Mar 13, 2015
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Football doesn't remember the nearly men.

Sure, an avid football fan can name every member of the starting XI's for the Barcelona treble winning teams of 2011 and 2015, too quite possibly for the Bayern Munich treble winning team of 2013, but can you remember 3, even 2 players of the infamous Bayer Neverkusen side?

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In this save, I plan on reinvigorating Bayer Leverkusen into winning their first Bundesliga title, their first Champions League and their first German Cup since 1993, and eventually, winning the treble that eluded the 2002 side.

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The challenges for the save are:
  • Win the Bundesliga
  • Win the domestic double
  • Establish Leverkusen as the dominant team in Germany (Win back to back Bundesligas)
  • Win the Champions League
  • Win the treble
  • Develop the best youth system in Germany (most players playing in top divisions from our Youth academy)
  • Have Julian Brandt win the Ballon D'Or
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Squad Overview

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The current squad that I inherited has real potential to go on and become a force in Europe. IRL, Roger Schmidt deploys a "hyper-press" style of play in an aggressive, narrow 4-4-2 and as a result, I am full of players with outstanding teamwork and work rate stats - an important feature for how I like to play.

Goalkeepers & Defence

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In Leno, Tah and Dragovic, I have a potentially elite defensive core that can develop together over the next few years, but to add I have Toprak whom is a very stellar defender and excellent third choice centre back. Jedvaj will be given an opportunity, as will Papadopoulos when he returns from RB Leipzig at the end of the season. In terms of full backs, Wendell and Henrichs also have the potential to be elite wing backs. Da Costa is decent homegrown backup, but Hilbert is surplus to requirements and will be sold as soon as possible (I disabled the first transfer window budgets).

Central Midfielders

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In any team I manage on FM, I find it essential to have a player who can build from deep - a regista. This midfielder (for now) will be Charles Aranguiz. I'm very fortunate in this Leverkusen team that both my centre backs (Tah and Dragovic) are outstanding on the ball, which means that there is the potential for me not to have to sacrifice one of my midfielder in the first phase to distribute the first pass. Bender and Baumgartlinger offer me two midfielders I don't normally use but am interested to experiment with - ball winners, but perhaps my key man though, could be the Leverkusen man, Kevin Kampl...

Attacking Midfielders

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Confession time. I really don't like Hakan Calhanoglu on FM or players of his ilk. However, I am going to try fit him in to my tactical plans because he has attributes (not just his free-kicks, but his corners and long shots) that if used correctly could be deadly. Volland has the potential to be my Thomas Muller, Brandt is special, Bellarabi is an outstanding 1 vs 1 player, Mehmedi provides good cover in a number of positions, Yurchenko deserves a chance, Robbie Kruse will be offloaded by the end of the season at the latest.


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Further confession. I also don't like Javier Hernandez. I'm aware that IRL he is tearing it up and I will give him a fair opportunity, but I am not a fan of poacher style forwards, I much prefer Target Men (Kiessling), deep lying types (Mehmedi) or complete types (Pohjanpalo), but the other three simply are not as good as Chicharito. Volland too could prove to be my 9.


Key Men

Bernd Leno

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I can already say very early on that unless he receives a very long injury or something drastic happens, Bernd Leno will be my goalkeeper for 10 years of this save. An outstanding goalkeeper who is also good with his feet (a stat I very much like), he is one of 3 players whom I consider absolutely unsellable.

Kevin Kampl

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My Central Winger. His versatility allows me to do so much tactically and is a player whom is the embroidery of what I want Leverkusen to be about. His main job will be driving forward from central midfield and giving us a different alleyway of unlocking a defence.

Julian Brandt

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There's a reason GoalImpact have him down as a special player. I truly believe he can take the club to glory, a vital cog in any tactical system I deploy, I'm hoping he can be hitting at least double figures for goals each season in the league, maybe pushing towards 20. He, along with Leno and Jonathan Tah are unsellable to me, and I plan on making all 3 club icons.

