After picking up just 2 points from our first 4 games things didn't really look like picking up at the start of September. We headed to the Volkswagen Arena to take on Wolfsburg in the first game of the month and deservedly lost the game 2-0, although things may have turned out differently if Kreilach hadn't missed a penalty at 1-0 down. We followed that up with a home loss against Borrusia Monchengladbach, however the performance itself was much improved and gave us hope for the upcoming games. The following game saw us win in the Bundesliga for the first time with a real smash and grab victory away to Hoffenheim thanks to a Thorgan Hazard goal in the 69th minute. We built upon that in the next game, dishing out another 1-0 hammering, this time at home to Frankfurt thanks to a towering header from Berg. This took us to 8 points from 8 games before we then won a 3rd straight league game away in Leipzig with goals from Wisdom, Possebon and Gayle securing us a big victory. The run came to an end against Freiburg in the next game and that was largely down to a 20th minute sending off for left back Michael Parensen. In the final game of the month a rotated side managed to progress pass 2nd division side Darmstadt in the German Cup 2nd round.
We sit in 13th on 11 points from 10 games, 4 points ahead of city rivals Hertha in the last relegation spot and 3 points ahead of Hamburg in the relegation playoff spot. If we can achieve a point per game as we have done so far then we probably should have enough to stay up.
Marcus Berg has had a decent start up top of us, contributing 4 goals and 3 assists in his 11 games. Thorgan Hazard hasn't exactly got the number of assists or goals I would have liked from the left wing so far, however his performances have been pretty good in general and he always looks to be our biggest threat in matches.
1) We managed to increase our youth recruitment over the last month, taking it to an average level. There's still a lot of progress to be done on the facilities front so we need to take steps forward wherever we can.
[HR][/HR] Next update will be a November and December review, with 9 Bundesliga games to be played and a cup tie against a 3rd tier side to play, the shape of our season should start to become a lot more clear after this update. It will also include a first Berlin derby of the save against Hertha Berlin!
Our form over the two months was patchy but in the end I think we have to be pleased with our return, taking 10 points from 7 league games and progressing into the German Cup quarter final, where we have been drawn away to 2nd tier Bochum. We started November with a hard fought 1-0 away victory over FC Koln and whilst we lost the next game at home to Dortmund, we put up a decent fight and managed to score a couple of goals. From there we had a run of 3 games where we were playing the teams in 17th, 16th and 15th and we hoped we would be able to use these games to pull away from the relegation zone. Unfortunately, we could only manage a draw away at Hertha in the first Berliner derby of the save and this was followed up by two defeats by the odd goal at home to Hamburg and away to Dusseldorf. We responded well though, beating Werder Bremen thanks to an 87th minute penalty from Berg and then pulling off another smash and grab 1-0 victory, this time away to Stuttgart. As you can see, all our games this month have been really tight and the first goal usually proves to be very significant!
We had dropped to 15th at one point, however those two wins just before the winter break has seen us rise up the table to 10th with 21 points from 17 games. Our goal difference is awful but that is mainly due to the drubbing on the opening day. If we can repeat our points tally in the 2nd half of the season I'll be very happy!
Berg has proved to be great business, averaging us a goal every 2 games up front. Ex Juve midfielder Marrone has improved over the past couple of months and is now averaging above a 7, whilst Seb Coates has been slightly disappointing at CB and that is one area we would look to improve in January if we had any money.
1) I took the time over the past couple of months to start sorting out our scouting setup at the club, hiring 3 new scouts and putting them all out on assignments. Hopefully they can unearth a few hiddem gems!
