tied up with work I am now actively concentrating on this again.


More posts to follow starting with near immediacy!  :) 

#29 UKFMManager803



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Posted 06 August 2017 - 10:00 AM

Close Season Review - Season 3 [2018/9]


Player Report Cards – Progression & Contracts






The Defensive Third


Calculation Explanations – The Defensive Third


·       Conceded ratio = Goalkeeper specific calculation.

o   (Number of Appearances) / (Goals Conceded) / (3) * 100.

o   An average of 3 goals conceded per game is considered to be failing @ 100%; hence the use of 3; thus for this calculation, a lower percentage is better.

·       Assists ratio = Full Back version is as follows: -

o   10 or more Assists are considered optimum performance for a Full Back.

o   Thus > (Total Assists) * (10%) unless Assists = 11 or more in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Mistakes ratio = Centre Back specific calculation (repeated Ball Winning Midfielders).

o   25 or less Mistakes are considered optimum performance for a Centre Back.

o   Thus > (Total Mistakes – 25) / (Total Mistakes) * (100%) unless Total Mistakes – 25 = 0 or less in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Fouls ratio = Centre Back specific calculation (repeated Ball Winning Midfielders).

o   25 or less Fouls are considered optimum performance for a Centre Back.

o   Each remaining Foul over 25 is considered to be -1% off optimum.

o   Thus > (Total Fouls – 25) – (100%) unless (Total Fouls – 25) <= 0 in which case ratio should be recorded as 100%.


Goalkeeper Report Cards








Full Back Report Cards
















Centre Back Report Cards














The Midfield Third


Calculation Explanations – The Midfield Third


·       Mistakes ratio = Ball Winning Midfielder specific calculation (also used for Centre Backs).

o   25 or less Mistakes are considered optimum performance for a Ball Winning Midfielder.

o   Thus > (Total Mistakes – 25) / (Total Mistakes) * (100%) unless Total Mistakes – 25 = 0 or less in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Fouls ratio = Ball Winning Midfielder specific calculation (also used for Centre Backs).

o   25 or less Fouls are considered optimum performance for a Ball Winning Midfielder.

o   Each remaining Foul over 25 is considered to be -1% off optimum.

o   Thus > (Total Fouls – 25) – (100%) unless (Total Fouls – 25) <= 0 in which case ratio should be recorded as 100%.

·       Goals ratio = Box To Box Midfielder / Wide Midfielder specific version is as follows: -

o   15 or more Goals are considered optimum performance for a Box To Box Midfielder or Wide Midfielder.

o   Thus > (Total Goals) * (6.67%) unless Goals = 15 or more in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Assists ratio = Box To Box Midfielder / Wide Midfielder version is as follows: -

o   15 or more Assists are considered optimum performance for a Box To Box Midfielder or Wide Midfielder.

o   Thus > (Total Assists) * (6.67%) unless Assists = 15 or more in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Dribbles Made per game ratio = Wide Midfielder specific calculation (also used for Deep Lying Forwards and Poachers): -

o   5.00 or more Dribbles made per game is considered optimum performance for a Wide Midfielder.

o   Thus > (Dribbles Made per game) / (5) * (100%) unless Dribbles Made per game is 5.00 or more in which case ratio = 100%.


Ball Winning Midfielder Report Cards












Box To Box Midfielder Report Cards








Wide Midfielder Report Cards














The Attacking Third


Calculation Explanations – The Attacking Third


·       Dribbles Made per game ratio = Deep Lying Forward / Poacher specific calculation (also used for Wide Midfielders): -

o   5.00 or more Dribbles made per game is considered optimum performance for a Deep Lying Forward or Poacher.

o   Thus > (Dribbles Made per game) / (5) * (100%) unless Dribbles Made per game is 5.00 or more in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Goals ratio = Deep Lying Forward / Poacher specific version is as follows: -

o   20 [or 25 for Poacher] or more Goals are considered optimum performance for a Deep Lying Forward or Poacher.

o   Thus > (Total Goals) * (5%) [Poacher @ 4%] unless Goals = 25/20 or more in which case ratio = 100%.

·       Assists ratio = Deep Lying Forward / Poacher version is as follows: -

o   15 [or 10 for Poacher] or more Assists are considered optimum performance for a Deep Lying Forward or Poacher.

o   Thus > (Total Assists) * (6.67%) [Poacher @ 10%] unless Assists = 15/10 or more in which case ratio = 100%.


Deep Lying Forward Report Cards










Poacher Report Cards










Priority Transfer Targets for Season 4 (2019/0)


1.     Felix Passlack (RB) (Sale agreed – will join Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 1st July 2019) > £13.75m rising to £19.5m with clauses.

2.     Philipp Ochs (LWM+) (Transfer offer submitted – currently listed as unhappy @ £6.5m).

3.     Timo Werner (Poacher) (Waiting to sell players before bidding).


Shortlist (excluding Priority Transfer Targets and Previous Players)


1.     GK > Predrag Rajkovic (FC Porto).

2.     RB > Djibril Sidibé (AS Monaco).

3.     LB > Josh Tymon (Watford).

4.     CB > Jorge Meré (Southampton).

5.     CB > Stefan de Vrij (Lazio).

6.     BWM > Corentin Tolisso (Lyon).

7.     RWM > Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig).

8.     BBM > Naby Keïta (Leipzig).

9.     Poacher > Marcus Rashford (Man Utd).

10.  DeepLF > Maximilian Meyer (Schalke).

11.  LWM > Malcom (Bordeaux).


Previous Players (First Team)


1.     Benjamin Henrichs     Man City         Settled and in First XI.

2.     Julian Brandt              Dortmund       Settled and in First XI.

3.     Leon Bailey                 Man Utd         Settled and in First XI.

4.     Hakan Çalhanoglu      Man City         Settled but on fringes of First XI.


Transfer Commentary


·       The key area where Leverkusen need to improve squad depth is clearly at Poacher where Bobby Wood and Karim Bellarabi have failed to exert much in the way of pressure on current star striker, Kelechi Iheanacho. Timo Werner’s consistency at Fußball-Bundesliga level makes him the man to sign; this coupled by Leipzig not being able to offer European football during Season 4.

·       Other than that this transfer cycle is mainly about getting players (e.g. Kampl, Bellarabi) off the books for good fees which will then allow me to invest in Werner alongside the confirmed deal for Passlack and (hopefully!) Ochs.

·       The Werner deal could still happen with the other players in situ if Dortmund come back in for Bernd Leno; I am happy to accept a deal lower than clause for Leno (c.£30m). This would be for no other reason (Leno is a solid, dependable Keeps after all) than giving Marian Prinz a chance with me.

·       With all other players on monster clauses it seems unlikely anyone will leave but then again…Neymar. J

#30 UKFMManager803



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Posted 06 August 2017 - 10:15 AM

The Road to Season 4 [2019/0]


Transfers In (£120m+)




Transfers Out (£203m+)




Team Training Schedule (Season 4)


1.     Week commencing 24 June 2019 > Fitness (Low) + Match Training (Minimal).

2.     Week commencing 1 July 2019 > Fitness (Average) + Match Training (Moderate).

3.     Week commencing 8 July 2019 > Fitness (High) + Match Training (Moderate).

4.     Week commencing 15 July 2019 > Team Cohesion (High) + Match Training (High).

5.     Week commencing 22 July 2019 > Ball Control (Average) + Match Training (Very High).

6.     Week commencing 29 July 2019 > Tactical (High) + Match Training (Very High).

7.     Week commencing 5 August 2019 > Balanced (High) + Match Training (Very High).


·       Until Tactical Familiarity of any new players is up to speed > Balanced (High) + Match Training (High).

·       Then until the start of February 2020 > Balanced (High) + Match Training (Moderate).

·       Then until the end of the season > Balanced (Average) + Match Training (High).


Pre-Season Results






Squad Numbers by XI


First XI (£318m)




Second XI (£175m)




In Reserve & Marinating Youth






May/June 2019


·       TSG 1899 Hoffenheim stall on their decision as to whether to accept my generous offer (worth £7.5m over time) for their want away left sider and Captain, Philipp Ochs.

·       We subsequently agree a deal worth c.£7.75m after time and clauses. I swiftly agree good but not exorbitant terms with the player. Looks promising but other teams are interested…

·       During negotiations for Coach contracts I look to have upped the quality at both Fitness and Tactical coaching with Alexandre Marles and Kristjaan Speakman replacing Schahriar Bigdeli and Massimo D'Urso, respectively. Bigdeli and D’Urso leave Leverkusen and we wish them well in their future careers.

·       Heiko Gerber will also join the coaching staff to assist at Under 19 level.

·       VfL Wolfsburg win DFB-Pokal [4-3 after extra time against Leipzig – further enhancing my Werner chances] to at least give a crumb of nascent comfort in this relegation season.

·       Fortuna Düsseldorf beat Hannover 3-2 on aggregate in the Play-Off to take Hannover’s place in Fußball-Bundesliga next season.

·       Kasper Dolberg finishes runner up in Fußballer des Jahres, wins VDV Spieler der Saison. Meanwhile I win Fußballtrainer des Jahres and the VDV version of the same.

·       Virgil van Dijk, Jonathan Tah, Kai Havertz and Kasper Dolberg are named in Elf des Jahres. Lars Bender joins them in the VDV version of the same.

·       Initial negotiations with interested parties – Ajax (Loan to Buy), Monaco & Burnley (Buy) – over Karim Bellarabi do not yield a deal. I’m in no hurry despite his protestations as I want a deal that reflects the economic realities of signing Timo Werner.

·       Philipp Ochs signs a contract to join Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The former TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Captain will be unveiled on 1st July 2019 and will sign a 4 year deal @ £2m p/a. He commanded a modest (by modern standards) £5.25m fee which may potentially rise to £7.75m after time and clauses.

·       It appears my association with Kelechi Iheanacho and the same player’s loss of association with Manchester City is at an end after one season. The Manchester club realise they made a mistake by selling him to me, he wants to go back and most importantly they are willing to pay the release clauses of £80 million. This fee will be offset by the percentage profit clause which will see Man City keep c.£15m of the total sum. Iheanacho also stands to pocket £12m from the 15% Sell On Clause. Drat and blast! What a player he was for me but I will not dwell. Werner to come in straight off the bat; let’s start there.

·       RasenBallsport Leipzig and I negotiate hard but we reach agreement on a deal that will be reasonable going in and beneficial to both parties if clauses are met. An expensive deal and a little more than I was willing to play for a player that doesn’t work as hard as I prefer for a starter. However, he guarantees goals and so did Iheanacho; as like for like as they come.

·       I reject a c.£20m bid from Newcastle United for Kevin Kampl. Too much of that was in clauses and I need to recoup as much money as I can if I’m going to be able to put a deal in place for Marcus Rashford.

·       I agree terms on a contract for Timo Werner and the player should sign shortly pending any last minute meddling by FC Bayern.

·       Marcus Rashford, despite hardly playing for Man Utd last season and therefore feeling vulnerable to transfer, signs a new 5 year deal. It’s now (entirely) implausible that I could bring him in so I am in the market for another Poacher to compete with Timo Werner.

·       Chelsea test the water with a deal that could be worth £44 million for Jonathan Tah. On. Yer. Bike!

·       Fiorentina come in with a straight up, no messing, £17m bid for Karim Bellarabi. Good enough. Off you go Karim, off you go. We’ll always have the Poacher Apocalypse.

·       Chelsea get closer to £80 mil with a deal worth £58m for Jonathan Tah. Nope.

·       The fixtures are in! Home to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to start.

·       The Board, perhaps offsetting Iheanacho’s departure, smack down a £121 million war chest for me to spend. I’ll test the water with Marcus Rashford then.

·       Timo Werner agrees to sign for Bayer 04 Leverkusen. He’ll earn £4.15m p/a and signs for 5 years. The fee to RasenBallsport Leipzig will initially be £23.5m but can all but double if all the clauses are met @ £46m. He will be unveiled on 1st July 2019.

·       Kelechi Iheanacho will sign for Manchester City on 1st July 2019. Given that he couldn’t get in their team before he signed with me I’ll keep a close eye on proceedings in case there’s a chance of being reunited with the striker at a later date. Leicester City beware! This could be you in the Summer Window of 2018.

·       Chelsea might actually be willing to go there – their deal is c.£76m clauses for Jonathan Tah. I will force them to pay £80 million up front.

·       Marcus Rashford is an impossible dream. Who will challenge Timo Werner? Iñaki Williams perhaps and @ £32m his raw pace, even if he is rough around the edges in terms of technique, could be a shrewd move. I’ll probably have to wait to get him as he has just signed a new deal and indeed, it’s not possible to get him to discuss terms after submitting the bid for that very same reason.

·       Karim Bellarabi agrees terms with Fiorentina and will leave the club on 1st July 2019. A busy day…

·       Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü make an acceptable bid around the c.£3m mark (after clauses) for Danny da Costa. All the best Danny, you were a good squad player.

·       Nadiem Amiri suffers a 2 week injury on international duty; could have been worse.

·       Newcastle come in with a similarly decent bid of £18.25m up front for Kevin Kampl. No clauses this time and I’m willing to accept the deficit on the desired fee and show good will to the player. Accepted.

·       Chelsea turn their attentions to Sead Kolasinac. Their bid is woefully short at £29.5m, after clauses. Embarrassing really.


July 2019

·       We are delighted to announce the triple signings of Timo Werner, Felix Passlack and Philipp Ochs.








·       I am planning on Ochs being an attacking player from the left wide position, Passlack a conventional right full back and Werner to play at Poacher, naturally.

·       I offer out the players I don’t want to keep or wouldn’t mind moving on as well as trying to arrange loans for Prinz, Popovic and Schreck.

·       I immediately accept a £3.8m bid from Napoli for Julian Baumgartlinger. He’s been a good servant and this is a good move for all parties; the Austrian has faded a little and is in the last year of his contract.

·       I agree new contracts with Assistant Manager, Carsten Jancker, and key Coach, Dennis Bergkamp.

·       I begin a media campaign to try and tempt Iñaki Williams into letting me discuss terms either in this Window or in a Dolberg style January injection of attacking pace, at least. The short term plan will be to rotate Woods, Sisto and Dolberg into Poacher as Werner’s form/condition requires then review again in January.

·       Dortmund come in with a £46m opening gambit for Jonathan Tah. This will not be allowed, not at all. #inDenial.

