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Maribor 2020

  1. Alienman
    First Team

    Maribor 2020

    Maribor 2020-20130608124809-nkmaribor_2013.png

    The year is 2020 and Maribor are on the rise in European football. The team from the Balkans country of Slovenia has slowly been gaining continental attention since the appointment of manager Calvin Rowaan in 2013. Since his arrival at the club, the young Canadian manager has guided the team to the Slovenian First League championship in each season in charge. Maribor have also begun to make an impact in continental competition, having made the Champions League final on one occasion in 2017 where they fell in defeat 2-0 to Manchester United.


    With my 8th season in charge at Maribor I have decided to turn this save into a story. It has been great going for me and I think it would be awesome to share the journey with you all.

    As my introduction said, the club has experienced significant growth during my 8 years managing the club thanks largely in part to our annual participation in the Champions League. As a small club, we rely heavily on prize money in order to turn a good profit. Success in the competition has also meant a growth in reputation, which, along with healthy annual profits, has allowed the club to attract some strong talent, unimaginable at the start of the save.

    Filling the Trophy Case
    Under my management the club has captured all 7 Slovenian First League titles, and with the two won under the previous manager, have now won 9 titles in a row, a remarkable streak. Although the league has lost almost all competition, it is still interesting as a way to smash records and see how long I can go without losing. But it does still remain important because I need to use the league to qualify for the ECC each year. I have now finished the last two seasons undefeated and am currently over 100 games undefeated.

    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-7.38.58-pm.png
    The Slovenian Cup is more of nuisance than an important competition despite the fact I continue to win it, but its not always a sure thing. It has become an opportunity to throw my youth players into games, even if they don't have much potential, more as an opportunity to get out of the competition than one to give match experience. The Cup just provides a bunch of unnecessary matches at a time of year that can become extremely busy if I have made a run into the Champions League knock out rounds.

    So far the Champions League has been all about the prize money, first by qualifying for the group stage and second by getting some results. The first couple of seasons we were nothing but whipping boys for the rest of the teams but we have started making an impact. In 2016/17 we made a fantastic run all the way to finals before losing 2-0 to much superior Manchester United. Qualifying for the knock out stage has now become come occurrence and almost expected.

    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-7.42.42-pm.png
    Club Growth
    As a small club it was important to not only grow the clubs reputation but also improve our finances and facilities. Thanks to the ECC we have checked off all of those boxes. The club is now valued at an estimated 28 million pounds and has risen in the European coefficients to 23rd. And with an average balance of 20 million, the clubs finances are in excellent shape.

    Thanks to great finances and an understanding board, we have undertaken a project of annual facility improvements. Take a look for yourself at our facilities page.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-7.53.13-pm.png(We are currently in the process of upgrading training facilities)

    The Squad

    Obviously the squad looks a whole lot different now than it did the day I took over the club. The quality of the player has improved drastically and has taken on a strong foreign influence, despite maintaining a solid Slovenian core.

    Here is last season's Best 11:
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-7.57.05-pm.png
    Not really full of household names apart from Tomas Necid. Necid has been a fantastic signing for the club, scoring 81 goals in 102 games over 3 seasons, including a record 35 league goals in 2018/19. At 30 he is beginning to slow down a little but is still a force in Slovenian football.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.00.46-pm.png
    Another record setter is my young Portuguese winger, Luis Castro. I had to fend off some very good offers from top clubs in order to keep a hold of this kid whose 31 assists last season are a team record.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.04.44-pm.png
    Next is Jernej Kompan, the first in a new generation of Slovenian footballers. The midfielder turned striker has already grown into Slovenia's most reputable player, winning Player of the Year 3 times.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.07.14-pm.pngMaribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.07.19-pm.png
    Another pair of recognizable faces who recently joined the club:
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.10.52-pm.pngMaribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.11.01-pm.png
    More of Slovenia's new generation of footballers:
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.12.30-pm.pngMaribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.12.40-pm.pngMaribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.12.48-pm.png

    For those interested, Slovenia is currently ranked 29th in the World and have previously reached 10th in 2018. One of the goals of this save was to turn Slovenia into a power house in European and World football through the development of youth players at my club.


    I hope that catches you all up a little. Sorry for the long read but it takes time to give an update on 7 seasons.
    Eoin McG and Arazar like this.

  2. Awesome mate, could you post screenshots of the UEFA coefficients of the Slovenian league and also Maribor to see how the standing of both have increased with the success you've had.

