1. FC Union Berlin - Capital Domination

Aug 16, 2010
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1. FC Union Berlin - Capital Domination
Story Introduction


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Why Union Berlin?

So, after getting a little bored of my journeyman save I decided that I needed to go back to a save based around one specific club. After looking at a few potential clubs I decided to go with the German second tier side after watching this short documentary Copa90 did on them, if you have the time I'd highly recommend giving it a watch...

<span style="color:#ff0000;"><font size="3"><strong><span style="font-family:trebuchet ms;">[video=youtube;XXI6oWjlV8M]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXI6oWjlV8M[/video]

The Club:

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We sit in the 2nd tier of German football and are predicted to finish 11th from 18 teams, with the board expecting us to finish in the top half. With 8,000 season ticket holders already and being situated within the capital of Germany, I'm very hopeful that we have a lot of room for growth if we can get things right on the pitch. Financially we are pretty healthy with an estimated value of £16,500,000 and a loan debt of just £6,500,000.

Facilities:

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The club owns a stadium which holds just under 22,000 fans. In 2009 over 2000 Union fans invested around 140,000 hours in order to help modernise the stadium in order to keep the stadium active. We boast good training facilities and average youth facilities, whilst also having adequate junior coaching and basic youth recruitment.

History:

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The club has never reached the heights of the Bundesliga, however they have been a regular midtable side in the 2 Bundesliga for the past few seasons after temporarily dropping into the 4th tier in 2006. They reached the final of the German Cup in 2001 and this led to their one and only European run in the UEFA Cup the year after where they reached the 2nd round before being put out by Bulgarian side Litex Lovech.

[HR][/HR]
This post was just a quick introductory post to the save, the next update will focus on the pre-season period and the first few games of the season as well as looking at transfers, the squad and the tactics...
 
Aug 16, 2010
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1. FC Union Berlin
Pre-Season + August - 2014

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Transfers:

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So, whilst the club are on a stable financial footing we were not given much money to spend, with a surplus of around 12k a week after adjusting the budget. One area of the pitch we were very short in was centre midfield, so my first two signings were to bring in ex Manchester United midfielder Rodrigo Possebon on on a free transfer and Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Osborn on loan, contributing just £950 per week of his wages.

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The other two signings should turn out to be brilliant bits of business, both loan signings where we are contributing very minimally to the players wages. Croatian keeper Kalinic is rated as a good keeper for Bundesliga sides and we are paying just £250 per week towards his wages and Welsh full back Adam Matthews came into the club with Celtic paying all of his wages.


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Squad:

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All in all we have a solid squad for the level of football we play at. Both the bookies and media predict us to finish 11th and the board wants us to get top half, which I think is achievable. Here are a few of the key men who were at the club before I arrived...

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Tactics:

1st Choice:

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This is the first choice tactic I am going to be trying to implement. A 442 with a structured attacking style of play focused on plenty of pressing and a lot of wing play with direct passing. It has had mixed results so far but appears to be getting the most out of the two strikers, especially the target man.

Alternative:

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The backup tactic is one I downloaded off here and is based off of Diego Simeone's style of play with Atletico. It's very similar to the first tactic in some ways however it is a more counter attacking system focused upon a solid defence. I haven't tested it out yet but it will be mainly used in harder away games.

Fixtures:

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A bit of a mixed bag to start as we pick up 5 points from 4 games in the league and progress past lower league opposition in the German Cup. We started with a 1-1 draw away to Ingolstadt and followed it up with a solid 3-1 home win over Furth. We were 1-0 up vs Leipzig before we were reduced to 10 men. They equalized directly from the free kick and we then held them out for a long period before two late goals gave them a deserved victory. The final game of the month saw us put in what was arguably our best performance of the month away to Aue however they grabbed a late undeserved equalizer meaning we had to settle for a point. Overall, we were unlucky against Aue and the sending off changed the game vs Leipzig so I'm pretty happy with our performances overall.

[HR][/HR]
Next update will be a September and October review...

 

Matt12345

Member
Apr 6, 2013
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Nice work so far. Will be following this! Good training facilities is a bonus. Decent win against Greuther Furth!
 

PatrickLFC

Member
Mar 31, 2015
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Possebon has been good for me at Malmo, hopefully does the same for you!! Good luck!

I also want to say that over the last couple of weeks I've been reading your old stories. I read the Paris FC one, had already read Inter Turku, and I'm now up to page thirty-something in the Aberystwyth story. Hopefully this one is just as successful!
 