·       I accept an offer for Adrian Stanilewicz from FC Hansa Rostock; this will be worth £375k but with a £1.1m Buy Back Clause and 25% Profit on any future deal.

·       Jonathan Tah and I have “words”. He wants to win the Champions League and so do I. However, he doesn’t think he can do that here. Some truth in that Jonathan, I guess, but unfortunately you’ll have to leave via clause if you want to go.

·       Sam Schreck will try the Dolberg route of getting into my team via a loan spell with competing German football club, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. It’s a good move and we’ll see just how good he is and could be, methinks.

·       Danny da Costa completes his £1.9m (rising to £3m with clauses) move to Başakşehir Futbol Kulübü.

·       FC Hansa Rostock double up on my young, not quite good enough, prospects. This time they agree a similar deal to the Stanilewicz one for Daniel Nesseler.

·       Kevin Kampl completes his £18.25m move to Newcastle United. We wish him well.

·       I try and get ahead of the Jonathan Tah situation by offering him out at his clause of £80m, that fee locked and non-negotiable. Your move lads…

·       I make an enquiry for Kylian Mbappé, presently at Liverpool in this reality. Heard of this guy? Any good? J He’s only a Rotation player at ‘Pool and not on massive wages. Therefore, in theory, if I could agree a fee he might be amenable to the transfer…

·       Julian Baumgartlinger completes his £3.8m move to Napoli. A dependable player but it was the right time for him to move on. Atakan Akkaynak and Mario Altendorf can now challenge Lars Bender for the Ball Winning Midfielder berth in central midfield.

·       Julijan Popovic will spend next season on loan at VfL Bochum. A step up in class @ 2. Fußball-Bundesliga level for the talented defender will be informative.

·       Marian Prinz joins Sam Schreck as part of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s first team squad for 2019/0 season as he agrees a season long loan. Another good move as long as he starts which is the whole point. Tomas Kucz will stay behind to cover for Bernd Leno and play senior games in the DFB-Pokal.

·       Dortmund come in for Wendell for reasons I cannot quite fathom. I want at least £7-8m for my reserve left full back [although Ochs will likely cover there ahead of him]. I reject their opening gambit of £5.75m.

·       Kylian Mbappé…a deal is agreed with both Liverpool and the player. A mega deal. A mega, mega deal. Timo Werner – you and the bench will become…better acquainted than you thought you might be when you signed. Soz about that old chum.

·       Freiburg come in with an acceptable bid for Bobby Wood; I didn’t necessarily want to sell him but for c.£10m and given the deal I’ve just done, why not? I can start Sisto at Poacher until Mbappé and Werner get the required level of tactical familiarity to start.

·       Adrian Stanilewicz completes his move to Rostock; good luck lad!

·       Kylian Mbappé signs! £43m rising to £70m after time and clauses. The French Wonderkid will take home £5m p/a until he plays 30 games after which he will trigger the start of the £7m p/a era. Volland and Havertz will join him via clauses. Gentleman (and Ladies) I give you – the man who will take Bayer 04 Leverkusen to the promised land: -




·       Daniel Nesseler leaves to join SC Paderborn 07. We’ll see how he develops.

·       Meanwhile a Wendell bidding war is commencing between Espanyol and Wolfsburg. Exciting times.

·       Bobby Wood departs for SC Freiburg for a fee of £6.5m rising to £9m. A good deal to sign and a good deal to depart. We wish him well in his future endeavours.

·       Wendell departs to Espanyol for a deal close to £5m. Meh.

·       Marco Asensio is up for grabs is he Real? Hmm…£6.5m is nothing. Shall I? I do enjoy one I wasn’t expecting. Be good. Scout first.

·       Pre-season continues to be a hard slog but I went in with competitive teams and reckon that will be worth it when we get to the real deal.

·       I have a brief look at VfL Wolfsburg’s squad as we approach the DFL-Supercup. Blimey! Relegation has led to an exodus of epic proportions. Cupboard stripped bare almost as they have 11 senior players; one of whom has a broken leg. Guess the Wolfsburg II squad will see some use…

·       I just can’t say no to an unexpected deal; fee agreed for Asensio. Come on!

·       I’m up against Villarreal for his signature – stay in Spain or bring the pain…to Germany!

·       A blow ahead of the season [but still with a few weeks to offset] as Philipp Ochs suffers a 5-6 week injury during a reserve game.

·       Marcos Asensio completes his move to Bayer 04 Leverkusen. He signs a 4 year deal for an initial £4.5m fee that could rise to £7m with time and clauses. He will earn a fairly modest £2.6m p/a. Philipp Ochs will focus on covering at left full back now so Asensio will be the backup left wide midfielder: -




·       DFL-Supercup took place and I won against VfL Wolfsburg: -




·       Some defensive frailties and an absolute belter of a free kick from Wolfsburg’s Marvin Stefaniak but in the end we had far too much. Mbappé came off the bench to assist Timo Werner with a debut goal. Pione Sisto was mercurial after swapping with Kai Havertz midway through the first half.

·       Rationale for victory? Superiority.

·       My squad is largely complete now for this and future seasons (barring more monster clause action) although I retain an interest in Southampton’s Spanish central defender, Jorge Meré, who is unhappy but on a long term, high salary contract. Would be a tricky transfer to make economical rather akin to the real-life Virgil van Dijk saga.


August 2019+


·       A blow for Tomasz Kucz at the start of the month as a broken finger rules him out for 2-3 weeks and therefore his senior debut in the DFB-Pokal tie at FC Würzburger Kickers.

·       Jonathan Tah seems set to stay as interest wanes in parting with eighty million of your English pounds (other currencies are available). He’s not happy enough to renegotiate his contract quite yet. Give him time, we’ll get that clause up into triple figures.

·       Kevin Volland is training poorly and won’t be starting until he improves; good opportunity for Mahmoud Dahoud to stake a claim. Already an assist to his name in the Supercup.

·       Man City arrive with interest for the Jonathan Tah central defender project. They are keen to add him to their other projects as they have bought plenty from me previously; I produce tasty projects apparently J. No dice even @ £64m upfront. The answer my friend is blowing in the wind…to the tune of £80m.

·       Lars Bender and Kevin Volland retain the Captaincy and Vice-Captaincy, respectively, as that decision arrives.

·       Jonathan Tah ups the ante with a formal transfer request. Nope. Clause, pay, leave or stay.

·       Pione Sisto will miss at least two months after he tears knee ligaments in training; I guess we have to be thankful it wasn’t his ACL. He’s such a big player for us but we do, at least, have plenty of cover in the attacking areas.

·       Andrija Zivkovic joins Kevin Volland on the bench as his training performances come in with lots of downward arrows.

·       Man City come in with a bid for you know who that is over £80m but it’s not upfront and I’m not willing to take a £8.75m risk on them winning the Europa League thank you very much. It’s looking likely that they’ll come back with cash only but we will see.

·       Volland fights his way back into training form with Zivkovic still needing to get back on track.

·       Because I suspect Man City or someone else will come in with a full whack £80m bid either at the end of this window or in January I decide to push the button on Jorge Meré and get him familiar with my tactics as well as giving myself a full, position to position, 2nd XI again.

·       I agree a fee starting at £30m, rising to £51m after time and clauses for the Spanish international central defender who will earn £6.25m p/a. Is he worth it? I have a ba-good feeling about this. Jorge Meré: -




·       Man City do come in on deadline day but not for Jonathan Tah, instead for Kevin Volland. I reject their deal which isn’t his £75m clause. They return with immediate negotiations and they are hungry, really hungry. Desperately hungry in fact and I end up accepting £5m below the clause with the caveat that his per appearance clause could take us up to £83m! Dahoud to start, Patrick Güllenbeck to fight for the future. LEVERKUSEN!!

·       Bernd Leno will be appointed Vice-Captain.

·       Tune in next season on FM Stories “Bayer 04 Leverkusen Edition” to see who Man City buy next from my squad. SPOILER: likely to be Jonathan Tah…L


Season 4 – 2019/0 – Phase 1 – First ten league games (plus cup games) – Fixtures




·       Other than Hoffenheim at home it is a good block of starting fixtures to open up this fourth season with Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Need to avoid too many defeats and get tactical familiarity up so I can play my first team with confidence.


Season 4 – 2019/0 – Champions League Group



#31 UKFMManager803



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Posted 12 August 2017 - 08:00 AM

Season 4 – 2019/0 – Phase 1 – First ten league games (plus cup games)




·       A blow to my hopes of blooding my young prodigy, Patrick Güllenbeck, as the future maestro suffers a 4 month injury that will see him sans football until after the Winter Break; it won’t stop me offering him enhanced professional terms when the time comes though as I still see him as a definite starter in a season or three.

·       A minor injury [2 weeks tops] to Felix Passlack restricts his advancement re: tactical familiarity.


Training, Contracts & Transfers


·       Andrija Zivkovic continues to train badly and is therefore out of the team. He needs to learn that a certain standard must be maintained. He does subsequently get his act together.

·       Kai Havertz is next – just a blip (he’s back in next game) and not a sign of complacency setting in for my favourite player.

·       Nadiem Amiri, after whinging to the press and some stellar performances (tactical familiarity means he’s getting games whilst Kylian Mbappé and Timo Werner get up to speed), secures a new deal and improved terms. Very good player but likes a bit of drama. I’ll live with it if he continues to play at this level.

·       With his clause at a precarious £76m and with him being one of the best (or at least most consistent) left full back in the database I agree a massive new contract with Sead Kolasinac taking him up into the top tier players at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. It’ll cost a ridiculous sum to get him out of here now.

·       Patrick Güllenbeck signs his professional terms for 3 years. Love how he’s getting better [green arrows!] whilst injured. J

·       Andrija Zivkovic suffers a minor injury that will keep him out for a game or two.

·       Tomasz Kucz breaks a finger and will miss 3-4 weeks.




















·       Ahead of my great rivals by 2 (Borussia Dortmund) and 3 points (FC Bayern München), respectively. That’s a strong start. FC Schalke 04 seem to have taken on the mantle of dark horse. Neigh!


Champions League




·       Arsenal are profiling strongly to win the group whilst the same can be said of my team and the 2nd qualification slot for post-Christmas football. A win over Panathinaikos AO in Athens ought to do for that which would then give me a shot at beating Arsenal to contest group victory on the last day.


Analysis: The Wins


·       FC Würzburger Kickers (DFB-Pokal 1st Round). Rationale: Superiority. Synopsis: The Kickers took a shock lead before our quality, in comparison, took over and we won out comfortable winners. Highlight: A brace for Kasper Dolberg.

·       TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Them). Synopsis: Hoffenheim may have done better if they had actually fielded The Hoff after an abject display against my lads who were well up for an early season hammering. Highlight: A mercurial display (including a hat-trick) from Nadiem Amiri.

·       1.FSV Mainz 05 (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: I took the opportunity before the tricky visit to North London to give all my new players a start and as a result it was a display littered with mistakes as players got used to each other. Nevertheless, quality ran out. Highlight: Marco Asensio’s performance.

·       RasenBallsport Leipzig (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Us). Synopsis: I went into this match thinking I was playing one tactic whilst instead still playing my ultra Contain mode from the Arsenal game. It worked but it was still a boo boo. The lads played significantly better than Leipzig which certainly helped our cause! Highlight: Nadiem Amiri’s performance.

·       VfB Stuttgart (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Both). Synopsis: Stuttgart were not at the races, my lads had bets on all the winning horses. We could and should have added to our three goal haul. Highlight: Kylian Mbappé’s performance.

·       RSC Anderlecht (Champions League). Rationale: Superiority. Synopsis: Anderlecht were outclassed at this level against my team. Highlight: Andrija Zivkovic’s performance.

·       1.FC Nürnberg (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: Whilst the comparison between team performances suggested a close game, we restricted the team from Nuremberg to a single shot (off target). Yet they were heading for a valuable point prior to the introduction from the bench of the Mbappé and Werner combination. They combined to devastating effect. Highlight: Kylian Mbappé’s performance.

·       Borussia Mönchengladbach (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: What should have been a difficult game was even more of a challenge as it came so soon after the International Break that we had to make a raft of changes, especially in defence. However, that extra bit of class in the squad allowed us to secure a valuable three points on the road. Priceless even. Highlight: Charles Aránguiz, ever versatile, performing superbly at left full back and tucking away a penalty to boot.

·       Panathinaikos AO (Champions League). Rationale: Superiority. Synopsis: We never really had to up our game against the team from Athens, visiting Leverkusen in the Champions League. As much of a regulation 2-0 win as they come. Highlight: Kai Havertz’s performance.

·       Fortuna Düsseldorf (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Tactics (Us). Synopsis: A lacklustre first half display led me to try a slower tempo with a higher line; it worked and the brace that followed killed off any further resistance from Düsseldorf. Highlight: Mahmoud Dahoud’s performance.


Analysis: The Draws


·       Hamburger SV (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Tactics (Us). Synopsis: Perhaps I was rusty after the long break between seasons but I didn’t show the tactical flexibility of previous seasons that I should have. 0-1 up but with the opposition pressing I desperately raised the defensive line only for the commentary to signal that morale sapping goal before half-time. A boring second half but better defensively I suppose. Highlight: Kai Havertz’s performance.

·       Karlsruher SC (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: We created all the chances [they had nothing on goal, nothing!] but despite that played with sloppy abandon in the final third. One goal would have probably led to a second and maybe more but it didn’t come and we had to settle for a 0-0. Highlight: Lars Bender’s performance.

·       FC Schalke 04 (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: Arrgggh! 1-3 up with 30 minutes left and then Bertrand Traoré happened and we had to settle for a point. To be fair 1-3 down wasn’t a fair reflection on how Schalke played with Eugene Konoplyanka in scintillating form to create 2 of their 3 goals. Highlight: Kai Havertz’s performance, a brace with one of them being an absolute beauty.


Analysis: The Losses


·       Arsenal (Champions League Group). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: We came to North London set up to get a point and at half-time that was what we had after Timo Werner had equalised after Alexis Sánchez (yes he’s still there Arsenal fans) had given them the lead with one of the most heavily deflected free kick goals I’ve seen in a long ole while in FM. However, we conceded a penalty, they scored it and we couldn’t get another. Close enough to suggest we can be competitive against them in the Home leg. Highlight: Timo Werner’s performance.


