It is with great sadness that, in this shorter-than-normal update, the title of Neverkusen will have to be used again, as we succumbed to a penalty defeat to Leipzig in the Pokal, making three final defeats in two years – this one, our Europa League final defeat to Rennes twelve months ago and the DLF-Supercup loss to Bayern at the start of this season. These failures, as well as the end of season tail-off have somewhat put a dampener on what has been a fantastic season for us, where we’ve broken the Bayern stronghold, although, in this case, Dortmund have just done it better than us. Following that, Bayern’s Nagelsmann was given his marching orders, as was Leipzig’s Marco Rose and Thomas Tuchel after PSG failed to win Ligue Une again, meaning that there is bound to be a busy summer window as the managerial merry-go-round rolls on.

The overall squad performance suggests that I am somewhat at a crossroads within this save: continue to build my way or splash hundreds of millions from our rather expansive €140m budget on the missing gaps. For example – a new striker to upgrade Arkine would surely set us back upwards of €60m, but, with Jakush in the wings and only not playing simply because I have that Moukoko effect of him not being old enough, the future looks bright. I’m not scared to spend that money but it does reduce somewhat from the whole point of finding real bargains to develop as they’re simply not good enough to get into the team right now. Focusing on these will – surely – set back my sights for domination by a couple of years but the developmental aspect of the game is one that I love and won’t shy away from. The squad, with expected departure of Nmecha after a year of solid service and the promotion of Fynn Angerer looks strong, young, promising and fit for the purpose that I want it to be. That being said – I’ll look into it in more detail over the summer, trying to make a marriage of statistical recruitment, player development from the academy and high ceiling bargains!

With prospects of a new stadium and a drive from the board to become Bundesliga champions within five years, the ante is being upped for us to take that step to an elite club but it’s a journey that I’m really enjoying!


  • 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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