Our first 3 games back after the break were extremely tough. We started with a 4-1 defeat at home to Leverkusen, strangely enough that is actually a massive improvement from the opening day of the season. A comprehensive 3-0 away defeat to Schalke and a 1-0 home defeat to Bayern followed, before we progressed through the German Cup quarter final and into the semis (where we will meet FC Koln at home) by beating FC Bochum 3-2 away from home. We took this momentum into the next league game and pulled off a shock by beating Wolfsburg 1-0 at home thanks to a goal from Marrone. An extremely disappointing defeat away to bottom of the table Augsburg came next. The following game away the Monchengladbach provided our best win of the season so far, fighting back from 2-0 down in the 2nd half to win 3-2 courtesy of a Marcus Berg brace and an own goal. The final 2 games in February were draws at home to Hoffenheim and away to Frankfurt. We conceded late equalizers in both games (last kick of the game in the Hoffenheim game) and so both results probably feel a little more negative than what they actually are on paper.
We sit in 11th place with 29 points from 25 games. I'd hope we should be pretty clear of automatic relegation from here barring a terrible run in, but I feel we still have work to do to ensure that we don't drop into the relegation playoff spot. Putting a more positive spin on it, if we can find a little more consistency in our performance we may even finish in the top half, given how tight the league is.
Last year's player of the season Christopher Quirring has been much improved over the last couple of months, providing a consistent threat down the right. Another survivor from last year in Kreilach has taken the step up very well, whilst Berg and Marrone are proving to be the two top signings from the summer transfer window and have real Bundesliga quality.
It was a pretty successful run in for ourselves, taking 13 points from 9 games. It didn't start to well with a home defeat to Leipzig and an away draw to Freiburg, but a 3-0 win at home to Koln in a preview of the German Cup semi final got us back on track. We lost 2-0 at Dortmund, before a 1-0 win at home to rivals Hertha moved us one step from safety. We the lost away to Hamburg with 10 men, before taking 7 points from our last 3 games to give us momentum heading into a very important game...
In the end we finish a massive 10 points clear of the relegation playoff place and finished in 10th. If someone had offered me 10th after that 9-1 drubbing on the opening day I would have snapped their hands off. The prize money for finishing 10th was very tasty and has really sorted our financial situation out...
Into the cup final we go. This was a very eventful game from start to finish, with both sides missing numerous chances to win the game inside 90 minutes in the 2nd half. 5 minutes into the second half we were reduced to 10 men when our left back Parensen got sent off, but that didn't deter us as Berg got his second of the game and put us 2-1 ahead on aggregate. We looked all set to be heading to the final before Ujah got his second of the game for Koln and took the game to penalties. Both teams scored 4 of their first 5, before Italian midfielder Marrone scored the pivotal penalty in sudden death to send us through to the final! Winning the competition will probably be a step too far as we play Bayern Munchen in the final, however they have only beaten us 1-0 on aggregate over the 2 league games this season so we have shown we can compete with them. Also, we may have qualified for the Europa League regardless of the result since Bayern have qualified for the Champions League already, but I'm not sure if that rule applies in Germany.
Marcus Berg proved to be a great signing, providing us with 20 goals in all competitions in his first season at the club. Kreilach and Quirring both took the step up to the Bundesliga extremely well, whilst Marrone and Wisdom proved to be the best of the rest of the signings, both averaging above a 7. [HR][/HR] Next update will be a German Cup final update vs Bayern!
This will be only the second ever German Cup final we have reached, with the first attempt ending in defeat. We will however have a slight home advantage as the game is being played in Berlin at our rivals Hertha Berlin's stadium...
We come into the game at near full strength, with only first choice left back Parensen missing out through injury. This results in Schonheim moving to left back, Wisdom into centre back and Adam Matthews comes into the team at right back. The Bayern team looks very strong but I was happy to see Depay start up on front as he's not a natural striker and so hopefully will cause less issues than Lewandowski may have.
Unfortunately we couldn't pull off the big upset as we succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in a game which Bayern controlled from start to finish in all honesty. We did manage to hold on well in the first half, limiting the amount of clear cut chances Bayern were able to create, however when Marrone gave a penalty away in the 58th minute and Muller converted it we were always going to be on the back foot from there. Any hope we had of getting an equalizer was quickly crushed when Depay double their lead 2 minutes later. We did create a couple of chances late on but it wasn't to be enough as Bayern held on for a 2-0 victory.