Season 4 – 2019/0 - Phase 2 – Remaining league games (plus cup games) before the Winter Break – Fixtures




·       Home games against Dortmund and FC Bayern stand out. We have strong head to head records against the other teams although I wouldn’t expect trips to over performing 1.FC Köln and SV Werder Bremen won’t be walks in the proverbial park.


#32 UKFMManager803



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Posted 15 August 2017 - 06:48 PM

Season 4 – 2019/0 - Phase 2 – Remaining league games (plus cup games) before the Winter Break




·       Marian Prinz dislocates his shoulder (yow-ouch) whilst on loan to Hoffenheim and will miss two months, minimum. Some offset from the Winter Break, at least.


Training, Contracts & Transfers


·       Bernd Leno isn’t training well but with Tomasz Kucz not fully fit after his broken finger is uncontested in goal.

·       Kai Havertz – don’t break my heart. We have a falling out over his desire to join Dortmund L. They’ll have to pay One Hundred MILLION Pounds if they want him. GRRR!

·       Kasper Dolberg’s turn to train poorly. Good in a way, that should get Amiri back in the team as I am sure the whining was about to start…

·       Virgil van Dijk and Felix Passlack join him in the training sin bin (AKA the bench). Luckily just before the international break so hopefully they will do better by the time we all meet up again.

·       Jonathan Tah, after begging to be allowed to join Dortmund, has started training poorly as well. Let’s see if the bench teaches him some humility. I’d love to put a £150m clause in a new contract but this is looking less likely. The question is whether Dortmund can raise £80m in January or not and/or maintain an interest.

·       I agree new contracts for Kai Havertz, Kasper Dolberg and Mahmoud Dahoud that will see their release clauses rise to £176m, £130m and £140m, respectively. Gonna be rich or they staying forevers.

·       I am strongly considering loaning out Tomas Kucz, Atakan Akkaynak and Abdel Diouri for the second half of the season as I feel they are stagnating. The other loanable youngsters will benefit from enhanced coaching until next season; I’ll need to sign an experienced Keeps to cover for Leno and I have Charles Aránguiz to cover for Akkaynak although I may bring in Hamburg’s Walace as he is an increasingly pervasive candidate to replace Captain Lars in a pivotal position. I don’t expect to move for anyone else unless a big clause exit occurs.




















·       3 points clear of Dortmund & a resurgent Bremen. Even 6 points away – FC Bayern live. They’re just sleeping a little. Shoosh! Don’t wake them…


Champions League




·       We qualified but should have won our group; Chelsea next. Will the wait to get to a Quarter Final continue?




Analysis: The Wins


·       Hannover 96 (DFB-Pokal 2nd Round). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: Hannover are going great guns in securing an instant return to Fußball-Bundesliga so this next game in DFB-Pokal should have been tougher than the win by three result that transpired. We played very well and took our chances in the same spirit. Highlight: Kasper Dolberg’s performance and output which included a hat-trick and two assists.

·       1.FC Köln (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: Yes we have a great record in the Rhein derby but Köln were in good form. Again we found another gear and significantly outperformed our rivals which is satisfying as a manager and great for the fans. Highlight: Kylian Mbappé’s hat-trick as he grows ever more awesome in the Leverkusen colours.

·       Panathinaikos AO (Champions League Group). Rationale: Superiority. Synopsis: After 2 minutes we were 0-2 up as the strategic policy of high press, high tempo at the start of a game reaped dividends. In truth Panathinaikos couldn’t live with us as we claim our third win out of four. Arsenal’s shock defeat away to Anderlecht blows this group wide open and it’s in our hands to win it. Highlight: Andrija Zivkovic’s performance.

·       SC Freiburg (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Superiority. Synopsis: I didn’t need to pay more than partial attention to this match whilst my lads were taking care of business, such was our dominance over Freiburg; old boy Bobby Wood missed a sitter. Good lad! Highlight: Mahmoud Dahoud’s performance which included a goal and both assists for the other two.

·       Arsenal (Champions League Group). Rationale: Luck (Us). Synopsis: With (practically) the last kick of the game and coupled with Arsenal’s shock defeat in Belgium on the previous Match Day, Nadiem Amiri’s perfectly placed winner makes us overwhelming favourites to win this group. We just need to avoid Arsenal’s fate and take at least a point against Anderlecht. Andrija Zivkovic got us back in the game with a stunning break and far post cross for Havertz’s equaliser; this after a lucky rebound allowed Mario Icardi to put Arsenal ahead. Highlight: Nadiem Amiri’s performance and winner.

·       FC Augsburg (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: We absolutely destroyed Augsburg in the first half and took our foot off the pedal in the second (and took that casualness into the next game against Anderlecht L ) half. Kylian Mbappé ran riot. Highlight: Four goals for Kylian Mbappé in a virtuoso performance from the French Wonderkid.

·       Fortuna Düsseldorf (DFB-Pokal 3rd Round). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: We were simply too good for this plucky Fortuna Düsseldorf side who are holding their own in the nether regions of Fußball-Bundesliga. A game to remember for me as there were not one but two exceptional strikes from Kylian Mbappé then Pione Sisto. I wonder if the latter will be the one that gives the Danish star three in a row for goal of a season? Young Kylian will have something to say about that…Highlight: Kylian Mbappé’s performance. £70m is looking cheap as chips.

·       Hertha BSC (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Us). Synopsis: This was looking like a 0-0; we marginally shaded the play but neither side had their shooting boots on, it seemed. Then Timo Werner popped up to fire us to a valuable three points. Highlight: Andrija Zivkovic’s performance.


Analysis: The Draws


·       SV Werder Bremen (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Both). Synopsis: Werder Bremen were in exceptional form so taking a point was probably the best I could hope for. The game went to that expectation with both teams cancelling each other out although Bremen will be disappointed that they did not capitalise on the bonus of a fluke of a strike from full back, Walter Montoya, and produce the narrow win. Highlight: Dahoud and Dolberg both did well, the latter scoring from the former’s pass.

·       FC Bayern München (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Fouls (Us). Synopsis: We committed 22 fouls to 8 against FC Bayern and this led, naturally, to the play being broken up and us being unable to play with the fluidity and consistency that we can do. Kasper Dolberg’s opening strike, firing home after Mbappé’s free kick was pushed out by Manuel Neuer, was cancelled out by a sloppy back pass (from Captain  Lars of all people!) and Roberto Firmino doesn’t miss those. Highlight: Felix Uduokhai’s performance.


Analysis: The Losses


·       RSC Anderlecht (Champions League Group). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: A sting in the tale. A point would have ensured we topped our group and after Bernd Leno’s unfortunate own goal we found ourselves on the back foot. Yes, Anderlecht didn’t play amazingly and we even shaded the % play but there was something just off with the way we played. As Arsenal put Panathinaikos to bed I went Overload and was rewarded when Timo Werner tapped in from close in. Should have pressed Pause and gone Contain! Face-palm. Immediate Anderlecht goal. All over. L. Still we qualified and if we get to the Quarter Final all will be forgiven. Highlight: A solid game from Jorge Meré, making his first tactically familial start.

·       Borussia Dortmund (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Sending Off (Us). Synopsis: It may be simplistic to blame this defeat on the ill discipline of Tin Jedvaj but being sent off for two yellows as early as minute thirty-one meant that we had to play too large a chunk of the game chasing yellow shadows. We fought hard and when Kylian Mbappé finished with composure that belied his age after being slipped through by Nadiem Amiri I settled for a point. Sadly Julian Brandt came back to haunt us with a worthy winner; would another body have stopped this? Well Brandt scored from that area. I also have to say that Dortmund absolutely played out of their skin and we were at home – 26/15 [Shots/Shots On Target] compared to 3/2 [Shots/Shots On Target/Goals J]. Highlight: Kylian Mbappé’s performance.


Season 4 – 2019/0 - Phase 3 – Next ten league games (plus cup games) – Fixtures




·       Home to FC Bayern in the Quarter Final of DFB-Pokal, an intriguing two legs against Chelsea in the 1st Knockout Round of the Champions League. Otherwise, we must look at Phase 1 and think we can do something similar in Phase 3. I feel we need a points cushion with Dortmund and Das Bayern to travel to in Phase 4…

#33 UKFMManager803



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Posted 19 August 2017 - 09:51 AM

Season 4 – 2019/0 - Phase 3 – Next ten league games (plus cup games)




·       Tomás Conechny has broken his leg as he reaches the final quarter of his loan deal with Asociación Atlética Argentinos Juniors; 6-7 months is a blow for a player that needs minutes. I fear for his future.

·       Disaster strikes in our last friendly before Phase 3 begins as Tin Jedvaj breaks his ankle and is ruled out for at least 3 months. Even worse my star assists man, Andrija Zivkovic, damages his cruciate knee ligament and is ruled out for at least 7 months. L L L

o   Got to look on the bright side; chance for Asensio and Sisto to compete for the wide berth and Passlack to compete to make Tin’s right back role his own as we all know he can in FM.

·       Kasper Dolberg suffers a minor injury that will keep him out of the team for 2-3 weeks; could have been worse (see above!)

·       Bernd Leno comes down with a virus which means Danijel Subasic will get some game time.

·       Nadiem Amiri is ruled out for 2-3 weeks; luckily this coincided with the return to fitness of Kasper Dolberg.

·       Kai Havertz is ruled out for 3-4 weeks in a bitter blow to our chances.

·       The return of Kasper Dolberg is halted by a 4-5 day injury. An opportunity arises for Dahoud to move forward and Güllenbeck to start. Exciting times.

·       Atakan Akkaynak, who’d been playing consistently well for Augsburg, is now out for two months. Guy can’t get a break, oh…broken toe. Fair enough.


Form & Game Time


·       After (begrudgingly?) starting to train properly again, Jonathan Tah is being reintegrated back into the squad. I had promised Jorge Meré first team games and will give them to him until said promise expires or he starts training/playing badly.

·       Phillipe Ochs, Nadiem Amiri and Charles Aránguiz are all revolting in terms of their game time; not much I can do about that guys – I’m not into rotation for rotation’s sake.

·       Kylian Mbappé’s form has dropped off enough to suggest that it’s the right time to swap him and Werner so he can work his way back and reduce the pressure on his young shoulders.


Transfers & Contracts


·       I have a nominal bid accepted by AS Monaco for the transfer of experienced Keeps, Danijel Subasic. Terms are agreed but Bordeaux are in the hunt.

·       Juventus are sniffing around Kasper Dolberg but that new contract makes him exceedingly hard to extract from us @ £130m.

·       I accept a loan bid from FC Augsburg for Atakan Akkaynak and suggest they take him until the end of next season. He needs to play if he’s going to have a chance of breaking in, the chances of which are receding by the day that he is not, you know, playing football. Charles Aránguiz to cover for Lars Bender.

·       I reject Derby County’s sizeable bid for Tomas Kucz; I’ll offer him out for loan as soon as an experienced Keeps arrives.

·       I am locked in transfer negotiations with Hamburger SV over coveted Ball Winning Midfielder, Walace (Walace Souza Silva to you); I’d be amenable to loaning him back until next season so we’ll see if we can strike a deal. Don’t want to risk C. Atlético de Madrid SAD stealing a march.

·       Karlsruher SC offer me a good loan deal for Branko Zivanovic. They’ll use him as a Key Player and the deal will go until the end of next season. Definitely worth letting him go early for the valuable minutes he’ll get.

·       Danijel Subasic signs for us as Backup for the rest of this and next season. Here he is: -




·       Philipp Ochs is disappointed at not playing as much as he hoped [i.e. really not much at all]. I’m pleased – that means he wants to play and more importantly, Sead Kolasinac is keeping fit. J

·       Atakan Akkaynak completes his 18 month loan move to FC Augsburg. I will watch closely – at the moment he is just a future squad player, on the fringes. But he has potential, that he does.

·       Not making much headway with Walace – will monitor developments.

·       Branko Zivanovic completes his loan move to Karlsruher SC. Can he take the next step in his career? We will see.

·       Tomasz Kucz, despite late interest from Derby County, stays in Germany and Fußball-Bundesliga with Fortuna Düsseldorf on loan until the end of the season.

·       PSG put in a low ball offer for Pione Sisto of c.£20m. They are politely told that only £80m will do. To his credit, despite wanting to discuss terms, he doesn’t make a fuss.

·       Sead Kolasinac agitates on deadline day for a move to Man City; you ain’t going nowhere Sead. Manchester City will need to pay £150m, end of.

·       Tottenham Hotspur fancy a bit of Charles Aránguiz but he’s too important a squad player for me to consider it.


Transfers In (£121m+)




Transfers Out (£204m+)





















·       So we go into Phase 4 with a healthy (but not insurmountable) 5 point (+Goal Difference) lead over Dortmund. 8 points (+GD) over FC Bayern looks positively glowing; a three way race for the title for sure though.


Analysis: The Wins


·       TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Both). Synopsis: A usually competitive Hoffenheim team has been distinctly off their usual pace this season and the Reaper, extremely unfairly yet inevitably, is hovering over Julian Nagelsmann. We played exceptionally well at 7.80 Average Team Rating and they were poor at 6.67; we also had players at the peak of their powers in the attacking phase. Highlight: Kylian Mbappé’s performance which included a brace; Mahmoud Dahoud’s late embellishment to the score-line was deliciously struck.

·       Hamburger SV (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: In a feisty (to say the least – 5 yellow cards a piece) contest that saw both Bender brothers face off (and get booked) it was down to the quality of Marco Asensio that, in the end, saw us shade this close match and secure the three points. Highlight: Marco Asensio’s performance and brace.

·       Karlsruher SC (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Superiority. Synopsis: Having been frustrated at Wildparkstadion in Phase 1 we were simply better in this game as we defeated Karlsruhe with time and energy to spare. Kasper Dolberg had a particularly good game up front, helping himself to a classy brace but it was his compatriot, Pione Sisto who stole the show, in the starting XI for the suspended Kai Havertz. Highlight: Pione Sisto’s performance.

