The Pentagon IX: Zwei? Kein Problem
My wages: £5,750 p/w
My assistant manager: £3,700 p/w
Starting goalkeeper: £4,900 p/w
Reserve left back: £15,500 p/w
Someone who is good at the economy, please help me, my football club is dying.
In my rush to recruit players to the Paderborn vision, I may have slightly overpaid in the wages department. Fabio Lanzinger, my second string left back, is the fourth highest paid player at the club. The highest being Zagre, the right winger, who I’ve paid £22,000 a week.
More worryingly, the club’s expectations have completely changed. They want us to play defensive football, direct football and I’m supposed to repair the club’s financial damage. All while getting mid-table in 2. Liga. I think I might have fucked this up, lads.
If there’s a summation of Paderborn’s season last year it would not feature either of those two statements. I try and argue the defensive football one and get nowhere because you can never, ever negotiate the fucking club vision because it’s their vision and it isn’t changing.
Hey, what’s the problem here? We’ll just borrow some more money. We don’t have to pay this shit back until long after I’m gone. 2054? I might even be dead by then. I certainly won’t be at Paderborn. As rumours begin to swirl around the players, I’m aware that *anything* can happen this summer. I actually applied for Hamburg, thinking I could move up a division and play Bundesliga next season but then they got relegated in the play-off and we’d be in the same division as them, so fuck that.
Problem #1: Gloire Kailu. Our most outstanding midfielder. Toulouse came in and unsettled him and he’s off for £3.2M. Which does represent a profit and takes £10k off our wage bill. Sadly, losing the best midfielder at the club in the process. Strasbourg come in with £3.8M right afterwards and that’s the fee. Thank you, Kailu, I will never forget your midfield excellence.
Problem #2: left back. Neither left back did well enough last year to be considered a starter so I’ve got Diyan Georgiev on loan from Ludogorets. He’s a positional wizard and should fix my issue there. Not much going forwards though. I’ve sold Santiago for £2.1M, which is less than I paid for him. Not ideal recruitment there.
Problem #3: Iker Bravo. Last season’s top scorer and the only striker I have under contract and Strasbourg are in for him too. £1.3M. That’s all I can get for a player that scored 37 goals last season. My replacement, lined up ahead of time, was Anthony Kinkela, a Man Utd youth player who’d aged out, but he’s signed for Charlton. Oh, we are so fucked. I had another idea; Fabio Jalo, a Portuguese playing for Barnsley. Also, Adriano, a young Brazilian who had a very low release clause. Only he fucked that up by signing a new contract. Jalo signed for Pacos de Ferreira. I end up solving it by extending Michele Croce’s loan spell from Napoli, something I never thought would be on the cards.
Problem #4: In my trigger-happy signing run last summer, I neglected to notice how much I was going to pay the Bayern players in their second season. Zagre is now on £29,500, Kocher on £25,500 and Lanzinger (who isn’t even playing) on £21,000. Which means I’m now overspent on my wages and cannot afford to sign anybody.
Problem #5: Dekic is leaving us. This makes me sad because he was such a great signing. £425k and he started basically every game at right back and was good. His replacement is Fabian Wiesner from Schalke, who arrives on a season loan. He’s not as good but hopefully regular football will improve him.
Problem #6: a constant influx of bids for our best players. Everyone is mad at me because I won’t let them leave. I can’t let Chiappino go for £1.3M when I know full well one season in 2. Liga and he’ll be worth £15M at least. He ends up at Fenerbahce, which upsets me but at least we got nearly his value.
Gloire Kailu (Strasbourg, £3.8M)
Iker Bravo (Real Valladolid, £3M)
Duro-Giulio Dekic (Racing Santander, £725k)
Mark Santiago (Holsten Kiel, £2.1M)
Andre Gomes (Chemnitzer, loan) – full wages covered
Abdramane Zagre (Augsburg, loan) – full wages covered!!!!
