FM19 Save with Borussia Dortmund Football Manager Saves


The Introductions | Rules & objectives

I don’t remember seeing this much hype around a Football Manager release before. As more and more details emerge of the saves people in the community have planned, it makes me more excited to get stuck into my save this year.

For those of you who listen to the GrassNGear podcast, you will have heard my save reveal already and some of the plans around that. This post looks to elaborate a bit more on my plans and is the beginning of what will be a series of posts introducing you to my Football Manager 2019 save.

Every year I like to pick a save and generally stick with that through to the next iteration of the game, and this year is no different. However, what will be different this year is that I won’t be setting myself any goals, e.g., win the Champions League by season three. I don’t want to a) tie myself down to a set of targets that I might not achieve, and b) tie myself down to Dortmund when other opportunities during the save might present.

It didn’t take much to convince me to take on Borussia Dortmund for my Football Manager 2019 save. And I’m well aware of their stature in world football. It was partly the reason I didn’t drop down the leagues like I usually do.


When I think about my aims and objectives for what I want to achieve with the latest release of the game, I want to expand on my realistic take on football management.

When playing Football Manager, those who follow me will know that I try to keep my saves as realistic as possible. To help me achieve this I delegate much of my transfer and scouting business to my Director of Football, so for 2019, I want to go to a club who are renowned for using this model. However, I want to go to a club who are not the dominant team in their division, so there is some scope to improve the club.

Michael Zorc is considered one of the best Sporting Directors in world football. He was instrumental in signing various unknown players who have later gone on to star on the world stage, such as Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

As someone who uses the Director of Football model rigorously, I wanted to expand on this further for Football manager 2019 and make it my most realistic save to date.

I will go into much more detail on how I plan on delivering this realism in the next few blog posts, but I’ll give you a flavour of how I intend to play.


To keep the levels of difficulty relatively high, and the game more interesting, there are some rules I will be abiding over the course of this years game. So while I will not have any specific goals, I will abide by the following.

– Utilising a Director of Football

Michael Zorc will play a massive part in my save. Working with a Youth Director, Zorc will be responsible for finding and making offers for youth players. He will handle all contract renewals for staff and players at Dortmund. He will take care of the scouting meetings for me, only bringing to my attention the top talents who are ready for first-team football, or those youth players he believes will be stars of the future. Only then will we work together on who we might look to bring into the club.

I will seek his ideas for potential signings, along with using the shortlists and scouted player lists, and once targets are decided and added to the transfer target list, he will have full responsibility to make the deals happen. We are likely to lose a lot of players this way, as I had done with Parma last year, but it sure as shit makes things interesting.


– Every player has a price

Dortmund, while not necessarily known as a selling club, do sell most of their stars for big money. The likes of Dembele and Aubameyang leaving for big money in recent times proves that point. So, when a player comes to me and asks to leave for a bigger club, no matter the player, he can go if the fee is right. It is likely that I will reject most incoming bids, but this itself usually triggers a player to request to leave. This will a) save me money as I will not have to pay him a loyalty bonus, and b) will hopefully mean I can negotiate a high selling fee with the player, allowing me to decline lower bids.

It is likely that we will have a high turnover of players at Dortmund, but I’m hoping to have a lot of youth to give chances to, and with our comprehensive scouting plans, we will always have players lined up for any positions which might become vacant.

– Maximising our ability to scout the world over

Michael Zorc will be responsible for scouting. He will direct the scouting department and instruct them where whom to scout. I will ensure we have the best scouting team available at Dortmund so that those players recommended are done so by the very best. My Chief Scout will be the best of the best, and no player will be signed without him first giving me his full and detailed report. I will use the scout reports in fine detail to look at the pros and cons of each player, paying particular attention to the players’ strengths and weaknesses. I want to sign a particular type of player, so he has to fit in with the rest of the squad and be able to play in a way that I want him to.

– Removing player attributes

I will be removing player attribute values from player profiles. Instead, I will use either the bar system which will give me a good idea where a player’s strengths and weaknesses are, but won’t tell me that a player has 14 for dribbling, for example, or remove them completely, which will take the difficulty to a whole new level.

Right now, I’m thinking to go with the attribute bars, since the in-game scout reports and detail you get on players probably isn’t sufficient enough for me to make informed decisions when it comes to new player acquisitions.

With this in mind, I will also only sign players who are either recommended to me as top talent or by their stats (not attributes) and scout report. To give you an example of how this will work, when looking for a central defender, for example, I’ll be comparing his stats such as interceptions, tackles, mistakes leading to a goal, headers won etc. against other players who my scouts have identified, using p/90 stats where possible (stats divided by 90 give you a better understanding of the impact the player has, as players might play every minute of every game and have a higher number of interceptions compared with another player who has only played 5 games, however, the player who plays 5 games might have better p/90 numbers).

I will only consider players who have the top stats for their position. I will use these in conjunction with their scout report, e.g., if their stats are great but their mental ability is weak, I will likely move onto the next target. I will also compare this player with my existing players, and if he is an improvement, or has the potential to be an improvement, then I will look to make the purchase.

– Build a successful game model

As the head coach of Borussia Dortmund, I have a clear idea of how I think the game should be played. The way I see and understand football will be implemented across all teams at Dortmund so that the youth team players will have trained and played the Dortmund way. My ideas are based on my experiences, of the football I have loved, taking parts from various coaches throughout the years.

I will write more on my game model in an upcoming post, but the idea is that any player coming from the youth team can slot right into his position in the first team, being familiar with both our philosophy and the position he is required to play. We will try and stick to the German football culture, just with my own ideas implemented to supplement it.


I hope that by adopting these rules and guidelines, my save for FM19 will be more realistic than ever. I am not expecting all transfers to be a success, but that is part of the challenge.

Over the coming weeks, I will release more details on the intricate details on how I plan on setting up Dortmund to fit this model, I will also discuss my approach to training and tactics, along with scouting and youth development.
I am more excited than ever to get started on this journey.

Until next time, tschüss.

Oliver Jensen


  1. Man, the idea of removing player’s attributes is great. It adds a whole great level of reality, because I don’t believe that managers in real life refer to his player’s qualities with structured quantities like “oh that guy has 17 finishing”.

    So I once thought of doing it in one of my own saves but never got to really do it. But with FM2019 in my hands, I thought “now is the time”.

    But have you seen that they’ve taken this option out? How are you going to deal with it? I, particularly, didn’t like this change.

    1. Hey Paulo, thank you for the comments and for reading. You can download this file: and put it here: C:\Users\[name]\AppData\Local\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2019\Preferences\version 3 and then when you load the game you should have the bars again. You no longer have the choice, but you can put them in if you want to use them.

      1. Thank you so much!!!

        But it got me thinking: how can those two lines of code make this happen? It looks magic.


      2. Thank you so much!!!

        But it got me thinking: how can those two lines of code make this happen? It looks magic.


  2. Oliver,

    As a relative newcomer to FM (FM18 was my first time playing) and a Dortmund fan, I have enjoyed your blog and admit I’m quite looking forward to following along here.

    Thanks for doing this.


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