The third in-season update always tends to be rooted around the youth intake, which, as you can see if you’ve skim read the images here, is no different. However, the relationism idea, as posted by @Slipky, has stuck in my head and I’ve been really intrigued – technically – about what we’re doing. Looking through the linked article, I can absolutely see elements of this in my build up ethos and want to further explore managers and case studies of this. The one quote, below, has particularly stuck with me:

“Relationism is about movement and change. It is a process of becoming rather than of being.”

However, this has, obviously, come at a time whereby we’re absolutely on fire. No defeats in the twelve games here with strong progress in the league – tight at the back and free flowing and somewhat chaotic going forward – combined with strong results when tested against Europe’s best. New signings Ozguneri and Khuroshvilli have both got themselves on the scoresheet and my approach at quite regular rotation has seen goals for D’Anzi – getting important minutes – and Arkine’s return to form.

I still think that the Bundesliga title is out of our reach – despite this strong run, Dortmund have matched it and still are clear of us. It feels almost a wasted opportunity in a season like this where Bayern are unusually poor but we just cannot usurp the Vincenzo Italiano-led outfit, who are free scoring at present, too.

Overall – things are looking great on the pitch!



Earlier this week, I saw – on X – a newgen that @danielgear had in his QPR save. Whilst I can’t quite say that my intake trumps that, in having a fifteen year old already being the best player at the club, I can come pretty close in terms of current ability levels! The entire youth intake doesn’t feel as well rounded as previous years, but I have come to accept that, with a near elite team, this will always look harder. However, it is the three lads, below, who I am quite excited about:


I actually do not think I have ever seen a 15-year old who is as good as Jakub ‘JJ’ JakushThere’s a couple of areas to work on – of course – but he’s well rounded and already really strong in the attributes that I value in my most advanced forward. If he has the potential and can fulfil all five stars of it, I think that he’s going to be absolutely world class. I can’t play him until he’s reached sixteen but I may give him a run out in a Champions League tie to just give him that debut I think he’s nearly ready for! Carlo Redzepagic will likely go on to become Luxembourg’s best ever player and, despite being a little weak, is already looking superb for a ball playing defender. Without the progressive carrying ability of a Libero, I think I can really work to create the deepest, but the most composed, of the backline. Whilst not as strong, I like the look of Dioguinho – who’ll learn to play across the three attacking mid roles and even a low-rated Leon Werth looks like he could become a bit of a decent forward. Overall, that gives our U19 team strongest XI this look; a team that, no doubt, could compete at the 3.Liga level. Still though, I want to keep us without a II team so I can fastrack progression into the first team. This decision comes off the back of what is, frankly, an absurd amount of talent coming into our team directly from our youth system.

The list, below, does not even include the likes of Salman Kuczmannwho may be sold and both Sulley and Angerer, yet to break into the first team properly but shows the graduating year of the seven academy players currently within the first team:

2032/33 – Francesco D’Anzi and  Joel Kahl

2031/32 – Maik Vogel

2030/31 – Noa Nikolic and Simo Bjorklund

2027/28 – Archie Reckert

2025/26 – Jordan Bangura

The squad DNA (remember, not necessarily a marker of quality) continues to grow and, overall, the potential within the team is rising – allowing me time to explore progression routes and tactical styles for now and for in the coming years. Whilst my playing speed has significantly dropped of late due to real life getting in the way, I am as committed to this Leverkusen project as I ever have been!

Die Werkself!


  • 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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