·       FC Bayern München (DFB-Pokal Quarter Final). Rationale: Luck (Us). Synopsis: In the 34th minute of this closely fought DFB-Pokal cup win over FC Bayern, Manuel Neuer made a rare mistake as he came for the ball from a corner, not getting there and by default of it being on target, Virgil van Dijk’s header nestled in the back of net. It looked like we would hold out until Jorge Meré made it two penalties conceded in two consecutive games, an unwelcome stat. Luckily Bernd Leno was the hero, saving the kick. Highlight: Virgil van Dijk’s performance. However, Bernd Leno’s penalty save was massive.

o   So we arrive at the business end of the DFB-Pokal with Hertha BSC standing in my way from a (probable) tie against Dortmund: -




·       RasenBallsport Leipzig (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Both). Synopsis: Leipzig played awful (6.48), we played awesome (8.18). Simplistic but accurate as we breezed to a 5-0 hammering over a team that has given us difficult games in the past. There was lots to enjoy from my team including two assists from Felix Passlack, another great display from Marco Asensio (making the most of Zivkovic’s absence) and the first, uneventful, 45 competitive minutes in the career of Patrick Güllenbeck. Highlight: Kai Havertz’s performance which included a deflected free kick goal and an assist.

·       VfB Stuttgart (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: Stuttgart put up a decent effort in this game but once again slipped to a defeat that sees them fighting for their Bundesliga survival. They might have had a point against an early incarnation of my Leverkusen team but we just have that extra squad depth and quality that is allowing us to compete with the top teams and win games like this with a bit of magic from a quality player. Highlight: Kai Havertz’s performance and a stunning strike to win it.

·       FC Schalke 04 (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: We raised our game to beat high flying Schalke at BayArena. Schalke took the lead and were looking like getting something if not everything; then we landed that great psychological blow of the goal right before half-time. In the second half we found another couple and although Schalke scored again I didn’t feel like this would be more than a consolation and so it proved. Highlight: Nadiem Amiri’s performance which included a goal and assists for the other two; contribution made J.

·       Chelsea (Champions League 1st Knockout Round – Two Legs).

o   Leg 1 (Home). Rationale: Team Performance (Both). Synopsis: It would be fair to say our defence at a nightmare in this first leg against Chelsea in Germany; three out of the four starters in by back four averaging 6.6 or below. We got off to a great start when Kai Havertz (who else?) put the finishing touch to a sublime counter from a failed Chelsea set-piece. A delightful chip from Diego Costa (ROFL – although he’s been to Man Utd and come back in this database) and an excellent strike (inept defending from Van Dijk though) from Florin Andone (Romania) put us right up against it. Highlight: Kai Havertz's performance. In fact – surely no chance of a comeback. Right? L

o   Leg 2 (Away). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: This actually happened and somehow the dream of getting to (at least) a Quarter Final of the Champions League this season has been realised. Total credit to the team as shorn of stars such as Bernd Leno, Kai Havertz and Kasper Dolberg we still managed to come away with the 4-3 win on aggregate. A strike from Mahmoud Dahoud, playing up top alongside Timo Werner, in the 20th minute got us underway as we played without fear and Chelsea retreated into their shell. Then Marco Asensio’s unstoppable free kick flew past Thibaut Courtois in the 50th minute and we were looking home and hosed. Florin Andone tempered our excitement with another exceptional strike, suggesting extra time would ensue, before an 86th minute goal from Sead Kolasinac [heading in Jonathan Tah’s own header towards goal from close in] sent us into raptures. I had to pour myself another Jack Daniels at full time to celebrate! Drink Responsibly Kids. J Highlight: Jonathan Tah’s performance (despite hating me and wanting to leave).

o   The Quarter Final draw is not kind but is still exciting. We have nothing to lose and we will give it everything against F.C. Barcelona: -




·       Borussia Mönchengladbach (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: Gladbach were bad and we didn’t have to be at top form to dispose of them. We did manage to put one particularly good move together that resulted in a nicely slotted goal from Pione Sisto. Marco Asensio warmed up for his heroics in the game that followed with a marginally worse free kick than the one he would subsequently smash beyond the Chelsea Keeps. Highlight: Marco Asensio’s performance.

·       Fortuna Düsseldorf (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Us). Synopsis: Somehow I managed to cobble together a win despite being tactically restricted by my celebratory drink (!) and having to rest Tah and van Dijk after their exertions against Chelsea. Düsseldorf missed a penalty before taking the lead then scored an own goal in an eventful game. Young midfielder Mario Altendorf showed a glimpse of his future prowess with a fierce strike to (perhaps unjustly) secure all three points for Leverkusen in the 91st minute. Drama. Highlight: Mario Altendorf’s performance and late winner.


Analysis: The Draws


·       1.FSV Mainz 05 (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Both). Synopsis: An even game that Mainz may have felt they should have ground out a win in; this after taking the lead from the spot after a Jorge Meré foul. Luckily for us, Kasper Dolberg equalised shortly after and that was that. Highlight: Marco Asensio’s performance.


Analysis: The Losses


·       1.FC Nürnberg (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: Nürnberg had a single shot on goal and scored from it but played marginally better than us. We had the morale sapping blow of losing Kai Havertz to injury in the 50th minute. We also committed almost four times as many fouls despite attempts to reduce this during the game; as a consequence our play never really got going. Thankfully this incarnation of this team has reached a level where these kind of games are few and far between. Highlight: Nope.


Season 4 – 2019/0 – Phase 4 [Final Seven League Games (plus cup games)]


Please see my next post as we go LIVE for the last Phase of the season.

#34 UKFMManager803



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Posted 19 August 2017 - 10:06 AM

Season 4 – 2019/0 – Phase 4 [Final Seven League Games (plus cup games)]


Leverkusen Fixtures & Results






Dortmund Fixtures & Results






FC Bayern Fixtures & Results






Fußball-Bundesliga 2019/0






20 August 2017


·       Kasper Dolberg suffers a 2 week injury as he steps up his recovery; the injury itself will be absorbed by the International Break but he’ll still miss one or more games.

·       Virgil van Dijk suffers a ten day injury jumping to head the ball whilst on international duty.

·       Kylian Mbappé is out for around 3 weeks with a groin strain right before the first game. L

·       Mahmoud Dahoud is out for a week with a knock.

·       Marco Asensio comes down with food poisoning and misses the 2nd leg tie against Barcelona. At least Havertz and Dahoud have pulled themselves back to an acceptable level.

·       Tin Jedvaj returns to training – he’ll be lucky to get himself match fit by the end of the season but at least he’ll be raring to go for pre-season.


Fixtures: -


1.     1.FC Köln (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: We never recovered from losing Mahmoud Dahoud in the 9th minute to a dead leg and didn’t get going. Too many fouls and attempts to stem them had limited effect; couple that with the whole Rhein Derby competitiveness and 0-0 [or worse] was the likely result. We’ll accept the former. Highlight: Jorge Meré’s performance.

2.     F.C. Barcelona (Champions League Quarter Final – Leg 1). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: We arrived in Barcelona with a Contain game-plan with 0-0 literal Christmas for my lads. Although Barcelona did managed a narrow win I have to praise the team performance which saw us have more possession and on another day one of those three shots on target would have been a crucial away goal. Highlight: Us making their Keeps (Marc-André ter Stegen) Player of the Match in a game that, on paper, Barcelona should have won convincingly.

3.     SC Freiburg (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Chance Scorning (Us). Synopsis: Freiburg were down to ten men after only six minutes and we took the lead twenty minutes later. We couldn’t get the second goal. We couldn’t get the second goal. We couldn’t get…repeat ad infinitum. To be fair to them – they marginally outperformed us as a team which with ten men is no mean feat. Dortmund’s title chances just took a major shot in the arm. Highlight: Pione Sisto’s performance.

4.     F.C. Barcelona (Champions League Quarter Final – Leg 2). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: What a comeback! 1-0 down from the away leg and 0-0 at half-time in the home one, it looked like it might end that way before Timo Werner broke his goal drought at a vital time. Then Pione Sisto put us ahead on aggregate with a fine finish with around a quarter of an hour left. Still one goal would send them through but defensively we were superb and could even celebrate our Semi Final place before full time when Captain Lars drilled home a third. Highlight: Kai Havertz’s performance.




·       Arsenal again – this was the best draw I could have hoped for. Both teams know each other and although the North London side just shaded it in the Group Stage I have to believe this team can raise their game one more time. Believe!


21 August 2017


·       Jonathan Tah continues in his mission to escape Leverkusen by agitating over a possible move to Manchester United. Sigh. I offer him to all clubs at a non-negotiable £80m to see what interest there is as his morale drops from Very Poor to Abysmal. If I can win the clean sweep maybe our reputation will rise where we won’t be seen as a smaller club as we are currently in Mr Tah’s eyes.


Fixtures: -


1.     SV Werder Bremen (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Tactics (Us). Synopsis: Werder Bremen were in such good form and as such were more than capable of getting a result out of us. Their dangerous front line isn’t based around pace (David Selke and Johannes Eggestein) so I opted to push the defensive line up and make it difficult for them to get service to those two whilst allowing my own team to dominate, if they could. They could. A scintillating fourteen minutes saw us race into a 3-0 lead before things evened up; a red card to Bremen three minutes later ended any slim chance they had of getting back into the game. Highlight: Mahmoud Dahoud’s performance that included a stunning goal and an assist to boot.

2.     Hertha BSC (DFB-Pokal Semi Final). Rationale: Player Quality (Us). Synopsis: So I was right and Borussia Dortmund will contest the DFB-Pokal Cup Final after we saw off Hertha BSC and SC Freiburg, respectively; our quality seeing us through on top of home advantage. In the end Hertha couldn’t string the kind of moves together that got them this far and we built upon a morale sapping 1st minute own goal so some luck as well! Highlight: Pione Sisto’s performance and another sparkling strike for the highlight package. J

3.     FC Bayern München (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: FC Bayern weren’t in great form but our history away to them is poor so we went with our Contain strategy partly to take a point but also for tactical familiarity ahead of playing the same way against Arsenal in the away trip to North London. It worked a treat but we couldn’t quite find that 0-1 perfection that is the dream with this way of playing. After Arturo Vidal was sent off for two yellow cards in two minutes (!) Bayern sat back too and that was that. I resisted the urge to push as a point here is more than we usually get. Highlight: Captain Lars did especially well organising things.


22 August 2017


·       So I feel that Borussia Dortmund are probably going to eclipse me in the Fußball-Bundesliga after possibly one draw too many. It’s conceivable I could grind out a 1 point title win but I probably need TSG 1899 Hoffenheim to do me a massive favour, for my future Keeps to play a blinder for them and to at least hold Dortmund before I entertain FC Augsburg at home; this fixture in itself has been a banana skin before.

·       Bernd Leno breaks our (and his own) clean sheets record with 23 and counting from the German ace. No wonder Schalke are interested.

·       Hoffenheim! GET IN! A 3-0 win over Dortmund is (almost literally) music to my ears. When I see that on loan Leverkusen youngster, Sam Schreck, scored one and created the other two my heart swells with pride. Good on you lad, good on you! Of course this match occurs before my home game over Augsburg which I expect to win. I win right? Right?!

·       Yes we do – a gritty, bitty and not very good display ends with a win. We now know that we can afford to lose to Dortmund and a point there will be enough for the title. Meanwhile minor knocks to Mbappé and Bender mean they’ll sit out the second leg of the Champions League Semi Final although they both end up proving to have enough fitness to take their places on the bench.

·       If we beat Arsenal (a big if) we now know we will face PSG after they narrowly defeated Manchester United 4-3 on aggregate.


Fixtures: -


1.     Arsenal (Champions League Semi Final – Leg 1). Rationale: Tactics (Us). Synopsis: We avoided conceding an early goal that would have forced us to push out and leave us vulnerable to Arsenal’s attacking game; once settled it was extremely difficult for the Gunners to find a way through and the returning Kylian Mbappé was an eager if fairly ineffective option on the counter; on another day we would have snapped up the 0-1. You’ve got to be in it to win it and we’re still in it, oh yes. Highlight: Bernd Leno’s performance.

2.     FC Augsburg (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Tactics (Us). Synopsis: Augsburg were creating too many chances so I moved back to a lower tempo, normal defensive line and this helped solidify our shape as they, the opposition, were seemingly going for the roll the dice, attack in numbers and hope strategy. Kasper Dolberg came up with the goal when it mattered. Highlight: Kasper Dolberg’s performance.

3.     Arsenal (Champions League Semi Final – Leg 2). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: Perhaps the occasion got to us, I’m not sure, but we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we could do and found ourselves up against an Arsenal team that had enough in the tank to make their way to the final against PSG. I have to accept that and be enthused by the potential of this team, this squad which should be less vulnerable to dismantling thanks to clauses, to compete in the latter stages of the Champions League. Highlight: Pione Sisto’s performance.


23 August 2017


·       So the future is t-shirts. They’ll say something different depending on the outcome, of course. The league win – looking good, we’ve already got the Supercup so that’s a double albeit a weak one. Add the DFB-Pokal and that’s a domestic clean sweep. There must be no t-shirts saying “And all I got was this darn Supercup” but it can still happen; Heaven or Hell – let’s find out.

·       Virgil van Dijk reacts to a certain something (see below!) occurring by agitating over a move to PSG. Sigh.

·       UEFA Youth League winners people – that bodes well. J


Fixtures: -


1.     Borussia Dortmund (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Team Performance (Us). Synopsis: Dortmund didn’t need to raise their game to beat us comfortably in this critical penultimate game of Fußball-Bundesliga 2019/0. That in itself is something of a damning indictment of my team. We were poor, they did enough. We move on thanking our lucky stars that Dortmund’s own capitulation away to Hoffenheim means it is still in our hands to be champions. Highlight: Nope.

2.     Hertha BSC (Fußball-Bundesliga). Rationale: Luck (Us). Synopsis: It’s been a long old while since I played a league deciding game of Football Manager that went right to the wire as this one did. We needed to match Dortmund’s score with our opposition away to Karlsruher SC, already relegated. That’ll be a win then, right? Let’s break down what went on: -


·       Karlsruhe vs Dortmund > 19th minute. OWN GOAL Almamy Touré of Dortmund (1-0). Current Champions: Leverkusen.

·       Leverkusen vs Hertha > 40th minute. GOAL Mahmoud Dahoud for Leverkusen (1-0). Current Champions: Leverkusen.

·       Karlsruhe vs Dortmund > 41st minute. GOAL Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Dortmund (1-1). Current Champions: Leverkusen.

