Breaking Bayern #1

Finally, I am back with some written content about Football Manager and my first of FM22. This year has been a bit of crazy one for myself, changing jobs in the real really pulled the handbrake on my FM playing time / content creation. Also, with the closure of my recent site where my content was posted, I had been on the look out for a new home and many thanks to DP-FM for having me! Anyway, enough about that and let’s get stuck into it!

Aims for the Save

I will be taking over at Borussia Dortmund with a simple mission; Breaking Bayern. If you were not aware, Bayern Munich have been dominating the Bundesliga in recent times. This year, Bayern Munich will be aiming to win their tenth successive Bundesliga title. The most recent winners apart from the Bavarian side, were Borussia Dortmund – with who our adventure begins with. Now, you may ask – ‘Why Borussia Dortmund?’. Well, Dortmund have always been my favourite German side. I have had many Bundesliga saves before, but I have never managed Dortmund. With Erling Haaland still currently playing for them, I could not miss the opportunity to manage them this year.

Three Main Aims for the Save

  • Win a Domestic Double
  • Win a Champions League
  • Overtake Bayern Munich as the biggest team in Germany

Borussia Dortmund – An Overview

Since the departure of Jurgen Klopp back in 2015, Borussia Dortmund have gone through six managers since then. I find it quite remarkable that a club with a bigger ‘revolving-door’ policy than Chelsea have managed to stay so competitive in the domestic scene and Europe.

With the departure of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United in the summer, I was expecting to see a large pot of money upon my arrival in Dortmund, but this was not the case. Following the Coronavirus pandemic, Dortmund arguably have been hit the worst in the German top-flight. The sale of Sancho was large but this money was used to replace money they had lost while playing behind closed doors. Signal-Iduna Park boasts the highest capacity in German football with an impressive 81,365. With only £13 million as the balance, I will have to manage finances carefully moving forward.

Club Vision

Club vision

It is quite evident from the meeting that the Dortmund board have a clear vision for their club. They want attacking, entertaining football while signing young and preferably German players for the club. But the one point which I found interesting was ‘Sign players from domestic rivals’. Personally, I have never come across this before (let me know if you have). I researched recent Dortmund signings to see if they have been doing this over recent times, and it turns out they have. Players such as Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt, Mats Hummels and Gregor Kobel have all been signed from fellow Bundesliga teams in recent times.

The Squad & Pre-Season

Starting Squad

Dortmund have a really nice squad to start with. Obviously a few names stick out, Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, Marco Reus and Axel Witsel to just to name a few. On first glance at the squad, I noticed that we were a bit light at the back. Existing injuries to Mats Hummels and Dan-Axel Zagadou would rule them out for the first part of the season.

With only £13 million to spend in the transfer market, I would be very limited in I chose to bring in to strengthen at the back.

Formation

Assessing the current squad, I came to conclusion that this was our best suited formation to use. While there is no tactical familiarity at this present time, I will take pre-season to decide what team instructions / player instructions would be needed to make this shape work. The formation could either work, resulting in scoring plenty of goals; or it could flat on our face resulting in us being more leaky than my kitchen tap.

Pre-season

Pre-season proved to a be a successful one. While the teams we faced were not very competitive, it was good to see how the tactic was working. With Haaland spear-heading our formation, we want to utilise him as much as we can before he inevitably moves on to pastures new. Haaland scored 12 in 5 during pre-season; so if that was a sign of things to come, it would make me a happy man.

Transfers

While money was tight, we did manage to make our first two signings of our tenure at Dortmund.

Facundo Torres (Penarol)

Our first signing of the window was highly-rated Uruguayan attacking midfielder Facundo Torres from Penarol. We managed to pick Torres up for just £4.5 million; £1.5 million up front, £3 million spread across 2 years. The transfer is arranged to be finalised at the of the current Uruguayan season, which means Facundo Torres will officially become a Borussia Dortmund player on January 1st 2022.

James Tarkowski (Burnley)

Hear me out…

Prior to the new season starting, there was rumours going around camp that some key players were growing unsettled at the lack of depth at centre back. While I searched the market for fellow domestic centre backs that were available, none of them matched up to big James Tarkowski. With his contract running down at Burnley, we snatched him up on deadline-day for £11 million. Maybe a bit pricey for someone who is on a free at the end of the year; but we needed the depth urgently thanks to a growing injury list. This may not be my finest Football Manager signing… but let’s see how it plays out.

Supercup

The traditional curtain-raiser for the German season seen us face of against FC Bayern. We were fresh from winning the DFB-Pokal under the stewardship of Edin Terzic, while Bayern welcomed their new head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who has taken over from Hansi Flick.

The game was to be played at our home ground, the Signal-Iduna Park. This was an early opportunity to judge where we were at heading into the new season. I was hopeful for victory and a bit of silverware, but most importantly I wanted us to put up a good performance against the best team in Germany.

Supercup 2021/22

Unfortunately, it ended in defeat for us.

I was very pleased with the performance, a game which was back and forth until the very end. We took an early lead from well-worked corner routine, Marin Pongracic turning in a Thorgan Hazard delivery. Unfortunately, our lead only lasted only 12 minutes, who else but Robert Lewandowski turning in a low cross from Jamal Musiala. Bayern really turned on the pressure from then until half-time, creating a couple of great chances. We managed to hold on until half-time where I gave the lads a few words of encouragement.

It seemed to work as we started the half very brightly, but against the run of play Leon Goretzka picked out Leroy Sane to finish off a deadly Bayern counter attack. That goal took the wind out of our sails, but we managed to gather ourselves together and force a late onslaught on the Bayern goal. Haaland and Reus both managed to rattle the woodwork late on and we were unlucky not to take the tie to penalties. Despite the defeat, the character that was displayed from us was great to see and it will hopefully stand us in good stead for the upcoming season.

Thanks for reading!

Stay safe,

Tom

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