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Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern

  1. Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern

    Hey there,

    I've just started out with FM2017, the last version I played was FM2014 and I had a long AAR with Dynamo Dresden here back in times of FM2011.

    This time, I thought I'm going to write about my first career game in FM2017, managing my favorite club 1.FC Kaiserslautern. I've been a supporter since about 1990 and it's been a shame to see how this once glorious club and four times german champion went down into the 2nd division.

    For those who don't know much about Kaiserslautern, their nickname is 'The Red Devils' and their biggest legend ever is Fritz Walter, the captain of the german national team who won the first World Championship for Germany back in 1954 in what has been called 'The Wonder of Bern'. Kaiserslautern's stadium, the Fritz-Walter Stadion, also called 'Betzenberg', is one of the most well-known stadium with a huge tradition.

    The club has been one of the founding members of the german Bundesliga back in 1963 and has always been one of the top clubs in Germany, until 1996 when they played a terrible season and got relegated on the last match day.

    What happened then is unique in german soccer history: The club actually increased it's profits through the season in the 2.Bundesliga, due to loads of new club members, giant marketing income and a sold out stadium in every match. The whole region picked up the new mentality, 'now more than ever' and the club gained loads of new supporters.

    Kaiserslautern went straight up again, finishing 1st in the 2nd division and went on to win the german championship in the following season, beating teams like Bayern, Dortmund and Schalke. They are the first and only promoted team to ever win the championship in Germany up to today.

    They stayed up for a couple more seasons, had some good results and some european qualifications but as the game got more and more commercial, the rather provincial club was unable to keep up and was relegated again in 2006. The 'FCK' won promotion again in 2010 but was relegated a third time in 2012 and haven't been able to move back up again since then.

    Currently they are ranked 14th in the 2nd division and due to huge financial problems, I'm afraid it rather looks like they're going down to 3rd division quite soon, which would probably mean bankruptcy once and for all.

    Kaiserslautern are known for their very good youth development. They run their own academy which produced players like Michael Ballack or Miroslav Klose in the past. Ever since they began to struggle financially, they developed most of their regular players on their own. However, they had to let most of them go after 1-2 seasons to cover the running expenses.

    So, that being said, isn't it wonderful we can change the fate of our favorite teams in Football Manager? I'll probably take the same approach and will try to develop most of my players alone, at least until I get the club into safe financial conditions again.

    So let's get this project started:
    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-csm_fck-logo_1024x768_d8cb543fa9.png
    1. FC Kaiserslautern


    Initial squad:


    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_initialsquad.jpg


    The squad looks pretty decent for the 2nd division, some players are a bit overrated even compared to their real life performances. Our goalkeepers are okay, Julian Pollersbeck is a decent young keeper from our own youth system. He' still got some potential and first team football will help him to develop. André Weis is a solid backup.

    The defense is quite good as well. I'll try to get rid of Marcel Gaus, he's a regular starter for the real FCK, but for whatever reason he's gotten quite bad stats in the game compared to some of his teammates. I'll stick with Naser Aliji on the left defender position and will try to get a good prospect in as his backup.

    Looking at the midfield, there's not much to do either. I'd love to get a better right winger than Lukas Görtler, but the limited transfer budget won't allow and big captures I'm afraid. I'll probably take the real life FCK approach and see if I can retrain Osayamen Osawe to be an Inside Forward on the right wing. In the central midfield, we have loads of creative players. I'll probably try to get at least one more player with a more defensive approach in there.

    The strikers are still pretty young, so I'll probably stick with them. None of them has had a good season so far in real life, but they've all shown their class before. Jacques Zoua and Kasper Przybylko should be good enough for the 2nd division, and if all else fails, I can always drop Osayamen Osawe in there as well. Not sure about Sebastian Jacob. His attributes look pretty good for a poacher, while all the other strikers lack in finishing and are probably more suited for supporting roles. I might just keep him and rotate a bit to see which strikers will work the best.


    Key players:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_robinkoch.jpg

    Robin Koch is another young player who came through the club's own youth system. His physical stats are great for his age, he'll just need a little more strength and he'll be good. His mental and technical stats are really good for a 19 y.o. defender as well. He'll be our #1 central defender this season and the first team football should further help his development.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_ewerthon.jpg

    Our second central defender, Ewerton, is a loan player from Sporting Lissabon. The brazilian is a strong defender with good strength and jumping reach and his mental and technical attributes are perfect for the 2nd division. In fact, the real Kaiserslautern have the best defense so far, despite sitting in 14th position, and that's certainly captured in FM17. We have a buying clause in his loan contract. For €3.5M we could bring him to the club permanently, but that's completely impossible with our current finances. If for whatever reason we will manage to get promoted, he might be an option, though.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_danielhalfar.jpg

    Our most creative player is Daniel Halfar, another player from the club's own youth academy, who had left the club in 2007 and returned 2015. Daniel is a very good advanced playmaker, even though he's having the worst season of his career for the real world Kaiserslautern team this year. He is the current team captain and he will also be our guy for the set pieces.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_zoltanstieber.jpg

    Zoltán Stieber is a hungarian international with some higher level experience (Aston Villa, Hamburger SV). His crossing, his pace and his relatively good finishing are his best weapons in the role of an attacking winger and he will be a regular starter for us. He's also accomplished on the right wing position, in case we need a replacement for Görtler. His value of €3.1M will hopefully increase even further with some good performances and we might probably rake that money in at the end of the season to cover our expenses.