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Tactics 2016/2017

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Aah, tactics, the crux of some players, the joy of others. My Leverkusen team will be deploying a hybrid between a 4-3-3 and a 4-2-3-1, the reason being is that it incorporates my two "problem" players - Chicharito and Calhanoglu.
In game, the way I have it playing out, is that my two centre midfielders (Kampl and Calhanoglu) pin the opposition back in high positions, allowing for my regista (Aranguiz) to dictate the flow of the game. Henrichs and Wendell will be sitting narrower to try help tackle the infamous German counter-attack but are still encouraged to burst forward at the right time. On the left hand side, Brandt will give us width with Wendell overlapping or underlapping him, this side will be told to be exploited. Volland will be drifting into the zone of the striker and hopefully play a role similar to that of Thomas Muller.
A key role in the side, is that of Kevin Kampl's (CM-A). As I said previously, he will be my central winger, a la Di Maria of the Ancelotti Real Madrid team. One clear fault in my system, is the lack of width on the right, with both Henrichs and Volland coming inside from their player instructions. I want Kampl to dribble into the channels vacated by Volland and deliver crosses from the touchline. In pre-season, this worked extremely well.

We'll press high and aggressively and hopefully win the possession battle but I don't necessarily want to dominate possession - 53-55% would be fine. The system is flexible enough that for big games or difficult away trips, I'll likely drop Calhanoglu for Baumgartlinger or Bender and play a conventional 4-3-3 with a BWM-S.

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Alternatively, I have an asymmetric 4-3-1-2 set up too, which I won't write much about since the tactics is stolen entirely from @JLAspey.



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Well...that couldn't have went much better. Very good pre season which included a 4-2 win against Barcelona (their first team too!). Early signs show that the squad is reacting well to the tactics and are gelling together nicely. One cause for concern however, is that we conceded a lot of goals against not very good opposition. Not to dwell however, I'm pleased with the squad depth I've seen and some of the youth prospects I have (see later) coming through are truly special...

but can you remember 3, even 2 players of the infamous Bayer Neverkusen side?

Hans Jörg ****, Bernd Schneider, Michael Ballack.
Can I get my cookie now? ^^

Interesting challenge, the aspirin team has a young yet incredibly talented team... yet they lack that "oomph" that can make the difference between a contender and a winner (like Borussia Dortmund has and Werder Bremen had a few years ago).
Good luck with the challenge, hopefully you'll get Leverkusen to lift trophies rather than leberkäse (sorry for the bad pun by the way ^^U).

August/September 2016

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"Football is simple, but it is difficult to play simple"
Johan Cruyff


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Our first game, our first win, can't complain. I played a reasonably strong team as 1860 Munich are a very hard draw for the first round, but despite a few shakey moments, the sending off ultimately killed them. Aranguiz scored an absolute screamer from 30 yards but then went off injured and is out for 3 months, a huge blow.

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Who did I say were my "problem" players again? Calhanoglu and Hernandez justified my decision to find a means of including them in my XI with very impressive performances. We were outstanding in this game, we created 6(!) clear cut chances before half time to their 0. A big boost in our quest for Champions League football which is ultimately the target for this season.

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"No history!!" etc etc. RB Leipzig proved to be the first stumbling block of my managerial era. A poor mistake from Wendell allowed the first goal against us conceded from the penalty spot, but they sat back and let us into the game, eventually Baumgartlinger breaking from midfield to score a good goal. We pushed for the winner and missed some chances we really should have put away, but ultimately, a draw isn't too big a disaster, although they are predicted to finish 15th according to my save, I expect them to be at least top half.

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This is the most pleased I'll probably ever be with a 3-0 defeat. We were drawn in a Champions League group with Real Madrid, PSV and Dinamo Zagreb, a fair group that I think we can progress from. Although the scoreline and maybe even the stats don't show it - we were excellent. Kampl, Hernandez and Volland all missed good opportunites early on and we certainly paid for it, but I see a real positive that we went to one of the 3 biggest clubs in Europe and went toe-to-toe with them in their own back garden.

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This on the other hand, was absolutely abysmal. Hamburg absolutely deserved the win, we were dreadful and in all honesty, if the score was 5-1 I wouldn't have said it was unjust. The only positive was that Kevin Volland opened his account for us.

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30 shots, 6 on target. An important win to get us out of our mini slump, delighted that the two players I'm relying for in goals in my system scored 3 between them. Not sure if the shot count worries me at our conversion rate, or delights me with the chances we're creating...

