I’ve had a really busy week or so and playing time has been at an absolute minimum but I can’t help but feeling a little like Unai Emery right now – a man very close to my heart – in saying that I’m learning so much about my team at the moment. The full table shows that we’re doing really well given the difficulty our fixtures – Leipzig, Dortmund and Gladbach already played and no points dropped against them. Where we may come unstuck in the quest for our title though is the dropped point against Furth and the Dusseldorf defeat – two games that we dominated but couldn’t find the cutting edge. From that I’m learning that we do need a tall, aggressive, physical, Lukaku-esque striker who can bulldoze his way through defences. I don’t think that man is Dion Breljo, though. I’m learning that, alongside Hagiwara, we need a right back who is able to be marauding and, unfortunately, I don’t think Ozdemir (compared here) quite is that man. A little bit more work with Maik Vogel and, honestly, he could be a Libero, Inverted Wing Back, Inverted Full Back or a Complete Wing Back: I’m learning his ceiling is high! I’m learning that Krassnizter,  the player originally brought in as a wide man and Arkine, another wide man, can operate beautifully as a shadow striker, giving me a really different output to Duran – whose traits of comes deep and arrives late in area create a more mobile Trequartista, if I’m honest. Great for unlocking a defence but not always the right option for precise counter attacks. But, actually, I’m also learning that neither Arkine or Duran are quite world class and I think I need them to be. The latter has never really made up his mind whether he’s a true playmaker or a runner or a finisher and I think does show from time to time. I truly believe that elite teams don’t need eleven elite players and that is how we can carry the likes of Nikolic and Bangura, who are, in all honesty, suited to our style not our ability but perform really, really well for us when it matters most. With one player I’d truly say was world class – Ilija Markovic – I can probably be forgiven for the Supercup defeat to Bayern and the worries of their impending rise to the top of the Bundesliga over the coming months but, as I’ve said all along here – it’s the process that I enjoy rather than the actual successes that come from it. The plan is simple – go as deep as I can in the Pokal, continue to disrupt Europe’s big boys – yeah, take that PSG – and hang onto Bayern’s coat tails for as long as possible because, maybe, just maybe, they’ll have a real life season and I can do a Xabi Alonso and turn Neverkusen into perennial winners


  • Ben

    Ben has been a long time contributor to the FM community previously on The Dugout and the SI Forums. He is known for his great in-depth tactical analysis and an increasing level of understanding of data led recruitment. His FM saves are always in-depth and he delivers both his knowledge of the game and great storytelling including a talent for squad building, progressing youth players and finding diamonds in the rough. His saves are really popular within the blogging community. He is also the creator of the popular skin “Statman”

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