    Always good saves when you're trying to improve the side, but simultaneously bringing the league up with you is a great challenge!

  3. I've been waiting for this thread mate. Fantastic job you've done there. I'll follow.

  4. Alienman
    First Team
    Quote Originally Posted by Arazar View Post
    Awesome mate, could you post screenshots of the UEFA coefficients of the Slovenian league and also Maribor to see how the standing of both have increased with the success you've had.

    Always good saves when you're trying to improve the side, but simultaneously bringing the league up with you is a great challenge!
    Its been pretty cool to see how the old saying "A rising tide raises all boats" applies to football manager. My teams success has increased the reputation of the whole league meaning there is more money for the other teams, a better opportunity to attract better players, and Slovenia has also been given another ECC spot (3rd round best finishers, they never qualify since best finishers is tougher than winners).

    The other teams have also really benefitted from the youth players I release. To make it at Maribor you need at least 3 stars of potential, but players with 2 or 2.5 stars are still touted to have the potential to be top players in Slovenia. So when I let players go who are not good enough for my team they are quickly snapped up by the other clubs and turn into some solid players.

    Here are the two screenshots you requested. On the club list we are just at the bottom of the page, a little cut off.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-22-9.19.28-am.pngMaribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-22-9.20.06-am.png

  5. Alienman
    First Team

    Important Information for Selling Youngsters

    Here's a lesson for you all: always negotiate a "percentage of profit from next sale" clause when you are selling promising youngsters.

    Here is why.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-21-8.21.37-pm.png

    I sold Vaganov to PSG for 4 million when I was trying to reduce the number of foreign players in my squad. The deal included a 25% sell-on-clause. So when PSG sold Vaganov to Chelsea this summer for like 33.1 million, I was set to earn 25% of about 30 million profit they made, so a cool 6.5 million.

    A nice Football Manager lesson there for you and now I've got even more cash coming in.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by Alienman View Post
    Its been pretty cool to see how the old saying "A rising tide raises all boats" applies to football manager. My teams success has increased the reputation of the whole league meaning there is more money for the other teams, a better opportunity to attract better players, and Slovenia has also been given another ECC spot (3rd round best finishers, they never qualify since best finishers is tougher than winners).

    The other teams have also really benefitted from the youth players I release. To make it at Maribor you need at least 3 stars of potential, but players with 2 or 2.5 stars are still touted to have the potential to be top players in Slovenia. So when I let players go who are not good enough for my team they are quickly snapped up by the other clubs and turn into some solid players.

    Here are the two screenshots you requested. On the club list we are just at the bottom of the page, a little cut off.
    Attachment 506916Attachment 506918
    I did a similar save once with Linfield in Northern Ireland and I found that the only thing to take the league to the next level was to get another domestic club into at least the group stages of the EL. Has that happened for you yet?

  7. Alienman
    First Team
    Quote Originally Posted by Arazar View Post
    I did a similar save once with Linfield in Northern Ireland and I found that the only thing to take the league to the next level was to get another domestic club into at least the group stages of the EL. Has that happened for you yet?
    Not yet, the runner up in the league gets into the Best Placed Playoffs, so they end up with teams who are like 4th in England or Spain, and other much tougher opposition like that. They obviously lose then. The Champions section of ECC qualifying is a lot easier than the Best Placed half.

  8. Finally have the time to write the first update on the new season after a busy week and it falls on the day that the January transfer update is released. Although many people start a new save at this point I will not be doing so because I am enjoying this one too much.


    Right Back at it Again
    One of the oddities of Slovenian football is the lack of an offseason. Slovenia fallows the international calendar in order to allow their clubs to compete in the European competitions but with only about a month off in the summer compared to two and half off in the winter, this "offseason" is rather useless. Not much time for friendlies but the players do not lose their match fitness and tactic familiarity remains relatively the same so its easy to hit the ground running.

    Slovenian Super Cup
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-8.48.33-am.png
    Kick off the season with a win in the Slovenian Super Cup. Dominated the match but not flattered by the score line. Luis Castro was sensational, scoring a goal and picking up a pair of assists.

    Some players missed the match as they were on extended leave following the completion of the European Championship, which was won by Spain for the 4th year in a row.

