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In a turbulent time for me, dogged with work and real life commitments, having the time to sit and truly enjoy FM is something that I long for. With further thoughts about ‘where next’ I have found myself in something of a chaotic cycle: winning and finding little joy in it, losing and finding little fulfilment in stopping it and developing things that – quite frankly – need a lot more time that I am currently able to put in. I think that the next steps in this game are key to ensure that I can continue finding solace in a game that I love so much but one that is really fizzling out some months before it usually does. That being said – there is a job to be done here. Maybe that job is made a little better by the shocker of a season that Bayern and Tuchel are having and the fact that Nagelsmann has already departed a lifeless Leipzig team for pastures new: the red side of north London. Or maybe it’s that we’ve just been so good – two goals a game scored and a goal conceded every two games, give or take a little bit means that we’re essentially just demolishing everything we touch – either with the 4231 shape or the amended 3421.

With failure in Europe – albeit in a game that I expected little from – we have seven games to turn Nerkusen into Neverlusen and bring home our first ever Bundesliga title. After that, I’ll take some time to think about the direction I go in.

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It’s things like this that really make me proud as a manager and it’s things like this that i play FM for. To have two of the best young players in world football – both developed in different ways: Vogel through positional training with specific rotating foci just at the club and D’Anzi with generalised youth training and a loan to the right club – I’ve expanded my horizons from the ‘one size fits all’ approach that I’ve often taken to this. To bring through two players, both from the academy, into the team so successfully is a great achievement – only  bettered by the notification I recieved, below:

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First team players Bjorklund, Vogel, Reckert, Niklas Schulz, D’Anzi, Bangura and Nikolic were joined by Gundogdu Celik, Carlo Rezepagic, Joel Kahl, Janis Schulz, Ibrahim Cevik, Jakub Jakusch, Fynn Angerer and Mohammed Sulley as I flexed the quality of the academy between crunch European ties. Along with strong domestic performance, this group of players is also pushing for continental honours and, honestly, that’s another reason why a move to a smaller job will scratch some proverbial itches. It’s just a little easy with developing these lads. I’ve been the luckiest manager ever to get crops of players as good as I have and, actually, the youth intake, some of which can be seen below, has been a nice reminder of that project player.

Here, Terzi and Schulz could very easily become the attacking wing backs in the 3421 shape whilst Weinhart could develop into a nice rounded midfielder or even a more physical deeper forward. That kind of out of the box thinking hasn’t been ‘needed’ with the quality of intakes I’ve had of late and I think, probably, that it’s the most fun part of the game for me! I’d love to hear what people think about these three lads and how they’d develop.

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I think that my mind is pretty much made up now. It’s a shame. As I press continue on my save, I can look back at the four years and ninety-three day tenure – so far – with immense pride. It’s time to deliver Bayer their first ever Bundesliga title and then move to pastures new, with some man-made elements, such as me choosing my successor here. From there, I will force myself to re-enter the minutiae that is player development, tactical development and player performance with an added interest in creating a monologue that both builds a manager story and a picture of the league, to aid the reader.

I think, and I thought this last year, the top five leagues just aren’t really for me. I love the chase more than the winner’s champagne. But, I tell you what, I’ve built a team here that it’s gonna take a juggernaut to stop!

Die Werkself!

Author

  • 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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