AndySams10

Member
Feb 15, 2009
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Lovre Kalinic is a superb signing mate, great if you can get him permanently! What are your aims for the season? Good luck. :D
 
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Possebon has been good for me at Malmo, hopefully does the same for you!! Good luck!

I also want to say that over the last couple of weeks I've been reading your old stories. I read the Paris FC one, had already read Inter Turku, and I'm now up to page thirty-something in the Aberystwyth story. Hopefully this one is just as successful!
Hopefully mate, I was disappointed that I couldn't take the Paris save as far as I wanted when my laptop broke. Considered doing a Paris save in place of this one but decided to go for Berlin as I haven't really managed in Germany before if I remember correctly.

Lovre Kalinic is a superb signing mate, great if you can get him permanently! What are your aims for the season? Good luck. :D
Well first of all the board want us to finish top half so we need to ensure that objective first then look to see where we are. I'm hopeful we may be able to push for promotion but that could just be wishful thinking at this point as I don't know much about the level of the different clubs in the German 2nd tier...
 
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1. FC Union Berlin
September + October - 2014

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Fixtures:

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The definition of a mixed bag here. We started off with a very decent 2-1 win at home to Kaiserslautern and followed it up with an amazing 4-0 win away to Karlsruher. From there it started to go downhill with 3 draws and 2 defeats by the odd goal. As you can probably tell from the results, there is not a lot in many of the games and they are often simply decided by who takes their chances. We did finish the month with a morale boosting win in the cup over Bundesliga side Hamburg, which will hopefully give us the momentum to improve our league form in November.

League Table:

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The league is incredibly tight and whilst we are only 4 points above the relegation playoff spot, we are also only 6 points below the promotion playoff spot. Any team who puts a run of results together will shoot up the table given the nature of the league table.

Player Stats:

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Big target man striker Polter has been the main man for us so far this season, with 9 goals and 3 assists in 13 games. Quiring has been good on the right, although he hasn't played as much as we would have liked due to an injury and Kreilach has been a solid performer in the middle.

Other News:

1)
We managed to convince the board to increase both our junior coaching and youth recruitment, whilst also revamping a lot of the staff employed at the club.

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[HR][/HR]
Next up will be a November and December review, can we start to climb the table or will our slide in league form start to put my job status under scrutiny?
 
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1. FC Union Berlin
November + December - 2014

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Fixtures:

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Our form certainly picked up after the big cup win away at Hamburg. Over the two months we played 8 league games, winning 6, drawing 1 and losing 1. 5 of the 6 wins were by the solitary goal and 4 of them were 1-0 wins. The first goal in our games is always very important as there are generally not very many of them!

League Table:

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Up to 4th, 3 points behind both the promotion playoff spot and the automatic promotion places. We've only managed the 23 goals in 19 games however we have only conceded 8 and it is this solid defensive record which we pride ourselves on!

Player Stats:

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You'd think with our defensive record being as good as what it is that it would be defensive players leading the way on the average ratings, however it is striker Polter who has 10 goals and 4 assists in 21 appearances so far this season. He is only on loan from Mainz, but I would love to make it permanent if we could strike a deal! Another player I am very happy with is Croatian ball winning midfielder Kreilach, who is solid in the challenge and has managed to bag himself a couple of key goals from free kicks. He is a player who I think could make the step up to the Bundesliga if we get promoted.

[HR][/HR]
Sorry for the short update, I tried to find something to put in the 'other news' section I normally include but I couldn't think of anything! Next update may be a January transfer update if we do much business, if not it's likely to just be a February/March update since we just play friendlies in January...

 
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1. FC Union Berlin
January Transfer Window - 2015

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Transfers:

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It was a relatively quiet transfer window, with 1 exit and 2 incomings into the club. Leaving the club was 3rd choice goalkeeper Daniel Haas to Hoffenheim. He wasn't a bad keeper but I have 2 other decent players so I thought I could let him go and raise the funds for other deals.

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Onto the incomings, I was able to convince Arsenal to let me take Serge Gnabry on loan without paying any of his wages, who should provide decent cover out wide and in the middle. We also brought in journeyman striker Valeri Bojinov for 130k from Serie B side Ternana. I'm not expecting him to set the world alight but he should be a solid backup striker for the rest of the season and an improvement from the backup strikers currently at the club.


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Other News:

1)
I've been rewarded with a new 1 year extension to my contract, so will hopefully be given another chance to secure promotion if we don't get it this year.