Nestor Chiappino (Fenerbahce, £14.75M)
Sidney Raebiger (Hertha, free) – starting playmaker to replace Kailu
Diyan Georgiev (Ludogorets, loan) – possible starting left back
Fabian Wiesner (Schalke, loan) – right back
PAPA DIAKITE (free) – our beloved friend from Terengganu and Brisbane, continues as scout here
ZOLTAN FUCKING BOGNAR (Brisbane Roar, loan) – The guy who came through the youth intake last year, he’s agreed to join us as a squad player, could legitimately be a stud in 2. Liga. Can’t believe Brissie have let him leave.
Daniel Demissie (Hansa Rostock, £675k) – Pressing forward, to compliment Croce. Note: we could spend here because Chiappino went for such a huge fee.
Oliver Mvouama (Farense, £83k) – central midfielder, so I don’t have to play Kocher
Jacopo (free) – to provide cover up front
Afonso Martins (Vitoria de Guimaraes, £55k) – to replace Zagre on the right
Nicolas Coste (Marseille, free) – I only had 3 central defenders, this guy is very good though.
Jorge Marsiglia (Deportivo Cali, £325k) – very experienced, talented central defender. Deadline day acquisition! Hopefully will sort out defence.
Theo Le Bris (Karlsruhe, £105k) – utility player to provide wing, midfield and full back cover
Pedrinho (Avai, Brazil, £105k) – wonderkid? Loaned him back to Brazil for development
Alexandre Azevedo (Bielefeld, £300k) – literally sold him to Bielefeld last season for the same fee. I always liked him tbf. He’s back! Deadline Day madness!
Our 2. Liga preview has us finishing P14, which isn’t bad. There’s not a massive difference between us and teams up to P7. Obviously above them are the heavy hitters like Hamburg, Union Berlin, Fortuna D, St Pauli etc. I didn’t mention this earlier but I actually turned down the Hamburg job. So, they’re naturally going to win the division and slaughter us twice.
I’ve also received this bizarre email saying we’re all copacetic on the financial damage situation. I’m pretty sure we’re still in a massive financial black hole with no way out but removing some of the big salaries has clearly helped. None of the new signings are on more than £5k.
After all that transfer activity, this is how we line up to start the season. Georgiev is going to struggle at this level but hopefully he improves quickly. Chiappino is suspended or he’d be on the left wing but Bognar will be fine in first team action there. Demissie, who is also club captain now, is the first ‘pressing forward’ we’ve had in the role. It’ll be interesting to see if that helps. I am generally quite worried that we’re going to be outclassed in this division.
That is until opening day, when we win 4-0 away at St Pauli, who were a Bundesliga team last year. Holy shit.
It should be pretty obvious who this but what a bizarre fall from grace from the fella. He’s joined the coaching team. I was taking the piss when I approached him but he said yes, and is only on £2,400.
Following deadline day madness, the squad has been majorly overhauled, again. It’s fair to say that team cohesion is not good. Only four of our starting XI were even at the club last season.
Our early season form is….interesting. Should have beaten Hansa Rostock but the two losses were deserved. We’re either magnificent or terrible and there’s nothing in between. It’s a bit of a mad division. Union Berlin beat us, comfortably, 5-2, and then lost five games in a row. We get revenge on Fortuna Dusseldorf (who stole 3 of our players) with a 3-2 home win but it feels shallow because they’ve not won a game all season.
As the season creeps along, we seem to start clicking. Michele Croce is gold at this level. Marsiglia has tightened the back line up. Demissie is an ideal foil for Croce. The first time I’ve deliberately signed a pressing forward and he’s killing it. Meanwhile, Wieckhoff, who’s been out in the cold for a year, is playing right wing ahead of Martins and is delivering the goods out there.
Please welcome, your Continental A Licence holding motherfucker; Chrissy G! I had completely forgotten this had been given the OK. One licence to go, and I’m up to ***½.
