Welcome to part 3 of the 2020/2021 season with SC Verl!
As mentioned in Part 2, the team was doing quite well on the field, top of the league half way through the season. Off-field, we’re seriously struggling financially.
Let’s see what happened…
January Transfer Window
Without wiggle room in our wage budget I found it impossible to sign any decent German midfielders on loan. Bundesliga 2 and Bundesliga teams were asking for high wage percentage and fees, so I resorted to signing one of my favorite players in last year’s game, Manchester City youngster – Joe Hodge.
I signed Joe Hodge on a free in FM20 during my save with Eibar. He slotted perfectly in my tactic as a DLP(D) and was ultra consistent. He went on to play over 300 games with Eibar until he decided it was time to go back home to England. If he plays nearly as good as he did in FM20 then we should be in a decent spot.
Philipp Sander will be joining us for free next summer as his contract with Holstein Kiel runs out at the end of the season. He has been decent so far this season with a rating of 6.8.
In terms of out-going, Mehmet Kurt will go on loan to Duisburg until the end of the year with £1.1k p/m loan fee to try and help our finances.
Second Half of the Season
(I have to admit, I smashed my space bar through the rest of the season…)
January – March
Sad news – Our dear Chairman, Director of Football, and club icon Raimund Bertels decided not to run for re-election. Thankfully, Bertels will now move to full time Director of Football. On the other hand, Mr. Marcel Dieck ended up winning elections so let’s welcome him as our new Chairman. He immediately injected £120k into the club, bringing our balance to around -£420k 🙄. Let’s see how we get along in the next few seasons.
Back to the football. I normally don’t like bringing in key players during January because it can sometimes disrupt the way your team plays. In my case, Joe Hodge came into the team and did exactly what I was hoping for. He went on to score a banger in his debut against Manheim, helping the team win the game 3-2. We managed to win four out of five games.
We dropped points against Rostock & Magdeburg with a couple of last minute goals. Thankfully we went on to win in-style against Insgolstadt (sweet sweet revenge). We continued with four great wins, including three clean sheets. We finished March with a comeback against Lübeck after going down 2-0 in the first half.
April – May
Kaiserslautern have been neck to neck with us through the season. Midseason, they were four points behind us. Fast forward to April, nothing has changed. The Die Roten Teufel were still on our toes. Someone was going to let up, it was make it or break it.
We need to win four out of five games in April to gain promotion to Bundesliga 2. Continuing our nine game winning streak, we followed with five more wins in April, including three clean sheets in three away games. Our 0-4 away win against Halle sent us to Bundesliga 2!!!
On the other hand Kaiserslautern tied against Halle 2-2 and lost 0-3 at home against Underhaching, a team they previously beat 5-0 in first half of the season (gotta love FM). This gave us a nine point lead heading to May.
The title race was on. With a possible title defining game at the end of the season we headed into May full of confidence. With promotion secured, we needed two wins to snatch the title from Kaiserslautern. Two games later, it’s MADNESS at the Stadion an der Grünwalder Straße as we managed to beat Türkgücü 0-3 to win the 3. Liga title!!!
Best of the Bunch
After an excellent season in which we broke plenty of defensive and offensive records. It’s no surprise that the 3. Liga Team of the Year included some of our players.
Joe Hodge and Samuel Lengle were instrumental in the midfield. Their break up play and passing range was good enough to support our attacking players.
Justin Eilers ended as 3. Liga’s top goalscorer and managed to win Player of the Year. His link up play with Matthias Haeder, Nico Hecker, and Zlatko Janjic was at times beautiful, with most of their goals being assisted by one another.
With the help of Robin Brüseke, Julian Stöckner, and Lars Riska we kept twenty-two clean sheets in thirty-eight games. These three were phenomenal through out the entire season.
FM can be a silly game. My favorite save last year was MaddFM’s May The Fürth Be With You with Greuther Fürth. In this save, Madd did an Irish takeover of the club, from chairman to coaching staff. One of his aims of the save was to produce an Irish newgen, hoping to groom to them for the Irish national team. Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t read it, Madd doesn’t see an Irishman come through his academy until the last season of his save.
Fast forward to my save with SC Verl and I’m gifted two Irish newgens by the FM Gods. This is almost unfair since our academy is crap. These two were the only players who were decent enough to highlight. At first glance, they seem to have a high enough potential to maybe sneak into the first team, but we all know how these little stars work.
I’ll continue to track the progress of these two players as well as other notable youth players coming through our ranks. Our academy is nowhere near great, we won’t see any decent players come through for a while. I’m hoping that once we make it to the Bundesliga our chairman will allow us to invest into the infrastructure of the club.
Our U-19 team had no actual players until our Youth Intake. The kids were able to help our u-19 team win their division in the last game of the season.
End of Season Review
If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with me. I’m trying my best to not get too carried away with information, images and my own thoughts.
Next up is a busy summer transfer window & preseason.