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This might just be my favourite win of the lot. We weren't exhilarating to watch, but we won the game and showed a lot of fight in doing so. Pleased to see us get a goal from a set piece too.

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Kevin Kampl man. 1 goal and 2 assists for the man I quickly identified as my midfield powerhouse. A win that was expected of us, but we needed to get none the less. Once again, look at how many shots we're getting!



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5 wins 1 draw 2 losses 14 goals for 8 goals against

A very decent start to life at the BayArena and next month starts with the ultimate domestic test - Bayern Munich. We also have a big away game against PSV, a win there and I feel like we have one foot in the last 16 (they lost 3-0 at home to Real Madrid in round 2 of fixtures). Already at this early stage I've had a bit of an injury crisis, with Calhanoglu, Aranguiz, Bender and Bellarabi amongst others all picking up injuries. This has given certain players an opportunity to shine and none have left a bigger impression than young Atakan Akkaynak whom has filled in at regista for the injured Aranguiz.

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October 2016

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Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich

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It's the big one. Bayern. I decided to accept that we're not quite on the technical level of Bayern and play on the counter and play with two defensive minded midfielders in Baumgartlinger and Bender. We come out of the blocks absolutely flying, we should be 1 or 2 up in the first 20 minutes...

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The game begins to approach half time, Leno collects a free kick and kicks long, Alonso heads clear before Kampl plays a first time ball over the defence to ChichariTOOOOOOOO, WHAT A GOAL. Chicharito scores all but certainly our goal of the season as he lobs Neuer from 30 yards!


Kevin Volland tucks home from close range after Baumgartlinger whips in an unbelievable ball from the left, we're in dreamland.

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The second half played out similar to the first, with us asserting our dominance on the match and Bayern struggling to react. The match finishes as was at half time as we stun the Champions and Germany.

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That win puts us top of the table - ahead of Bayern. We're in dreamland, but have to keep focused. There's no way Bayern will be that bad for the rest of the season, by no means am I thinking we should leapfrog them this season. Still though, what a win.


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Oh **** off reality. We started excellently and Volland capitalised on a poor backpass from their centre back, but we failed to push on and take control of the match, eventually being lucky to hold onto a point thanks to Bernd Leno making an outstanding penalty save.

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Disappointing result, though not disastrous. We were woeful defensively, the worst Tah and Dragovic have looked so far, though 2 away goals could prove to be vital as head-to-head separates teams rather than goal difference. The home tie is an absolute must win for us to have any chance.

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Back to winning ways. A win but nothing scintillating, two more goals from set pieces was pleasing and Kevin Volland is proving to be a real handful from the right.

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FINALLY. Julian Brandt finally breaks his duck this season and opens his account. He was playing as our left interior as an Advanced Playmaker and gave his best performance of the season, perhaps food for thought...

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Now we're talking. We blitzed them. This is the manner I want my teams to manage matches, our intensity was too much for them to handle, and two of the goals came from our counterpress and a defensive mistake leading to a goal and Javier Hernandez is quietly putting together a very decent season.



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4 wins 1 draw 1 loss 12 goals for 4 goals against

Top of the league. A good month for the club, but our next game against PSV is massive for us, we have to win or we can kiss our hopes of the knockout rounds of the Champions League goodbye. A few negatives again are injuries. Mehmedi is out for 6 months with a broken leg, Brandt is out for 5 weeks and Akkaynak is out for a few weeks too.

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What a month ahead! PSV, Dortmund, Real Madrid, Wolfsburg and not to mention, the small matter of the Rheinisches derby in the space of 5 games is very tough, we can't afford anymore Hamburg or Freiburg performances against these teams or they'll tear us apart.

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After enjoying a ten season save with Stuttgart in FM 2016 I became a fan of the Bundesliga ! I will be following my friend ! Great start and luck fro the upcoming games !

November 2017

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Massive, massive result. It wasn't too pretty, but Chicharito turns up in a clutch moment for us and scored a tap in to put us in the driving seat to qualify from the last 16 based on head-to-head. 3 points from our last 2 games should be enough for us to qualify, as PSV have to go to Madrid on match day 6.

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Is it too early to start dreaming? Calhanoglu with a potentially season defining moment when a point was looking likely. Hendrichs played in central midfield and is showing me that he is a core player to build around in the future. The result was made all the more sweet when this appeared after the game...

