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The Pride of Liechtenstein

  1. Post The Pride of Liechtenstein

    FC Vaduz

    For those who aren't familiar with the name, FC Vaduz are a unique football club based in Liechtenstein, playing in the Swiss leagues. They regularly qualify for European football through winning the Liechtenstein Cup, which is contested by 16 teams, many of which are youth sides to the very small number of clubs in the country. There are so few that they are the only UEFA member nation not to have their own league.

    Because of this, Liechtenstein sides cannot qualify for European football through their finishing position in the Swiss League. Therefore the only route into Europe is through the Liechtenstein Cup, where the winners will enter into the first Europa League qualifying round. The only way a side from Liechtenstein can compete in the Champions League is by winning the Europa League.

    Vaduz begin the latest FM in the Swiss Challenge League having just been relegated from the Swiss Super League. It's quite an easy league to understand with a tidy schedule. 10 teams, 36 games, the first 9 games are reversed for the next 9. The winter break lasts about 8 weeks before the 2nd quarter of games are replayed, with the last 9 games the same as the first. Like most lesser European leagues, the summer break is shorter than the winter break.

    A bit about me. I like to play the game as realistically as possible. I like to play in lesser known European leagues (I love the Czech league) therefore any signings I try to keep as local as possible. With Vaduz i'm in an unusual position where the Liechtenstein youth squads are full of my players. Some people I know would just sign a load of English players they know on loan from the club they support. Or cheap South Americans. In my experience not many English players go abroad, let alone decent quality players to a club like Vaduz. I spent nearly 20 years on FM13 building up Sparta Prague to win the Europa League and when we did we had atleast 5 of the 18 in the matchday squad (for the final) from our academy. So I like legacy saves lol. I don't look online for cheaty tactics. All I do is my own, amateur work.

    The board are expecting us to challenge for promotion, made difficult by there being some very decent teams in this league. In reality though we are a very small club. The constant income of Europa League money makes it sustainable. Our wage budget at the beginning was about 35k if I remember right. (I am now at the end of season six, so a lot of this is just from memory!) Long story short, after spending most of the season in the top half, I never really challenge for promotion and settle for 3rd. Neuchatel Xamax were promoted with Luzern coming down. I was very lucky to land Basel as my parent club before the season began, loaning a few of their players for the season.

    I got as far as the 3rd qualifying round for the Europa League, being beaten by Swiss side Sion funnily enough. Also quite amusingly, the board didn't (and still don't) view the Liechtenstein Cup as important. The very easy route into Europe every season for a tiny club! We jump straight into the quarter finals, played in October. The semis are in April with the final a few days after the league season finishes. No surprise that we won the trophy in my first year. My young star LB Maximillian Goppel left to join French side Caen for a whopping 400k. I loaned him back straight away for a season, then again, and again... before signing him on a free transfer for season 4. That worked out well!

    Second season, I have poached last seasons top scorer on a free transfer. In Europe we fell again at the 3rd round to Legia Warsaw but only on away goals. A pleasant surprise given they should be well ahead of me really. A similar season in the league, this time finishing 2nd to Winterthur who surprised everybody by gaining promotion. Neuchatel Xamax came straight back down. The Liechtenstein Cup final was contested between Vaduz & Vaduz u21's..... I won. Mind boggling really that a game with a European spot at stake can be contested between a main team and its youth side. I imagine even if the u21's won it would just be the club itself that get the spot.