·       Karlsruhe vs Dortmund > 59th minute. GOAL Dimitris Diamantakos for Karlsruhe (2-1). Current Champions: Leverkusen. LOL! J

·       Karlsruhe vs Dortmund > 69th minute. GOAL Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Dortmund (2-2). Current Champions: Leverkusen.

·       Karlsruhe vs Dortmund > 78th minute. GOAL Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Dortmund (2-3). Current Champions: Leverkusen. Keep calm…

·       Leverkusen vs Hertha > 80th minute. GOAL Daniel Caligiuri (Penalty) for Hertha (1-1). Current Champions: Dortmund. DRAMA! We’ve thrown this away…L

·       Leverkusen vs Hertha > 90th minute. GOAL Timo Werner for Leverkusen (2-1). Current Champions: Leverkusen. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! JJJ

·       Karlsruhe vs Dortmund > 92nd minute. GOAL Marco Reus (Penalty) for Dortmund (2-4). Champions: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

·       Highlight: Timo Werner’s most important goal of his Leverkusen career, maybe even his career? He’ll hope not. Credit to Pione Sisto for digging out the cross. Both players on as substitutes.


3.     Borussia Dortmund (DFB-Pokal Cup Final). Rationale: Luck (Them). Synopsis: -




·       Dortmund managed to grab some silverware at the end of the season and I don’t necessarily begrudge them it. It must have been heart-breaking for this particular collection of 1s and 0s to miss out on the title on the last day of the season so fair play to them for getting one over on me here. On another day we would have taken them to extra time and I possibly could have freshened up the team after the trauma of the last day. Ah well…Season 5 here we come! Highlight: Nope.

#35 UKFMManager803



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Posted 26 August 2017 - 09:32 AM

Close Season Review - Season 4 [2019/0]


Player Stats (Overview)












Highlights (Player Performances; collated)


·       MVP (joint): Kai Havertz & Kylian Mbappé with 7 mentions.

o   4 mentions: Nadiem Amiri, Marco Asensio, Mahmoud Dahoud, Kasper Dolberg, Pione Sisto.

o   3 mentions: Andrija Zivkovic.

o   2 mentions: Lars Bender, Bernd Leno, Jorge Meré, Timo Werner.

o   1 mention: Mario Altendorf, Charles Aránguiz, Jonathan Tah.


Rationales for Wins / Draws / Losses (collated)


Wins (35/53) 66% (Player Quality (Us) prevalence @ 23%)


Luck (Us)         6/35

Player Quality (Us)     8/35

Superiority      7/35

Tactics (Us)     3/35

Team Performance (Both)     4/35

Team Performance (Them)    1/35

Team Performance (Us)         6/35


Draws (11/53) 21% (Luck (Them) prevalence @ 36%)


Chance Scorning (Us) 1/11

Fouls (Us)        1/11

Luck (Both)     2/11

Luck (Them)    4/11

Tactics (Us)     2/11

Team Performance (Us)         1/11


Losses (7/53) 13% (no prevalence)


Luck (Them)    3/7

Sending Off (Us)         1/7

Team Performance (Us)         3/7


UEFA Europa League Final




UEFA Champions League Final




Major European League Winners


England: Manchester United

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

Italy: A.S. Roma

Netherlands: AFC Ajax

Portugal: Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Spain: Real Madrid C.F.


Season 4 – 2019/0 – Highlights


1.     Kai Havertz – GOAL in the 3-3 draw with Schalke in Bundesliga.



2.     Nadiem Amiri – GOAL in the 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Champions League.



3.     Kylian Mbappé – GOAL in the 0-3 victory over Düsseldorf in the DFB-Pokal Cup.



4.     Pione Sisto – GOAL in the 0-3 victory over Düsseldorf in the DFB-Pokal Cup.



5.     Mahmoud Dahoud – GOAL in the 0-3 victory over Hoffenheim in Bundesliga.



6.     Kai Havertz – GOAL in the 0-1 victory over Stuttgart in Bundesliga.



7.     Kai Havertz – GOAL in the 1-2 defeat over Chelsea in the Champions League.



8.     Marco Asensio – GOAL (direct free kick) + all other GOALS from Chelsea vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-3 (3-4 on aggregate) in the Champions League.



9.     Mahmoud Dahoud – GOAL in the 4-1 win over Bremen in Bundesliga. Voted Goal of the Season at the End of Season Awards.



10.  Pione Sisto – GOAL in the 2-0 win over Hertha BSC in the DFB-Pokal Cup.



11.  Timo Werner – GOAL in the 2-1 win over Hertha BSC in the 90th minute to win Bundesliga 2019/0!



Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Best XI (2016/7 to 2019/0)




Close Season Awards 2019/0 - Fußball-Bundesliga & Bayer 04 Leverkusen


Fußballer des Jahres

·       Winner: Kai Havertz

·       Runner Up: Mahmoud Dahoud

VDV Spieler der Saison

·       Runner Up: Kai Havertz

·       Third: Mahmoud Dahoud

Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Runner Up: Me

VDV Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Runner Up: Me

Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Mahmoud Dahoud & Kai Havertz

VDV Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Mahmoud Dahoud & Kai Havertz

#36 UKFMManager803



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Posted 31 October 2017 - 01:43 PM

Full Season Report - Season 5 [2020/1]




·       With Football Manager 2018 on the horizon (a Deportivo de La Coruña career the most likely outcome) I have decided to spend more time playing than writing up these Leverkusen Seasons. Hopefully at least seven seasons to be played.

·       Somehow despite my team’s best efforts to capitulate – we ended up winning the domestic treble [Bundesliga won on goal difference! By one goal! Scored in the 88th minute of a home defeat?!]

·       We go out of the Champions League at the First Knockout Round to C. Atlético de Madrid SAD.






In (£50m+)




Out (£8.25m+)




·       Big money moves for Walace and Iñaki Williams added a future successor to Lars Bender at Ball Winning Midfielder as well as a player I’ve always been intrigued at managing. Pure pace!

·       Charles Aránguiz was the most high profile departure as I cashed in with his contract set to expire the next year. A great servant to the club.

·       Despite lucrative attempts to pry him away, Jonathan Tah remained a Bayer 04 Leverkusen player. I may not be able to resist another bid in the summer with two years left on my key defender’s contract.




First XI




Second XI, Reserves & Marinating Youth Prospects




·       After injuries at the end of Season 4, Felix Passlack took the opportunity he would probably have taken anyway to overtake Tin Jedvaj at starting Right Full Back. Marco Asensio was preferred to Andrija Zivkovic, the latter fighting back from a 9 month knee injury, at left wide midfielder.

·       Nadiem Amiri nudged Kasper Dolberg onto the bench, taking the AMC berth; not much in it so this could be a position that sees heated competition in the seasons to come.












DFL Supercup




·       We started the season with a confident display against Borussia Dortmund in DFL-Supercup; Mahmoud Dahoud securing victory with an accurate finish.



Fußball-Bundesliga 2020/1










·       Going in to the last game of the season, any of the big three could take Fußball-Bundesliga: -




·       What we knew for certain was that a win would definitely be enough and we were at home against SV Werder Bremen who had nothing to play for other than pride.

·       The added bonus was that Borussia Dortmund were at home to FC Bayern München. Probably a draw right?

·       Somehow we contrived to be 1-2 down against Bremen after taking the lead and Dortmund, having conceded one penalties and down to ten men, allowed Munich to take the lead, again from the spot. But we would still be champions as the difference was only one goal.

·       In the 80th minute Bremen captain Pascal Groß hit a stunning free kick beyond Leno and unbelievably we were going to throw it away at 1-3 with FC Bayern set to take it by one goal. I waited for them to finish it with another goal against Dortmund but they didn’t…

·       Then my man, my main man, came up with the goods. Kai Havertz found the angle and found the corner and we were back on top again. The minutes ticked away and CHAMPIONS! Somehow…




Memorable Goals: -



The first goal of this two goal highlight was voted Goal of The Season at the End of Season Awards: -




Kai Havertz’s “consolation” goal that seals the league title. Somehow!




Champions League 2020/1








·       A disappointing start to my Champions League campaign; 0-0 at home against Panathinaikos AO. This was the catalyst, I believe, for me failing to apply any pressure on Manchester City.

·       We rallied with home and away wins over Fiorentina before winning in Greece. Ten points is nearly always enough and it was to be on this occasion too.

·       A tough draw in the First Knockout Round against C. Atlético de Madrid SAD, still managed by Diego Simeone, was still one to be approached with enthusiasm. A 1-1 draw in Germany was cancelled out in Spain, 1-1 again, thanks to Timo Werner’s perfectly executed guided header. Sadly Ángel Correa came up with two goals in extra time to seal the tie for Atlético.






Memorable Goals: -



Timo Werner’s header to take us to extra time against Atlético: -



DFB-Pokal Cup










·       Things got off to an above average start with a blitzing of FC Wegberg-Beeck by 11 (eleven) goals to nil; Timo Werner scored a third [as it transpired] of his season’s tally and laid on another couple to boot. Kasper Dolberg scored two and made four. Yummy!

·       We were rarely challenged in this competition as we added our second DFB-Pokal trophy. TSV 1860 München managed to take us all the way to penalties in the Third Round but that was the only real scare.


Memorable Goals: -



Nadiem Amiri takes full advantage of some slack defending to win the DFB-Pokal Cup: -



Player of the Match (Collated)


Players listed either Player of the Match, officially, or my Player of the Match when an opposition player was chosen instead.


·       8 PoM = Jonathan Tah.

·       6 PoM = Marco Asensio.

·       5 PoM = Kai Havertz.

·       3 PoM = Nadiem Amiri, Lars Bender, Mahmoud Dahoud, Kylian Mbappé, Timo Werner.

·       2 PoM = Sead Kolasinac, Jorge Meré, Felix Passlack, Pione Sisto, Iñaki Williams, Andrija Zivkovic.

·       1 PoM = Kasper Dolberg, Patrick Güllenbeck, Virgil van Dijk.

·       0 PoM (1,000 minutes minimum) = Tin Jedvaj, Bernd Leno, Philipp Ochs, Felix Uduokhai.


1.     Jonathan Tah > PoM = 8








2.     Marco Asensio > PoM = 6








3.     Kai Havertz > PoM = 5








Youth Prospects (Top 5)


1.     Patrick Güllenbeck (First Team Games = 21)






2.     Christian Artmann (First Team Games = 7)






3.     Marian Prinz (First Team Games = 8 + 43 for Hoffenheim on Loan)






4.     Mario Altendorf (First Team Games = 6)






5.     Abdel Diouri (First Team Games = 2 + 28 for Hertha BSC on Loan)






UEFA Europa League Final




Major European League Winners


England: Liverpool

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

Italy: A.S. Roma

Netherlands: AFC Ajax

Portugal: Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Spain: Real Madrid C.F.


Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Best XI (2016/7 to 2020/1)






Close Season Awards 2020/1 - Fußball-Bundesliga & Bayer 04 Leverkusen


Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Runner Up: Me

VDV Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Runner Up: Me

Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Nadiem Amiri, Lars Bender, Felix Passlack & Virgil van Dijk.

VDV Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Nadiem Amiri, Lars Bender, Felix Passlack & Virgil van Dijk.


Season 6 > 2021/2 – Preview


·       I can confirm that as the new season preparation begins in earnest that Chelsea have gone early with a £80m, to clause, bid for Jonathan Tah. His departure has been inevitable for some time and there is little doubt that the Director of Football will fail to negotiate the kind of package that would tempt the German defender to stay.

·       I am not expecting to lose anyone else, not by choice anyways. I would sell Bernd Leno and Tino Jedvaj for good bids; given his desire to move back to the Premiership I could also accept £40m, below clause, for Virgil van Dijk. I still hope to keep the Dutch defender, however.

·       The Tah money is likely to go on a concerted effort to tempt Kurt Zouma to replace him at the BayArena. Zouma is, I feel, vulnerable to being snapped up at his current club, Olympique de Marseille, as they only finished 5th in Ligue 1. Can we do a deal? It’s too early to say…J

·       Man City continue to sniff around players like Kylian Mbappé [who will miss the start of the season due to injury] but their £103m capture of Julian Brandt from Dortmund may well reduce their appetite.

·       For the Season itself – I need to balance the reality of our achievements [we’re winning] with obvious shortcomings [not scoring enough] and make the necessary tweaks and alterations to help us be more consistent and ultimately continue to challenge in the final stages of the Champions League.

#37 UKFMManager803



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Posted 25 November 2017 - 05:14 PM

Full Season Report - Season 6 [2021/2]




·       We play so much better than Season 5 but end up with one less piece of silverware as only the Fußball-Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup are retained.

o   It’s a 21 point [+23 goal] cushion in the end over Dortmund – this compared to a single goal last time out. FC Bayern München slump to 8th as Hamburger SV take up the dark horse mantle previously held by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

o   HSV justifiably secure a Champions League place (or at least a play-off) after unfairly falling into 4th with one game to go. Stuttgart couldn’t take advantage.

·       We crash out on penalties in the Semi-Final of DFB-Pokal to SC Freiburg.

·       However, it’s our best ever Champions League campaign in this database as we contest the final, ironically in Marseille where we signed both our acquisitions (Kurt Zouma and Jairo Riedewald) from this season, against Manchester United.

o   Manchester United, smarting from losing on penalties to Dortmund in last season’s final, managed to secure the penalty shootout win. This is not without a degree of controversy as we have a goal harshly chalked off and I am proud of my players.

·       Lastly this has been the season of direct free kicks. I don’t think I’ve ever see a Football [or Championship for that matter J] Manager campaign where my lads have smashed home so many stunning free shots on goal; Nadiem Amiri and Marco Asensio taking the plaudits here.






In (£66m+)




Out (£125m+)




·       And so we said goodbye to Jonathan Tah. Well actually he just left as Chelsea stumped up the £80 million release clause. They paid him less than I would have so I guess he really did want to improve his lot, footballing-wise.

·       My preferred replacement, former Chelsea Central Defender and all round defensive deity, Kurt Zouma was extracted from Marseille after one season.

·       Acceptable bids for Tin Jedvaj and Philipp Ochs from PSG and FC Bayern, respectively, saw me return to Marseille for the versatile Jairo Riedewald; the Dutchman to cover at Left Full Back with the emergence of Wonderkid Right Full Back, Christian Artmann, rendering Jedvaj a Backup at most.

