Welcome back! Today, we will be diving into how Wolfgang did with his St Pauli side in the top flight on the back of the surprising promotion last season.
Wolf did admit to the media that the step-up will be very tough & was expecting some money to ensure investments were made, as half the team were out of contract ahead of the season. Before pre-season kicked off, the media put out their prediction for how the upcoming season would go. It was no surprise to Wolf to see his side rooted at the bottom and anyone else above was essentially a different level.
A very pleasing pre-season performance by the team. In truth, Wolfgang was more concerned with fitness and ensuring the team built some confidence ahead of the season, which was not harmed by a good draw with RB Salzburg. Wolf had Bielsa pop over for a few days at the training ground along with Ralf a week later. They provided their insights and advice for the season ahead, which was what Wolf needed as he had never managed at this level before.
Wolf had a meeting with the board and expressed his concerns over the figure provided around building aside for the top tier. The board only provided just over 2M to spend, which was why Wolf had several meetings to stress the urgency around more funds if the team were to survive. The DNA philosophy is great in many ways but it does rely on a solid transfer budget, particularly when the squad clearly needs a boost. There is a certain age cap, and certain types of characters required, which cannot be found simply via the free transfer market. Even if you did, there are teams with way higher wage budgets that can snap them up instantly.
Ralf got his head down with the scouting department and worked day & night to find the best possible players with the limited funds. The quality was hard to find understandably, he had to divide 2M into a good 10 players. Here is how the team managed to sign before the transfer window slammed shut:
After some incredible work by the backroom team, the club managed to secure some decent signings, particularly for the future. However, it was the present that was more of a pressing concern. Wolf brought in players that, may not be up to the required standard but players who would put in a shift every game and try to surprise the doubters. Wolf even signed a few players for the youth team, so there could be a pathway for players to be promoted from the Under 19s.
The Key Signings:
These 3 players, were important to the way Wolf wanted to play this season. This would create the spine that he would build the team around. As we can see, they possess great team attributes which would come in handy when the team suffered some defeats.
Start of the big season:
As we can see, it was a rocky start to the season. The first league win came in October and after that results started to dip yet again. Then this happened…
Now it was time to get on the phone with the mentor “Bielsa” and see how on earth to deal with this. The easy option is to blame the board, and find excuses but Bielsa always said, there is always a way around things. He advised, to go with the following formation, which would offer some more protection for the backline and counter with pace when we can.
The results for the rest of the season:
Was It enough to stay up? The league table:
Well, St Pauli survived! The fans were so happy and celebrated once they found out that the team were staying up for another season.
The fans played a huge part in the team being able to survive in the league. They filled out the stadium home & away as much as they could! St Pauli came first for average attendance which is amazing!
The Two notable stats to share are the above, where we can see firstly that Fert did a great job in the middle, particularly when moving in the “RGA” role and covering plenty of distance. Serra was the top goalscorer and was just behind the 2 supergiants of the league in terms of shots overall, which was pleasing to see.
The above are other stats worth noting. It was good to see that the team got into the top rankings for some of the overall season stats bearing in mind it was a real tough season. In terms of general stats/data, there was not much to share which gave any great deal of insight.
Wolfgang entered the boss’s office at the end of the season to discuss the plans for next season and the special word “Funds”. The board were unwilling to invest further and asked if the club can sell some assets for profit and use this as funds.
Meetings took place for hours and Wolf provided examples of how the club will struggle for the upcoming season. The next-door neighbours Hamburg were investing yet again so this would potentially leave St Pauli even further behind. The club spent the least amount of money and were 5M off wages compared to the next lowest team.
After consulting with Ralf & Bielsa, Wolfgang decided to part ways with the club and wished the club the best of luck.
The players really backed Wolfie in the end, even with the relentless schedule which was provided to them. This was a real tough one for the fans but for Wolfie, he simply could not continue knowing the team would suffer even more.
Overall, we can consider Wolfgang’s time in Germany a success. He got the team promoted which was never considered to be and managed to escape the drop. The fans have another season in the top flight thanks to him!
Wolf is off to spend some time with his family and have a well-earnt break.
Where would you like to see Wolf go next and apply the “DNA” blueprint? Drop your ideas in the comments. He will be back for sure, so stay tuned!
That wraps up today’s eventful blog. I really do thank you all for the support shown, it really means a lot. More blogs coming your way real soon, a lot of exciting stuff I promise.