SeasonOne.EpisodeFour | Meet the players
Welcome to the latest instalment of my journey with Borussia Dortmund. Last time out, there was a brief introduction to the staff at BVB.
As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, via twitter @fmfutbolmanager, or my slack channel #fmFutbolManager — if you’re not a part of the Football Manager Slack community, then you can join here!
Now, onto the update.
When I look to assess any team I manage, I try to ensure that I have a 22 man squad, with injuries etc to be covered by players from the Under 19s. This way, I can manage rotation and expectations appropriately. Each position will have one player with a first-team squad status and one a rotation status.
This isn’t always possible when you first take over, but this will be the aim for my squad going forwards to manage expectations when it comes to playing time etc.
Let’s take a look at what I’ve been left with.
The team report – Squad strengths
- Youth Prospects. There are a lot of talented youth players here, including Sergio Gómez, Alexander Isak, and Dzenis Burnic.
- Strong Attributes. We are strong in a number of areas, including: off the ball, tackling, heading, agility, teamwork, technique, acceleration, passing, stamina, dribbling, aggression, first touch, composure, marking, vision, anticipation, positioning, and decisions. A lot to work with here.
- Squad Statistics.
- Shooting. We have the third best shooting accuracy in the league with 42% shots on target.
- Creativity. 8 of the 22 assists have come from the left, where Marco Reus plays so that’s no surprise
- Positions. We have great depth in midfield.
The team report – Squad weaknesses
- Positions. Outside of the first-team, there isn’t much quality
- Defence Depth. We need better options at centre-back
- Goalkeeper Depth. We need better options in goal.
- Squad statistics.
- Goals scored. We’ve scored just 11 goals, which is ranked 16th in the league
- Weak Attributes. We are weak in a number of areas, including: balance, jumping reach, strength, bravery, aerial reach, heading.
After looking at my coaches report of the quad strengths and weaknesses it is clear that there are plenty of positives, and I’m conscious that a lot of the poor stats are from the previous management, so we can hopefully turn those around. We have a good squad here, let me run through the options.
Goalkeepers. Two good goalkeepers is okay for now, but I’ll be looking to bring in someone who can surpass the current keepers. Remember I said I wanted a solid defence first and foremost, well it starts with the ‘keeper.
Central defenders. These guys are looking okay, but again not great. With just one rated highly, Abdou Diallo. Another area we need to look to improve.
Full-backs. This is an area we need to cut back on. We have 4 good right-backs, one who is retiring. So I will be looking to release another to ensure we only have two, remember it’s two players for each position. At left back I have an excellent option in Raphaël Guerreiro, although he is currently injured.
Central midfielders. Along with Witsel and Delaney, Julian Weigl in the central midfield is another great option for us.
Wingers. We are absolutely stacked on the wings with great players, and this is where I want most of my play to come from. With these guys flanking my great midfielders we should be able to expect great things. I have two excellent inside forwards on the left in Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho. On the right, two wingers in Marius Wolf and Christian Pulisic.
Strikers. Another weak area. Defence and attack are the two areas lacking for me. We only really have Paco Alcácer on loan from Barcelona. The poacher only has 3 goals in 19 appearances this term. This wouldn’t be so bad if he was contributing in other areas, but he only has one assist. Hopefully, I can help him improve.
INITIAL TACTICAL THOUGHTS
I think it’s pretty clear that the players suit two systems, a 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-2-3 (4-3-3). However, given the lack of morale, the clubs precarious position I might have to start with something more defensive, like a 4-1-4-1 and 4-4-1-1 and drop the mentality a bit to try to give us some defensive stability. I’ll see how the first couple of games go.
As the team report shows, we’re really lacking in defence. We have two options, use the attack as a form of defence, or try to keep deep and compact and take our chances when they come.
I have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of preparation ahead of our first match which could very well define how the rest of the season goes.
I have a battle on my hands. Any funds I have should probably go on fixing up the defence. A lot of fringe players are unhappy with their game time and want more football. A lot are unhappy with the league position, too. As if all this is my fault.
From a playing perspective, I think we will need to focus play both down the flanks as this is where we’re strongest. The attack will have to be the first line of defence given our lack of quality defensive options. However, I think we need to be cautious, to begin with.
I have a week to prepare for Schalke. I’ll be writing about my game model shortly so you can see where I fit these players into my system. This might come after a couple of games and a bit of stability.
Until next time, tschüss.