Apr 072012
 


Hello friends and welcome to another episode of my Football Manager 2012 story! This time our spring was looking a lot more exciting since we had qualified for the Champions League knockout stage for the first time ever after finishing top in the group, ahead of huge teams like Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain.

As for the league, we had recorded 17 wins and just 1 draw in the first part of the season, so I was quite sure that the domestic matches were not going to mean more to us than simple exercise programs. Our focus was on the Champions League, as we were preparing to meet Bayern Munich in the first knockout round.

But before that I had to make a transfer, after selling right back Hichem Belakhdar for a staggering 15 million pounds. The replacement was a lot cheaper, I spent 2.5 million pounds on Serbian right back Darko Andric, an already established but still young player.

And now, let’s get ready to rumble…

Bayern vs Viitorul (Champions League 1st Rnd Leg 1)

Starting Line Up: Alberto Maciel – Ali Amara, Juan Belencoso, Georgica Dicu, Danut Gongolea – Hernan Arangio, Yasen Zlatinski, Hector Fernandez – Zezinho, Rastislav Benko, Daniel Mazzoni

I think that a squad’s strength is proven by the names you find on their bench before an important match. And since Bayern had immense players like Thomas Muller or David Alaba on their bench I guess that proves just how strong they are. And that’s without mentioning the likes of Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Lucas Moura or James Rodriguez in the starting eleven. But all those big names fell out of the spotlight after just more than a minute into the game at Allianz Arena, my boys produced a nice flowing move and Daniel Mazzoni smashed home from inside the penalty area! We were in the lead after a dream start! But our joy didn’t last long, Bayern started piling on the pressure and restored parity on 13 minutes. We could have fired one back just three minutes later when Mazzoni broke through on a counter attack but he totally blew what was an excellent chance. Bayern continued their domination but things went on rather quietly until the 39th minute when we conceded a rather easy goal.

Bayern started to play really well after the break, even better than they did in the first half, and they bagged a deserved goal on 65 minutes. My boys reacted quickly and substitute Dramane Sow created a good chance for himself on 70 minutes but unfortunately he wasted it with a rather lame shot. We got punished for that nine minutes before the final whistle when Bayern scored a fine goal and that was that… The German side played really well, no doubt about that, but we could have done better with just a bit more composure in front of goal…

Match Highlights (goals and chances)click here to watch

Viitorul vs Bayern (Champions League 1st Rnd Leg 2)

Starting Line Up: Alberto Maciel – Ali Amara, Juan Belencoso, Georgica Dicu, Danut Gongolea – Hernan Arangio, Yasen Zlatinski, Hector Fernandez – Zezinho, Dramane Sow, Daniel Mazzoni

I didn’t have much hope before the second leg but I always like to try the impossible. I chose to field the same eleven with one exception: Sow instead of injured Rastislav Benko. The lads started the game with good determination and we broke through the German defence on 18 minutes when a fine move freed Hector Fernandez inside the penalty area, his shot went past the keeper but came back off the post… We enjoyed a good spell of domination throughout the first half but Bayern‘s rocky defence held firm until the 44th minute when Zezinho finally found a gap there and scored. We needed to score two more without conceding at that point…

And we came close to conceding shortly after the break, my defence forgot all about Lucas Moura but luckily our goalie stopped him. And then things got lively as Fernandez got one on the right side of the post in the 55th minute, a perfect shot and we were really back in! We needed one more goal and that success nearly came on 75 minutes when Zezinho fired a good looking shot from the edge of the area… but it bounced off the post… And then Bayern returned to their rock-solid defensive display and it was over… We came close to the quarter finals but the tie was lost in the first leg due to our lack of efficiency both in attack and at the back. Well, maybe we’ll do better next time.

Match Highlights (goals and chances)click here to watch

The domestic league was easier than ever, we cruised through the second part of the season with 15 wins and just one draw.

Another landslide league win, there’s nobody left to play with around here…

The Romanian Cup was easy as pie, we won it and kept a clean sheet throughout the competition.

The player ratings show some improvement compared to last season but that might be only because the domestic league is getting so damn easy. Anyway, goalkeeper Alberto Maciel didn’t convince me that he can be a wonder maker between the sticks so I will probably cash in after snapping him up on a free transfer last summer.