·       Everything was quiet in January until on deadline day, Real Madrid made moves on Kelechi Iheanacho; they tried to tempt the Nigerian ace to move to Spain after three seasons with Manchester City. I put in a better bid, agreed terms and in Season 7 – Iheanacho will be back for a second spell for £44m [potentially rising to £70m]. The £200m release clause should ensure a third spell with City is unlikely. J




First XI




Second XI, Reserves & Marinating Youth Prospects




·       Timo Werner took the No.9 shirt this season from Kylian Mbappé and had a pretty good season playing regularly as Poacher. Not quite World Class but you’d be pleased to have him in and around your squad. Like I am.

·       Kai Havertz switch from wide on the right to the No.10 shirt and role that he was always destined for. Injury took some of the shine off his promising displays here but I am confident that if when he stays fit, he will be a top drawer AMC.

·       This switch meant Nadiem Amiri moved back to wide right midfield and coupled with a fully fit and rampant Marco Asensio – out wide we were on fire.

·       Although still playing much more than I expected, Lars Bender, dropped out at DMC with Walace moving in to start there. His aerial prowess was a boon, his disciplinary “flexibility” not so much.   












DFL Supercup




·       We started the season in the Allianz Arena against FC Bayern München to compete for the DFL Supercup.

·       It was a fairly even game but we created the better chances and Manuel Neuer, mercurial at 35, was voted Player of the Match.

·       However, it was our goalie, the sometimes maligned Bernd Leno, who offered up the sting in this particular tale. Leno saved two penalties including regen Serdal Taşar’s shot to win the shootout for Munich, pre-sudden death, and the one to actually win it, saving from Douglas Costa after Iñaki Williams had tucked away his sudden-death kick.



Fußball-Bundesliga 2021/2










·       We simply outplayed the majority of opponents, scoring 80 goals in 34 games [2.35 goals per game] and only conceding 23 [0.68 goals per game].

·       We only lost once before we won the title and had our eyes on other prizes and that was away at HSV who were this season’s surprise package.

·       This was achieved without having a player in the top 3 goal-scorers of Bundesliga. Amusingly [and excitingly for the future] the top assists man in the league was my young wonderkid, Abdel Diouri, out on loan and playing out of his skin at Hertha BSC.




Memorable Goals: -



Champions League 2021/2








·       A one on one Champions League Group [Beşiktaş A.Ş. and Zenit St. Petersburg offering no resistance] meant that it was me and Tottenham, my real-life team, fighting it out to win the group and (hopefully) get a favourable draw.

·       In the end it came down to an away goal in North London as the results against record trumped Tottenham’s better goal difference. My reward – Ajax of Amsterdam. Tottenham’s reward? Elimination at the hands of Benfica who themselves would subsequently be rewarded with an 8-0 obliteration at the hands of Manchester United in the Quarter-Finals.

·       Ajax was a trickier fixture than I was expecting but we got the job done in the home leg thanks to Kai Havertz and Pione Sisto.

·       An opportunity for revenge arrived next; this against C. Atlético de Madrid SAD, under caretaker management with Diego Simeone having vacated the manager’s role the previous December to join F.C. Internazionale. Maybe that was the edge we needed but Marco Asensio’s stunning free kick (voted Goal of the Season at the End of Season Awards) stopped any chances of a Madrid fightback in the away leg anyway.

·       We were rewarded with a Semi-Final tie against AS Monaco Football Club and although we should have respected them more in the home leg (and that could have ended badly!) by being less gung-ho, we got the job done. A nice moment for young midfielder Mario Altendorf, scoring a close range effort to make the tie safe and send the team through to the final.

·       The final took place in Marseille against last season’s runner-up, Manchester United, and was a combative affair leading to eleven players, collectively, being booked along with a second yellow in extra time for Manchester United’s second half-substitute, Amadou Diawara. This didn’t go on to affect the result which ultimately saw us lose on penalties with César Azpilicueta scoring the winning penalty after Kasper Dolberg had seen his penalty saved by David De Gea. Paul Pogba had earlier kept his cool, converting his “have to score”, penalty which on the turn of a coin could have seen us prevail.

·       The real bone of contention for me, happy with my team’s endeavour if not our finishing – Timo Werner marked out of the game, was this disallowed goal. The aforementioned Werner presumably ruled to be interfering with play/blocking De Gea’s sightline in an offside position as Mahmoud Dahoud’s strike nestled in the corner. It wasn’t to be – decide for yourself below: -









Memorable Goals: -



Marco Asensio’s stunning free kick, away at C. Atlético de Madrid SAD. Goal of the Season: -



DFB-Pokal Cup










·       It was good to beat arch rivals 1.FC Köln earlier on in the competition although they, like TSV 1860 München last season, took us all the way to penalties. On that occasion we got the job done but as we would see later, on the day – it can easily go the other way.

·       We had a good draw throughout and the very least would have expected to contest the Final. However, penalties was to be this season’s deciding factor and our luck wasn’t in after we found ourselves up against an SC Freiburg in the Semi-Finals who weren’t afraid to have a go at us. I was sluggish to correct matters and we couldn’t find the rhythm to our play to win in normal or extra time. Sloppy penalties including one from Marco Asensio who had scored a penalty during the game meant we were up against it and then it was what it was.


Memorable Goals: -



Player of the Match (Collated)


Players listed either Player of the Match, officially, or my Player of the Match when an opposition player was chosen instead.


·       8 PoM = Marco Asensio.

·       7 PoM = Nadiem Amiri.

·       4 PoM = Mahmoud Dahoud, Kasper Dolberg, Kai Havertz, Virgil van Dijk, Timo Werner.

·       3 PoM = Pione Sisto, Kurt Zouma.

·       2 PoM = Felix Uduokhai.

·       1 PoM = Christian Artmann, Patrick Güllenbeck, Sead Kolasinac, Bernd Leno, Jorge Meré, Kylian Mbappé, Jairo Riedewald, Walace, Iñaki Williams.

·       0 PoM (1,000 minutes minimum) = Mario Altendorf, Lars Bender, Felix Passlack, Andrija Zivkovic.


1.     Marco Asensio (ML) > PoM = 8








2.     Nadiem Amiri (RM) > PoM = 7








3.(=) Mahmoud Dahoud (CM) > PoM = 4








3.(=) Kasper Dolberg (AMC) > PoM = 4








3.(=) Kai Havertz (AMC) > PoM = 4








3.(=) Virgil van Dijk (DC) > PoM = 4








3.(=) Timo Werner (SC) > PoM = 4








Youth Prospects (Top 5)


1.     Patrick Güllenbeck (CM) (First Team Games = 40)












2.     Christian Artmann (RB) (First Team Games = 25)












3.     Abdel Diouri (AMC) (First Team Games = 62 <60 on loan at Hertha BSC>)












4.     Mario Altendorf (DMC) (First Team Games = 24)










5.     Yannick Allgeier (DC) (First Team Games = 3)












UEFA Europa League Final




Major European League Winners


England: Manchester United

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

Italy: A.S. Roma

Netherlands: AFC Ajax

Portugal: Futebol Clube do Porto

Spain: F.C. Barcelona


Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Best XI (2016/7 to 2021/2)






Close Season Awards 2021/2 - Fußball-Bundesliga & Bayer 04 Leverkusen


VDV Newcomer der Saison

·       Winner: Abdel Diouri

Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Runner Up: Me

VDV Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Runner Up: Me

Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Marco Asensio, Mahmoud Dahoud, Sead Kolasinac & Kurt Zouma

VDV Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Marco Asensio, Mahmoud Dahoud, Sead Kolasinac & Kurt Zouma


Season 7 > 2022/3 – Preview


·       The excitement of Kelechi Iheanacho’s impending return to Bayer 04 Leverkusen is tempered by the lingering thought that having gone so close in the last season, are we due a tough draw that will temper our short term opportunities to go that one step further in the Champions League and win the thing.

·       I am expecting Lars Bender to spend the final season of his contract with FC Bayern München and indeed the declining Munich team have agreed to discuss terms with the player who has done well for me. It’s the right time for him to go, however, and Atakan Akkaynak returns from numerous loan spells to offer a valuable backup option in the central midfield positions.

·       I am on the look for a replacement for Virgil van Dijk in the short to medium term so a deal could be done in that position, particularly, otherwise I expect a largely reactive transfer policy with the clauses suitably high in my squad’s contracts that should mean that no reaction is needed.

·       In terms of the first team Christian Artmann should start at right full back, injury notwithstanding, Mahmoud Dahoud should just about hold off the challenge from Patrick Güllenbeck – at least for now and I am planning to push Kylian Mbappé into the reserve left wide midfielder role, hopefully cutting in with extreme prejudice and creating some nice moments, as Andrija Zivkovic joins Iñaki Williams on the fringes but still with a role to play.

#38 UKFMManager803



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Posted 30 December 2017 - 11:44 AM

Full Season Report - Season 7 [2022/3]




·       What was looking like being a poor season ends on a high note as, once again, Borussia Dortmund choke with the league there for the taking and we ourselves secure our fifth successive Fußball-Bundesliga title on the last day; this after sensationally cutting a four point gap to one in the penultimate game with Walace’s 89th minute strike denying Dortmund the chance to win the title in Leverkusen.

·       We add the title to the Supercup which we secured, not without a little luck, against RasenBallsport Leipzig – 3-2 the score in our favour.

·       We crash out of the DFB-Pokal Cup in just the third round (albeit to the eventual winners), away to VfB Stuttgart – 1-2 the score in their favour.

·       After winning our Champions League group we drew Paris Saint-Germain in the 1st Knockout round after the French team surprisingly failed to win a group containing just Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Real Sociedad SAD and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. They found their form against us and we went out 2-3 on aggregate.

·       Financially things might have taken a hit if it was not for a mouth wateringly lucrative sponsorship deal being agreed with a soft drinks company; £157m for one year! Yep – that was a good day!

·       So all in all, just about par in golfing parlance. We should have contested the DFB-Pokal Cup at its latest stages but the Champions League can be a cruel mistress (the board even acknowledged the toughness of the draw).






In (£47m+)




Out (£30.5m+)




·       The big transfer in to the club was the return of Kelechi Iheanacho, three seasons after his only season in Germany.

·       We also gazumped FC Bayern by signing two promising German teenagers; Target Man, Vlad Chiş and Central Defender, Edward Mohammed.

·       I was also willing to sanction the departures, in January, of Virgil van Dijk and Iñaki Williams, to Manchester City and (back to) Athletic Club respectively. Both these players would have gone in the Summer and the deals were acceptable at that stage with the PSG Champions League draw suggesting the real chance of an early exit.

·       I also agreed future transfers for two players to replace the above. 20 year old Ghanian/French Central Defender, Wonderkid, Fatawu Tetteh will bolster the defence in Season 8 and 21 year old Argentinian Complete Forward, Ignacio Tevez will compete with my attackers for a place in the side.

·       Elsewhere we released fringe players who weren’t quite going to make the grade with the borderline ones suitably claused for potential future remuneration.




First XI




Second XI, Reserves & Marinating Youth Prospects




·       In defence, Christian Artmann won the No.2 shirt after a great debut season as a squad player last time out. Virgil van Dijk [16 games – 2 goals @ 7.25] gave up the No.5 shirt to Jorge Meré in January.

·       In midfield, Mahmoud Dahoud held off the challenge of Patrick Güllenbeck and therefore this stayed the same.

·       The return of Kelechi Iheanacho took the No.9 shirt off Timo Werner to create an exciting partnership with Kai Havertz in attack.












DFL Supercup




·       We began the season contesting the Supercup against RasenBallSport Leipzig in their Red Bull Area

·       In a game bereft of quality defending we won a pulsating encounter 3-2.

·       Injuries to key players ahead of the match [including Kasper Dolberg, Kai Havertz and Virgil van Dijk] didn’t help but luckily Nadiem Amiri, enjoying a rare stint at AMC, put in a virtuoso performance. The German star set up two and scored one himself.


Highlights Package: -



DFB-Pokal Cup










·       A good thrashing of lowly SV Saar 05 Saarbrücken was followed by a fairly straight forward win over an in form team, TSV 1860 München. Then in the third round we faced VfB Stuttgart.

·       We took the lead when Pione Sisto found the corner with a free kick but Stuttgart rallied and turned the game on its head by minute seventy eight.

·       Despite our best efforts we were unable to force the game into extra time and Stuttgart knocked us out which was disappointing; this eventually tempered to a degree by Stuttgart winning the entire competition with a dominant display over 1.FC Nürnberg in the Final. If we had to lose, better to do so to the eventual winners.


Memorable Goals: -



Fußball-Bundesliga 2022/3










·       We had a decent if not dominant start to this season of Bundesliga and it proved crucial that we came out all guns blazing after the Winter Break, winning six on the bounce.

·       Just two wins [out of eight] would follow in March and April as Dortmund looked to take a commanding position; they themselves, however, lost fixtures they shouldn’t have and somehow we still had a chance.

·       Dortmund travelled to Leverkusen on 13 May 2023 knowing that a point would be enough as they led by four with two fixtures remaining. They were on course for this until the 89th minute where Walace, eschewing his defensive responsibilities, made up the extra man and planted a shot deliciously beyond Timo Horn. Denied.

·       The final fixture saw us travel to (thankfully) struggling Hertha BSC whilst Dortmund entertained rivals FC Schalke 04 at Signal Iduna Park. FC Bayern could take advantage and steal second [their goal difference too far away to trouble the title’s destination] if we slipped up and they won away to Bremen.

o   We scored in the 11th second and subsequently put the fixture to bed early, Schalke scored in the 20th minute and the pressure that was needed was applied.

o   Samuel Umtiti eventually thrashed home from a corner in the 72nd minute and it was a waiting game for me – would Dortmund 2-1 Schalke flash up in the right hand corner?

o   Back at Dortmund – 25 goal Dutch (regen) star, Tarik Fellah, crashed one against the post with 13+ minutes left. There was to be no other clear cut chance as Dortmund choke AGAIN.

·       The title was, miraculously, ours. Five times in a row – on a double hat-trick. Have it…J




Memorable Goals: -



Goal of The Season: -




Walace’s crucial strike to break Dortmund’s resolve: -




Champions League 2022/3








·       My Champions League Group, on paper, looked like it should be winnable. Arsenal joining Sporting Clube de Portugal and Heart Of Midlothian. Things got off to an excellent start when Jorge Meré headed the winner in North London.

