I want to thank everyone who’s given the series a read in the last few months. It’s been fun writing about my little journey with SC Verl. With FM22 Beta out, I decided this will be the last full season review for the save.
Last season was the most successful in the club’s history by winning the Bundesliga on the last day of the season. Could we win back-to-back titles? Let’s take a look.
Samuel Lengle was the first player to leave, he joins Napoli for 25.5M (37M). André França had three RBs ahead of him so he’s off to Düsseldorf for 7.25m. Young Turkish CM Lukas Avci wanted more playing time included in his new contract so when FC Lorient came in with an offer I couldn’t refuse it, he’s off for 9.75m and 45% of next sale.
Matthew Hoppe had become one of my favorite players in this save. The American contributed to a ton of late goals coming off the bench to save us, time and time again. We would have not won the league last season without his effort. I offer him a new contract when West Brom activated his release clause but he declined. In four seasons, he contributed with 59 goals and 27 assists, averaging a 7.17 rating in 110 games, 80 starts + 30 off the bench.
Goalkeepers: Christian Früchl (27), Tobias Leclerc (22)
Defenders: Manfred Chudoba (20), Bahaa Abdelhalim (22), Kilian Senkbeil (28), Ian Robinson (21), Didier Leger (22), Luca Netz (24), Jonathan Meier (27)
Midfielders: Ilkay Gündogan (36), Christian Frydek (28), Joe Hodge (24), Isak Hansen-Aarøen (22), Kentarô Azuma (22)
Wingers: Mika Schroers (25), Tjas Begic (23), Billy Jones (22), Ivan Perera (21), Roald van de Bosch (19)
Forwards: Florian Krüger (28), Paul Glatzel (26), Thomas Amang (29), Albert Braut Tjåland
We secured our first German Supercup (the 4th trophy of the save) after a tight game against Borussia Dortmund. Although we dominated most of the game, Dortmund snuck in a late goal to take the game to extra-time then eventually to penalties.
Two convincing wins against Eichede and Hoffenheim pinned us against our Arch-nemesis, Hertha Berlin. Our youngsters were not able to continue their winning ways so we’re out in the 3rd round.
This season’s group draw was a bit more favorable than last year. Real Madrid were the only top club in our group. Somehow were able to beat Real Madrid in both legs quite comfortably and the same went for Rangers. Our only lost and draw were caused by Ajax.
We faced Atletico Madrid in the first knockout round. The away leg was quite boring, neither team was able to get going. There were a total of 42 fouls throughout the game, ending the match (0-0). The return leg was competitive until Renan Lodi was sent off in the 33rd minute, we didn’t look back scoring 5 goals past Jan Oblak.
Just like last season, we were off to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Quarterfinals. This time around there were no threats of getting knocked out as we dominated both matches winning (3-0) on aggregate.
Our final stop in our Champions League journey would be Barcelona. The Catalans had come off a (9-1) aggregate win against Porto. Our trip to Barcelona was a disaster, they toyed with us the entire game, a goal by Marcus Rashford and 2 more goals by Lautaro Martinez followed ending the game (3-0). The return leg was the complete opposite. We dominated the game until Odsonne Edouard pulled one back in the 84th minute, sending Barça to the Champions League Final against Man Utd.
Manchester United would go on to win their 3rd consecutive Champions League!
We began the Bundesliga season with arguably the hardest run of games. A (2-0) win against Bayern in the opening game of the season was a delight. That win was followed by a (1-2) win against Dortmund, the ever present Florian Krüger coming the rescue in the 90+1 minute. We dismantled Leverkusen (5-2) to finish the month of August with 9 points.
The next two months were relatively successful, we were still unbeaten in the league. In the 8 matches that were played between September and October, we were only able to win four. Three of our the four ties came towards the end of October, all three ending (0-0).
After three scoreless games, I decided to go back the original 4-4-2 tactic. The players have developed well enough to keep possession in the final third, which was a major issue a couple seasons ago. The changes helped us win four games on the bounce and two more ties to maintain our unbeaten run of 17 matches, taking us top of the league four points above Bayern.