    Prospects:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_torbenm%C3%BCsel.jpg

    Torben Müsel is a 16 year old striker in our youth team. His physical stats need development and so does his finishing, but he's already fairly professional, so I guess with the right individual training and maybe some tutoring, he could turn out nicely.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_niklasshipnoski.jpg

    Nicklas Shipnoski
    currently plays in the 2nd team, but I'll probably promote him right away to act as a backup for Lukas Görtler on the right wing. His personality is 'driven' and he just lacks some stamina. I'll have lots of time to develop his technical attributes, because physically, he's already pretty decent for the 2nd division. With his finishing, he could probably be another scoring option up front. I'll make sure he gets some match time and we'll see how it goes.There are some more, half-decent youth players, but nothing worth mentioning, really. I'll just develop most of them as good as possible and will try to sell most of them for some extra funds.Speaking of youth, our main squad is the youngest team in the league and I'm not yet sure if that's a good or a bad thing, but I'm keen to find out.

    Transfers:

    After evaluating my squad, I made some transfers:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_transfers.jpg

    I got a decent sum for Marcel Gaus, who will join or local rivals Mainz05 in the Bundesliga. The second departure was Tim Heubach - I just felt like we got enough options in the central defense with Robin Koch, Ewerton, Stipe Vucur and Patrick Ziegler, so we didn't really need him anymore.

    I reinvested the money into two more central midfielders. Here's the first one, Okechukwu Azubuike:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_okechukwuazubuike.jpg

    The 19 year old nigerian U20 international has loads of potential and should be a decent backup for Halfar on the playmaking position. Unfortunately, he picked up a 2-month injury right after I signed him, but I'm sure he's still a good capture for that price.

    The other guy, Bernd Nehring, is a ball-winning midfielder from our league rivals FC St.Pauli. He will be the defensive player in our midfield, rotating with Christoph Moritz, who is rather a deep lying playmaker. Nehring also has good leadership quality, something my squad was missing before, so he'll most likely be our new captain.


    Tactics:

    FCK 4-1-2-3 WingPlay:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_4123wingplay_tactic.jpg

    For our home matches or matches against presumably weaker opponents, I decided to go for a high tempo, short passes, possesion type tactic. As an initial lineup, I decided to go for a 4-1-2-3 with Moritz as defensive DLP and Halfar and Nehring in the CM as BWM and AP. Nehring with his ball winning midfield role will get the instruction to get further forward, because I want him to win the ball early and to intercept and bounced off balls near the opponent's box. I decided to start Halfar on a supporting role, just because Nehring is pushing up already and I don't want to leave the whole central area open for counter attacks.

    Zoua in the target man position is set to shoot less often. He has the personal trait 'Plays with back to goal' and his finishing is only at 10, so I want him to generate chances for the two wingers, especially for Stieber.

    Variations:


    - I could bring in Osawe for Görtler and play him as an inside forward. Stieber could then be set to cross
    aim far post to get Osawe into a scoring position.

    - I also have the option to change to a 4-4-2 with Osawe as advanced forward or Jacob as a poacher for Moritz in the DM. I'd then pull the wingers back to the centre and set them to play early crosses. I think this would be a good option if we fall behind in a match.

    - A rather extreme variation I could think of would be to take both wingers off and switch my wingbacks to complete wing backs. Aliji and Mwene can play CWB, so that would give me the option to strenghten the centre with another creative player like Marlon Frey or Azubuike if necessary.

    FCK 4-2-1-3 Counter:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_4213counter_tactic.jpg

    Quite a straightforward counter tactic with more direct passes and attacking wingbacks to exploit the flanks. I'd use this tactic for tough away games or in matches against much stronger opposition.Moritz and Nehring in the DM both are set to defensive duties, so in case my offensive wing back get overlapped, my defense shouldn't be completely exposed.

    Variations:

    - If I feel like taking a risk towards the end of the game where the score is still even, I can play around with the midfielders' roles. Moritz could switch to a Regista or a DLP, Halfar could take an attacking duty and get himself into shooting positions.

    - I also theoretically got the option here to take the wingers off and a third defensive midfielder, if for example I grabbed the lead and want to hold it. As I don't have a third midfielder who could play a decent defensive role, that's probably not really an option, though.

