It’s been nearly a fortnight since my last round up of my save with Schalke. I’m now into my seventh season and making steady progress.
First off, the board have agreed to build a new stadium. I’ve never ever had a new stadium. We’ve been selling out a fair bit, so this makes sense I guess.
There’s been a few big money departures with Robin Knoche(£20m) and Johnnes Geis(£18m) both leaving the club. Geis wasn’t getting any game time and had asked to leave. Barcelona had been sniffing around him since the last update so he went there for £20m. Prior to that, I noticed Jonathan Tah wasn’t getting much game time at Chelsea, so I made a £22m offer and signed him up. I made one other big signing by bringing in Janik Schulwitz from Wolfsburg for £15.75m. He was 18 when I got him and he’s really developing into a solid defensive minded midfielder.
We’ve won the Bundesliga for the past two seasons, bringing us up to four titles in a row.
The 2019/20 title race was a close fought battle that had some hiccups along the way. There were defeats at Gladbach and HSV, points dropped at Hertha and Ingolstadt, but also big victories over Bayern and Leverkusen. Luckily for us Bayern and Dortmund slipped up which gave us a 4 point cushion as league winners. We had our best defensive display that season by conceding only 18 goals.
It took until match day 23 before we tasted defeat in the 2020/21 season, failing to overcome Bayern at the Allianz. We went on to lose a further three games that season, two of them coming after we’d wrapped up the title. We done it in style with an 11 point gap separating us from the chasing pack. Up until the last 6-8 games of the season, we had a really good defensive record. I thought it was our best year for goals, but our first season still beat it by one goal. I was really impressed with our form and defensive ability in the league this year and we showed a big improvement from last year.
With us winning the league, we’ve opened the past two seasons with the Super Cup. In 2019/20 we faced Augsburg and claimed a 2-0 victory. The following season we started off on the wrong foot by losing a 4-3 thriller to Hamburg. Bad result, but a great game.
I also had the UEFA Super Cup in 19/20 which we won 2-0 over Barcelona with Thomas Dahl grabbing both goals in that match.
In December we had the FIFA World Club Cup. It always seems a bit of a waste of time to me, but I still wanted to win it. A 6-0 victory over ES Tunis in the semi final was followed by a 0-0 against Tigres in the final. We won the resulting penalty shootout where we scored all five of our penalty kicks. Another trophy. A treble of cups wrapped up by Christmas and our fifth trophy of the calendar year.
The Pokal has been a bit of a disaster the past couple of years as I focus my attention more towards the Bundesliga and Champions League. The games are so spaced out that I tend to lose interest in it. We’ve been knocked out in the second round for the last two seasons with fully rotated squads getting the nod so we can rest players. It obviously hasn’t worked out well.
The last couple of seasons haven’t gone according to plan in Europe either. We’ve done well in the groups, which have been tough both years, but in 19/20 we fell to Juventus at the first knockout stage and to Liverpool at the Quarter Final stage the following year. The Liverpool game was a bit closer than the Juventus match. Liverpool went on to reach the final, only to lose to Chelsea.
Really hoping to improve on this next year and aim to make at least the Semi Final again.
The make-up of the squad has been much and such the same for the past few years now. I’ve only added a few players, trying to keep it homegrown where possible and promoting from the U19’s when a suitable player is ready.
Kai Höhn is a player that I’m still developing. He’s a very quick central defender who is good in the tackle and can read the game well. He’s now 20 years old and has 7 senior caps for Germany. He’s linked up really well with Tah to form a strong partnership.
Janik Schulwitz is another player that is a first teamer now. He’s been playing as a ball winning midfielder for me alongside Goretzka in the middle of the pitch. Still got a good bit of growth left in him as well.
Nana Antwi is another young defender who is being integrated into the first team just now. He’s played a few games already and has performed well. He made 15 starts last season and came off the bench 6 times. His hair is also awesome!
Amel Mesanovic made his debut for me in the 2018/19 season. He made a brief appearance in the Champions League Final win that year as well. He’s progressing reasonably well. I half thought of selling on Zivkovic this season but I held back as there’s still plenty of work to do with him. Despite his low technical attributes, I’m certain these can improve in the near future. Lots of growth left in him still. Last season he scored 6 goals and setup 7 in 11 starts and 20 sub appearances.
There’s a few other players that I’ve been trying to get in and around the first team whenever possible. They’re very early in their development, but I think at least one of them will be more involved next season.
The dates on the above screenshots show that I’m just about to start the new season. Signings have been made and players have left. You’ll read all about them in the next update, which might not be out until after next week. I’m playing music as the local panto (oh yes I am) so I’ll have less FM time coming up. That said, I still need goals for the season.
Definitely aiming to make it five Bundesliga’s in a row to really assert my dominance over Bayern and Dortmund. I want at least a Quarter Final spot in the Pokal and a Semi Final spot in the Champions League. Going by how we’ve performed lately, I think all are doable.
I’m also wanting to phase out Zivkovic towards the end of the season and give Mesanovic his chance as a first team regular. There may be another couple of departures as I look to promote more from within.
Appreciate you taking your time to read. This is a bit of a different round up to normal due to it covering two seasons. I’ve had a good bit of free time lately to play the game. I’ve been enjoying it a lot hence the lack of blog updates.