The second half of the season started off with our first defeat in 17 games. The (0-3) loss to Bayern narrowed our lead on the league table to just 1 point. Then, two (0-0) draws against Dortmund and Leverkusen brought us 3 points behind Bayern. Our form picked up between February and March only losing 4 points out of 21 possible points. The nine game unbeaten streak brought us leveled with Bayern with seven games left to play in the season.
I wish I could tell you that we didn’t drop any points for the remainder of the season but unfortunately we lost to Schalke (1-2) putting us three points behind Bayern once again. This lost will haunt us for the rest of the season. In the next five games we only allowed 1 goal vs 17 goals that we scored against our oppositions.
It all came down to the last game of the season, we needed Bayern to lose as we were up on goal difference, sadly that didn’t happen, Bayern continued to be Bayern and won the league in the last game of the season.
Best of the Bunch
Like last year, we had a ton of players who had a fantastic season. Somehow none of them made it to the Bundesliga or Player’s Teams of the Year. I wanted to highlight one of my favorite players in the save. Team leader and Club Legend, Florian Krüger.
Florian Kruger did not set the the Bundesliga on fire since his arrival to SC Verl five years ago. The forward did become a great leader, specially in the last three season helping mentor our young forwards.
This season, he scored 21 goals and assisted another 5 in 32 (15) appearances. He was ever present and saved our skin plenty of times. Those goals helped Krüger become the all-time goalscorer for SC Verl with 111 goals in all competitions.
After last season’s disappointing Youth Intake, I fired the HofYD right away and decided to bring in Andrey Arshavin as my new Head of Youth Development. A season later he brought in a “good group of players.” At least six players stood out to me, although only four are worth showing.
The cream of the crop this season was Pascal Bergjohann. The young Dutch striker looks like a world beater! Not sure if he would ever be at the level of Ed’s Alfredo, but with some . The other player that stood out is half German/half Singaporean striker Christopher Murthy.
We were finally able to bring in some young Nicaraguan players through our intake. Although, that was not of the objectives of the save, it was a lovely surprise. Juan Lopez and Jeremy Vega don’t look that great, but all I could dream about was them getting called up to Nicaraguan national team.
- Ian Robinson made 39 appearances in all competitions scoring 3 goals and adding 2 assists, he averaged a 7.10 rating.
- Billy Jones had a couple of injuries throughout the season that preventing him from cementing his spot on the left wing. He finished the season with a 7.10 average rating, scoring 1 goal and providing 6 assists in 16 (14) appearances.
- Joshua Embers had a successful first season with the first team, the young defender finished the season with 4 goals and 1 assists with an average rating of 7.43 in 17 (4) appearances.
- Roald van de Bosch had his first full season in the first team mainly coming off the bench. The Dutch youth international scored 2 goals and registered 8 assists in 12 (11) appearances with an average rating of 7.03.
- Gabriel Sanclemente made 15 (5) appearances in his first season with the 1st team. The Colombian youth international scored 5 goals and assisted 6 averaging 7.10 rating.
- Sattar Mousavi spent the season with VfL Bochum the 19 y/o forward made 32 (1) appearances in the Bundesliga. Although, Bochum were relegated and he did not have the best season, Sattar ended up winning the German U19 Player of the Year. He scored 6 goals, followed by 3 assists with an average rating of 6.59.
- Pascal Skibbe made his first team debut, the 17y/o ended the season 2 (3) apps scoring 1 goal. Pascal won the German U17 Player of the Year. .
End of Season Review
SC Verl has come a long way in the seven years that I’ve been at the club. I leave the club with the facilities almost maxed out. For some reason even with hundreds of millions of pounds the board did not want to build a new stadium, it would have been great to see the team player in at our grounds.
Because of the self impose transfer ban, I needed to figure out ways to get the best out of the academy. I harassed the club every time I could to add more foreign affiliates to boost our academy. We were able to add several teams from a wide range of countries, including Netherlands, Slovakia. Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
As I said in the last post, I was too ambitious at the beginning of the save with the objectives but winning the Bundesliga with such a small and underrated team is the highlight of the save. I wished to have added the DFB-Pokal and at least the Europa League, but I am more than happy with my experience in Germany.
Now that FM22 Beta is out I’ll be playing beta save until the release of the game. With that said, the next post will be an introduction to the team that I will be managing on FM22.
Once again, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and follow along on Twitter/Slack.