    So far, so good. I plan to add a post in every mid season, end of season and start of the new season from here on. Any questions or feedback is welcome. Also if you got different ideas about the tactics, please let me know. As I said, I'm new to FM17 and I'm pretty sure most of the FM14 mechanics have changed, so I'm always keen to learn.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-145.jpg  
    Last edited by TheEquinox; 27/03/2017 at 08:26 AM.
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  2. First half of the season is over and we are doing surprisingly well so far:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_table.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_fixtures.jpg

    Sitting in 3rd place with equal points to the 1st-placed Stuttgart team is a surprise, but I'll take it. The FCK 4-1-2-3 WingPlay tactic and it's variations worked really well with my team, the other tactic I made for tougher opponents didn't. So I'm now playing 90% of my matches with that tactic, with minor adjustments according to scout reports about the upcoming opponents.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_squadperformance.jpg

    The squad did alright so far, especially Christoph Moritz proved to be a real asset to the team. He's been fantastic as a deep lying playmaker, especially in combination with Danial Halfar as a more advanced playmaker in the attacking midfield. Osayamen Osawe is our top-goalscorer so far, but six goals still isn't really great. We definately have too many supporting forwards, Osawe seems to be the only goalgetter in the team. For the next season, we'll have to bring at least one more attacking forward in.

    A current problem is Mensur Mujdza's six month injury with a broken leg, which leaves Phillip Mwene as the only natural right wingback in the team. I'll adress that problem with a transfer coup, so lets look at the transfers I made:

    Departures:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_transfer_stipevucur.jpg

    Stipe Vucur has left the team and joined 1860 Munich for a fee of €1.2M. He didn't really get any match time here and the offer was just to good to reject for a backup player. The major problem with him is his incapability to play as central defender. He's only able to play a defensive centre back - a role I disklike a lot at this level of football. So I'd say good riddance and thank you for the cash!

    Incoming:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_transfer_juliuskade.jpg

    17 year old Julius Kade is a huge talent from Hertha BSC's reserve team. I managed to get him for a fee of 500k, which might have been a bit expensive for such a young player, but I have high hopes he can develop here and improve the team quite soon. Christoph Moritz will tutor him right away and I'll try to give the young guy as much match time as possible.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_loan_dannydacosta.jpg

    We got Danny DaCosta on a free loan from Bayer 04 Leverkusen. He's a top player and will replace the long-time injured Mujdza on the right wingback position for the rest of the season. With his market value, it's frankly impossible for us to sign him permanently, but I think he's a great capture for the second half of the season.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_freetransfer_divinenaah.jpg

    Divine Naah is a young talent from Man City's youth system. He didn't even have the slightest chance to ever break into their first team, so he was more than willing to talk with me and I was able to get him as a free transfer for the next season. He's got a lot of potential, but he'll already be 21 next year, so there isn't much time left for him to develop, which makes him a bit of a gamble, but his salary demands were reasonable and he was free, so I guess he'll be a good backup next season. If all else fails, I'll just try to shop him around for a profit.

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_botiseriu.jpg

    Last but not least, I found a (temporary) solution to the missing backup at the left wingback position after the pre-season departure of Marcel Gaus. Flavius Botiseriu was hanging around in my youth team and it seems like he's at least got some potential, even though his stats are far from decent. Especially his determination skill of 1 makes me doubt he'll develop into something, but I'll try and see what I can do with tutoring him and giving him an occasional 15 minute match.

    Overall squad performance:

    Click image for larger version

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    As mentioned before, Christoph Moritz has shown the best average performance so far. My central defenders Robin Koch and Patrick Ziegler did a great job as well, only allowing 17 goals altogether (4th best defense in the league). Daniel Halfar started out well, but had a bit of a bad form lately which has dragged his avg rating down a bit. Kasper Przybylko has a good average rating as well, mainly due to the seven assists he's racked up so far. Other than that, the rest of the team has been pretty average.

    The last thing before I conclude this post is to take a look at our prospect Torben Müsel:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_torbenm%C3%BCsel.jpg

    As you can see, he's doing really well in the youth team where he scored 15 goals and created 13 more goals at an average of 7.97. I'm not going to promote him to the first team before the end of the season, because I feel I've got enough quality strikers there and he would just sit around doing nothing for his development. But I'm pretty sure he'll be able to replace one of our strikers next year and we'll be able to rake some more transfer money in. Most likely departure is Jacques Zoua, because he's a copy of Kasper Przybylko, sharing the same role and same player traits, but Kasper's performance is just better so far.

    I'll return with the end of season update. As always, any comments are welcome.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_midseason_fixtures.jpg  
    Last edited by TheEquinox; 28/03/2017 at 03:42 PM.
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  3. The 2017 season is finally over, and I have some good news and some bad news.

    Let's start with the good news then:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_playoffpromotion.jpg

    We did the unexpected and won promotion right in the first season! In a close race for the promotion spots, we ended up on the relegation spot. Somehow. After lots of ups and downs. Then, in the playoffs, we faced former german champions SV Werder Bremen and I was about sure that's it. We'll never be able to beat them.

