Welcome back to Eintracht Frankfurt! I’ve had a week off of work, so have absolutely barreled through the first season. As a result, I’ll likely do two posts again this week. I think it’ll be business as usual after that.
Last time, we started our first season in very promising fashion, although trying to work out the first team was proving difficult…
FM19’s new features are beginning to become a little bit more like second nature, although the new mentoring groups are yet to work out for me. Possibly because we don’t have the players for it.
Today, I’ll run through December until the end of a very hectic February, and we’ll see if we managed to reduce our squad numbers during the January transfer window…
Behind The Scenes:
With training, I’ve started to deal with it on a week by week basis. With so many variables in the weekly schedule (no matches, one match, two…), and differing levels of opponents, I’d rather deal with it every week than try to set up a million schedules. The tough part is keeping track of what we’ve done over the weeks. But this is why I have a notebook!
In terms of tactics and our first team, I’ve settled on a line-up, or more accurately three. The 343/541 works quite well, but it does seem to have a weakness against a half decent AMC:
So against teams that play one (or two), I’ve been using a 433/451, with the same team instructions:
And against teams we’re expected to beat comfortably, I’ve been rocking a 442 with a more attacking outlook:
We’re roughly using each of the first two tactics 40% of the time, with the 442 used the remaining 20% of the time. I’m quite satisfied being reactionary at this point in the save, as we try to maximise our chances through our risk averse approach, and dare I say it… tactical nous…?
There are a couple of players that are close to being dropped. Ante Rebic and Jetro Willems have been pretty disappointing down the left, in the area I thought we’d be strongest.
With Timothy Chandler returning to fitness almost three months ahead of schedule, we’ve been heavily rotating at right back, and to keep Frederik Rønnow sweet for next season, we’ve played him a bit in goal as it’s unlikely we’ll be able to afford to buy Kevin Trapp from PSG when his loan deal ends.
We’ve added another feeder club:
They’re only a Serie C side, but they have good youth facilities, so perhaps we’ll get lucky with a signing one day.
One last change I’ve made to improve morale, is reducing the squad statuses of a half dozen players. There were a bizarrely large number of “first team” players, and reducing their expectations in terms of playing time seems to have settled the squad a fair bit.
I have no idea how we failed to beat Hertha:
But we crushed Braga in style to progress to the knockout stages of the Europa league, where we will face RB Salzburg. Filip Kostic emerged from nowhere to have an incredible last twenty minutes, before vanishing back into mediocrity.
The next three league games were big. Two clashes against top four rivals and the Derby against Mainz. Beforehand, I would’ve been satisfied with four points from them, but we missed a boatload of chances against Mainz.
Then we used another of FM19’s new features, to head off to Cadiz for a warm weather training camp over Christmas.
Another friendly, before resuming our league schedule after the winter break:
A good couple of performances, before we were very fortunate to snatch a point from in-form Bremen.
The January window didn’t go exactly to plan. Here are the outs:
Branimir Hrgota was irritated from the start of the sesson as I couldn’t get anyone to loan him. We’re well shot of him. Paciência has gone on another loan, along with four teenagers from the youth squad.
Our attempts to move the very unhappy Marc Stendera away from the club failed, which in hindsight, is perhaps a good thing as (I later realised) he’s homegrown at the club, and we will likely need him next season. On deadline day, RB Leipzig came in for rotation option Mijat Gacinovic, and although he’s been alright (and I don’t like selling to league rivals) we took the deal to slim the squad.
Further to this aim, we’ve allowed Allan to return to Liverpool. Eddie Nketiah has also returned to Arsenal, but our need for another striker has seen me bring in Brenner on loan from Sao Paolo. He looks an upgrade to me, though we won’t have him available to us until he finishes playing for Brazil at the South American U20 Championship in mid-February.
How do you cram eight games into February? Like this:
It’s been an attritional month for sure, but the results have been great. We’ve progressed in the cup and in Europe to reach our board’s expectations in both.
Sure, we snuck a fair few tight wins, but that’s sort of our raison d’être. And some of those results don’t tell the whole story. For example, we absolutely stuffed RB Salzburg twice.
Brenner scored just three minutes into his debut, but then went of injured at half time. He’ll be back in March.
Dortmund are the form team in the division, and that form, including the win over us, sees them reach the summit.
But we’re still in the fight!
Just four points separate the top four, and with no-one seeming to be capable of putting together a serious run of wins, it’s all to play for. With ten games to go, Champion’s League football is almost looking guaranteed for next season.
Part Four will complete our first season with Frankfurt. We’ve got a lot of big games to come, and amazingly are still in all three major competitions. If we can win one, and rubber stamp Champion’s League qualification, I’ll be over the moon with season one.
Thanks for reading!