Since we’re talking about last summer, let’s see how my big gamble improved this season. Centre back Dumont was bought for 7 million, hoping that he will become a first team regular in a year or two. I gave him some first team football right away though, he had 23 starts this season and bagged four goals. Here’s his initial profile, from September 2012:

And now his current profile:

As you can notice several of his attributes have gone up by 1 point: finishing, heading, long throws, passing, penalty taking, tackling, technique, concentration, influence, positioning, jumping and pace. That’s not too bad I guess, considering he’s still just 17 years old.

Our finances have also improved slightly, we have around 9 million in the bank and we still have to receive the Liga 1 TV rights for next season, some money from season tickets and also some more installments from the big Belakhdar sale.

That’s about it, we were good this season but somehow I think that we could have achieved more in the Champions League. The team is strong though, I know that, and if we can bring in one or two good players during the summer we might create some panic in Europe next season. Thanks a lot for reading folks and if you have thought or requests to share, you know where to find me :)


  46 Responses to “Romanian FM 2012 Story: Pretty Good. But Not Good Enough”

  1. Despite losing to Bayern, I think you can be very proud of you’re teams performances. I think the only difference was that they took their chances. How much did you earn in TV money? When my Athletic team got knocked out in the group stages,m we still managed to receive €25 million in TV money! Congrats on yet another domestic double!

    • Thanks Sears. I agree that the team did well but we just have to be a bit more focused to achieve even greater things, and that’s quite frustrating. As for the Champions League TV money, we got a lot less, something like 3 or 4 million on top of the 6 million we got at the beginning of the group stage. I don’t know how they calculate the amount of those payments to be honest, I remember receiving a lot more when I was managing English teams.

  2. Hey Johnny,

    Great run in the Champions League despite losing to Bayern, they’re a really strong team and your team is gradually improving on that front. Last time I read a post about Viitorul C-ta they were a small Romanian team, now they’re challenging on the world stage!

  3. Well that was a bitter sweet season Johnny. You were incredible in the league and made some wise moves in the market. But even though you went the farthest in the CL you’re still displeased….I think that says everything. Your boys are finally ready challenge and its only a matter of when not if now.

    • Thanks Darren. I’m a bit disappointed only because I felt that we could have gone past Bayern with just a bit more attention, especially in the first leg. But I guess a young team does have its downsides.

  4. Unlucky on not making the next round! I seem to draw Bayern at some point in every Champions League campaign, and it’s not the easiest place to go and get a result, so scoring in the first few minutes is an achievement on its own!
    I actually watched a real life Viitorul game the other day, since I had nothing to do and saw it on a totally legal streaming website ;) I think it ended 2-2 but I can’t remember who it was against. So your story has even created an influx of people to watch actual Viitorul games!

    • Haha, I’m quite pleased to see that I’m contributing to the Viitorul name :) They are currently top of the Second Division Group 1 with 10 games left and I believe they will be in the top flight next season.

    • The match was Viitorul vs Delta Tulcea .

  5. Unlucky Johnny in the CL but I know how you feel when you wish your team had more composure in front of goal but you had a good second leg so maybe next year. As for the League and cup congrats on winning them :D

  6. Ahh, it was shame that you lost against Bayern Munich, but hey, at least you make some improvement there. The domestic one looks so damn easy there and I can understand that one.

    In any case, I will see the next story of your Romanian adventure.

  7. It is a shame you lost to Bayern in the end, but if you look at things in a positive way, you still beat Bayern Munich at home! If your strikers had more composure, you would have gotten through.

  8. Unlucky Johnny, your lads ran Bayern close and with a bit more luck you could easily have beaten them. The team is improving every year, so hopefully next year you’ll do even better in the CL :) Congrats on the league and cup wins again as well!

    • Thanks mate, the team is strong indeed and getting stronger so I guess the future will bring us good things. Well, as long as the manager won’t make any big mistakes :)

  9. I don’t see any shame in losing 4-3 on aggregate to Bayern, and by winning 2-0 at home you proved Romanian football isn’t a pushover anymore. Of course I understand you’re frustrated, as it doesn’t seem like you’re getting the slightest hint of stimulation domestically. Looking forward to next season. :)

    • It wasn’t a shameful result overall, I agree. We did well to beat them in the second leg but it’s a shame that we didn’t get that third goal or that we wasted that pair of big chances in the first leg. Anyway, next season will hopefully be better :)

  10. hey johnny,
    bayern have assembled a pretty strong team!! so its not shame losing to them though i can understand that after the way the first leg panned out, you would be expecting more. its still a stepping stone towards conquering europe, so well done. domestic season was brilliant as usual. no one comes even close to matching your team and i dont see that changing any time in the near future. cheers!