    Just before the playoffs, I saw the german cup finals and was shocked to see this:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_cupfinals.jpg

    So we would have to face the german cup winners who had just beaten Bayern in the finals. Yay. Great news...
    However, my team proved me wrong and knocked Werder out of their own stadium with a more than convincing 3-0. I don't know if they had been celebrating they cup victory for too long and got a little complacent, but I didn't care at this point. I knew we should be able to keep that lead in the 2nd leg at home and we did. With another 3-1 victory, promotion had become reality!

    As for the bad news, I guess we'll have a really hard time to stay up with the financial scope our board was able to give us:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_newseasonbudget.jpg

    A wage budget of 325k will see Kaiserslautern at the bottom end of salary per annum statistics next season, with 1/10 of table leaders Bayern's budget. I guess we'll have to rely even more on our youth players!

    Final table / Fixtures:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_endtable.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_endseason_fixtures.jpg

    As you can see, it was all pretty close with four teams battling for the remaining two spots behind 1.FC Nürnberg who had escaped with the lead in the middle of the second season half. At times it looked like it was all over - This graph shows the ups and downs we went through:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_endseason_positiondevelopment.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_seasonreview.jpg

    In the second half of the season, Kacper Przybylko was really able to boost his own performance to a new level. With only one goal in the first half of the season, I wasn't so sure about his future in Kaiserslautern. He had several assists, but I really would have needed another goalgetter to get through Osayamen Osawe's off-days on the pitch.
    But it seems like he just had a bad run of form, as he suddenly started to bang them in quite regularly towards the end of the season. He finished the season with 9 goals and 9 assists which I think is pretty decent for a supporting target man.

    Osayamen Osawe lets me down from time to time due to his personality. He's 'fairly sporting' and obviously has problems to deliver constant performances. On a good day, he'll easily bang in 2 or 3 goals against whatever opposition, but then he gets complacent and can't even stop a ball for the next 3-4 weeks. Anyways, all in all he did quite well and added another 9 goals to his record since the winter break, finishing with 15 goals and 3 assists. Just looking at these stats, there isn't much to complain about for a striker.

    The third player to mention here is loanee Danny Da Costa on the right wingback position. He proved to be a lethal capture from Leverkusen, averaging 7.29 in 15 appearances, scoring one goal of his own and creating six more. He was a more than perfect replacement for Mensur Mujdza, who's time in Kaiserslautern is most probably over after he lost quite some attributes during his six months injury.

    Overall squad stats:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_endseason_squadperformance.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_endoftheyearawards.jpg


    At the end of this post, let's have a look at the league we're going to play in next year and the european cup results:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_bundesligaendtable.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_euroleague.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2017_championsleague.jpg

    Bayern picked up another title with ease, Leverkusen and Dortmund are no surprises up there either. I like how they captured RB Leipzig in the game. They have been promoted last season and in real football are now placed 2nd in the Bundesliga, thanks to all the money from the well known Austrian lemonade producer. A 5th place and the direct qualification for the EURO League seems like a realistic result.

    The EURO League is taken home to England as Tottenham beats Inter 2-1 AET in the crowded Friends Arena in Stockholm. This is argentinian manager Mauricio Pochettino's 2nd european title after he had already won UEFA Cup with PSG in 2001.

    After losing the spanish league to Barcelona, french legend Zinedine Zidane let his club to victory in the Champions League finals, where his Real Madrid team hammered Barcelona with a convincing 3-0. With Atlético in the semi finals as well, the spanish football seems to be dominating Europe at the moment.

    That's it for 2017. I'll be back with transfers and a season preview for 2018.
    Last edited by TheEquinox; 29/03/2017 at 01:27 PM.
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  4. The off-season is over and our first season (and hopefully not the last) in the Bundesliga is about to start.

    I'll start out with the transfers I made, and I can say, it was a busy window. In a second post, I'll have a more detailed look at the squad and some tactic changes.

    Departures:

    - Striker Jacques Zoua joins RC Lens for a transfer fee of €1.2M
    He just didn't have a future here due to his inability to find the back of the net. 1.2M is a good price which matches his value which is likely to decline further in the future, so this transfer was a no-brainer for me.

    - Our 2nd keeper André Weis has been loaned out to Fenerbahce Istanbul, following his loan request to get more match time.

    - Right wingback Mensur Mujdza leaves the club after his contract ran out. He just didn't recover from his 6 months injury and at the age of 32, I decided not to offer him a new contract for the Bundesliga.

    - Loanees Marlon Frey, Danny Da Costa and Sebastian Kerk return to their teams. They were all simply too expensive to keep them in Kaiserslautern.