After the game I was disappointed to discover that the runner up in the German Cup does not qualify for Europe, therefore we will not be in the Europa League next year. We also found out our budget for next year after the game, which is not exactly a great budget at £6,000,000 and just £20,000 surplus wage. Hopefully it is like last year where they gave us more money once our expectations were set...[HR][/HR] Next update will be a season 3 preview/ pre-season update...
It's been a very busy summer for the only Berlin side to play in the top flight this season (unlucky Hertha) as we make a net spend of just over £1,000,000 but increase our wage budget quite substantially. The main outgoing transfer was the sale of Andre Wisdom, who recouped us £5,500,000 (a profit of £4,000,000 on what we paid to Liverpool last year), and we also moved on players such as Puncec, Possebon, Bojinov and Jairo.
We brought in 3 players on free transfers. Thorgan Hazard rejoined the club after a decent loan spell last season, right winger Ceira joined from Juventus to provide backup for Qurring and Danny Wilson came in from Hearts to provide competition for places in the back line.
The 3 main signings with transfer fees all focused upon defensive areas. Josip Radosevic joined for £2,500,000 from Napoli to take Kreilach's DM role. Young Greek LB Stafylidis joined from Leverkusen for £1,300,000 to hopefully address the problem LB area and Italian RB Donati came in to replace Wisdom from Cesena for £2,400,000.
We were also heavily reliant on loans, bringing in 5 players to beef up the squad. The big name in here is Ivanovic, who I intend on playing at CB. Juninho joins from LA Galaxy and will be given the chance to partner Marrone in CM and Milik will provide Berg with competition for his place up top. The other 2 loanees should only be squad fillers.
Overall I'm pretty happy with my business in the summer. The first 11 hasn't been massively improved, but we have improved our defensive options and the quality of backup in the squad is stronger than it previously was. The board expects us to finish in mid table and both the media and bookies predict us to finish in 12th
1) The work to expand the stadium capacity is nearly complete and we've convinced the board to improve both the youth and training facilities.
The season started extremely well with a 4-0 win over lower league opposition in the German Cup, however the league season did not get off to such a good start. We opened up with a 2-1 defeat at home to Wolfsburg in a game where we led and were the better team, however Hunt scored a last minute winner for Wolfsburg. We then went on to take just 2 points from away games at Stuttgart and FC Koln and a home game vs Hoffenheim. Again, we were the better team in all 3 of these games and to only take the 2 points was extremely disappointing. Luckily at this point we figured out that the best way of winning 3 points was to get outplayed all game and then nick the game on the break, which is exactly what we did against Dortmund with a 64th minute winner from Thorgan Hazard. We finished the month with a 2-1 comeback victory over Werder Bremen thanks to goals from Milik and the impressive Marrone, meaning we took 8 points from our first 6 games.
Overall it has been a decent start to the new season with plenty of new players having to gel into the team, however I can't help but feel that our performances have not yielded the return in points that they deserved. My target for the season is to finish in the top half and therefore if we finish in 9th, I'll consider that to be a successful season.
Thorgan Hazard has started the season pretty well and I've been very impressed by both of our new first choice full backs. Neither Berg or Milik have been that impressive in front of goal yet this season and that is one of the main reasons we weren't converting performances into deserved results. Loanee Juninho has been quite annoying in the number of long shots he has been taking and so we're trying to train him to limit the number of long range strikes he attempts.
1) The stadium expansion has been completed, taking our stadium to what I believe may be it's maximum potential capacity at 25,000. I don't see it being that long before we're asking to build a new stadium to be honest as we're the only top flight team in Berlin and therefore surely there is the potential for a massive fanbase?