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[HR][/HR]
Next update will be a February and March review...

 
Aug 16, 2010
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1. FC Union Berlin
February and March - 2015

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Fixtures:

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Well I didn't see that run of form coming! Despite wins in the 1st game back after the winter break and the last game in March, in between those games we went on a run of 7 games without a win. We conceded 12 goals within 3 league games which is absolutely crazy considering we only conceded 8 goals in our first 19 games! In all honesty the performances haven't even been that bad but we have had some extremely bad luck. Hopefully the win vs 2nd place Nurnberg can act as a catalyst for a revival in form heading into the final 2 months of the season.

League Table:

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We've slid down the table into 8th and any chance of securing the promotion playoff spot looks very slim. Hopefully we can put together a run of results and put pressure on those above us though.

Player Stats:

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The star man from the first half of the season Polter can't seem to find the back of the net anymore, whilst January signing Bojinov is only making goals and not scoring them. An injury to first choice winger Quirring gave Gnabry a chance in the 1st team but he hasn't been particularly impressive so far.

Other News:

1)
We had our first youth intake of the save, however there was no real standout players. In fact, it was so mediocre I forgot to screenshot it. To give you an indication though, here is the best player from it...

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[HR][/HR]
Next update will cover the last 2 months of the season, can we pick our form back up and propel ourselves back up the table?
 
Aug 16, 2010
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1. FC Union Berlin
April and May - 2015

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Fixtures:

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Now that is more like it. I mentioned in the last update that we were actually playing quite well despite the results and luckily a little change in form and morale meant we were now starting to take our chances and keeping them to a minimum at the other end. 5 wins and 2 draws was enough to shoot us up the table, but just how far would it shoot us?

League Table:

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Straight into the playoff is the answer and in the end we may consider ourselves a little unlucky not to go up automatically as we only lost out to Red Bull Leipzig on goal difference. We went into the final game needing to win away at St Pauli to secure 3rd place and we did exactly that, fighting back from 1-0 down to secure a 2-1 win over the 10 men and set up a playoff tie against 16th place Bundesliga side Hannover 96, who took 30 points from 34 games this season.

Player Stats:

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Right winger Quiring was really impressive in the run in as was centre midfielder Possebon, who scored a couple of crucial goals from long range.

Other News:

1)
We were given £7,080,000 for our 3rd place finish in the league. I certainly wasn't expecting that amount of prize money in the 2nd tier but I'm not complaining.

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[HR][/HR]
Next update will be a playoff update vs Hannover96, can we secure promotion at the first time of asking or will we have to settle for another year in the 2nd tier?
 
Aug 16, 2010
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1. FC Union Berlin
Bundesliga Playoff - 2015

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1st Leg -
Hannover 96 4 - 4 Union Berlin

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With a full squad to choose from, the only real decision was who to go with up front and I decided to go with the extra experience of Bojinov ahead of Polter. When Kreilach cancelled out an early Hannover goal with a penalty in the 38th minute things were looking good, however 2 goals in 3 minutes just after half time left us chasing the game. Luckily, the lads did not crumble under the pressure and 3 goals in 16 minutes from Osborn, Polter and Gnabry turned the game on it's head and when Leon Andreasen got sent off with 7 minutes to go for Hannover we looked to be heading for victory. However, a crazy game did not end there as Brazilian centre back Marcelo equalized for the 10 men of Hannover, meaning we head to the 2nd leg in Berlin all square, although we do have the added advantage of 4 away goals.

2nd Leg - Union Berlin 2 -
1 Hannover 96

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Just 1 change in the lineup from the 1st leg with Polter coming in up front for Bojinov. Knowing any draw under 4-4 would put us through on away goals, we did not sit back and went at Hannover from the off. A 2nd goal in the playoff from Ben Osborn put us ahead and gave us a 2 goal comfort after just 12 minutes, however we missed numerous chances and Lars Stindel levelled the tie after 74 minutes from the penalty spot after an unneeded foul from Pucnec. This looked to set up an incredibly nervy last 15 minutes, however Ben Osborn's strike in the 83rd minute cannoned off the crossbar and came back off the goalkeeper for an own goal to give us our lead back. We held on and will be playing in the Bundesliga next season for the first time in the club's history!

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We've been given a decent budget of just over £5,000,000 and around £60,000 to £70,000 in wages to build a side capable of surviving in the Bundesliga. It would be nice to go out and pick up a few quality youngsters, however I think I will focus mainly on players who are on the transfer list or are available on bosmans to pick up players who can perform to the level required in the Bundesliga straight away.