And we are going Pro, baby! The aim has always been to max out the coaching badges and we are finally there. I’m now in a position where I can take a top tier job in Europe. Not at a good team but like Bournemouth or Bochum. Why would I leave though? In my head, I’m off down the pub every night with Papa Diakite and George Attram, having a few pints. Stevie Gerrard came out with us the once but he’s a wet wipe and went home at 9pm after a couple of lager shandies.
Plus Big Dirk Brormann has come in with a new deal. Eight grand a week for three years? Next rounds on me Papa! I’ve even offered to take a 50% pay cut if we go down. We can get Zolty B out too. He’s Hungarian/Australian, he probably loves a pint. Coming up to the winter break we sit in P3, trailing Hamburg and Kaiserslautern. January rolling around means…it’s another goddamn transfer window.
George Attram (Lotte, £11k) – he wanted to play, gawd bless him, the new year send off for George was an epic sesh.
Noel Czapelka (Cracovia, EOC) – he’s with us until June but he’s quitting then. Shame, he’s quite good but he thinks he should start at centre back and he cannot.
Jacopo (Numancia, £375k) – I signed him for free but couldn’t give him game time so he’s off. Apparently his name is “Jacobo” and I’ve been getting it wrong. Proper English manager abroad me!
Burak Ozdemir (Besiktas, £2.8M) – I had to, he was on £20k a week.
Gaston Perez (Arsenal, £6.5M)
Bandiougou Diallo (Stade Malien, £90k) – the eagle eyed among you may recognise Diallo from when I signed him for Terengganu and he was fucking mint. Added advtanage is that he’s a set piece maestro. He turns up, goes on International duty the next day and gets injured. Ah yeah, I forgot about all that.
Bruno (Real Oviedo, £50k) – another centre back as they keep leaving.
The main issue in this window is Arsenal trying desperately to unsettle Gaston Perez. But they’re offering me peanuts for a guy who’ll be worth a small fortune next year. So, they can fuck off. In January he deliberately gets a cold to try and undermine me and promptly gives it to three other players. And of course the board accept an offer for him. A paltry £6.5M. I protest it. No one seems to care. “Too good” I keep hearing. Yes, yes, he is. That’s why I refused to sell him. Do I quit here? At least we got a decent fee for Chiappino, you fucking mugs. I looked at the end of the season and he was worth £50M. That’s what we left on the table here, Dirk, you fucking prick.
So, it’s around halfway and we’re hanging in there. We had a great weekend right as I screenshotted this. Literally all the other top teams lost and we won 1-0 at Darmstadt. Kaiserslautern lost to Fortuna of all teams. As you can see, it’s very tight at the top.
The only good news about the Perez transfer is I’ve been able to sign Zoltan Bognar, Fabian Wiesner (right back) and Diyan Georgiev (left back) permanently. So, now we don’t look like a bloody loans factory. Perez is loaned back to us from Arsenal for the rest of the season. Anyway, fuck it, we’re top of the league. We’re going up baby. How are we top of the league when we were trailing Hamburg so badly?
Because these hamburgers have gone bad. One goal in four games, zero points. The wheels have come off the Hamburg bus. They actually lost the next game too, at home to Hannover, making it five in a row. The division is so tight only 7 points separate us in first from Ingolstadt in P9. Dynamo Dresden, in 11th, have a realistic shot at the title. Kaiserslautern literally go from P8 to P2 with a win. A Sid Raebiger inspired win over Union Berlin sends us 4 points clear at the top. We are doing it! Raebiger, signed for free, has become a playmaking sensation and has 2 goals, 9 assists in 20 starts. Kailu? Who is Kailu?
This graph shows how we had a bad patch earlier in the season and Hamburg have now hit their bad form. Sadly, Raebiger gets an ankle injury and misses a month. That’s a key injury. Every set of results brings in crazier results. This division is a wild ride. Fortuna Dusseldorf were second favourites and will probably go down. Kaiserslautern were predicted to struggle and have been one of the best teams.
