With Tuchel’s Bayern return and Nagelsmann’s Leipzig homecoming, I want to get this summer right as I’ll – surely – have two more teams trying to usurp Dortmund’s fantastic performances last season and charges to create a lasting legacy. I spent a little bit of time over the summer trying to nail down exactly what I wanted from each area of the pitch and look at the combination of their attributes and their statistical outputs in order to garner a decent understanding of the next steps with this massive club.


No weaknesses but the big area for concern is keeping two high quality goalkeepers happer. Fischhaber is the de facto number one: in so much that he’s on €90k p/w and his squad status matches that. However, I’d say that in both attribute distribution and performance, Simo usurps him. I don’t really want to go full De Zerbi and rotate these two, playing the taller Bjorklund against more aerially-dominate teams but I really can’t think of a solution that will keep both happy. The likelihood is that former number one Fischhaber will move on when he reaches the point of unhappiness as – should Bjorklund reach that first – he’ll get the assurances of first team football to come. It’s a cut throat world as a ‘keeper and I’m delighted to have actually developed myself a good one but this is not the area to be micromanaging and panicking about!


Although I’m relatively happy with the quality and the depth here, I couldn’t help but think that I was missing an elite centre back to partner Markovic. The shortlist I’d be collating across the season led me to Fabio Stutz, a converted midfielder who had, by the looks of it, spent at least some time there given his goal contribution totals. Whilst his defensive work wasn’t as strong as the others, I felt that the positional change would account for a significant portion of it and that I could slowly bring him into the fold and see how he actually played as a ball playing defender. A bid of €14.5m was made – matching his release clause – but he chose the riches of PSG over us. Somewhat deterred by this knock back, I decided that nobody else on that shortlist met my expectations and demands, so I moved on. We’ve got Kahl in the youth team and the luxury that these players are mostly comfortably in a variety of roles.

image.png.e8af7d0b90582506bf9913a80679d890.pngDeeper Midfielders:

I feel that we can be a bit soft at times and, despite our core principles, lack that bit of physicality in the defensive area here. I build in a 3-2 most often, so, realistically, one of these deeper mids doesn’t even really count in the defensive sense, however, he’s still a body that forms a defensive block and is in charge of some defensive duties. None of the four listed are particularly proficient ball winners but it is both Sindelar and Angerer that concern me in these roles. With Reckert the go-to Volante, I really that I needed some muscle in the centre of the pitch. Again, my shortlist was consulted and Tamás Hirman stood out: a man whose work on retrieving and keeping the ball safe stood out to me. He’s statistically expert ball-winner but I did have some reservations as to why literally nobody else has heard of him! I have recently added the Hungarian league to the save but he’s been there from the start, moving from Sparta Prague, where he came through the academy, before a spell at Fehervar and then Ferencvarosi. A bid of just €1.2m was made by my DoF and he signed: his coach report indicating that I’ve perhaps got myself a good bargain here.

But, as always, things change. Man Utd’s bid for Sindelar is above my asking price and, as such – after writing this, I’ll seek a replacement.

image.png.be699b4898b9155545e03f75a36a5bbc.pngAdvanced Midfielders:

An area I’ve talked about a lot of late but an area that is one man down; Khuroshvili returned to Freiburg as I wasn’t able (and misunderstood what the clause meant) to reach 25 league appearances with only 17 left in the season and is now valued at around €55m. Not out of our reach by any means but, realistically, out of my desirable price range. I’d considered moving Arkine back to the winger role but felt that both he and Krassnitzer were too good to rotate so, as of right now, the search for a backup winger continues. Additionally, I’m playing the slow game with Mladen Mehanovic – a long term target from Augsburg. He’s unsettled and has twelve months left on his deal – the same amount as Duran. However, I feel that the young German is far more aligned to my system and can play in a multitude of roles, unlike the Dutchman, who has fallen out of favour a little since Ozguneri signed. I’m notoriously bad at being patient with these things but it’s a target – €0m is significantly more fun than €50m!


As I worked in a sensible order, I’d already kind of made my mind up that Arkine was staying as my forward but I’d look to remove his ‘tries first time shots’ trait in order to try and increase the amount of xG/shot he creates. I also think that he has been pretty low on confidence for a while and needs a strong start to the season to really kick on but, every time I’ve dropped him, Nikolic has come in and done really well – making the whole rotational element really quite tough. That being said, my shortlist pointed to two elite strikers: Niklas Coopmann and Owen Fort. The end goal is that their combined moves to Real Madrid and Liverpool, respectively, cost over €180m. Again, we could afford one of these but it’s not my desired squad building method. With plenty of promise in young Jakush, the future could be bright in a couple of years but I have to manage my way to that time…

It’s a big season ahead. With some movement in the squad inevitable but an off-season that wasn’t, honestly, ideal in terms of recruitment. Money is now – essentially – not an issue but that goes against what I’m trying to create here but I do feel that it’s playing an even bigger role in how I shape this squad.


  • 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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