With 5 wins and 2 losses from the 7 league games and progression through the 2nd round of the German Cup, I'd say these were a very successful couple of months for the club. We started with a 3-0 win at home to Kaiserslautern courtesy of Marrone, Hazard and Berg and followed that with a 4-2 win away at Hannover capped off by a fantastic hatrick from centre midfield by American international Juninho. We then lost 3-0 away to Bayern in a game I feared at one point may end up even worse than the infamous Leverkusen result last year, before bouncing back with a win over 2 Bundesliga side Heidenheim thanks to a brace from Milik. A 3-2 home win over Frankfurt and a 2-0 away win at Mainz followed, before a disappointing home defeat to Leipzig. Both Leipzig goals were scored by Yousuf Poulsen who loves playing against us! The final result of the month was by far the sweetest though, with a 70th minute striker from Buchel giving us a 1-0 win away at Leverkusen in the same fixture we lost 9-1 last season!
We're sitting pretty in 5th place and my mind has started to turn towards finishing in the top 7 and qualifying for the Europa League. It may be a little early to start thinking that however I do believe we should definitely be looking to finish top half.
Thorgan Hazard is having a much better season than last year after joining permanently, whilst Juninho has really picked up his performances and is pushing to convince me to convert his loan into a permanent deal. Both new first choice CB's in Danny Wilson and Ivanovic are both averaging above a 7, whilst Radosevic's average rating of 7.18 is very impressive for a DM. Donati and Stafylidid are both continuing to impress in the full back slots.
1) Sebastian Coates was not happy with his reduced playing time this season and therefore we have agreed a deal to sell him to FC Koln for £2,500,000.
We picked up where we left off at the end of November with an impressive 1-0 victory over a very strong team, this time at home to Schalke thanks to a 70th minute winner from Juninho. We then went to Freiburg and won 4-2 with a hatrick from our Swedish striker Marcus Berg and a goal from Hazard. We then progressed into the German Cup quarter finals with a penalties victory over 1860 Munchen after a lacklustre display over 120 minutes. To round off the month we drew away at managerless Hamburg in a game where the effects of the cup tie in midweek certainly seemed to contribute towards our poorer performance.
We sit in 5th with a game in hand on Dortmund above us and if we won that game we would be sitting in the Champions League places. Whether our squad is strong enough to deal with a push for Europe is yet to be fully assessed as we will surely encounter more injuries and suspensions in the 2nd half of the season and we'll have to see whether our backup players can perform to a similar level to the starters.
1) I managed to convince the board to build a new stadium. We haven't heard anything about the name/size of it yet but I assume the planning has started. Hopefully we are now at a stage where we don't need the fans to give up their own time to help build the stadium!
The 2 prearranged outgoings were that of Parensen and Coates, who brought us in a combined £2,750,000. Both players were unhapppy with the amount of football they were playing and I was happy to move them on. The other two outgoings were loans, 1 of which we brought in during the January transfer window so I'll discuss O'Shea during the ins. Ceria started the season quite well but fell to second choice and so I decided to loan him out so we could get some money in and get him some more first team football. View attachment 254096View attachment 254095View attachment 254094
The first incoming transfer was a promising young American winger on a free from NYRBs, who I loaned out to 2. Bundesliga side Nurnberg straight away to get some first team football. The second transfer was the main one and was one we broke the bank for, signing Turkish/German centre back Koray Gunter from Galatasaray for a total fee of £8,000,000 (although a hefty amount was over 48 months). A class above our current centre backs, he'll walk straight into the team and hopefully improve our back line and at just 22 he should be here for a while or we'll be able to make a decent profit on him should we choose to sell him. The final deal was to bring in Ecuadorian winger Rojas on loan from Mexican side Cruz Azul. His contract is expiring and I may choose to bring him in permanently if he impresses.
[HR][/HR] So, how do you think our transfer window went? Personally I'm pretty happy with our business, with a first choice CB and a decent looking prospect of a left winger coming in as well as a right winger who could potentially improve us for the second half of the season. Next update will be a review of the fixtures in January and February?