    Third season now. Similar tactic to last season.. the by far and away top goalscorer for Winterthur joins on loan (from Basel) to compete with Aldin Turkes, who has been here since the start and scored 30+ last season. This year I beat Hapoel Beer Sheva in the 2nd round, turning it around in the 2nd leg after losing the 1st away. It's curtains in the 3rd round when i'm drawn against Braga.... except somehow it wasn't! I win surpringly comfortably before being drawn to play Legia Warsaw again for a spot in the Europa League group stages for the first time. I managed to turn around a 1st leg deficit to qualify! Bilbao, Krasnodar and Sion are in my group. I wasn't expecting anything from it, I was happy to just take the money getting that far would get me. Getting no further than the group stages usually got me between 1.5-2m. Getting as far as I did this time got me about 4m. I lost all games except the home tie against Sion which I was satisfied with. I finish 2nd to Luzern this time in the league and Winterthur became the 2nd team in a row to come straight back down. And yes, I won the Liechtenstein cup albeit after a massive scare. I was taken to ET and went behind in the 1st half, equalised and won on penalties.

    Fourth season. I entered the EL qualifiers in the 2nd round for the first time and was humiliated by a Bosnian side, losing away 3-0 and then being defeated on penalties. A bigger transfer budget from my EL run last season gave me the chance to go for it and thankfully this time it happened, promotion back to the Super League. I was able to pull away in the 3rd quarter of the season. Luzern stayed up and surprisingly it was Zurich that were relegated. I was able to give a lot of gametime to my academy star from my 2nd season Maximillian Konigsdorfer. There are some brilliant regen names in this country. And yes, I won the Liechtenstein cup.

    Fifth season and i'm just looking to stay up. Sadly Basel terminated our partnership as we were now in the same league. I loaded the game up with the Austrian leagues (top 2) and French leagues (top 2), but replaced the French league with the German leagues (top 2) as I hadn't actually realised Liechtenstein were a German speaking country (lol). I looked for another parent club but the best I could find was Porto. There are some very talented players at Porto obviously but most are greyed out. I became very reliant on the loan system with Basel and now had to find a way around it. I worked my way to the final EL quali round before being hammered 7-3 by Fiorentina. I out performed myself in the league and finished 5th behind the expected suspects of Basel, Young Boys, Sion and Grasshoppers. Lausanne were relegated with Zurich, managed by Patick Vieira, absolutely annihilating the Challenge League. And yes, I won the Liechtenstein cup.

    Season six. It's just occured to me how many players I still have here from my first season. And regulars too. I have a very talented squad and more importantly (to me) bar 2 of the, they are all Swiss/Liechtensteiner. About half a dozen of my Swiss players are now qualified to play for Liechtenstein. Sadly I haven't seen any upturn in results for the national side. My absolute star striker Turkes is eligible but isn't getting a call up. I imagine this is down to the players personal preference rather than the Liechtenstein manager not rating him.

    Anyway, to the 4th round of the EL again. More notable progress that for the 3rd round I was a seeded side, giving me an easier tie.. so I thought. I lost 2-1 at home to Swedish side Djurgarden. Guilty of a bit too much rotation, I won the away leg 3-0 setting me up with RB Leipzig. I dominate the home leg but can only manage a 1-1 draw before losing the away leg 2-1. I shouldn't be able to challenge sides like Leipzig but i'm definitely getting closer. Remarkably out of nowhere I finish 2nd in the league this season, losing only twice (away at Young Boys and Basel), but with a record amount of draws (16). That saw me finish well adrift of Basel, not that I was ever looking above me in the table! Xamax will be returning to the top tier next season with Lugano going down. And yes, I won the Liechtenstein cup.

    Sadly my wage/transfer budget wasn't increased this summer despite the incredible performance last season, although I wasn't using all that I could have used last season. I've signed a new GK from Basel on a free and also a regen from Videoton, Hungary who was out of contract with a brilliant goalscoring record for his young age. I plan on loaning him out though as I am spoilt for choice with attacking options at the moment. I have been cheeky and signed a Basel CB I have had on loan for 3 seasons.. for another 2 seasons on loan. A funny story with him is that he scored against his parent club last season to put us 1-0 up. We still haven't beaten Basel so it was a big deal. Our GK then got injured and we had no backup GK on the bench, so I put him in goal. It would have been amazing had he scored the winner and kept a clean sheet for the last 30 minutes.

    To be continued..

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