And we’re back! I’ve had a lot going on these last few weeks at work as well as moving apartments. To top it off, I’ve been in a rut when whenever I came back to finish writing this post. I’m not sure if any of you out there ever feel this way about any of your saves. As much as I love winning and playing decent football, there are times when winning becomes monotonous, and not satisfying. It just didn’t feel as challenging as I would have wanted to.
If you couldn’t guess what happened this season (SPOILER ALERT!), we won Bundesliga 2. And we’ve been promoted to the top flight for the first time in almost 100 years! Alrighty… let’s take a brief look at how this season went.
First Half – 21/22
Goals from new boys Christian Frydek & Florian Krüger saw us go pass Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin and into the second round. A 1-0 win in the second round against St. Pauli came in a timely manner after Florian Krüger slotted a goal in the dying minutes of extra time. More on this in a bit…
After our preseason overhaul in which we saw 13 players came in. With the board only asking us to fight bravely against relegation, the only worry I had was whether or not the team would gel. Thankfully, there was nothing to worry about.
A 14-game unbeaten streak helped us make the top of the table our own. I would attribute the great performances to the constant rotation of players, mentoring and social groups. The social groups becomes smaller as the season went on, at the time of writing, we went from having 3 groups to 2, one containing 18 of the 22 players.
Florian Krüger has scored 13 goals in 17 matches (not to mention 3 goals in the DFB-Pokal). Including a hat-trick in a 3-1 win against 1. FCN. A pair of braces against Wolfsburg and Greuther Fürth. He has been more than consistent. Billy Jones made his debut and becoming the youngest player to play for Verl (a record I hope we continue to break).
January Transfer Window
Transfers – Out
– Philipp Sander wasn’t getting enough playing time so he was sent to FSV Frankfurt on loan for the rest of the year.
– Wang Zhijiang was constantly pursued by Bundesliga teams. On deadline day, RB Leipzig & Hertha Berlin battled it out for his signature as £5m bids were accepted by the board. In the end, he decided to join Hertha Berlin.
Transfers – In
– Tobias Leclerc comes as free transfer from League 2 side CS Sedan Ardennes. He will train with the first team and will serve as backup goalkeeper once he’s ready.
Second Half – 21/22
Our monthlong winter break was over and so was our unbeaten run (in all competitions) after losing in the 3rd round of the DFB-Pokal against FC Koln. Luckily, we did not skip a beat in the league. We carried our league form from the first half of the season and took our unbeaten run to 24 games. In the 10 games between January and March, we outscored our opponents 23-3.
A 3-0 win against Erzgebirge Aue helped us secure a playoff spot, our main man Krüger came to haunt his old team with a brace. Six days later we secured promotion to the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win against Wolfsburg. A win against Bochum would have secured the title but a late goal from Tom Weilandt haltered our celebration, we were able to create any chances and the game ended 1-1. The title was within reach and what’s better than to celebrate at “home,” right? Sandhausen came to SchücoArena (more on this later) and gifted us the title. The next three wins against Jahn, Osnabrück, and Greuther Furth helped Florian Kruger and Christian Frydek top the league charts in Goals and Assists, respectively.
We ended 17 points ahead of Bochum and 24 points ahead of 3rd place Wolfsburg. We also had the best defense and offense in the league. We’re received £16.12m for winning the Bundesliga 2. We’ve been given £95K a week, which is more than double our wage this year, plus, £666k to the transfer budget.
Best of the Bunch
Christian Frydek: He was the creative force in the team, he shinned whether as a mezzala and especially as a SS when playing a 4231. He led the league in assists, key passes and chances created.
Florian Krüger: Not only was Florian Bundesliga 2 top goalscorer, but he also won Play of the Year. He was a beast all season, joy to watch.
Luca Netz: Although his numbers may not reflect it he was the most consistent player this year. He made the left-wing his own.
Our two Irish youngsters were a huge surprise. Billy Jones & Ian Robinson coming through our youth intake last year, I was excited to see how this year’s intake would be. To my disappointment, 21/22 was complete blah. Although no one was rated more than 3 stars, I decided to sign all of them. Maybe there’s a hidden gem in there.
Billy Jones was able to contribute 3 assists in 13(5) games to finish the season with a 6.75 avgr. Bahaa Abdelhalim also made his debut this season after turning 17yo in January. He went on to play 8(2) games and finished the season with a 6.86 avgr.
I was not able to register Ian Robinson so we were down a CD throughout the season. Luckily, Samuel Lengle was able to provide cover when needed. I’m not sure if this is a bug or not, but does anyone know what the exact age rule is in Germany? I’ve seen players irl such as Youssoufa Moukoko playing at age 16. It seems FM’s AI has taken the age rule very seriously and does not allow you to register a player unless they are 17 years old.
There were no major trophies won this season by either youth team.
Stadium: We were told that once promoted we would have to move stadiums since our stadium wasn’t not up to Bundesliga standards. With no money in the bank, our only option was to share stadiums with Armenia Bielefeld for the 21/22 season. I’m not sure why the thought of sharing stadiums with another team bothers me so much. I’m hoping for us to survive the Bundesliga so we can make enough money for a new stadium. I will harass whomever our managing director is.
Facilities: With the sale of Wang Zhijiang, we were able to balance our books after being in the red for almost two years. We used some of that money and invested it into our youth and training facilities. We are nowhere near the state-of-the-art facilities that would require us to have the best academy in Germany.
End of Season Review
Winning the league year made me feel kind of numb. I can’t help but wish to have stayed a season or two. The only excitement about being promoted is the idea of being relegated or being stuck in a relegation battle.
Promotion to the Bundesliga will have us add all of our transfer budget into the wages, there’s a lot of raises coming this preseason. Let’s see what the next transfer window has in store for us, most of the first-team players are wanted by clubs all over Europe and Asia.
Once again, thank you for sticking around until the end!
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