·       Ultimately though – Arsenal should have made me pay and forced me into second. It didn’t occur but in drawing the final three fixtures, it probably should have.

·       My “reward” was a glamour tie against Paris Saint-Germain. Just like in real life, PSG have spent consistently large sums of money and this would surely be a huge ask for my lads to knock them out this early. The weight of expectation after coming so close last year would also be a factor…

o   We tried to keep it tight in the first leg in Paris and largely succeeded although in failing to test the PSG keeper, we gave ourselves no chance of that crucial away goal. 1-0 to PSG after the first leg.

o   We attacked in the second leg but only with abandon after PSG’s Spanish (regen) striker Miki had struck a 1st minute free kick beyond Bernd Leno. We rallied and pulled it back to 2-1 [2-2 on aggregate] with the impetus to get further goals in the second half.

o   However, Eden Hazard’s penalty on the stroke of half-time deflated us and despite further chances falling to Amiri and Iheanacho it was a case of inches wide, too far. That was the way it ended; a 2-3 aggregate defeat.


Memorable Goals: -







Player of the Match (Collated)


Players listed either Player of the Match, officially, or my Player of the Match when an opposition player was chosen instead.


·       5 PoM = Nadiem Amiri, Kai Havertz, Kylian Mbappé.

·       4 PoM = Christian Artmann, Marco Asensio, Timo Werner.

·       3 PoM = Walace.

·       2 PoM = Mahmoud Dahoud, Kelechi Iheanacho, Sead Kolasinac, Pione Sisto, Felix Uduokhai.

·       1 PoM = Mario Altendorf, Patrick Güllenbeck, Jorge Meré, Jairo Riedewald, Kurt Zouma.

·       0 PoM (1,000 minutes minimum) = Bernd Leno, Felix Passlack.


1.     (=) Nadiem Amiri (RM) > PoM = 5








1.     (=) Kai Havertz (AMC) > PoM = 5








1.     (=)  Kylian Mbappé (LM) > PoM = 5








2.     (=) Christian Artmann (DR) > PoM = 4








2.     (=) Marco Asensio (LM) > PoM = 4








2.     (=)  Timo Werner (SC) > PoM = 4








3.     Walace (DMC) > PoM = 3








Youth Prospects (21 years old or less) <Top 5>


1.     Patrick Güllenbeck (CM)        (First Team Games = 60)












2.     Christian Artmann (RB)         (First Team Games = 51)












3.     Abdel Diouri (AMC)                (First Team Games = 91) <89 for Hertha BSC on loan>













4.     Yannick Evers (LB)                  (First Team Games = 44) <9 for Gladbach, 33 for Darmstadt on loan>












5.     Yannick Allgeier (CB)             (First Team Games = 23) <16 for Augsburg on loan>














UEFA Europa League Final 2022/3




Major European League Winners 2022/3


England: Manchester United

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

Italy: A.S. Roma

Netherlands: AFC Ajax

Portugal: Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Spain: C. Atlético de Madrid SAD


Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Best XI (2016/7 to 2022/3)






Close Season Awards 2022/3 - Fußball-Bundesliga & Bayer 04 Leverkusen


VDV Newcomer der Saison

·       Runner Up: Christian Artmann

Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Winner: Me

VDV Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·       Winner: Me

Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Bernd Leno, Walace, Kurt Zouma

VDV Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Bernd Leno, Walace, Kurt Zouma


Season 8 > 2023/4 – Preview


·       Season 7 wasn’t a great season but at least I retained the league; better things have to be expected in Season 8 although it could potentially be a transitional one. I have no intention of leaving this database until at least one Champions League trophy is in the bag.

·       I am planning a clear out of fringe/underperforming senior players and would like to add two more senior players to the Wonderkids signed in advance back in January. To that effect I have already agreed a deal for Predrag Rajkovic, the Serbian Keeps I have been tracking for a while, to leave Porto for an initial fee of £18.5 million. This could potentially rise to near the £35 million mark.

·       Whilst there will be promotions from the Under 19’s and players like Marian Prinz and Abdel Diouri will return from loan to join the first team – I remain keen on one big name signing – Thiago Maia of FC Bayern. His arrival, if a deal can be done, would consolidate the expected departures of Mario Altendorf, Atakan Akkaynak, Lars Bender and the probably half-season unavailability of cruciate knee ligament damage victim, Mahmoud Dahoud.

·       Whilst there will be promotions from the youth players and players like Marian Prinz and Abdel Diouri returning from loan - I remain keen on consolidating the expected departure of Mario Altendorf, Atakan Akkaynak, Lars Bender and the likely half-season unavailability of Mahmoud Dahoud [cruciates] with a big money deal for FC Bayern’s Thiago Maia.

#39 UKFMManager803



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Posted 20 January 2018 - 01:30 PM

Full Season Report - Season 8 [2023/4]




·       5 & Out: Our five years of consecutive Bundesliga wins comes to an end as Dortmund win the league by 4 points.

·       A Tale of Two Shootouts: We beat VfB Stuttgart in a penalty shootout to win the DFL-Supercup but are knocked out of the DFB-Pokal Cup by the same team on penalties again and at the Semi Final stage.

·       The Curse of 11 x 3: We finish as one of three teams in our Champions League group on 11 points and cruelly miss out on the Knockout stage, dropping into the Europa League. However, we reach the final of this, against A.C. Milan, only to lose 0-1 with the winning goal scored by 33 year old, Luka Milivojevic.






In (£136m+)




Out (£31m+)





·       We spent heavily on five players, all for the first team squad, ahead of this season; as previously mentioned Predrag Rajkovic replaced Bernd Leno in the Leverkusen goal and pre-agreed transfers for young stars, Fatawu Tetteh in defence and Ignacio Tevez in attack came were completed.

·       Our pursuit of FC Bayern’s World Class Brazilian star, Thiago Maia, also saw us complete a succulent deal that could be worth over £70 million in time. That was going to be it until I became embroiled in the media circus surrounding RasenBallsport Leipzig’s decision to transfer list, Naby Keïta. The media asked if I was going to make a bid if that was how I felt [I couldn’t see the sense in letting a player of his quality go] and I felt obliged to.

·       The deal that was done, whilst heavily incentivised in the future for both player and selling club, was cheap for a player of his class so this was a great addition given the long term injury to Mahmoud Dahoud at the season’s start.

·       Elsewhere, we were thwarted in our attempts to sell fringe players such as Kasper Dolberg and in January, injuries came earlier than potential for loan deals to give first team football to players who missed the first half of the season (Dolberg, Dahoud and Prinz) due to injury.














First XI




Second XI, Reserves & Marinating Youth Prospects




·       In defence, there were two changes to our preferred back five. Predrag Rajkovic replaced the outgoing Bernd Leno at Keeps whilst I felt the time was right to elevate Jairo Riedewald to first choice Left Full Back at the expense of Sead Kolasinac who had dropped off alarmingly, in terms of form, at the end of last season.

·       In midfield, again two changes. The combination of serious injury to Mahmoud Dahoud [he would not start a game until February 2024] and the irresistible quality of Patrick Güllenbeck meant the latter found himself elevated to the box to box midfielder role. Similarly it was impossible not to give the No. 4 shirt to Thiago Maia after paying so much money for him and so and Walace was demoted.

·       However, both players would find themselves sitting out the second half of the season with serious injury although at least they are both scheduled to return early on if not at the start of Season 9. In attack, meanwhile, Iheanacho and Havertz remained my first choice pairing.












DFL Supercup 2023/4




·       The eighth season of hot, steaming Football Manager action began at the Mercedes-Benz Arena [other motor cars are available] with VfB Stuttgart the opponents.

·       We were huge favourites against the DFB-Pokal cup holders who dumped us out last season as you will recall.

·       It was a tight game which we just about shaded, certainly in terms of shots on goal. Sadly we did not have our shooting boots on…

·       …Until the penalty shoot-out where we were razor sharp. Predrag Rajkovic made the save from Dutch regen RB, Henk Zwarthoed, which left the Captain elect of Leverkusen, Kai Havertz, to coolly slot the winning penalty.


Highlights Package: -



DFB-Pokal Cup 2023/4










·       We started out with a 9-0 thrashing of minnows, SV SCHOTT Jena. Marco Asensio scored two and made three, Kelechi Iheanacho bagged three himself. Christian Artmann joined Asensio on an assist hat-trick. The result was tarnished a little by a dislocated shoulder for Timo Werner, on as a substitute, that would rule him out for the best part of two months.

·       Timo Werner’s first game back proved to be off the bench against DSC Arminia Bielefeld in the next round. An away tie but against a team that had already shipped 17 in 12 league games in 2. Fußball-Bundesliga. We were 0-4 up at half-time and the game went on to sensationally finish 2-10! Werner grabbed himself four strikes in a man of the match substitute appearance.

·       Our third round tie saw us entertain FC Schalke 04 at the BayArena. Schalke took the lead after only 5 minutes but we rallied to draw level in the second half with Kelechi Iheanacho, out of form perhaps but still a potent threat, coming off the bench to fire an equaliser beyond the Schalke Keeps in the 68th minute. 1-1 was how it ended after extra-time and we kept our nerve to win the shoot-out; Christian Artmann scoring the decisive penalty.

·       Next up a tricky trip to Hamburger SV in the Quarter Final. Bernd Leno in the Hamburg goal having a point to prove and he was to have an excellent game…Sadly for our former Captain, we would emerge triumphant and in the Semi Finals, joining FC Bayern, Stuttgart and Leipzig. Hamburg took the lead and coming just after a disappointing home league defeat against Bayern I feared the worst – thankfully that man Iheanacho equalised from the impressive Diouri’s through ball and Diouri himself sealed the game with a 76th minute strike.

·       Our campaign would end in penalty shootout heart break after a 2-2 draw away to VfB Stuttgart. Stuttgart took the lead, Kurt Zouma headed two to bring us into the ascendancy before they found an equaliser of their own. Neither team were able to muster much in the way of chances after that, as is often the way, and that was that – penalties against them for the second time this season. Stuttgart did better on this occasion, they won. Fair dos. L


Memorable Goals: -



Fußball-Bundesliga 2023/4










·       The first half of the season saw us win 12, draw 3 and lose just the 2 of our 17 league games. It was disappointing to lose so heavily away at FC Bayern but understandable after going down to 10 men. Munich was not to be a Leverkusen haven as we also lost to 1860. Dortmund remained only 3 points clear going into the Winter Break.

·       The second half of the season saw us ultimately fall four points short of a Dortmund team that had finally learned – sometimes a draw is no bad thing and cumulatively can win you leagues. Again we won 12, drew 3 and lost another 2 of our second set of 17 league games. The defeat to eventually relegated Freiburg was disappointing at best. Ho hum…We go again!




Memorable Goals: -



Highlights from our memorable 0-6 win away at FC Schalke 04 which includes (second goal) the Goal of The Season from Marco Asensio: -




Champions League 2023/4








·       A group of Porto, Monaco and Lazio awaited Leverkusen in Season 2023/4. We should progress from this although the lack of either an obvious weak or strong team in comparison to the rest suggested the possibility for some close results. I couldn’t have been more right…L

·       As you can see above – three teams finished on 11 points [Lazio took nil points] and we were, on this occasion, the unlucky team that finished third.

·       Usually double figure points is enough for at least second in your group so this is something of an anomaly – we only lost once after all! We are left to rue Marco Asensio’s missed penalty in Portugal, a failure to beat Monaco in Germany but also a slight sense that we might have been courting this; 0-1 down at home to Lazio with twenty minutes left, Timo Werner’s late strike to beat Porto at home when it was looking like 0-0.

·       So the final 0-3 defeat, chasing a minimum point to qualify, away in France meant we slide into the Europa League and you know what? Turn a negative into a positive – this is a great chance to win a European trophy. Dortmund also crashed out in the group stage and finished third [in the year the final was in their stadium too].






Europa League 2023/4






·       And so the consolation prize – the Europa League. We began with the 1st Knockout Round tie against HNK Rijeka of Croatia. They proved to be initially competitive but ultimately the quality in this Leverkusen side won out and the aggregate score was 6-0. Next up, more illustrious opponents in the form of Athletic Club who, of course, had recently taken back Iñaki Williams from me. Thankfully my former charge was on the injured list and managed only a brief cameo as we secured a 3-1 aggregate win.

·       The Quarter Final saw Leverkusen taken on Chelsea who, of course, fielded our former defensive lynchpin, Jonathan Tah. The first leg was going well – an audacious finish from Naby Keïta that bounced up and down the top corner before crossing the line. However, Chelsea found an equaliser with seconds to spare and a crucial away goal made them firm favourites for the second leg. Kelechi Iheanacho crossed that advantage out in less than two minutes and with Keïta (who would later go off injured) forcing Courtois into a series of fines saves we were increasingly close to a second goal. It didn’t come but we completely controlled the second half and secured an impressive 2-1 aggregate win over the Blues. Get in!

·       It had to be. Dortmund in the Semi Final! We knew we’d almost certainly have to play our arch rivals at some point and it was in the penultimate stage of the competition. The first leg ended 2-1 to us – we took the lead through Marco Asensio’s penalty, saw Tarek Fellah equalise before Nadiem Amiri’s last gasp, cruelly deflected free kick gave us something to hold on to in the return. A defensive masterclass in that return, 0-0, ensured our place in the Final against A.C. Milan in France.

·       The clock had just slipped towards the 45 second mark when 33 year old Serbian midfielder Luka Milivojevic, once of Crystal Palace fame, let fly with an absolute pearler that Predrag Rajkovic in the Leverkusen goal could do nothing about. What a start for Milan! That was how it finished because, despite lots of attacks and some great chances later on (Tevez rattled the crossbar), Milan held on for a gutsy win built on the foundations of an optimistic but sumptuous strike. The Europa League was theirs.






Memorable Goals: -



Luka Milivojevic breaks Leverkusen hearts as early as he can: -



Player of the Match (Collated)


Players listed either Player of the Match, officially, or my Player of the Match when an opposition player was chosen instead.


·       9 PoM = Marco Asensio.

·       7 PoM = Kelechi Iheanacho.

·       6 PoM = Kurt Zouma.

·       4 PoM = Thiago Maia.

·       3 PoM = Christian Artmann, Abdel Diouri, Fatawu Tetteh, Walace, Timo Werner.

