Here we are again! After last seasons dismal trophyless display we really need to push on and try and start winning trophies on a regular basis. In my estimations I need another 8 domestic titles, either league or cup to take the top spot on the Austrian Hall of Fame!
As massive clearout! Mainly over the summer but also 2 outs in the winter break.
The 2 Mayrs, Alex the Striker and Dave the GK both just didn’t cut it, they’ve moved on to rather big clubs seeing as they really aren’t that good! The Scheiner deal had gone through before the end of last season, he wasn’t getting the game time he wanted so left. The main first teamers to leave in the Summer were RB Schwab, CM Radosavljevic and Cvancara. They just hadn’t done it for me and with better players coming in I let them go, all for a profit on what they were signed for.
The likes of Wurzinger, Addo, Ahfeldt and Maier were all backups. The big one to leave in the Winter was Striker Houska, as much as he scored a few goals he was driving me mad. One game he would score 3, then he would go 4 or 5 games without a goal, it got me so mad that I offered him out to clubs, I made a £1m profit on him but overall he has disappointed me.
So a lot of outs and I really needed a few in’s to improve the quality of the squad. I mentioned in my previous post I wanted to bring in a little bit of experience to the team, spend a bit of money if needed and improve the quality of the forward line.
I managed to achieve the first 2 but during the summer I tried and failed to bring in a new Striker, I ended up signing one on loan and then in the Winter I eventually managed to get a better player in after losing Houska. So here they all are!
Rodrigo Otegui – Right Back – £135k from Racing Club
An amazing price for a cracking looking player, experienced, has caps for Uruguay. will replace Schwab at RB and be vying with Strobl for that starting spot.
Stefan Bohrer – Defensive Midfield – Free Transfer from Mainz
Another great deal and a player brought in to replace Cvancara.
Felix Reith – Central Defence – £3m from BMG
The experiences CB I was looking for! A brilliant deal for a really decent looking player. Will be challenging Garate for the starting spot alongside Kovacevic.
Eugenio Acosta – Central Midfield
Another experienced player and my replacement for Radosavljevic. I wanted a CM who can also play as an AM. This guy looks great and will be challenging Delic for that CM role.
Salim Coly – Right Wing – Season loan from Sevilla
A last minute deal just before the season started. I had earmarked Emrullah Şahinkaya to be my back-up RW this season behind Camara but at the last minute decided he would be better off going out on loan for part of the season to give him more game time so brought Coly in as back up.
Oriel Alonso – Striker – Season loan from Barcelona
The last minute Striker I eventually got in, I wanted a more experienced striker to be honest but all the deals I tried for were just too much money, so Alonso will come in and challenge for that starting Striker spot.
Philip Willems – Striker – £10.5 from Ajax
After losing Houska in January I had to go out and get a really high quality Striker, Willems fits that perfectly, young and already scoring more than a goal every 2 games. He comes with a big price tag but I seriously hope he can live up to the billing,
We had a pretty decent run in the Champions League but not as good as last season. As we came 2nd in the league we had to qualify through the “best placed” rounds starting in round 2.
We had some really tricky ties but overcame Rangers 2-0 on aggregate in round 2, Standard 4-1 in round 3 and then came through a really hard task against Krasnodar, 0-0 in the home we went all out attack in the away and smashed them 4-1 to qualify for the Group Stage.
We were handed a really tricky group, Man City, Spartak (for the 2nd year in a row) and Ajax were our opponents, we did OK but after 5 games we had only won 2 and lost 3, the 2 wins however were sensational games. As we entered the final match we were already out but still had a chance of ending 3rd and qualify for the Europa League, we had to beat Spartak at home and a late Garate goal sealed a 1-0 win.
So it was down to the Europa League but still a decent tournament to be in and I wanted to go as far as I could, boy what a run we had!
First up was Sporting Lisbon, it seemed like a tough game but after a 2-1 win away in the first leg we eased through with a 3-1 home win. In the last 16 was Shakhtar, away first we played well but lost the game 3-2, we had to go for it in the home leg and 2 first half goals put us ahead, we defended stoutly to go through 4-3 on aggregate.
The Quarter finals were next and we faced what looked like a really tough task against Napoli, the first leg was away once more and my god what a match it was! 3-1 down at half time, we made changes at the break and just went for it, we managed to turn it around and win the game 4-3. The home leg was a lot cagier and ended 0-0 but it meant we had got into the semis!
Where we would faced Man Utd!! Impossible task you say? Hell no! We played at home first and dispatched them 3-1 in one of our best performances of the season. We lost the away leg but only 1-0 and we had somehow, against all odds scraped into the Europa league final!!
Where we faced another English side Liverpool, it ended up being one step too far. We played amazing and scored early to take the lead but Liverpool pegged us back just before half time. That’s how it stayed when the final whistle blew and it went to extra time, the legs faded and Liverpool capitalised scoring twice before half time, that’s how it ended, we had lost 3-1 but my god what a run it was!
A great season in the cup, forgetting all memories of what happened the season before, our only stumbling block was the 2nd round against Altach where we only went through on penalties, 5 rounds, 5 wins and 0 goals conceded and we had got into the final!
