SeasonFour.EpisodeOne | Vorbereitung
Welcome to the latest instalment of my journey with Borussia Dortmund. Last time out, we completed our third season in charge with another league title comfortably claimed. We had a good go in the Champions League, but now we need to push on!
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.
I don’t want to make too many changes to this side if I can help it. We have a low average age and a lot of the players are progressing well. Additionally, I want to give more chances to the youth players we have here. I will still continue to sign young players that my scouts have identified as having great potential, that won’t change, but unless we lose a big player, no big players will be coming in.
Tactically we’ve made some changes [to take advantage of the ME update], although we’ve not deviated too much from what we already knew. Just a few role changes and the odd instruction tweaked.
TRANSFER BUSINESS | OUT
With such a talented squad it’s no surprise that our players are in demand. Liverpool made a late bid of €92M for Frenkie de Jong which we accepted, but they couldn’t complete the paperwork in time. Otherwise, things were relatively quiet for us.
OUT | Predrag Rajkovic | €4.2M to Valencia
I didn’t want to sell Rajkovic. He has been an excellent servant and always done well when called upon. However, he really wanted first team football so I couldn’t hold him back any further. I’ve promoted Aleksandar Bubnjevic to the first team, and while very young, he wasn’t too far off Rajkovic in terms of ability. However, he still has a lot of developing to do before he will be ready for us.
A risk, perhaps. But hopefully, we won’t need to call on him too much.
OUT | Dan-Axel Zagadou | €54M to Real Madrid
When Real Madrid come calling for your players, you cannot say no to them. Unfortunately, that meant losing one of our brightest prospects. However, Dan-Axel was adamant that he wanted to leave so he goes with our blessing.
We have a replacement lined up, and a very good one that that.
OUT | Marius Wolf | €225K monthly fee (€96K wage covered) to Juventus
Despite being rated as one of our best wingers, Wolf just hasn’t done enough to convince me that he has a future at the club. He has been out with a lot of injuries and when given the chance he hasn’t really performed.
We tried to sell him, and Juventus did offer a future fee, but Wolf turned that down. We will see how he progresses over the season and perhaps he might have a chance next season with us.
TRANSFER BUSINESS | IN
My plan was to not sign anyone for the first team if I didn’t need to. What this meant was if we had players leaving, and we didn’t have someone who we could call up from the youth them, then we would look to replace them. We’ve had a few leave us, so these players are like for like replacements.
IN | Dayot Upamecano | €26.5M from RB Leipzig
Losing Zagadou was a blow to us, but we had Upamecano on our shortlist for a couple of years now. I’m amazed at how cheaply Zorc managed to sign him for. He is more developed as a player, too, despite being the same age.
Being left-footed as well he will occupy the left side of the defence alongside de Ligt on the right.
IN | Matheusinho | €16M from Corinthians
It’s not often I sign a player based on gut feeling, but this is one of them. My scouts were telling me not to sign him, he is rated just 2.5 stars when compared with the rest of my squad, but his 12 goals and 8 assists with 3.64 dribbles per game for Corinthians from playing as an attacking midfielder just screamed out to me that this guy would be excellent in our wide striker role.
He has pace, acceleration, agility, flair, technique, first touch and dribbling. If this guy doesn’t get our fans off their seats I’ll eat my hat. If he does, I’ll make my scouts eat it.
Tactically I wanted to improve us. Both in an attacking sense and defensively. I’ve spoken at length with James and Cleon over the last couple of weeks about ways in which I could improve upon my current 4-3-3 system.
We didn’t really need to make too many changes to the system, but what we agreed on was to mix up the middle to give us more going forwards while also making the shape a bit more balanced. Essentially, all that meant was to swap the two central midfielders over and also swap their duties. My Deep Lying Playmaker also becomes a standard Defensive Midfielder. My winger out on the right also drops to a Support duty.
That gives us a system that looks like this, which I think is a lot better balanced.
We’ve conceded just the one goal in pre-season, and that was against Paderborn via a direct free-kick.
The results speak for themselves.
In the last game against Rhede, I played a lot of the under 19s and they showed that they have the attacking instincts as the first team. I’m excited to bring them through to the first team over the next couple of seasons.
So onto the season.
Despite winning twice on the bounce, the bookies have us as second favourites at 7-2 with Bayern being 3-1 favourites to reclaim the title from us. Personally, I think if we can carry on the type for football we’ve been playing over the past couple of seasons, and Bayern continue to slip up as much as they have been, then our odds should shorten a lot.
Until next time, tschüss.