·       2 PoM = Nadiem Amiri, Mahmoud Dahoud, Patrick Güllenbeck, Kai Havertz, Naby Keïta.

·       1 PoM = Sead Kolasinac, Jorge Meré, Jairo Riedewald, Felix Uduokhai.

·       0 PoM (1,000 minutes minimum) = Kylian Mbappé, Felix Passlack, Predrag Rajkovic, Ignacio Tevez.


1.     Marco Asensio (LM) PoM > 9








2.     Kelechi Iheanacho (SC) PoM > 7








3.     Kurt Zouma (DC) PoM > 6








Youth Prospects (Analysis)




Major European League Winners 2023/4


England: Manchester United

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Borussia Dortmund

Italy: A.S. Roma

Netherlands: AFC Ajax

Portugal: Futebol Clube do Porto

Spain: F.C. Barcelona


Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Best XI (2016/7 to 2023/4)






Close Season Awards 2023/4 - Fußball-Bundesliga & Bayer 04 Leverkusen


Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Abdel Diouri, Jairo Riedewald

VDV Elf des Jahres

·       Included in XI: Abdel Diouri, Predrag Rajkovic

Fußballer des Jahres

·       Third: Kelechi Iheanacho


Season 9 > 2024/5 – Preview


·       The squad is at a stage where it will not remain at its peak for more than a couple of seasons and financially the club is projected to be in difficulty. The expected departure of Kasper Dolberg and one or two fringe players plus new sponsorship deals/director investments should keep us stable for a bit but I may have to consider cashing in on Asensio, Iheanacho and Zouma whilst I can still get close to £200m for the trio.

·       Ideally I would look to have one more tilt with this squad at the Champions League before disassembling and reshaping over the following two to three seasons to build my next generation team as cheaply as I can; we really need a bigger stadium and @ 30,210 [built: 1958] it is time for BayArena to be replaced. That won’t happen without significant infrastructure changes and sacrifices in regards to what we spend in the short to medium term.

·       First and foremost, however, I want to make sure Dortmund’s ascendance to Bundesliga winners is answered in kind. I may not be able to prevent a Dortmund era given the above but I can give it an uneven start…Go Leverkusen!

#40 UKFMManager803



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Posted 24 February 2018 - 10:40 AM

Full Season Report - Season 9 [2024/5]




·         Back on top: We reclaim our title as Dortmund offer little threat, eventually finishing third, with a Bundesliga win by five points over FC Bayern.

·         Lottery Lost: We lose 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw against Hertha BSC in the DFB-Pokal Cup Semi Final.

·         Thrashed in Manchester: Through spectacular good luck against Barcelona in the Semi Final, we contest the Champions League Final against Liverpool at Old Trafford. Chasing a 0-1 deficit, we end up losing 0-3. L






In (£53m+)




Out (£202m+)




·         The beginning of the end for this squad has arrived but also the start of the next era of Leverkusen. Out went Asensio, Zouma, Maia, Dolberg and Sisto and although we thank them for their service - we needed to balance our Champions League ambitions with restoring financial parity and meeting FFP requirements. In the end we made the Final regardless.

·         The brief spell of Thiago Maia [for half a season only!] was disappointing but his performances for City weren’t exactly stellar and this looked a good move. I miss Marco Asensio but couldn’t deny him the chance to join Champions League dominators, Manchester United and Kurt Zouma’s move, albeit to rivals FC Bayern, was a good price for a 30 year old and opened the door for Fatawu Tetteh to step into the regular first XI.

·         I believe I have signed a real corker of a player in Peruvian RM, Roberto Arroyo, and love that he is also really good in the air as well as being an exciting outlet out wide. Nadiem Amiri may well have to settle for a squad role sooner rather than later, maybe an exit – who knows?

·         If Arroyo was one who came out of left field, I had been tracking Andrey Fedorov for a couple of seasons and the Russian Wonderkid, Central Defender, was the logical replacement for Zouma in the squad. A bit raw and some refinement needed but potentially a starter sooner rather than later.

·         Elsewhere I paid (comparatively) big money for what I believe is the best potential DMC in his age bracket that has decent jumping reach (such a critical component, at least for my formation); Eduard Stets'kiv signed for us and the Ukrainian immediately was sent out on loan to VfL Osnabrück to play regular Bundesliga games.

·         Future deals for three potentially “Grunty” South American prospects - Iván Leyes (Argentina > SC), Miguel Moreira (Uruguay > DR/L) and Carlos José (Brazil > DMC) were also agreed with the players joining next January, at the end of next season and the following January, respectively. A veritable procession.














First XI




Second XI, Reserves & Marinating Youth Prospects




·         In defence, Kurt Zouma’s departure meant Fatawu Tetteh was promoted; Jorge Meré was also unable to convince me after his return from injury that he should start consistently. Felix Uduokhai deserves his shot at holding on to the No. 5 shirt – even if it’s only until Andrey Fedorov matures sufficiently. Otherwise Rajkovic, Artmann and Riedewald kept their places.

·         In midfield, Walace was restored to first choice DMC after the departure of Thiago Maia and Kylian Mbappé returns to the First XI for the first time since his debut season; this time as the natural replacement for the outgoing Marco Asensio. Patrick Güllenbeck and Nadiem Amiri retain their places.

·         No change in attack although I came very close to demoting Kai Havertz [unthinkable right?] from AMC after a lacklustre previous campaign; Abdel Diouri is knocking on the door. Kelechi Iheanacho is the undisputed No. 9.












·         Bobby-Joe Harrington-Gale was the standout performer here – contributing to 23 goals (32–11–9 in Bundesliga) with TSV 1860 München; the English winger a definite contender for a squad position in the coming seasons.

·         Billy MacDonald remains an intriguing prospect. The German/Scottish forward seems to have a knack of finding himself in the right place at the right time but I need to see him playing week in, week out in Bundesliga (and scoring) to make a final assessment on his future.






DFL Supercup 2024/5




DFB-Pokal Cup 2024/5










·         We began the season with the DFB-Pokal Cup and another plucky minnow hoping to make a name for themselves. No such luck for SG Sonnenhof-Großaspach who were on the end of a 0-8 spanking. Hat-tricks for Iheanacho and Havertz and a sparkling debut from Roberto Arroyo on the right flank. Debuts for two 17 year olds, Christian Schaffrath on the left (impressive in pre-season) and highly rated young Poacher, Sebastian Dreßel (debut goal! J) completed a satisfying afternoon.

·         Next up was struggling DSC Arminia Bielefeld of 2. Fußball-Bundesliga at BayArena. We were able to play within ourselves to record a 3-0 win; Kelechi Iheanacho putting the finishing touches to a slick move for the second. Kai Havertz starring.

·         RasenBallsport Leipzig in Round Three proved to be a tepid affair at home but fairly even with it being a struggle to break down the opposition. Thankfully Mahmoud Dahoud had a great game, deputising for the injured Güllenbeck, and found the back of the net as the deserved fruit of his labours. Next up FC Bayern away!

·         FC Bayern in Munich should have been a 50-50 if not 60-40 affair in our opposition’s favour but we were excellent, took our chances well and secured a comfortable 1-3 win to take us to the Semi-Final! Nadiem Amiri and Patrick Güllenbeck were particularly outstanding. We know it won’t always be the way with these cup ties so could we capitalise?

·         Sadly not. Hertha BSC away in the Semi-Final and although things started well with Abdel Diouri’s imperious strike we were pegged back and even after they had a player sent off in extra time we were not able to find a winner. The lottery of penalties was not in our favour, Nadiem Amiri having the chance to win it and hitting the crossbar before Naby Keïta’s penalty was saved; it wasn’t to be…


Memorable Goals: -



Fußball-Bundesliga 2024/5










·         A season that began FC Bayern (H), Stuttgart (A), Dortmund (H) offered up the opportunity for either an early “crisis” or a morale boosting success. We beat Bayern with a nice set-piece, lost narrowly to a Stuttgart team who had won away at Dortmund in their first game then had the luxury of missing a penalty against Dortmund and still winning.

·         Draws went out the window in this first half of the season – we ended up winning 13, losing 4. TSV 1860 München remain a bogey team. We fought back to 2-2 and a position to take a point away to (albeit resurgent) 1.FC Köln and capitulated; we were 0-2 up away to Wolfsburg at half-time before Walace got sent off and we crashed to a 3-2 defeat. It could and perhaps should have been 3 or 4 points better. 

·         By contrast - Draws were back with a vengeance at the start of the second half of the season; three in a row but including crucial away parities against FC Bayern and Dortmund. We would go on to add an additional one – 12 wins, 4 draws and just the 1 defeat. We should have perhaps beaten Stuttgart at home and held on for a point at Schalke but otherwise, I couldn’t argue with the results.

·         It proved to be enough and we closed out the season with five straight wins to secure the title from FC Bayern by five points. A good race; Dortmund never got close to getting back into things but did manage to rally to finish 3rd. This a blow as I had been hoping for leverage in procuring their German international DMC, Matt Leonard, for an affordable fee.




Memorable Goals: -



Two goals from our win over Hoffenheim; this includes the Goal of the Season (as chosen at the End of Season Awards) from Patrick Güllenbeck: -




Champions League 2024/5








·         Our group this time consisted of A.S. Roma, FK Partizan Beograd and Football Club København. The obviously dominant teams, myself and the Italian giants, translated into the results and as it transpired, we would win the group by five points; the highlight a 6-2 home thrashing of Roma that meant they had too much to do to be competitive and ultimately ended up dropping points against the other two which in turn negated any pressure on my campaign.

·         An early opportunity for revenge for last season’s Europa League Final defeat against A.C. Milan presented itself in the 1st Knockout Round as we played each other for a place in the Quarter Finals. Milan had a player sent off in the first, away, leg and we scored two away goals without reply before completing a routine 3-0 on aggregate victory in Germany. Next up – Roma again!

·         The familiarity between the two teams was a leveller (we have the better players) and it was an edgy affair over two legs. Roma gave a much better defensive account of themselves at BayArena and we were only able to find a single goal lead to take to Italy; Roma themselves couldn’t dominate enough to beat us in Rome. After an uneventful period of extra time, penalties. We edged it 5-4 and progress to the Semi-Final and Barcelona…

·         We went into the Semi Finals with a 1-2 home leg deficit; we were play a Barcelona size with an experienced spine [Musacchio @ 34, Neymar & ter Stegen @ 33, Guerreiro @ 31, Rugani @ 30] and a super star in 25 year old Ecuadorian playmaker (regen), Jorge Mora, pulling the strings. At 60 minutes it was 0-0 and I went all out attack. Iheanacho, off the bench, puts in a beauty of a cross for Abdel Diouri to head home from close range. Game on!

o   Barcelona look to have weathered the storm before Felix Uduokhai flicks on and for reasons only known to him, Jorge Mora scores an own goal with a rather deft (daft?) header back into ter Stegen’s far corner! Perhaps you’d question the German Keeps but whatever the reason – somehow we are in the Final at Old Trafford vs Liverpool; the Merseyside team knocking out Real Madrid on away goals.

·         I guess it wasn’t to be. We pushed Liverpool as much as we could but in the end they took what was probably a deserved lead, overloading on a free-kick with the ball sitting up nicely for Alessio Romagnoli; the Italian defender firing the ball beyond Rajkovic in the Leverkusen goal.

o   In chasing the game we left ourselves open to the counter and goals from Ben Woodburn [who chose England in this database] and Valentin Vada made it look like a thrashing at 0-3. It was, sort of. Kelechi Iheanacho only being fit enough for the bench and Rodrigo Arroyo being out didn’t help but that would be an excuse; we don’t do excuses here at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. We go again lads!






Memorable Goals: -



Jorge Mora’s “precise” headed own goal sends us into the Final (!) J: -



Player of the Match (Collated)


Players listed either Player of the Match, officially, or my Player of the Match when an opposition player was chosen instead.


·         9 PoM = Kelechi Iheanacho.

·         8 PoM = Roberto Arroyo.

·         5 PoM = Kylian Mbappé.

·         4 PoM = Walace.

·         3 PoM = Abdel Diouri, Patrick Güllenbeck, Predrag Rajkovic, Fatawu Tetteh.

·         2 PoM = Mahmoud Dahoud, Kai Havertz, Jorge Meré, Jairo Riedewald.

·         1 PoM = Nadiem Amiri, Christian Artmann, Sebastian Dreßel, Naby Keïta, Felix Uduokhai, Timo Werner.

·         0 PoM (1,000 minutes minimum) = Andrey Fedorov, Sead Kolasinac, Felix Passlack, Ignacio Tevez.


1.      Kelechi Iheanacho (SC) PoM > 9








2.      Roberto Arroyo (RM) PoM > 8








3.      Kylian Mbappé (ML) PoM > 5








Youth Prospects (Analysis)




Major European League Winners 2024/5


England: Manchester United

France: Paris Saint-Germain

Germany: Bayer 04 Leverkusen J

Italy: A.S. Roma

Netherlands: NEC Nijmegen (!)

Portugal: Sport Lisboa e Benfica

Spain: Real Madrid C.F.


Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Best XI (2016/7 to 2024/5)






Close Season Awards 2024/5 - Fußball-Bundesliga & Bayer 04 Leverkusen


Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·         Winner: Me

VDV Fußballtrainer des Jahres

·         Winner: Me

Elf des Jahres

·         Included in XI: Kylian Mbappé, Predrag Rajkovic

VDV Elf des Jahres

·         Included in XI: Kylian Mbappé, Predrag Rajkovic


Season 10 > 2025/6 – Preview


·         This is the last season of the decade and after starting Project: Disassemble this season, I will continue to accept reasonable bids for my senior players and look to recruit young talent as well as develop/promote from within; the use of the loan system will allow me to identify the exceptional talent that can join the likes of Patrick Güllenbeck and Fatawu Tetteh as the foundations of the next generation of Leverkusen team.

·         If this season is anything to go by – this squad is good enough to challenge at the business end of the Champions League. What better way for this team (and the decade) to finish than with the lifting of that elusive European trophy?

·         At the end of this coming season I will be carrying out the ten year audit and looking back on what we’ve achieved, the things that have worked well and less well and looking to establish a framework for the next decade of management. I’m pretty sure I’ll be managing Leverkusen [or even eventually another team?] until FM 2019, at least. Some databases just grab you and won’t let go…J

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