    - Central defender Patrick Ziegler is headed for VfL Wolfsburg for a total fee of €4.8M
    I didn't want to make this transfer, but Patrick was unsettled at Kaiserslautern and wanted to move to a bigger club. After half the team started rioting and the top offer from Wolfburg came in, I finally accepted it. We're losing one of our best defenders here, but I didn't like his rather jovial personality, so it's probably not that bad to part ways now that we can still get a nice chunk of money for him.

    - Young striker Maurice Deville who had been on loan at 3rd league team FSV Frankfurt last year finally leaves the club for a total of €115k and will join 3rd league team 1.FC Magdeburg in the new season.

    - 19 y.o. talent Nicklas Shipnoski will leave the club and will join 3rd league team Regensburg for a fee of €120k and a future transfer share of 10%. I had high hopes for the spirited young guy, but he just didn't develop at all here.

    - Last season's team captain Bernd Nehring leaves the club after just one season and will join Hamburger SV for a transfer fee of €600k. Nehring failed to make the impact I had hoped for and wasn't more than a backup player in last season's team. I'm happy we got the same we paid for him, so we didn't lose much there.

    - Winger Lukas Görtler will join league rivals Darmstadt 98 in the coming season. The transfer offer of €1.2M was simply too good to refuse and Görtler hasn't really been a regular first team player anyway.

    - Young Ghanaian left winger Manfred Osei-Kwadwo has completed a move to the Turkish Süper Lig where he will join newly promoted team Boluspor. He had been on loan at 3rd league site Sonnenhof Großaspach last season, but he just wasn't good enough for our team and his potential was too limited to invest more time in him. An agreement was made for a fee of €250k.


    Incoming:
    - 22 y.o. Goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow (free signing from 3rd league team Hallescher FC)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_fabian_bredlow.jpg

    Bredlow is a potential Bundesliga keeper who was unsettled in the 3rd league and refused any contract talks with his former team as he wanted to join a bigger club. He'll be our new 2nd keeper and I'm curious to follow his development here.

    - 28 y.o. Brazilian central defender Ewerton joins Kaiserslautern permanently. (€600k from Sporting Lissabon)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_ewerton.jpg

    I didn't want to pay the 3.5M defined in his loan contract, so I let it expire and made a new offer afterwards. For 600k, Ewerton is a quality player and a good signing. Unfortunately, he broke his foot during a pre-season friendly and will be sidelined for 3-4 months.

    - Youngcentral defender Ünal Altintas promoted (free from Kaiserslautern U19s)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_%C3%9Cnal_altintas.jpg

    I decided to promote him from my youth team as a replacement for the long-time injured Ewerton. I'll try to give him some match time, but he's just a backup at this point.

    - Experienced central defender Mathias Wittek joins Kaiserslautern (€1.8M from 2nd league team Heidenheim)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_mathias_wittek.jpg

    Wittek played a really good season last year and his attributes, especially his strength and jumping reach, convinced me to buy him out of his contract at Heidenheim. He will be the #3 defender behind Koch and Ewerton.

    - Ball-winning defensive midfielder Ondrej Petrak (free signing from 1.FC Nürnberg)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_ondrej_petrak.jpg

    The 7 times czech international is a great capture for our team and will replace Bernd Nehrig on the defensive midfield position. I'm pretty sure he'll be a great asset to the team.

    - 30 y.o. right wingback Florian Klein (free transfer from VfB Stuttgart)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_florian_klein.jpg

    Stuttgart couldn't hold him anymore after they failed to win promotion last season so I gratefully welcomed him in Kaiserslautern. His age is a major concern, but he's a perfect tutor with a highly professional personality, so we'll just get the best out of him for maybe 1-2 seasons and use him as a teacher for our talents.

    - Young, talented left wing back Niklas Beste (€220k from Borussia Dortmund reserves)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_niklas_beste.jpg

    This young guy has lots of potential and was cheap enough to convince me to pick him up as a backup for Naser Aliji on the left wingback position. Youngster Flavius Botiseriu has been moved back to the youth team to make room for Niklas who has much better chances for development.

    - 26 y.o. ball-winning defensive midfielder Thanos Petsos (€1.5M from SV Werder Bremen)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_thanos_petsos.jpg

    The Greek wanted to leave Werder following their relegation and I think a second, rather defensive midfielder will be nice to have. Thanos and Ondrej will battle for the starting lineup here.

    - 18 y.o. striker Torben Müsel (free, from Kaiserslautern U19s)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_torben_m%C3%BCsel.jpg

    His incredible performance in the youth team has earned him a promotion to the first team, where I will try to give him as much match time as possible. I think this guy is a gem and with some more experience, he could become a first class striker for us.

    - 22 y.o. Paraguayan striker Walter González (€750k from Club Olimpia in the paraguayan league)

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_transfer_walter_gonzalez.jpg

    Found this guy in south america and I believe he could become a top striker here. He's our best striker in the team right away and still has lots of potential left to develop. I wonder where regular Bundesliga football can lead this guy.