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2 points dropped or 1 point gained? Not the worst result, we all know the difficulties of derbies as usual tendencies are thrown out the window and 31(!) fouls end up happening. With such a hectic schedule and injuries left, right and centre, I'd consider this a point gained.


Leverkusen vs. Real Madrid

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We come out the blocks blazing (again). Bellarabi dribbles past 3 defenders and sets up a tap in at the back post for Kevin Volland, absolute delight, but is this a case of scoring too early? We missed a few clear cut chances (especially Chicharito) but just before half time Sergio Ramos picks up a second booking and is sent off. This is a real opportunity.

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Game, set and match. Last 16 is calling us out, especially the fact PSV drew with Dinamo, we now need just a point away to Dinamo in match day 6 to guarantee progression to the last 16. The BayArena is becoming a fortress, that is now Schalke, Bayern, Dortmund and Real Madrid that we have defeated at home in the first few months of my reign. Our defence is really starting to show that it can be trusted.


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Another big win against a struggling Wolfsburg side. Our attack is coming together nicely, we're scoring consistently and through multiple alleyways of our attack, the team is really asking to be taken notice of now.

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Our (near) perfect month climaxes in a difficult away victory. Huzsti scored an unbelievably free kick to give them the lead from no where but again, Chicharito and Calhanoglu showing me why I trusted them enough to work my system around them.



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5 wins 1 draw 0 losses 10 goals for 4 against

I couldn't have asked for more of the boys, they're really becoming a force and not just showing up for the big games, but putting away difficult away fixtures like Frankfurt to match. Dreamland.

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One more push before the winter break when we can regroup and assess the squad for January. A relatively fair month for us, hopefully we can enter the winter break on the summit of the Bundesliga!

Wicked Start

Amazing start to the season, taking the scalps of Real, Bayern, and Dortmund. Nice, to see someone other than Bayern winning the Bundesliga! I'll keep an eye on this story as been really enjoying it, looks like you've got them playing some good football too.
Excellent start, great read already :)
I will be following!
Can you put up a screenshot of your youth team - star rating etc?
Excellent start, great read already :)
I will be following!
Can you put up a screenshot of your youth team - star rating etc?

Under 19 Squad

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Here's the current Under 19 squad minus Kai Havertz and Atakan Akkaynak whom I've deemed to be ready for the jump into the first team and are potential superstars. Here's screenshots of them plus the best youth prospects I think I have.

Sam Schreck

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Marian Prinz

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Joel Abu Hanna

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Attakan Akkaynak

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Kai Havertz

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Any more questions or requests for screenshots or whatever, just let me know and thanks for the compliments so far!


December 2016

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“There is no pressure at the top. The pressure’s being second or third.”
Jose Mourinho


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What a resounding start to the month. Believe it or not, we created 0 clear cut chances and 5-0 shows the class of our finishing in this match. 5 different scorers showing we have goals from all over the pitch and young Atakan Akkaynak scored a screamer to become our youngest ever goalscorer being a month shy of his 18th birthday.

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We actually secured qualification a day before this match as for some reason Real Madrid and PSV played each other the day before and Madrid won 1-0. A couple of youngsters played and impressed, delighted with our showing in the Champions League.

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A very difficult tie against a Premier League leading Arsenal side, but this show has already shown me that we can go toe-to-toe with the big boys, so we welcome the challenge.

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I must say, away to sides at the wrong end of the table, we struggle. We were disappointing throughout and their goal was just about deserved, no complaints though, a draw is psychologically a lot better than a defeat for us being on such a good unbeaten run.

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A very good win that was made even more impressive at the fact they beat Schalke 6-0 just a few days previously. Kampl and in particular Brandt (playing from the right hand side) tore them apart and we won the game inside the first half. Another comfortable home win for us, a place that no team can seem to match us on.

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Javier Hernandez, my saviour. Man oh man were we lucky, but you need a bit of luck to win titles...


Month Summary

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4 wins 1 draw 0 losses 14 goals for 4 against

On paper this looks like we had a spectacular month, but our performances dipped slightly, although the outcome is still excellent. Nobody wins the title in the first half of the season, but you can certainly lose a title in the first half of the season.

