So here we are, the end of my first season with German side Wolfsburg and boy it’s been an interesting season. Could we push Bayern and could we end the season with some kind of silverware? It’s certainly been challenging and incredible fun. Let’s take a look.
There was a small bit of movement in my squad as expected. 2 players left for cash before the season started. Striker Nlend and Midfielder Krmpotic both wanted to leave and I didn’t feel they were good enough so cashed in.
Ozturk (GK) and Viso (LW) both left in the Winter, neither had featured at all so I moved them on.
We also lost 2 of our strikers before the start of the season as their contracts ran out and wouldn’t sign new ones.
So I needed a few improvements to the squad so there were a few signings, some faces you may recognise!
Samet Mehmet – Goalkeeper – Free Transfer from Akhisarspor
This actually wasn’t my signing but a pre-arranged one by the old manager, but what a player, 4* CA and PA and by far my best GK.
Phillip Willems – Striker – £10.25m from Rapid Wien
An absolute steal, one of my stars from my time at Rapid has moved over with me and will be vying for a starting spot this season. Top quality and as you will see later had a very good season.
Slobodan Kostic – Central Midfield – £13.5m from Rapid Wien
Another Rapid player comes over to the Bundesliga, this one was an even bigger steal, valued at £24m, his release clause was £13.5m so I snapped him up, he will be a star man for us for years to come.
Eray Ustun – Central Defence – £7m from Akhisarspor
A last minute end of window deal, we seemed to be leaking goals at the start of the season so I decided to shore up my defence with this quality defender.
Vuk Kosoric – Striker – £2.6m from Partizan
A January signing and another brilliant deal. This guy looks amazing and is only 20 years old. Was brought in as my 4th choice striker, my plans to play a 442 meant I needed 4 top strikers.
And finally, the one signing I wanted. The man, the myth, the legend joins me as my U23 Manager!
I do have to admit he is still rubbish his attributes are improving!
So as this is my first season I want to show you my whole first team squad for this campaign:
As you will see below I want to employ a 442 as this been the successful tactic for Wolfsburg over the past couple of years. We do have the squad to pull it off but we have the issue of 2 top quality AMs who I will have to retrain as CMs, although Toscani is adamant he wants to move to a “bigger club”!
And here is the tactic I’ve spent the season using, its pretty basic but I’ve tried to balance roles but also use ones that are preferred by the players. The striker roles have mixed about a bit, I tried a DLF and AF, I also tried a CF and P but the AF/CF combo seems to have produced the best results.
I’ve spent the season playing Standard/Flexible but have took it to Counter when we have played Bayern and other quality teams away from home.
The only TI’s I’ve used are Prevent GK Distribution and Close Down More, I have spent more time looking at opposition so in some games I’ve shortened the passing or lowered the tempo to try and make us keep the ball against teams that are of lower quality than us to try and give us better control of a game.
No qualifiers, straight into the group stage for us and what a draw it was! Stoke (Europa League Winners), Fiorentina and yes we drew old club Rapid Wien!
We breezed through the group stage dropping our only points in our final game of the stage away to Rapid, where I played a total reserve team, funnily enough this was Rapid’s only point!
A nice easy group stage!
It got a lot lot harder in the knockout stages as we were drawn against English champs Manchester City and after the first leg it was an uphill battle, we managed to hold them out for 70 mins before conceding 2 goals late on.
In the home leg we did manage to win but it wasn’t enough, a 2-1 win was great but we were out 3-2 on aggregate.
German Super Cup
So the first game of my tenure at Wolfsburg was in the German Super Cup, and what a game it was! We started off like a train scoring in only 35 seconds, Bayern equalised pretty quickly but we immediately retook the lead as star American Striker Stuart Weber scored a lovely goal. Then right on half time the hammer blow, Bayern scored with literally the last kick of the half and it seriously dented our confidence.
The second half was a battering, we couldn’t get out of our half, we tried to take control but Bayern were too good, scoring 2 more goals and ending up 4-2 winners.
It was an annoying first game but there were lots of positives, this game made me realise we needed to improve our defence!
In my previous post I had pinpointed the German Cup as something I really wanted to win this season so what happened was an absolute disgrace!
We started off well with a 9-0 demolition of lower league side Schott Mainz.
Then came one of the most annoying games I’ve witnessed, away to 2nd tier side Augsburg, we took an early lead and absolutely hammered them but couldn’t increase our lead, their keeper saved 2 penalties and they scored with their only 2 shots of the game to win the game 2-1.
Such a frustrating game but if you don’t take your chances you aren’t going to win.
And so to the big one, after a frustrating Super cup loss and a short run in the cup the Bundesliga was the last trophy left to win domestically and boy did we perform!
We matched Bayern all the way, swapping top spot with them game after game, then with 14 games to go and both of us unbeaten we faced Bayern at home and turned around a 1-0 deficit with 10 minutes to go to win the game 2-1. This still didn’t mean we were clear at the top, we still were 1 point behind them. Even though we were unbeaten we had drawn 7 out of 21 games, some of them really poor performances and because of this we were still chasing.