    Complete overview of the transfer window:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_preseason_transferwindow.jpg
    Last edited by TheEquinox; 30/03/2017 at 02:06 AM.

  5. 2018 squad overview:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_squad.jpg

    Goalkeepers:

    With two talented young goalkeepers, I'm really spoilt for choice here. After comparing them, I guess I will start with Julian Pollersbeck as my number 1 as he's still slightly better in the key attributes. However, Fabian Bredlow will be on his tail and will certainly get his chance as well.

    Right Wing Back:

    Florian Klein is the obvious number 1 starter here, Philipp Mwene will be his backup. While Klein is hardwired for a rather defensive play style, Mwene is an option for a more offensive approach, so they complement each other nicely and will certainly both get their matches.

    Central defense:

    Due to Ewerton's injury, I'll have to start with Robin Koch and Mathias Wittek here. Ondrej Petrak is another option as he's also natural in the CD position. Ünal Altintas is an emergency option at this point and will just get some occasional matches.

    Left Wing Back:

    Naser Aliji was very reliable in his performance last season, so I'll stick with him and see what he can do at a higher level. With youngster Niklas Beste as his only backup, I'm a little worried we are a little sparse at this position. But without any more money in sight, we'll have to hope for the best I guess.

    Defensive midfield:

    Christoph Moritz retains his top spot, but I might line up a 2nd DM more regularly against the tougher opposition in this league. Ondrej Petrak and Thanos Petsos are the available options here. I think we're fine on this position.

    Central midfield / attacking midfield:

    Daniel Halfar is obviously the top-seeded starter herebut I have some nice creative options here with Okechkwu Azubuike, Divine Naah and Julius Kade. In case Daniel picks up an injury, all my defensive midfielders will be able to move up to the centre as well, so I think we have a wide range of alternatives here.

    Left wing:

    Towards the end of last season, I preferred to play without wingers at all, so I'm not sure if these players will play a big role this year at all. I didn't want to sell all my wingers, as sometimes they can be used to counter an opponent's tactic, but I guess they won't be regular starters this season. However, on the left wing, I didn't make any changes and will stick with Zoltan Stieber and Max Dittgen for the time being.

    Right wing:

    After Sebastian Kerk's loan spell ended and he returned to his club, and after the sale of Lukas Görtler, there aren't many good options left on my squad on the right wing. Only Julius Kade is natural on this position, but it's too early to line him up as a starter regularly. I tried to get another winger in, but I didn't find a worthwhile option within the limitations of our budget. In the rare cases we'll need to rely on wingers this year, Julius will get his chances, but overall, this is not an important position for my new tactic.

    Strikers:

    I will play with two strikers most of the season, Walter Gonzalez, newly capped Poland star Kacper Przybylko and Osayamen Osawe will have to fight for their regular seats, while Torben Müsel is out of competition for now and will get his 15 to 30 minutes in won games or games which are hopeless anyway.


    So much about my squad this year. Let's have a quick look at the youth team. The player intake has yielded three really nice looking talents this year:

    Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_youth_andrija_panjevic.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_youth_bastian_basler.jpg Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-2018_youth_aymar_kayombo.jpg

    Time to get the tutoring started here. All three look like they could turn into absolute top players. If only one of them makes it, I'll be really happy.


    Alright, time to play some football now. We're predicted to finish 17th with odds of 1000-1 - I hope these bookies don't know what they're talking about.

  6. 2018 Midseason review

    It's winter break in the 2018 Bundesliga season, and we've seen some crazy matches here in Kaiserslautern:



    The season started off well with a 2-0 home win versus Augsburg and two draws against higher rated Frankfurt and Hertha BSC Berlin. Then we had to face title contenders Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund and both of them just demolished us. From then on, it all went downhill and we were struggling for the rest of the season.

    The 2-6 away defeat versus Dortmund was one crazy game, with lots of clear cut chances on both sides. It went up and down every minute, but sadly they were much more clinical in finishing their chances.

    The 2-5 versus RB Leipzig and the 4-4 draw versus VfL Wolfsburg were quite similar. Shows my team has a good sense of offense, but the defense has shows some extreme weaknesses. Especially keeper Julian Pollersbeck was struggling for a while, but when I started to rotate his backup, Fabian Bredlow in from time to time, both keepers were able to stabilize their performances. The power of competition, right?

    However, we picked up enough points to be narrowly above the red line:



    Journalists keep telling me 35 points were enough to stay up. If they are right, we'd roughly be on course I guess. Interesting to see Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the top of the league and Hamburger SV up there. Seems like Bayern got some competition this year!

    My squad did pretty well overall, especially my youngsters in the team developed quite nicely. Niklas Beste, Okechukwu Azubuike, Julius Kade and Torben Müsel all did really well in training and are all up to 2.5 stars current ability now. Only Divine Naah and Ünal Altintas are still at two stars, but their performances so far have been encouraging as well, so I guess it's just a matter of time for them.

