After 9 seasons spent between Argentina, England, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Scotland, France and Portugal, we’re moving to Germany for season 10 of The Football Manager Football Show.
For season 9, the idea was that we would take the top 3 teams in Portugal, draw lots and go from there. This time (Shane’s idea), we were to ‘lucky dip’ the Bundesliga – all 18 teams for the 2023/24 season into a box, shake them up and you get who you get.
While Robbie will take over the mantle of Koln with Shane stepping in to look after Augsburg, I may have gotten the sweeter end of the draw with recent Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
The closest I’ve gotten to German football in recent times is a stint as the national manager during the FM21 game cycle where the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was coming up and I guided Germany all the way to the final, only to lose 3-1 to England on the day. It’s also nice (above) how Football Manager tends to remember more of the harsher moments like a fourth-round cup exit to Gil Vicente as opposed to celebrating a league win.
While I was finishing first in Liga Bwin with Benfica (humblebrag, right?), Frankfurt wound up finishing 3rd in Bundesliga for their best league finish in a good 20 years. They’ve been knocking around 5th or 6th for the most part with successes few and far between on the league front. They’ve but one Bundesliga title to their name and you’re going back to 1959, also finishing runner-up once. The dominance of Bayern and Dortmund in recent years has made Bundesliga look a little bit more like the Scottish Premiership albeit with a lot more money being thrown around.
The Bundesliga is one I’ve been looking forward to tackling but much like in Scotland, and drawing on the two seasons with Hibs during the FM22 cycle, it smacks of a league where you need to be making more of a long-term investment unless you’re drawn as Bayern or Dortmund and have the resources to make an immediate challenge and impact.
Looking at the squad, French striker Randal Kolo Muani is among the pick of the bunch having joined Frankfurt from Nantes on a free transfer the season previous. He hit nine goals in 30 games in his debut season with Frankfurt, averaging a 7.04. At 6’2″ he’s got the height, pace and flair though I’m more likely to deploy him on the wing, left or right. With Frankfurt already preferring a 4-2-3-1 setup I’m hoping my approach with Benfica can translate to Germany without much issue.
By way of narrative, I’m reunited after nine seasons with Colombian striker/AMC Rafael Santos Borré. This guy was an absolute wizard for me back in Argentina during the FM21 season. He wound up leaving River IRL at the end of the 2020/21 season and made his way to Frankfurt on a free transfer and is now heading into his third season at the club. While I had deployed him as a 40-goal striker in Argentina, history shows he’s come off the boil a little bit but he can absolutely slot in as a number 10.
Before I get my hands on the team, here’s how they’re looking. With the league likely out of reach, we’ve got ourselves access straight to the group stages of the Champions League and have the DFB-Pokal to look forward to.
Finance-wise, we’ve got a transfer kitty of €27m to spend with about €850k a week going on wages. Strength in depth at the back, another striker and getting a handle on wages are top of my list. The requirements of the board pretty much align with what I would like to do in Germany, albeit it’s likely to be a single-season affair. New recruits need to be young, wages will be tight, more money needs to come in (hello Champions League) and the actual five-year plan looks attainable too, even within the first season.
As ever with the podcast, you’d love to be leaving a team in a better place than when you came in.
Follow the adventure
All that said and done, it’s time to follow the adventure. Season 10 of The Football Manager Football Show will focus on a single-season run in Germany and you’ll be able to get new episodes every Friday. The first of those is available to listen to below.
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