And with Salzburg being knocked out in Round 2 we faced Wolfsberger. What happened in this tie will live long in the memory as one of those games on FM!
- 3 mins – 0-1
- 5 mins – 1–1
- 7 mins 2-1!
- 11 mins – 3-1!!!
- 14 mins – 4-!!!!!!
- 15 mins – 4-2!!
What an epic start to a game, it slowed down after that but at half time we went in 5-2 up! The scored a penalty on 55 mins but we capped the tie off in the 94th min to win the game 6-3 and be Austrian Cup winners once more
Austrian Premier League
So could we do any better in the league than last season, my god yes we did! 12 games in and we had only dropped 2 points, we did lost a couple of games but as we ended the regular season we sat top by 13 points!
As always this was halved and as normal for us it halved in the way we didn’t want, 13 points cut to 6. Surely we couldn’t bottle this lead!
We did lose our first game of the Championship group but a 3-0 win at home to Salzburg kept our lead at the top. A couple of dodgy draws followed but Salzburg were also slipping up and with 3 games to go we sat 6 clear but 2nd placed Salzburg only had 2 left. Next up home to Wolfsberger knowing a point would clinch it, with a few injuries in the squad I decided to rest a few players for the upcoming Man Utd game and gave young Striker Hajek a start, boy did he repay me, he smashed in a hat-trick to win the game 3-1 and crown us Austrian Premier Division Champions!!!
An absolutely incredible season just got even better!
Austrian Cup Winners, Austrian League Winners and Europa League Runners-up! What a sensational season and that has well and truly banished the ghosts of last season!
So a brilliant season but who impressed me the most?
Jaud Bangala was incredible once more, when all my players were slipping in their form Bangala kept pushing scoring so many vital goals throughout the season, He ended with 17 goals and 12 assists in 4 starts and was named the clubs player of the year
Bacar Camara ended as the clubs top goalscorer (19) and ended with the most assists (22), he had a few dodgy patches through the season but overall was one of my best players.
And finally the other side of the awesome trio in AM is LW Momandou Kouame, a brilliant season for him, he ended with the highest average rating in the squad (7.49 from 51 starts), scoring 17 and getting 19 assists. You can clearly see where most of my goals and assists came from!
And for your perusal is the whole squad.
The Conveyor Belt
Now to the conveyor belt and let’s see how the boys did who I picked out from last season.
Petr Hajek didn’t play too many games due to how well on-loan Alonso did and also when Willems came in for that big fee but when he was called upon never let us down, 11 starts and 11 goals with an average rating of 7.38. A brilliant season and he will be sticking around the first team squad next season as back-up to Willems
With the loan signing of Coly to be my backup RW I decided for the first half of the campaign to send Emrullah Şahinkaya out on loan to first division side USK Anif, he only played 11 games but seemed to be playing decently, with Coly not doing that well I decided to recall Emrullah in the winter break to give him a shot in some matches. he started 13 games overall, quite a few but mainly due to a few injuries, scoring 1 and getting 5 assists, he will definitely be my No. 2 RW next season.
So who have I picked out for next season?
Well I’ve chosen 2 players who I signed midway through the season before.
Johannes Gruber – Central Defender
This guy will be my 4th choice CB for next season and I will try and give him game time in the cup and also in some of the easier league games.
Radek Grussman – Left Back
Grussman has actually started a lot of games this season and has performed fantastically. With my No. 1 LB Holzer moaning about me not playing youth players (ironic I know!) and also not playing well I plan to make Grussman my No. 1 next season and see how he does.
Hall of Fame Update
So with 2 more trophies under my belt I’m now well in the Austrian Hall of Fame Top 10. I still have a long way to go though, with 84 points for a league win and 83 for a cup win I think I need 4 more league titles and 2 more cups to top the Hall of Fame, I think that’s what I need anyway!
So what a season it’s been. And next season it has to be more of the same. I seemed to have righted the wrongs from last year, cleared out the deadwood and brought in some decent experiences players who have all improved the squad.
So next season has to be more of the same, we need to carry on our dominance from this season. The Europa League run has also given me the taste for Europe, I’d love to another decent run.
The main areas of the playing squad I’m going to be looking at is firstly in goal, I only have Araujo and although he is performing well I do feel I can sign an improvement. I’ve already mentioned my left back issues, Holzer looks great but his performances have been substandard and I think I need to move him on.
Something I’ve noticed this season is a couple of my Strikers out on loan have had great campaigns. Adelwarth, who I have been looking at to kick since his substandard season last time out went on loan to Russian Premier Division side Olimpiets and scored 19 in 26 games and also 23 year old Austrian Lucas Fiedler who just hasn’t been near my plans so far has really impressed on loan at Mattersberg scoring 20 in 35 games. So both of these will come into the first team and provide competition to Willems and youngster Hajek.
Other than that I want to keep the squad as it is. I know I’m going to get offers for my star players but hopefully I can ward teams off and try and keep the squad together for another season.
Anyway that’s all from me for now, thanks for reading!