Welcome back to Frankfurt! Season 6 is upon us, and this time there will be some tweaks to our approach in order to hopefully boost our chances in Europe.
It’s a bit of a slimmed down post this week. We’ll hit up the summer transfer news, of which there’s a bit more than usual, and then tuck into the first half of the season.
There’ll be just a dash of tactics talk and I’ll throw in some plans for a couple of our youth prospects when appropriate too, just as a reminder to you that I haven’t forgotten pesky aim number 4. But first, let’s splash a little cash…
There’s been a slight change to my transfer policy. Although I’m still targeting young, German players for the future (see the final four signings below), I’m now starting to spend big to try to get us some European glory:
Rúben Dias is an elite CB in his prime:
Although we have good CB’s, only Evan N’Dicka has looked top class over the last couple of years, so Dias should immediately improve our first XI.
Believe it or not, David Lee is German:
I couldn’t resist picking him up, with his £38m release clause for clubs in the CL. Raiding Dortmund again feels good. He looks a talent, is a significant upgrade over Mitrovski, and will qualify as homegrown eventually.
When the scouts found Marco António, I couldn’t resist:
He’s got technical and physical game already, and we can work on those mentals.
With upgrades, and a desire to give some youngsters a chance, it’s time to say goodbye to some old friends:
Jack O’Connell was the very first signing of my tenure. After 134(5) appearances, 8 goals, 6 assists and a 7.1 average, he was definitely a successful signing, but he’s not top class.
Lucas Torró did a fine job playing as a CM-D for us, but Montoya’s acquisition has made him a spare part. 105(40) apps, 11 goals, 3 assists and a 6.9 average.
Dimitar Mitrovski we actually made a loss on. I was surprised by the lack of interest in him. He was good for us, but couldn’t quite nail down a first team spot at any point, and the arrival of Lee means he’s out. 57(35), 15 goals, 28 assists, 7.15 average.
Frederik Rønnow has slipped to clear second choice, and with a fairly decent goalkeeping option waiting in the wings after two years on loan in Mexico, it’s time to let him go. 130 games, 101 conceded, 60 clean sheets and a healthy average of 7.
Sébastien Haller is not gone yet. Another that surprised me with a lack of interest. Our choice was selling him for a mere £15m and paying almost all of his wages, or loaning him to Sevilla, all wages paid plus £250k a month. They have a £21.25m optional purchase clause, and if they exercise it, I’ll post his stats.
I won’t bore you with the legion of other loan players we’ve unleashed upon the world. We will be facing plenty of them in the Bundesliga this season. Hopefully that won’t bite us in the ass.
My latest attempt to break away from the 442:
It mostly stems from wanting to get four of our attacking midfielders in the same team. I’ve upped the mentality to Attacking, but otherwise haven’t changed a great deal in terms of team instructions. We will be encouraging our CM-A to dribble more, as it’s a strength of both Gómez and Xadas.
I’m hoping having one up top dropping deep, will pull defenders out of position and leave gaps for the inside forwards to exploit, whilst the full backs provide sufficient width.
Not the best start to a season:
I suppose a slow start with a new tactic was to be expected, especially with two difficult games early on. It was very nice to see Romanian youth product Florin Vulpe grab a goal on his debut in the cup:
Being Romanian doesn’t help with aim four, but I think (as he’s half German), he could still play for Germany, though I’m not counting on it. In the three and a half years since coming through our youth intake, Florin has made great progress, and was an important part of the U19s treble success last year. We’re mentoring him, and will give him a few chances for the first team this season.
A month which had more second half tactical changes than ever before:
The 451 is not looking great most of the time, the exception being the Hamburg game. It doesn’t help that on the occasions I bring back the 442, it’s SO much more effective. The last fifteen minutes against Cologne, starring debutant Marco António and the second half against Hertha particularly stand out, with all 6 points earned from changing the tactic.
Spot the match where I played 442:
Results haven’t been bad at all, and defensively we look great. But we’re just boring to watch with the 451. Also, some key players have looked useless in the system, including Sergio Montoya, Rolf Klingenburg, Carlos Alberto Santos and anyone who plays on the right wing.
And then I tried the 442 from the start against RB Leipzig, and lo a behold, goals galore and a Klingy hat-trick!
After 75 minutes against PSV, I changed back to the 442 for good:
Perhaps I’m a tactical one trick pony now? 14 goals in 3 games (plus 15 minutes) since the change. At least it’s a good trick.
With the defensive success of the 451, I’ll certainly be keeping it around as a “shut up shop” tactic however.
A great month again:
We’re playing some beautiful stuff, and our players/positions that were struggling in the old system are revelling in the new. Apart from Klingy. Whilst he’s not playing badly, he is far from his prolific best. I may make a change to his role in the new year. We’ll see.
And I think Brian Brobbey will be off in January. He can’t hit a barn door (except for Holland, for whom he’s scored 9 in 16) and hasn’t developed very much. Also, I have a homegrown, German newgen who has played well for the U19s that I’d like to give some game time to, by the name of Eric Garnier:
He has made massive strides through training and with his impressive U19 performances. When he came through in the same intake as Volpe, he wasn’t really on my radar at all. Just goes to show, train everyone hard and smart and you never know…
We are top. Obviously:
The rest of German football is nowhere. Bayern and Dortmund have sacked their managers already, and only Leverkusen look (a bit) good. Without a domestic rival, my enjoyment of the save is being hindered somewhat.
But European football has been a treat so far:
In the First Knockout round, we will face Porto, which is a refreshing change!
Next time out, we’ll attack the second half of season six, starting with the January window. Hopefully with the exception of shipping off Brobbey, it’ll be a quiet one, before we make another attempt on the summit of European football…
Thanks for reading!