05|01 VORBEREITUNG: IT’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE​ OR BUST!

SeasonFive.EpisodeOne | Vorbereitung

Welcome to the latest instalment of my journey with Borussia Dortmund. Last time out, we completed our fourth season in charge with a league and cup double claimed. Now as always, we look to make a mark on the Champions League.

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 Bayern sacked Diego Simeone during the previous season, it signalled a shift in the balance of power in Germany. We finished the season with our third Bundesliga title in a row.

We finished 14 points ahead of Bayern as interim manager Sebastian Hoeneß tried to steady the ship. However, this season things are about to change, I fear.

Thomas Tuchel has taken over after leaving PSG in the summer. Having won everything every season in France, he is back in Germany to take over his one fierce rivals. I’ll admit I’m a little worried.

Not to mention we’ve lost a serious amount of talent from our squad, just as the young players were developing into strong Bundesliga players.

TRANSFER BUSINESS | OUT

The last thing I needed this window was to lose more players from my squad. Especially midfielders…

OUT | Ryan Gravenberch | €69M to Paris Saint-Germain

I was disappointed when PSG met the release clause of Ryan Gravenberch. We’ve put a lot of effort in developing him, but unfortunately, as with other players we’ve lost over the last year when you have a release clause you’re always in danger of losing players you don’t want to lose. Signed for €22M we’ve made some good money on him, but it’s yet another midfielder gone.

Screenshot 2019-09-01 at 18.38.13.png

OUT | Jacob Bruun Larsen | €14M (potential €18.5M) to marseille

Jacob failed to impress at Werder Bremen on loan last season, so we decided to let him go before his contract expires next season. Not a lot more to say about this one.

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OUT | Kevin Mbabu | €62M to Paris Saint-Germain

Another player off to PSG, and I fear before the window is out he won’t be my last. Did everything I could to keep him at the club, but ultimately, the riches in Paris were too much for him. Another player leaves me for the money.

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TRANSFER BUSINESS | IN

I didn’t really want to make too many signings this summer, considering the outlay last season, but my hand has been forced by some of the sales we’ve had to make.

In order of arrival…

IN | Jota | €45.5M from Benfica

With Reus being injured all the time I needed a suitable rotation option for Sancho. When Sancho was injured last season it really hurt us as I didn’t really have a backup to bring into the squad. Jota can play both the inside forward role on the left or the winger role on the right, so will get plenty of games for us.

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IN | Santiago Cáseres | €26.5M from Villarreal

With Witsel leaving for the riches of Manchester City, I needed someone else to come in who is experienced enough to play the defensive midfielder role. Weigl can also play as a number 8 so I have the option to move players around the midfield for cover if needed. Cáseres is a good solid player and a lot cheaper than the other options we were looking at.

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IN | Domenico Turini | €11.5M from Wolfsburg

This will either turn out to be my signing of the season or a big mistake. Either way, it’s a cheap replacement for Mbabu. Turini is actually a good little player with bundles of pace to assist with our attacking play. I just hope he has the ability in defence. He will play understudy to Krsmanovic after Passlack injured his cruciate ligaments which put him out for 8 months.

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With those arrivals, I decided to refrain from making any more signings. Rather, I’ve decided to promote the following players to the first-team squad.

YOUTH PLAYER PROMOTIONS

The following players have been promoted to the first-team squad.

IN | Valerio Gallorini

Valerio is entering his fourth season at Dortmund, having signed from Carrarrese for €98k. Valued at €3.2M now, he joins up with the first-team squad at the age of 21. He’ll offer a good backup option as he can play both DM and CM.

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PRESEASON RESULTS

Preseason has gone as well as I had hoped. We’ve shifted quite a bit from last seasons possession-based system, to try to play a little quicker and in all honesty, simpler. The idea being that we wanted to attack team quicker, giving players the freedom to make their own decisions on the pitch, and if we can, see more of this…

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Here are the results.

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First, we participated in David de Gea’s testimonial, where he didn’t actually play. A comfortable 3-0 win over some of their former players. Nothing to write home about.

The other friendlies were obligatory, as they are most seasons and I was pleased we managed to get through pre-season without conceding a single goal. Our free-flowing attacking football was also yielding a solid and tight defence. I had to be pleased with that.

This is how we line up now. Playing a positive mentality, we look to move the ball quickly from front to back in order to unsettle the opposition. We have great dribblers who are quick down the wings and some strong central players.

Screenshot 2019-09-06 at 14.30.46.png

We also have the option to switch to a 4-2-3-1 if we need to try something different in a game. Often a switch to give us another option further ahead is enough to unlock a defence.

We will be using the 4-2-3-1 as a secondary ‘plan B’ system.

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DFL-SUPERCUP

Remember I said I was a little concerned with Tuchel? Well, the curtain-raiser confirmed my fears. Inside half an hour we were two goals down and looking lost out there. The new system that had looked so fluid in pre-season was suddenly being torn to pieces by Tuchel’s men.

Just before half time, we managed to pull one back through new signing Jota.

The second half we were much better and managed to pull back on level terms through Alcácer and the match went to penalties.

It wasn’t meant to be, however, with Pavard missing his spot-kick to give Bayern and Tuchel the win. Something leads me to believe that this is going to be a tough season ahead.

DFB-POKAL

Just the one cup game in August, a routine 5-0 win against Hildesheim.

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It wasn’t the best of games, but we had more than enough to see off our Regionaliga Nord opponents. Onto Stadtallendorf in the next round.

BUNDESLIGA

We’ve started well in the league with the goals being spread around a bit more than last season. João Felix and Sancho have been on fire.

Screenshot 2019-09-06 at 13.57.15.png

Unfortunately, we have lost Sancho for four-weeks with a foot injury sustained in the 3-2 victory over Hamburg.

The league is very tight after four games. I expect the top three to break away and Bayern to push us really hard this season.

bundesliga.png

That will do, for now, I look forward to sharing the season ahead with you.

Until next time, tschüss.

Oliver Jensen

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