    A huge blow for our campaign was the 4 month injury our captain Christoph Moritz picked up just after a couple of matches. That way, our youngsters had to play more often than I would have liked, but they did so really well. Christoph is now fit again for the 2nd half of the season, and I'm curious to see if his presence on the pitch can give us that extra boost we need to stay up.

    Squad overview:



    Finally, we're also still in the german cup, where we will face 2nd division team Hannover 96 in the quarter finals. So we got a realistic chance to get into the semi finals and with some luck we might even play european football next season. But let's not get ahead of ourselves

    There are also two new signings for the second half of the season:



    I had to dig deep into our pockets to make this transfer happen. Georg Burgstaller will join us from Schalke 04 for a huge transfer fee of €3.6M (€1.1M immediately and €2.5M over the next 42 months). I felt I just needed that option on the right wing, and there wasn't anyone worthwhile available on that position for a lower fee.

    I hope this isn't going to hurt our budget too much in the long run, we'll just have to stay up and cash in those ~40M prize money and we should be good.



    The second new guy in my squad is youngster Nils Seufert. I decided to promote him from the Kaiserslautern reserves when Christoph Moritz picked up his injury, just to have some more depth in the midfield. His attributes aren't great, but he's got a good head on his shoulders and will do as an emergency backup.

    All in all, things are going quite well and I'm optimistic we can stay up. Let's hope for a successful 2nd half!
    ReidLFC likes this.

  7. 2017/2018 Season Review

    The 2017/2018 season is all over, and it was a remarkable season for Kaiserslautern!

    After we only managed to pick up 17 points in the first half of the season, the second half saw a boost in performance, mainly due to the acquiry of Guido Burgstaller and his ability to play as a Raumdeuter on the right attacking wing.

    Another factor which added to the improved performances was the return of Ewerton from his long-time injury, which greatly improved our stability in the defense.

    I changed my tactics to a 4-5-1 with Max Dittgen and Guido Burgstaller as two Raumdeuters on both wings, with Walter González playing as a Complete Forward in the centre. This lineup was massively successful and was good enough for some remarkable matches, for example, a 4-0 win at home vs. Borussia Dortmund.

    Let's look at the fixtures first:



    Smashing Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV was absolutely unexpected, but a highlight for our fans for sure. We also managed to deny FC Bayern both times this season, finishing 0-0 twice. The only team we just can't seem to beat is Bayer 04 Leverkusen, they've smashed us four times in a row now.

    Enough said, here's the final table:



    Carlo Ancelotti's FC Bayern wins the sixth championship in a row after a close battle against a surprisingly strong Leverkusen team, which only just lost connection to the top in their last few matches. Dortmund drops out of the Champions League on the very last matchday and has to make space for Hoffenheim.

    At the lower end of the league, Karlsruhe's excursion to top league football proved to be as short as unexpected. The second victim is Frankfurt. Their relegation after 13 rather successful years in the Bundesliga is quite a surprise, but they will join former champions Werder Bremen and Stuttgart who both failed to get promoted once again (5th and 6th). Instead, Freiburg returns to the league after just one year in the 2nd division, followed by Hannover, who had been absent for 2 seasons. Hertha BSC was fortunate to win the playoffs against Düsseldorf and will stay in the league for another season.

    With 29 points in the second half of this year's campaign, we managed to land a top-half finish in the end, falsifying the pre-season predictions which had us ranked 17th. On top of that, we made it to the semi-finals of the German Cup, picking up some nice extra cash along the way.

    Speaking of cash:





    This almost feels too easy... With a wage budget twice as high as last season and a whopping €16.1M transfer budget, I guess we can finally take a little closer look at squad building

    On top of that, that prize money, combined with the cup earnings, was enough to upgrade our youth and training facilities by a level and to pay off all remaining debt the club had.

    Okay, €650k still ranks us in the lower midfield of the league, but if this season wasn't a lucky fluke, we should be fine next year, maybe even aiming for that Euro-League spot we just missed by 9 points this year...

    Let's have a look at the squad's season performance:



    Robin Koch and Ewerton really stood out through the whole 2nd half of the season and so did our new signing Walter González, who finished the season with 17 goals and 5 assists. The young guy from Paraguay has catapulted his market value up to €5M (we bought him for 750k) in just one year, and he still hasn't reached his full potential yet. I think he could be a real gem!

    With the new transfer budget, it's likely some of these guys will have to leave the squad for the new season. Especially Philipp Mwene who looks like my attempts to develop him further have failed. Other candidates are Kacper Przybylko who has reached his maximum potential. We might try to offload him before his value starts to decline. I'll also definately need a 3rd top central defender as Ewerton turned out to be quite injury prone. Depending on who I can get, Mathias Wittek might not be needed anymore as well. Stay tuned for a busy transfer window...