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Next update will come mid-to-late February when we host Arsenal in the Champions League. We have a couple of testing fixtures in that time, namely Schalke away straight after the winter break, so we will need to be at our best to maintain our unbeaten run.


Mid-Season Summary

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Well we've played every team now and the only team to beat us is Hamburg, a game in which we didn't show up. Obviously, I am delighted with how things have went, I really couldn't have wished for a better start, things have clicked well for us tactically and we've been dominant in a lot of matches. I do feel our performances have dropped slightly since the first month or so, but with the intensity of pressing I ask from my players, it's to be expected - they've earned their break.

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If I had to pick out two players for praise, I'd have to say it would be Kampl and Tah, both have been outstanding and Kampl has done exactly what I imagined he would do from central midfield. I hope to see better performances from Brandt (who has recently started improving) who had an average start to the season.
Kiessling has been sold to the Middle East so that relieves us of his wages and hopefully Hilbert and Kruse will follow. I don't think I'll be bringing in any new faces, I'm content with the squad and I try avoid bringing in signings in January unless I feel a change is needed. However, this could all change providing the right player is available or I get an offer I can't refuse for a player!

Is it still too early to start talking about Bayer Leverkusen as serious title contenders?



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Our 14 match unbeaten streak in the league is over. We perhaps deserved a draw but I can have no complaints, we never took our chances and were duly punished, their goals were total liquid football and they tore us apart. No complaints, onwards and upwards.

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RB Leipzig are proving to be our bogey team. Ralph Hasenhütti gave me a tactical masterclass, constantly one step ahead of what I would be doing and I was constantly reacting to his tactical changes. For the last 30 minutes they switched to an attacking 4-4-2 with advanced wingers and we were lucky to hold on for a point. Looks like some of us are still feeling the effects of the winter break.

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A scrappy win, but a good win nonetheless. Kevin Volland coming up big for us after a bit of a bad patch, Leno dropped a howler to give Bobby Wood a tap in and force a nervy few minutes where they had their 3 best chances of the game. Managing to cling on for 3 points was vital and we look to build from there.

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This was nothing short of embarrassing. We were simply outclassed. They played a deep 5-2-1-2 and left 3 players up the field who simply toyed with our defence. By far the worst performance thus far, our first home defeat of my era and we are out of the German cup. I gave a few appearances to some lesser players (Ozcan and Jedvaj) and they really didn't take their chance.

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The big boys were brought back in. Chicharito bagging the first hat trick of my reign in a fairly even match. I was taking no chances with the team selected and we got our season back on track after the blip of late.

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Aargh. Frustrating. Darmstadt defended well and we simply couldn't break them down. Not a huge worry, this is our first no score of the season, but didn't set us up well for the last 16 match against Arsenal...

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Bayer Leverkusen vs. Arsenal

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What. A. Match. We let go of the lead three times, but it was a case of fourth time lucky, as Chicharito completed his second hat trick in a month and inspired us to victory against the Premier League leaders. We were woeful defensively and in all honesty, I struggle to see how we'll keep them out at the Emirates, but for now we can basque in the glory of our first leg efforts. That's now Bayern, Dortmund, Real Madrid and Arsenal that we have conquered at the BayArena this season!



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3 wins 2 draws 2 losses 14 goals for 10 goals against

This was a really testing period for the team. Teams are starting to sit deeper and try his us on the break as RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim did so well against us. Taking the positives though, we're still top of the league and Bayern are in total free fall, 12 points off the lead in 6th position, though they did go big in January...

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We did make our first signing of the save, a young player called Mohammed Mallahi will be joining at the end of the season from FC Utrecht. I think he has huge potential but has a gaping weakness in his speed, but his dribbling, technique and decisions are outstanding for someone of his age. There was no movement in or out during the January transfer window and I didn't even receive any offers for first team players.

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Next up, we travel to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern, whom although are struggling, are always going to be difficult to play, especially away from home. The big game though, is Arsenal away. We've given ourselves a good chance of qualification and it's as simple as if we avoid defeat, we qualify. Pressure on.

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February/March 2017

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Disappointing start to the month. We defended well and countered with pace but the Muller goal was a big blow early on and we spent the rest of the game chasing them. That win likely bought Carlo Ancelotti some extra time as Bayern boss.