Pre-season, I was hoping for a decent showing. Like, getting top half and looking decent. Now, with 9 games left, I think we can get automatic promotion.
I’m actually fascinated by each round of results because anyone down to Dresden can probably get promoted still. And then injuries! I have a game where I’m missing Raebiger, Wiesner, Bognar, Lanzinger and Kocher. Which means central midfield is Mvouama and Sordo*. Coste, a big lumbering centre back with no technical ability, at left back. My bench is an absolute who’s who of players I don’t think are good enough. Noel Czapelka! Andrea Sanna! Florian Kiza! Bruno! Vasco Walz! Theo Le Bris! All the stars are out.
*Remember David Sordo? I got super excited that I’d signed a (maybe) wonderkid from Real Madrid, massively overpaid him, put him in the II team and forgot about him? He’s worth £20M.
We end up losing at home to Arminia Bielefeld but on the same day Hannover draw and Nurnberg lose, so we only lose any ground on Bielefeld themselves. The bad news is that Michele Croce gets injured in the game. I should have kept my mouth shut about promotion. As soon as I dropped the P word, everyone’s ankles fell apart. Theo Le Bris and Bruno both make the starting line up in our next game against Hannover. That should tell you how bad things are. We lose 2-0. Injuries have vexed us at a key stage of the season. Next up is Dynamo Dresden, in a game we manage to lose 4-3. The only silver lining being both Pedrinho and Diallo getting off the mark for the club. Three losses in a row.
We recover with a 4-1 win at Ingolstadt in a game where both teams play in the same shade of red and I literally can’t tell them apart. I think this is us scoring. With 29 games played, 5 left, we’re still top. Bielefeld lost their game in hand, at home to Greuther Furth. This season has been mad to watch develop. Anyone down to Dresden can still mathematically get promoted. I reckon we need 3 wins from 5 games to go up. The Bundesliga is just as mad. Bayern are well off the pace, and it looks like Leverkusen or Gladbach will win the league.
We beat Kaiserslautern 3-1, leaving us top with four left. Hannover win but none of the other promotion chasers do, bar Braunschweig and Hamburg who beat Bielefeld. Union Berlin can only draw at Werder Bremen. We play 1860 Munchen next, who just got relegated. Hannover have St Pauli away. Bielefeld host Darmstadt. Hamburg are away in Dresden. Braunschweig and Union Berlin play each other and Ingolstadt could be knocked out of proceedings if they don’t win at Nurnberg.
Ingolstadt vs Nurnberg ends 2-2, leaving Ingolstadt having to win all three remaining games to have any shot. On Saturday, Hamburg and Bielefeld win their fixtures but Hannover lose 1-0 at St Pauli. Is the St Pauli miracle still on? On Sunday we comfortably beat 1860 Munchen 4-1 away. Kaiserslautern win but surely they’re done and Union Berlin win the 6-pointer versus Braunschweig.
Three left now. If we win two of those three, we are up. Key fixtures for match day 32; Hannover vs Hansa Rostock (Friday), Braunschweig vs Magdeburg, Furth vs Paderborn, Bremen vs Bielefeld, Dusseldorf vs Union Berlin (Saturday). Hamburg vs Kaiserslautern, Ingolstadt vs St Pauli (Sunday). Loser goes home on that last one.
Hannover bottle it on Friday night, drawing 0-0 with Hansa. Speaking of bottling it, we lose to Greuther Furth. 2-1. Injury time winner. Braunschweig also lose, as do Bielefeld. Saturday is a disaster for everyone. On Sunday, Hamburg lose at home to Kaiserslautern. Holy shit. What a daft league this is. St Pauli win 4-0 away. They’re still alive, so are Kaiserslautern.
I am sweating profusely here.
What? Leverkusen won the Bundesliga. They’ve never won the Bundesliga. Bayern aren’t even in the European places. What has happened to Germany?