    Meanwhile in Europe:

    England:



    Nothing too unexpected here. Arsenal seems to be on a good run there as they manage to pick up their second Premier League title in a row. West Ham in the Euro-League will be interesting...

    Italy:



    After years of dominance by Juventus, this year Milan grabs the title in what seems to have been a close triple-fight with Roma. On the other side, Inter just barely made it into the EURO-League which will be disappointing for them.

    Spain:



    Barca takes the title for the 4th time in a row and last year's Champions League winners Real Madrid have been pushed down to 3rd by their rivals Atlético. Not much more to say here...

    EURO-League:



    The EURO-League trophy stays in England and moves from Tottenham to Chelsea. Nice effort by Paris St.Germain though, they pick up some badly needed points for the nation ranking there.

    Champions League:



    Last year the EURO-League, this year the Champions League. Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham Hotspurs are picking up silverware like crazy! All that's still left is a Premier League victory...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Red Devils: Back To Glory - 1.FC Kaiserslautern-203.jpg  
    ReidLFC likes this.

  8. Season 2018/2019 Preview

    We've made good use of the funds we got for the last season, and the squad is almost unrecognizable now. I hope all the new people will gel into a team quickly. If they do, there's nothing that should stop us from another successful Bundesliga result. The bookies see us finish 15th this season, but they've already shown their lack of competence last year.

    Departures:

    • Right back Philipp Mwene has moved to Turkey and will join Adanaspor for a total transfer fee of €525k. His performances just weren't consistent enough and I was doubting his potential for development at this point. He played 36 matches for Kaiserslautern, now we wish him the best of luck at his new club.
    • Our reserve team striker, Sebastian Jacob has joined Paderborn for a fee of €145k and will do his best to help his new club, who has just been promoted to 2nd division in their quest to stay up.
    • Former reserve keeper André Weis who returned from his disappointing loan spell in Fenerbahce, has decided to leave the club and will join 2nd division team Ingolstadt for a fee of €140k.
    • After playing 54 matches and scoring one goal, Albanian International Naser Aliji has decided to look for a new challenge and has left the club to join relegation battlers Darmstadt for a transfer fee of €1.4M.
    • Fan favourite and Polish striker Kacper Przybylko moves to Turkey as well. Kacper, who had been the 3rd most popular player in the squad, was worrying about his national team chances because he didn't get enough match time since Walter González joined the club and has decided to join Kayserispor for a nice transfer fee of €4.8M.
    • After just one season, 31 y.o. right back and Austrian international Florian Klein has moved on and will reinforce french team Montpellier. The deal was worth €900k.
    • Home-grown talent Julian Pollersbeck wanted to make the next step in his career and will leave the club after 5 years. For €6.75M, Julian will challenge German international keeper René Adler for first team football at his new club Hamburger SV.

    Players out on loan:
    • Young left back Nicolas Beste wanted to go out on loan to get more first team football. We accepted his request and sent him to freshly relegated Eintracht Frankfurt where he can hopefully profit from their superb training facilities and come back as a better player next year.
    • The same goes for Okechukwu Azubuike. The 21 y.o. Nigerian playmaker will try to improve his skills at 1860 München and will hopefully return in good shape to replace one of our aging midfielders next season.
    Signings:




    Harmeet Singh, the Norwegian defensive midfielder with Indian roots joins Kaiserslautern from Molde SK for a fee of €1.2M - he will give us another rotation option in the central midfield to get through a busy schedule.




    Central defender Pawel Dawidowicz is eager to get some Bundesliga experience. He will reinforce our defense as a regular starter. We paid €2.6M to Lechia Gdansk for his services.




    After Naser Aliji's departure, we needed a replacement on the left attacking wing and found it in Ladislav Krejci. Tomake this work, we had to pay €3.1M to La Liga's Celta.




    Mahmoud Dahoud
    is a fantastic capture for us. Borussia Mönchengladbach failed to negotiate a new contract with the German U-21 international, so we were able to sign him up on a free.





    The vacant spot on the right back position will be taken by Serbian international Aleksandar Ignjovski who joined us from Ingolstadt for a fee of €2.2M




    As his backup, we signed the 17 y.o. Czech talent Jan Stransky. The young man with huge potential joins Kaiserslautern from Banik Ostrava for a fee of €350k.




    Sebastian Kerk, who had been on loat at Kaiserslautern during our promotion season, did not extend his 1-year contract in Freiburg and decided to join us again instead on a free.




    Nathan Aké has arrived in Kaiserslautern after a disappointing time at Chelsea, where he had a single appearance and was loaned out to Celta and Lyons ever since. He seeks to give his career a new start and will be a regular player on our left back position. The deal cost us €6.5M




    Striker Florian Niederlechner played a fantastic season and was a key element of Freiburg's promotion campaign. For a fee of €5.75M he will join Kaiserslautern this season and prove he's able to produce at Bundesliga level as well.


    Final squad for the new season:




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