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A new Leverkusen? An expected comfortable win against the team at the foot of the table, but note the possession stats, we played on the counter attack, going more direct. I felt comfortable that we would win so wanted to try sacrifice possession and look to get the ball forward to Bellarabi, Hernandez and Volland as quick as possible. It worked and now I feel we have another trick up our sleeve.

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As I said previously, we really struggle away to weaker teams. That's now 4 draws away to the bottom 5 teams and if we lose out on the league title, we know what the problem is.


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Arsenal (3) vs. Bayer Leverkusen (4)

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Utter heartbreak. We came with a plan and for an hour executed it to perfection. My midfield 3 that I would have selected (Baumgartlinger, Kampl and Bender) were all suspended, so Aranguiz, Henrichs and Akkaynak - whom was outstanding and improving game by game - were my midfield 3. Omer Toprak filled in at center back but spoiled a MOTM performance with a missed header for Lucas Perez to score the decisive goal. We'll come back bigger and better next season.


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No distractions anymore, lets make the league ours. Finally, after 27 games, Calhanoglu finally scored a free kick. Again, Chicharito is so so crucial to the team. Hopefully this provides the momentum to really make us push on.



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2 wins 1 draw 2 losses 7 goals for 6 goals against

8 games to go, 8 wins and we win the league - as simple as that. Maybe the Arsenal result will prove to be a blessing in disguise, now I can play my ideal 11 in each game knowing that we are purely focussed on the task ahead.

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Huge month for us. Dortmund away, the derby against Koln and Wolfsburg away could define our season, we can afford no slip ups since Schalke, Leibzig and Dortmund themselves have their eyes on us. We need to leave this month still in with a fight, we simply cannot lose momentum.


April 2017

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Nerves? Weight of expectation? Injuries? No. Borussia Dortmund were leagues ahead of us. Andre Schurrle came back to haunt his old club with a hat trick, we were played off the park, a major blow to our title credentials. Devastated.

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Just how big a goal could this be in the grand scheme of thing? Koln came to the BayArena looking to put at end to our title chances and sat back with absolutely zero interest in going for the game. We tried everything to break them down, but they parked the bus and defended outstandingly well. All was looking lost until a corner quite literally in the last seconds of the game was whipped in by Calhanoglu and with every single person other than Wendell and Leno in the box, Henrichs drills home a header as our whole team chase him away into celebration. What a moment.

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Not a bad result if taken at the start of the season, but Wolfsburg were struggling in 14th and at 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go we self capitulated. 174cm Angel Correa beating 192cm Jonathan Tah to a header for their equaliser. All our hard work in the previous game could potentially be blown away.

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The early goal was absolutely vital for us, as Frankfurt sat back playing a 5-4-1, I was getting flashbacks of the Koln game. A good win and a good confidence booster for some of our attackers going into crunch time in the league.

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This might just be the win that mattered the most. Having one only 1 of our previous 6 away games, it was absolutely essential to win this game. Schalke had slipped up away to Mainz and we needed to capitalise on it. It was ugly, my god was it ugly, but we held on even after Weiser hit the bar with the last kick of the ball.



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3 wins 1 draw 1 loss 9 goals for 6 goals against

3 wins. We are 3 wins from winning the club's first Bundesliga in their history. We received next seasons budget as we have officially qualified for the Champions League, we were initially given £15 million transfer budget and a tonne of wages, but I adjusted it to as is below.

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The title race

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4 teams will be battling it out for the title - who would have thought! We play 2 of the same teams in our final 3 games as Schalke, big difference being that we have the harrowing task of going away to Borussia Monchengladbach. Although we're at least 2 seasons ahead of schedule with this title run, I can't help but wonder how big a chance this is for us - there is surely no way Bayern Munich or Dortmund will be this off the pace for the next few seasons.

We're 270 minutes away from eternity.

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Really enjoying this story. Clever tactic. Hope you win the league mate
Going very well, good luck for the end of season!

Marian Prinz looks like he will be a star! Thank you for the screenshot.

May 2017

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"There are no good or bad coaches but brave and coward coaches"
Pep Guardiola


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We’re a team on a mission. The easiest out of 3 remaining games, we had to do the business and we delivered. We're so close to victory we can taste it.

And then.

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Schalke drop points to Monchengladbach. Surely this is our time, surely we will finally be Champions? Can we hold our nerve and get a result against a blistering Monchengladbach team?


Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Bayer Leverkusen

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Tactically, this was a huge risk. We trained on it for a couple of days, but I felt it was necessary. When we lost 3-1 to Hoffenheim earlier on in the season, they played the same system as Gladbach and tore us apart, we simply couldn't make the same mistake twice. The plan for this game was to sit and soak up pressure and play on the counter, hoping Calhanoglu playing more advanced can feed Chicharito.

Gladbach 1-0 Leverkusen

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Nightmare start. Andre Hahn scores a header from point blank range. Have we bottled it? Konoplyanka gives Schalke the lead and the pendulum swings towards Gelsenkirchen...

Gladbach 1-1 Leverkusen

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The pendulum swings back to Leverkusen, Chicharito gets us a deserved equaliser, but perhaps more importantly, Schalke have had a 4 minute collapse against Hoffenheim and conceded 3 in 4 minutes!

Gladbach 1-2 Leverkusen

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KEVIN KAMPL WITH A BULLET HEADER! 2-1 Leverkusen, the midfield maestro gives Leverkusen the initiative and Leverkusen surely can't be caught!

Gladbach 1-3 Leverkusen

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The Mexican sensation hits 30 for the season as the fans go wild!

Gladbach 2-3 Leverkusen

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Andre Hahn pulls a goal back for Gladbach, but we've done what we needed to go by now, surely?

Gladbach 2-4 Leverkusen

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Javier Hernandez - Leverkusen legend. Hat trick for the little pea, what a performance on the counter form my boys.

Gladbach 2-5 Leverkusen

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Kevin Volland with the final nail in the coffin, we are finally Bundesliga champions!!

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A win to end a special campaign would have been nice, but overall no complains. Chicharito secures top goalscorer, he was unbelievable in our end of season run in, what a player he's been for us.


End of Season Summary

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Well, what can I say? We outperformed my wildest expectations and truly deserve to be Champions, our goal difference was 13 greater than the nearest side - a strong indication of our strength. RB Leipzig were absolutely sensational in their first season in the top division, but there's no world Bayern will be so far off the pace next season, also notice a horrendous season from Wolfsburg, now managed by Roger Schmidt.

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Both team of the seasons contain 5 of our players, whom all deserve to be in there. Leno was a wall and came up with some huge saves for us, he ended up being captain in a lot of games too and lead by example. Jonathan Tah achieved the second highest average rating in the whole division (0.01 off of Lukas Klostermann) and was just sensational. Kampl gave us everything in each game and really shaped the team together - we were a much worse team without him - and Calhanoglu and Hernandez proved to me why I was right to build my tactic around them. Brilliant from all my team though, we had no stand out, just a real team.

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A season to remember for Leverkusen. We lost to eventual finalists in the Champions League in Arsenal and eventual winners in the DFB Pokal in Hoffenheim. Carlo Ancelotti was finally sacked after the German Cup final as Roberto Mancini took over at the Allianz Arena. A big summer coming up for the club, we need to push on and strengthen and now must be targeting being the force side in German football.

2016/2017 was special, now to make 2017/2018 even better.

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Summer 2017

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Well, there have been changes at Bayer Leverkusen. The board handed me a fair transfer budget and I went into the market looking for 2 types of players. The first was a regista - Charles Aranguiz wasn't overly impressive last season and I'm not sure if I see Akkaynak as a holding midfielder, long term I think he could be more of a box-to-box midfielder. I made a shortlist consisting of Granit Xhaka (estimated cost between £32-44 million), Julian Weigl (£38 million release cause), Pierre-Emile Hojberg (part of a relegated Southampton side) and Leandro Paredes (estimated cost between £16-22 million).

After some thought and negotiating, Hojberg was the player I elected to pursue and sign. Southampton accepted an offer of £12 million, which is under his market value and in my opinion, much below his true potential. I didn't think it made sense to sign Xhaka or Weigl for that price, as it could stunt Akkaynak and Havertz's growth. I believe Hojberg can play in any of the midfield positions and can fill in at right back if needed too. A great signing for the club.

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A few young players were brought into the club, none more exciting than Moise Kean. The teenage sensation was poached from Juventus for £1.2 million and could prove to be an absolute steal long term. He'll play as back up this year as we look to develop him and will likely be loaned to a Bundesliga club as a starter next season.