Game day 33 and we face Nurnberg. We win 5-0. All the stress and tension is gone. Due to our superior goal difference, we should be safe and just need a draw against Hamburg to be absolutely sure of promotion. Union Berlin beat Hannover 3-0. They’re up to second. Bielefeld rescue themselves against Braunschweig. Trailing going into stoppage time they score two goals after 90’ to win 2-1. Hamburg also suffer defeat against Greuther Furth, making me feel less stupid. The loss mathematically eliminates them. St Pauli wins 3-0 but results elsewhere mean they’re finished. After all that drama, Union’s convincing win over Hannover is the key result. It now looks likely to be us, Union Berlin and Bielefeld in the top three places.
Just wanted to share how good the graphics are when you’re playing in the Bundesliga. This table is *chefs kiss*.
This is also awesome. I’ve not been in a good enough league to benefit from the graphics so this is neat.
Picked up this achievement in the process. Only three divisions (technically) in Germany so I’ve gone bottom to top.
I’m sure many of you are wondering how I keep doing this and it’s not a big secret. I’m going to reveal to you now, the 5-step program for winning at Football Manager.
- It’s all about the tactic. Get a tactic that works, regardless of how good your players are. Tweak and change little bits and pieces as you watch the games but as soon as it works, leave it. It’ll take about a year for a truly good tactic to take full effect and the temptation is to change it. Don’t. As soon as you know it works, stick with it. I changed from a regular 4-3-1-2 formation over the previous two versions of FM to a 4-4-2 this year because 4-3-1-2 stopped working. Once I’d got this 4-4-2 to work, I used it everywhere.
- Scout. Scout. Scout. Get as much scouting budget as you can. Get as many scouts as you can. Send them fuckers out everywhere, all the time, every corner of the planet. Make them scout players who fit your formation. Constantly review reports. Earmark players for future signings. I had 5-10 guys at Brisbane Roar I desperately wanted but who had no interest in moving to Australia. I signed three of them for Paderborn in the first window. The squad planner makes life easier but I have spreadsheets to keep track of players too.
- In lower leagues, the ability levels vary pretty dramatically so get high potential players in and your team will get better. It might not start better but it’ll get there. How do you know they’re high potential? Scout, scout, scout.
- As with changing tactics in general, try not to change too much during a game. Understanding the game mechanics is good, and especially helpful in PVP, but the more you switch things around in a game, the more likely you are to confuse players. Especially in lower leagues. Don’t give them too many instructions either. My out of possession has virtually no instructions on. I added “stay on feet” because I was getting too many reds.
- Don’t worry about conceding wonder goals and random headers off set pieces. That’s the game praising your defence. The match engine can’t break it down with normal goals so you get hit with the freaks. Free kicks from 35 yards etc.
That’s it. Keep it simple. I barely touch training. I work on individual bits and bobs, but general training does nothing, in my opinion. A lesson I’ve learned during this save is to not sign players who want a lot of playing time if you’ve no intention of playing them at all. They’ll just get upset and it damages your overall morale. I should probably add in something about being more aware of finances, after my mistakes at Paderborn. Just because a club gives you a massive transfer budget, doesn’t mean they can actually afford it. Try and get the bargains in. Look for transfer listed players and get them free loans. The later you leave your transfer business in the window, the more bargains you’ll find at random. But don’t rely entirely on that because good scouting can identify guys with not long left on their contracts. Get them!
That’s it, schools out. Go win some trophies.
Asian Champions League: Champions (Brisbane Roar, 2028)
African Champions League: N/A
UEFA Champions League: N/A
North American Champions League: N/A
Copa Libertadores: N/A
NEXT: Paderborn are at the big boys table. Do I sign another 18 players to compete? Will Napoli let me have Michele Croce for another year? Will Papa Diakite ever find me a good player?
Until next time, these lads say goodnight to you. They’ll be seeing you in the Bundesliga!