Over the next few months we performed well, another couple of poor draws but some great wins and with Bayern losing 2 more against Schalke and Leverkusen we found ourselves 1 point clear with 5 games left and STILL unbeaten!
The good form continued with 3 more wins, but with Bayern also winning there 3 it meant with 2 games left we were still only 1 point clear but 2 games from an invincible season!
Then came the big one, the penultimate game, we were away to Schalke, Bayern at home to poorly performing Dortmund. And what a rollercoaster it was, not for us, we got absolutely bleeding smashed 3-0!! What a way to screw up an unbeaten season, but Bayern, OH BAYERN!!!! Dortmund were having a shocking season down in 7th, but they managed to do Bayern in their own backyard, courtesy of a 93rd minute winner!
So the long unbeaten run had gone but with 1 game left the title was in our hands, 1 point clear and 2nd bottom Berlin-Köpenick Dammfeld at home in our final game.
It wasn’t as easy, injuries to key players meant we only had 1 fit central midfielder but at half time we sat 2-0 up, with Bayern also coasting in their game we knew we couldn’t slip up, Berlin did grab a goal back and came at us strong in the closing stages, we held on….just, and in my first season in charge we had done it, we had taken the title! Incredible scenes!!!!!!!
Not in my wildest dreams did I think we would have a league season like this, I expected to challenge but to only lose 1 game all season and win the league was better than I ever expected!
I really don’t think I could pick out 1 or 2 players from this incredible season so let me take you through who I feel have been my best XI. No screenshots, just a few stats about how each player did.
GK – Semet Mehmet – A stunning season for the new boy, an ever present in the league totaling 42 games all season, only 33 conceded, 18 clean sheets.
RB – Bernhard Motz – This was Motz’s 3rd season at the club and his best by far, 39 games in total with an average rating of 7.14.
LB – Faouzi Heriat – His 4th season and like Motz it was his best campaign, an average rating of 7.15 over 27 games.
CB – Bruno Antunez – With a new arrival adding competition Antunez really stepped up his game, 43 games in total only missing 2 league games, averaging 7.16, scoring once.
CB – Juan José Otero – In German Bundesliga team of the year, one of our best players this season, 39 games, 7.28 average rating and scored 7 goals.
CM – Slobodan Kostic – In German Bundesliga team of the year, a decent first season for Kostic, 39 games, 7.13 average rating.
CM – Christian Fernandez – In German Bundesliga team of the year, one of our most consistent performers all season, 36 games, 5 goals, 3 assists and a rating of 7.30
RW – Daniel Salep – Wolfsburg player of the year, 2nd in German Bundesliga player of the year. This guy is just stunning and it’s a disgrace he hasn’t been called up for France yet, by far my best player this season and at only 23 he has so many years ahead of him. 38 games played, 7.47 average rating, 13 assists and 6 goals.
LW – Rocco Riviera – Club highest average rating, the 2 wingers were so good this season and worked great in my 442, Riviera only played 23 games after a few long injuries but managed 5 goals, 11 assists and averaged 7.65.
ST – Phillp Willems – Signing of the season, an incredible signing and he just keeps on banging them in, 30 games played, 9 sub apps, 21 goals and averaged 7.23.
ST – Stuart Weber – Club top goalscorer, this guy is just amazing, pushing on now at 30 but had such a good season, 30 games, 8 sub apps, 26 goals, 12 assists and averaged 7.44.
I’ve purposely left the screenshots out of this section to keep down the number of pictures, if people want to see anyone in particular then I’d be happy to share this via Slack or Twitter
So what a season, a league title was amazing, I’ll definitely take it, but we need to perform better in those 1 off knockout games. The German Cup and Super Cup is important to complete this section of my challenge so next season I am going all out to win those. Another Bundesliga challenge will also be expected but I don’t think we will top how well this season has gone, Bayern will come back stronger but I know we can keep challenging.
As for the Champions League I expected better this season but unfortunately came up against a top quality side in Man City. I am really hoping that I can win the Champions League at some point in my stint here, we don’t have the funds to challenge currently but we do have a good squad and a good base to build on.
Talking of finances there aren’t looking good. Yes we made nearly £90m in prize money this season but on average we have lost around £12m per month. So our balance before our prize money was -£27m!
The main issue is our gate receipts, we have a 51k stadium which we tend to fill but with ticket prices only £24 we don’t make enough money to cover our ridiculous wage bill.
So I will be looking to steady the books by reducing the wage bill, some of our players are on stupid money so I will look to move a few on and bring in some cheaper younger players. My first XI won’t change much but the likes of Toscani and Borovicka who don’t really fit my tactic are both valued at £40m and paid in total £270k per week I will look to sell them.
So what a season, what a start! Here’s hoping for more of the same next campaign! Thanks for reading.