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Now for the sad news. Javier Hernandez has left the club.
Inter Milan came in with an offer that I simply deemed too good to refuse for a 29 year old with 10 months remaining on his contract. We now have the task of replacing a man whom bagged 31 goals for us. Good luck Chicharito, you're welcome back any time.

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This transfer occurred with 2 days left of the window and now I had the task of replacing him. My shortlist consisted of Romelu Lukaku (was available for £16.5-33.5 million earlier on in the season, but now seemed happy at Everton), Michy Batshuayi (transfer listed for £15.5 million), Arkadiusz Milik (available for £12-21 million) and my main target since the start of the save - Roberto Firmino, who was part of a Liverpool side that finished 8th.

I tried and tried for Firmino all summer. I declared interest in him for a transfer, then as my top target before he was unsettled at Liverpool, but Liverpool even rejected a £40 million plus £22 million in bonuses(!) offer for him! I accepted defeat at the beginning of deadline day - it just wasn't going to happen this summer.

So my interests shift to Arkadiusz Milik.

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The former Leverkusen man represented excellent value for money and has already been at Leverkusen previously. I had a bid of £12.75 million potentially rising to £18.5 million accepted for him but a condition that Napoli insisted on was that they sign a replacement first.
Well perhaps I was duked by them, as they made no effort to find a replacement and the deadline passed with the Milik transfer not being able to go through. You've got to be kidding me. The fans are (perhaps understandably) furious that I sold Chicharito and now I don't even have a replacement for him? Disaster.

But then...

"Roberto Firmino has been transfer listed by Liverpool"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. 1 hour after the German deadline closed, Firmino is transfer listed by request by Liverpool and they are asking for £38 million, a far cry from the £62 million I offered a few days previously. I decided to swoop fast and take no chances on losing out on the man I had been pursing since Day 1. As annoyed as I am that he won't be able to be signed until January, at least I finally have got my man.

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Transfer Summary

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A decent summer overall, hopefully Volland can fill the void left by Hernandez as he'll be playing through the middle until Firmino arrives in January. A few decent youth players were signed too, namely Arapi and Koç.

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Beginning of 2017/2018 season

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Not a lot to say about pre-season, we won games we should have won and increased our presence in South Korea as the players returned to match sharpness. We'll be using the same tactics, so I didn't feel a heavy pre season was really needed.

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A nice way to start the season. A very late win against a Hoffenheim who are really a difficult side to play against in this save. Moise Kean came on on the left and changed the game for us, setting up the own goal to draw us leve before Kevin Kampl came up big for us once again as we got our hands on some early season silverware.

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Moise Kean. Even though this was against very poor opposition, a hat-trick for the Italian sensation is very encouraging to see. Hojberg opened his account for the team too.

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What a way to start the season. We utterly dominated the match and even when Mayoral converted the penalty and gave Wolfsburg the lead I wasn't worried - we were that in control. Then Dolberg scored and I almost accepted it was just one of those games. Kevin Volland had other ideas, scoring two goals to drag us back into the game before Calhanoglu held his nerve and earned us 3 points with the last kick of the ball.

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A great performance and solid point. We went with the 5 at the back that we exploited against Gladbach last season and got our rewards for a great performance with Hernandez setting up Akkaynak to equalise at the death.

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Not a great result or performance, but we'll take it. Kevin Kampl is in fine early season goal scoring form.



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4 wins 1 draw 0 losses 14 goals for 4 against

7 points from a possible 9 is not a bad start to our efforts to retain the title. We could struggle for goals until January unless Volland and Kean can deliver for us.

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With Toprak leaving I had to appoint a new captain, step forward Benji Hendrichs. He was superb last season and at just 20, I think he can push forward and become a real world class player. A big responsibility, but one I think he will take in his stride.

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Our Champions League draw could have been worse. Stromgodset should be 6 points, Madrid and Monaco will be a tough fight, but one I think we will be up for. Last 16 has to be the minimum aim again.

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Other than Real Madrid, a fairly generous month ahead for us. Hopefully we can push on and maintain our early season form and don't regret selling Chicharito...

Winning the league in the first year !! What an achievement my friend !! I also like your transfers and generally your transfer policy ! Wish you to continue last season success !!