    Slovenian First League

    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-8.53.01-am.png
    As expected we started the season undefeated with comfortable wins in all matches. Domzale were extremely flattered by the 3-2 score line as one of my closest rivals only managed 1 shot on goal in the 55th minute when it was already 3-0 (second goal was an OG in the 89th).
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-8.52.35-am.png
    Fast start has us top of the table already, a place we should be holding onto until the end of the season.

    Fast starts from key players have been important to the early season domination. Here are some highlights of key performances.
    • Tomas Necid has scored 8 goals in 4(1) league appearances and has an average rating of 9.00
    • Luis Castro has 2 goals and 6 assists is 7(1) appearances in all competition with an average rating of 8.23
    • Franc Ivancic is averaging 8.16 tackles per match in 4(2) appearances and has contributed with 2 goals
    • Captain Jernej Kompen is second in team scoring with 4 goals in 6 appearances
    Over the next couple of weeks are focus will begin to shift away from the league and onto the Champions League which kicks off in September. Looking forward to getting a good group stage draw that will see us advance to the knock out stages. Hopefully this season we can make it a little deeper than we have in the last couple, we haven't made it past the first knock out round since our trip to the finals.

  9. Alienman
    First Team

    Transfer Window Round Up

    Little bit of unplanned bonus coverage here.

    The summer transfer window has come to a close with a busy day at Maribor as some sales were made and some last minute deals attempted. In the end I was not able to secure a replacement for one of my sales which leaves me a little disappointed.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-4.37.50-pm.png
    Here is the basic overview of the ins and outs of the transfer window. We spent a total of 13.13 million, which was basically our whole transfer budget, while bringing in 7.34 million from players sold.

    Players In

    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-10.45.41-am.png
    I am probably most pleased with the acquisition of Slovenian international keeper and former wonder kid, Jan Oblak. I had been interested in bringing him back to his home country for a couple of seasons now but was turned off by his wage demands which were too high for a back up in my opinion. When my scouts told me his wage demands had gone down after a couple of months on the free transfer market I moved quickly. I sold Javi Jimenez, long time back up keeper, to free up a spot on the roster and secured Oblak's signature before the window shut. Oblak will be a sold back up and brings more Slovenian influence to the squad.


    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-4.38.31-pm.png
    My splurge for the window. Costing 7.5 million, Alexander Sauter comes in as a risk but with a boat load of potential he looks set to do well at the club.

    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-4.38.18-pm.png
    Bruno Felipe joins Maribor from Ajax for 4.5 million. Looks to have tons of potential and skill but his start at the club has been hampered by injury. Looking to get him into more matches so he can start showing he was worth the money.

    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-4.38.40-pm.png
    Gregor Toplak is a giant of a centre forward and the moment I saw him at Rudar Velenje on youth intake day I knew I had to sign him. Offered him and contract, paid the 575k in compensation and made him the successor to Tomas Necid at Maribor. At 202cm, his ability to win headers will be hard to match and at 16 he has a lot of growth ahead of him. Currently have him being trained as a complete forward with Necid as his tutor, should go well since they are described as being similar types of players.

    Players Out
    Two most notable sales are Gregoire Puel to Real Sociedad and Matic Crinic to Basel. Puel had been my starting right back for three very good seasons and was sold because of his high wages compared to his teammates. Crinic's sale came as a disappointment to Maribor supporters because he had come through the youth academy and made his first team depute in 2008/09. He played in a total of 198 league matches and many more in other competitions on his way to becoming a legend at the club. He was sold because he no longer meet the standards required to be a player at Maribor.

    In this transfer window, we lost a couple of very talented players on frees to bigger clubs, which was surprisingly the first time that has happened. Portuguese international Bruno Cerqueira abandoned us for Valencia where he has made a fine start, he was supposed to be Necid's future replacement. A young Brazilian named Fabricio joined Fenerbahce, I had planned to sell him anyways but disappointed I got no money back.

    Antonio Jesus joined Frankfurt leaving me short in the midfield. He was my backup playmaker to Saul and I was unable to complete a deal to replace him. Saul will now play most matches with less matches being handled by promising youngsters.

    Barcelona snatched up a highly touted 16 year old striker for 750k. He attracted the attention of a number of top teams and hopefully I will be able to gain some financial benefits from the 25% of profit clause included in the deal.


    And that's the round up for this transfer window. I hope you enjoyed reading (I know it was a lot of writing) cause I like writing and my university education means I prefer to write in proper sentences and paragraphs.

  10. You know what, I am going to do a slovenian game now. Was looking for inspiration for the new patch! I will keep following this story!