[HR][/HR]
Next update will be a season 2 preview, how will we go about building a squad capable of competing in the Bundesliga?

 
Aug 16, 2010
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1. FC Union Berlin
Pre-Season - 2015/2016

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Transfers:

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After originally spending our £5,750,000 budget early on in the window, we were given a further £5,000,000 or so when it came to deciding upon our expectations for the season. We didn't manage to raise any funds from outgoing players, however plenty of players left on frees which allowed us further wage expenditure. Rejoining the club from last year are Adam Matthews (on another loan) and big Croatian keeper Kalinic, whom we paid Hajduk £2,000,000 for. In terms of defensive reinforcements, we brought in 2 from Liverpool in Coates and Wisdom. Coates will play alongside Schonheim in the centre whilst Wisdom will offer good cover both at centre back and right back.

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In midfield we brought in 2 CM's from Juventus for a combined fee of around £2,000,000 in Buchel and Marrone, both of whom are likely first team starters. We also brought in Romeu on loan from Chelsea to challenge for both the centre midfield and defensive midfield spots.

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On the wings we brought in Miyachi on a free and Jairo for £375,000, whilst also loaning Thorgan Hazard for the season. I'd expect Hazard to make the AML spot his own with Miyachi providing cover/ a good impact sub, whilst Jairo will challenge Quirring for the AMR role.

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Up front the biggest deal of the window saw us bring in experienced Swedish striker Berg from Panathinaikos for £3,200,000 after missing out on main target Paloschi, who chose to go to AC Milan. I'm not expecting wonders from Berg but he needs to score enough to keep us in the league! Dwight Gayle also came in on loan to provide a pacy option off the bench and backup to Berg.


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Squad:

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Overall I'm pretty content with the squad I have assembled for the season and believe we should have enough about us to keep our heads above water. One area we are struggling in is the LB slot, after a deal fell through to sign Daprela from Palermo as he chose to go to Sampdoria instead. The signings made this summer were very much with the short term in mind and hopefully in the incoming windows we can start to add a few players with the potential to develop and be at the club long term.

Media/Bookie Predictions and Board Expectations:

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Both the media and the bookies have us finishing in the 2nd relegation slot this season, whilst the board expect us to exceed these predictions and avoid automatic relegation. My target is to simply stay up at all costs this year.

Other News:

1)
I convinced the board to expand the stadium and they are going to increase the capacity by about 5,000. I also signed a new contract with the club till 2018.

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[HR][/HR]
Next update will be an August review for our first ever season in the German top flight. We don't have an easy start with away games against Leverkusen and Bayern Munchen as well as home ties against Augsburg and Schalke in August...
 
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1. FC Union Berlin
August - 2015

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Fixtures:

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Well, things started pretty well with a comfortable win away to lower league opposition in the cup but it went dramatically downhill from there. Our first ever game in the Bundesliga was a staggering 9-1 defeat away to Bayer Leverkusen. It was a game where Leverkusen scored pretty much everytime they went forward and quite frankly it was embarrassing to watch. We then drew at home to Augsburg with a much improved performance in a game I thought we deserved to win, before a 2nd defeat in the league at home to Schalke. We then played Bayern Munchen and got absolutely battered for 90 minutes but somehow managed to come away with a 0-0 draw. How my keeper only got a 7.0 rating I'll never know!

League Table:

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We're not bottom of the league, so at least there't that. Otherwise, it was an abysmal month and proved just how hard this relegation scrap could be this year. Hopefully this month was more a case of a large number of new players still gelling and getting to know each other rather than a clinical lack of quality in the squad needed to perform at this level.

Other News:

1)
We improved our junior coaching for the 2nd time in the save, taking it to a 'good' level.

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[HR][/HR]
Next update will be a September and October review, can we turn around our form or will we prove to be simply not cut out for Bundesliga football?
 

Yeti01

Member
Mar 24, 2015
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Fantastic job at getting them promoted at the first time of asking! Fingers crossed as your signings settle you turn that form around. Still drawing with Bayern is a great result!
 
Aug 16, 2010
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Fantastic job at getting them promoted at the first time of asking! Fingers crossed as your signings settle you turn that form around. Still drawing with Bayern is a great result!
Cheers mate, the Bayern game was one of those where you would have been furious if you were the Bayern manager. They completely annihilated us but somehow we managed to keep them out.
 
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