  11. Your constant succsess domestically should attract players, and they should be enough to be able to topple giants like Bayern over two leggs, although it must said you came extreamly close. Nice to see the gamble’s paid off, and at 17 his stats are impressive. I love how the League and Cup have become somewhat of a formality, at times it must feel like a bit of waste seeing how you only played 10 games this season in which the game wasn’t a give’me (including the two league draws).
    Good luck in the transfer market! :)

    • Thanks mate. Our reputation has increased, domestically and in Europe, and I can see some better players interested in joining the club. However, most of them require wages that are way beyond our financial power, at least for now.

  12. You were so close Johnny, if only you had scored 1 more goal in the first leg, but still against the might of Bayern your team proved that they were no pushovers

    Glad to see some improvement from Dumont already, good luck finding a new keeper (or you could give Prestia a try, he even has one assist! :D)

    Andric is a capable replacement for Belakhdar, but he’s a bit weak in the attacking department, hopefully he will improve further

    • I have a couple of good goalies in the under 19 team, so if I sell Maciel I will probably keep Prestia and promote one of those two lads. Andric is decent, not extraordinary in attack, but does a pretty good job at the back.

  13. It’s a shame you lost so badly at Bayern, but yet you were close to a great comeback, maybe next year you’ll make it further.
    That, if you manage to keep your players, as I see 16 of them are wanted :)) It’s also nice to see you still have Romanian players at the club in 2020. Better luck for next season!

    • Thanks mate. Most of my players have been wanted all the time, so that’s not something new. As for the Romanian players, I always tried to keep as many as possible in the team. Manoel also gained the Romanian citizenship and also made his debut in the national team, and Belencoso is following the same path :)

  14. Nice season Johnny.
    You’re right, it is a shame about the CL. I think your squad is good enough to win the CL next year, you just need more experience in my opinion.
    By the way, your 4-3-3 tactic is really awesome. I used it in my AFC Wimbledon game, and managed to win the English Premier League and the CL my first season up in the top flight after winning the lower 3 leagues consecutively. the next season I tried Darren’s Manchelona, and I like both of them, seeing as the Manchelona’s only difference in results was a a point less in the EPL. So I might just alternate between them :)
    Anyway, good luck next season mate! I believe you can do it.

  15. Disappointing to see you go out of the Champions League to Bayern like that. The away leg really cost you. The ability of players to waste chances by hitting the post can be seriously frustrating.

    This was still a step forward, so hopefully you can keep that progress going. I wonder if there is any chance of another domestic team improving, because it would definitely be an advantage.

    • I agree, I really would like to have a strong rival in Romania. But until then, we’ll just have to train for the European matches, because I don’t see any of the other teams showing big signs of improvement.

  16. Hi Johnny!
    Well done on going to the group stages! It’s a great achievement and i hope your team can build on this years foundation and in the season we’ll see Constanta in the quarterfinals or even further.
    Good luck and keep up the good work!
    Cheers

  17. *I wanted to write trough group stages of course :D

  18. Good season!

    Losing to Bayern was a bit harsh as the first leg was closer than the scoreline suggested but I tend to find that Bayern always produce very good teams so I wouldn’t be too disappointed if I were you.

    Domestic wise and its just a stroll for your side, maybe try and promote a few academy players to try and give you more of a challenge or just enjoy your dominance if you like! :)

    Dumont looks pretty good for 17 and am sure he will get even better, I did notice that he gained a bit of weight also, maybe he does need that exercise program after all! ;)

    As always the best of luck!!

    • Thanks Ana. Dumont is probably gaining some muscles, he’s still a kid. I have already tried to rotate the players in the domestic games but that didn’t seem to affect the results.

  19. Unlucky again Johnny Next season ‘ll change , I noticed last couple of seasons you always had tough draws , i hope next season this ‘ll change ..

  20. Hi Johnny,

    Just had a quick whizz through your story. Amazing how far you have come! You must be one of the best managers in FM history ;-) Anyway, long time no talk, how are you? Hope your well. The website is coming along nicely.

    Good Luck Sayam

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