  11. Alienman
    First Team

    Champions League Draw

    Champions League draw took place a couple days back and as always seems to be the case Maribor was placed in a tough group. I don't think we are a strong enough team to ever consider a draw easy at this point so once again advancing to the knockout stage will be a challenge.

    First off, why playing in the Champions League is so important to a small club like Maribor.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-10.07.49-am.png
    At this point in my journey with Maribor, just getting that 7 million is more important than results, unless we some how manage to win the competition. Big prize money is what it is all about in the ECC. In the season that we lost in the finals to Man Utd, we racked in over 25 million in prize money, a huge amount for a small team.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-6.42.21-pm.png
    The odds have PSG as favorites to win the competition and us as 50-1 long shots. 50-1 is not that bad seeing as in our first couple of seasons we were 200-1 outsiders. But odds mean little in Football Manager, cause even as 200-1 underdogs we made a final in this competition. Anything is possible.

    Finally, we reach the draw and Maribor has moved up in the coefficients enough to be a second seed.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-02-28-10.09.52-am.png
    So we have been drawn in Group F with European giants Bayern Munich. The rest of the group is made up of Spartak Moscow and Olympique Lyonnais. If we want to progress is this competition we will need to get good results in our matches against Spartak and Lyonnais. Bayern will always be a tough match, but Maribor has proven in the past to be giant slayers so things could get interesting.

    What does everyone think of the draw and our chances in this group? Are we going to regress to being the whipping boys of the bigger clubs or continue our European football revolution?

  12. Alienman
    First Team

    Playing with the Big Boys

    As the Slovenian First League rolls along into October, the Champions League and Slovenian Cup also get under way. Schedule starts to get busier which means more squad rotation and a fear of slip ups.

    First League
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-03-6.54.25-pm.png
    Remained undefeated in the league, our run is up to 116 games, but we suffered a first draw. We rolled through the other matches but a poor performance at home against Krka resulted in a 1-1 draw, conceding from a corner minutes after Necid put away one for us.

    Necid and Castro continue to lead the way for the team. Necid has now scored 12 goals this season and has added an impressive 7 assists. Castro continues to work magic from the right wing and the corners with his total now up to 12 assists. He has added 5 goals to his impressive play and has been rewarded with 6 Man of the Match awards.

    During our recent run Jernej Kompan was in fine form, knocking in 4 goals.

    League table:
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-03-7.05.05-pm.png
    Still top with a comfortable gap but it could be bigger. Koper looks good this year with former Maribor player Luka Zahovic leading the league with 12 goals.

    Slovenian Cup
    A rotated squad, made up of mostly youngsters, put on a fine display is this basically irrelevant competition. All it does it make our schedule more congested. Luckily it gave the fans an opportunity to see new man Jan Oblak in action.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-03-6.54.42-pm.png
    (Tiny picture)
    Picked up a comfortable 5-0 win over Second League squad, Smartno 1928, to advance to the next round. Next up is First League team Zavrc in a two legged quarterfinal.

    Champions League
    The big competition got under way with matches against Spartak Moscow and Olympique Lyonnais.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-03-6.54.33-pm.png
    Two good results to get the group stage underway.
    • Went down in the first minute to Spartak but braces from Saul and Kompan, and 3 assists from Castro, earned a very reputable win.
    • Away to Lyonnais was a tougher match. We played well and really should have come out of the match as winners, outshooting our hosts 12 to 4, but our finishing let us down. 0-0 away is a good result though.
    Our opportunity to progress in this tournament was aided by Spartak Moscow who took down FC Bayern, 3-1, in Moscow. With a win and a draw through the first two matches of the group, Maribor sits in first place, ahead of a home and away with Bayern.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-03-7.16.48-pm.png

    Tough matches ahead and an exciting new signing joining us from Argentina in January.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-03-7.18.22-pm.png

  13. Alienman
    First Team

    So Close...

    Played our first match against Bayern, hosting them in our stadium. In a match that we were expected to be totally overwhelmed by Andre Villas-Boas' squad of world class players, we came very close to a massive upset. We outplayed the European giants, creating more chances on the break than they did, but it came down to class in finishing in the end.

    Here are the stats:
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-06-3.21.00-pm.png
    More total shots, more shots on target and 3 clear cut chances, despite losing the possession battle 58-42. Those stats really should have given us a shocking upset but it came down to class. Like in our last Champions League match, we just did not have the quality to score a goal and win the match. Than, in the 68th minute, Mario Gotze slipped away in the box and was picked out by Thomas Muller, and the 2019 World Golden Ball runner up showed true quality and slotted home. That's all it took.

    After three matches in the Champions League, Maribor is 1-1-1 and in knockout round position, ahead of Olympique Lyonnais on goal differential.

    Maybe a trip to the Euro Cup this season wouldn't be that bad. Maybe I could win that this season.

  14. Funny, in First Slovenian League, there are exactly the same teams that are in currently in real life

  15. Alienman
    First Team
    Quote Originally Posted by apovsic View Post
    Funny, in First Slovenian League, there are exactly the same teams that are in currently in real life
    The same one or two teams always get promoted or relegated, so it really hasn't changed much.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by Alienman View Post
    The same one or two teams always get promoted or relegated, so it really hasn't changed much.
    Do you have second league loaded? If you dou, which teams get promoted? I assume Aluminj is one of theme.

  17. Alienman
    First Team
    Ya, I have the Second League loaded. Aluminj gets promoted the most often, but it is always followed with relegation. Kalcer Radomlje also has a couple promotions followed by relegations, and Dob has played one season in the First League. The money just isn't there for these teams to improve their squad enough to stay up, rather unfortunate.

    Having played teams like Domzale 36 times it would be nice to face a couple new opponents.

  18. Alienman
    First Team

    Maribor Comes Close Again

    When Maribor stepped onto the pitch of Allianz Arena it was with an expectation of a complete demolition job in favour of the home team. The small club from Maribor looked to be in over their heads ahead of their match with FC Bayern. They had kept it close in the home match of the group stage, falling 1-0 despite having a chance to win, but everyone expected this match to be different.


    Once again we were up against the might Bayern Munchen for the second time in only a couple of weeks. In order to try to keep things close, I had my team go out and play a little bit of anti-football. We pushed up high, closed them down and tackled hard in order to win the ball back and then subsequently hit it long down field. Not pretty but it darned near work.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-06-8.01.28-pm.png
    Once again we created more chances than our much bigger opponent but in the 34th minute Jernej Kompen popped up and headed in a cross from Luis Castro. It was a dream to get ahead like this and with how things were going it looked like we might be able to hold on to this lead.

    But in the 49th minute disaster struck as keeper Mohammed Souissi made a mess of the clearance gifting the ball to Romelu Lukaku who smashed it home from 25 yards out. Heartbreak for the guests.

    We still had a chance to win this match but in the 68th minute our hard tackling bit us in the but as Slavisa Voros picked up his second yellow card and was off to the showers. Going down to 10 men meant a little tactical change which meant we had to back off a bit and now play for the draw.

    The final whistle came with a great sigh of relief from the Maribor bench and a massive cheer from the traveling supporters who were thrilled with the fantastic result.

    The draw keeps Group F wide open with two matches to go.
    Maribor 2020-screen-shot-2014-03-06-8.17.05-pm.png
    Will be tough to progress, we will need good results against Spartak and Lyonnais.

  19. Alienman
    First Team

    Sad Day

    A silence feel over the stadium as the final whistle blew with both sets of supporters standing in shocked silence. The Slovenian First League match between Domzale and Maribor had just come to an end and the fans did not know how to react. Were the numbers on the score board correct or were they just some cruel joke being played on them?

    As the shock from the invincible Maribor's first defeat in First League play in 119 games sunk in, the silence turned to anger, both in and the stands and in the dugout. Manager Calvin Rowaan was fuming, especially at his centre back pairing of Zarko Vuckic and Adama Soumaoro. Poor marking in the box was to blame for Maribor conceding twice and Rowaan let everyone know about. But the usually subdued manager's rage did not end there.

    Rowaan was clearly upset with his whole team. How could a team with the firepower that Maribor has available to them not just overwhelm a smaller team like Domzale? The team seemed unable to get any shots on target despite numerous attempts. Maribor only managed to get on the board thanks to a massive deflection from a Tomas Necid shot resulting in an own goal.

    After 119 games of undefeated football, Maribor finally went down in defeat, losing 2-1 to Domzale. The team must now regroup and ensure they do not slip up even more or risk seeing their First League lead disappear.

    Maribor's first chance to bounce back is in the Slovenian Cup were it is likely that we will see manager Calvin Rowaan rotate his squad completely.

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