And so we come to the end of my 5th season in charge of RBLeipzig. The rate I play the game at, plus the addition of RBSalzburg, I’m very surprised I’ve managed to reach this point! At the halfway point of the season we were riding high in the Bundesliga. 11 points clear, surely we were on course to retain the title? We’d also successfully negotiated a tricky Champions League group, and made our usual strides in the DFB-Pokal. Was a treble looming? Read on to find out!
I never like doing too much incoming business in January. I was quite happy with Vanja as our number 1, but I’d been tracking Fruchtl for a while.
Bayern were initially pricing us out of a move, but as time went on, I kept my eye on how much they were willing to budge on it. I think £20m rising to a potential £25m is a great deal for a young German keeper, who’ll be our number 1 for years to come.
The other two arrivals were relatively low risk moves for young players just to see how they’ll develop. Duru‘s signing is a bit contentious, as Philipp Lahm (me) at RBSalzburg seemed to drop the ball and not realise his contract was due to expire in the summer. He arrives for £1m, and instantly, as you’ll see, goes out on loan to Koln for the remainder of the season. I think Mandrysz looks quite good, £3.5m is nothing to us these days and in he comes. I’ll definitely consider him for a loan move to RBSalzburg for the 2021/22 season.
As I mentioned in the halfway point update, a few of the loanees out made their moves permanent. Mihajlovic and Gbamin‘s moves earning us £8.5m. Sakaguchi moves on loan to RBSalzburg to get games in the right back slot. Ristic has become surplus to requirements following Henrichs’ record breaking summer move, so he moves to PSV for the rest of the season on loan. Majetschak needs gametime so off he goes to Hoffenheim, and the aforementioned Duru heads to Koln with a monthly fee involved, recouping some of that dodgy £1m we paid RBSalzburg for him.
The emergence of Dadachov as our main striker, and having a couple of other younger options as back ups sees Davie Selke move to PSG for a potential £21m fee. Again, similarly to Sabitzer and Forsberg’s summer transfers, sad to see Selke go as he’s served me well so far in my (at the time) 4 and a half years at the club. He’s currently sitting in PSG’s reserves after 1 league start and 3 goals. Their transfer business on FM seriously needs to be looked at.
We only really had to prevent a capitulation to bring home our 2nd consecutive league title.
No major signs of a capitulation here. The two draws to start off the 2nd half of the season had me slightly worried, but we had a relatively good run of games to bounce back with, that I fully expected maximum points from. The defeat against Bayern was disappointing, and I’ve sent it off to FMAnalysis to analyse to really see why we couldn’t bring home the 3 points. A 1-0 defeat against Wolfsburg means that they’ve done the double over me this season, our new bogey team. No huge horrific run of form here surely meant the Bundesliga title was ours?
Course it did. We retained the league with 3 games to spare, and finished 13 points clear of Bayern in the end, who had a pretty shocking season by their standards, but still managed to concede 4 goals less than us. We conceded exactly the same number of goals as last season, but managed to score 9 more goals this season compared to last. Gaining 1 point more too, while we’re at it.
As I keep saying to the press every season now, I don’t favour this competitions over the others we compete in. We just tend to always perform well in it!
Our run to the final was fairly straightforward. The final, however, certainly wasn’t. We faced Dortmund in the last two seasons in the final, but this time, it was Bayern. They were out for some revenge as it now looks as though we’re starting to overtake them in the dominance stakes. If Muller scores the penalty, it’s all over I think. Especially so when Naby got himself sent off with 15minutes left to play. Somehow, we held out, and took it to extra time. Max Arnold was adjudged to have shoved Bernardo and substitute Pione Sisto stepped up to slot home the penalty. Kai Havertz then secured the win with a peach of a long ranger in the last minute.
It’s our 3rd consecutive DFB-Pokal win now. Delighted with that record.
Are you sitting comfortably?
A ridiculously incredible run of form in the knockout rounds, culminating in a quite brilliant 4-0 home win over Man City, who you’ll remember were in our group too, led us to our first ever Champions League final. Lemar was majestic, Dadachov chipped in with a few goals, and Timo was just being Timo. After knocking out both Manchester clubs, our opponents for the final was to be Spurs, who’d defeated Barca in the semi final, and had just finished as runners up in the Premier League to Man City. Step forward, Oliver Burke.
In what might have just been the most boring Champions League final ever, my fellow countryman stepped up to score the decisive goal and bring home RBLeipzig’s first ever Champions League win!
Spurs were on top for the majority of the match, without ever creating any proper chances. They were nullifying us, and we couldn’t create. A quick change, setting our CM(S) and our AMC(S) to get further forward to try and break through the lines, led to Burke, playing as the central attacking midfielder on the day, doing just that and slotting it into the back of the net. Simple as that.
I can’t quite believe we’ve managed to become the champions of Europe in my 5th season at the club.
An injury towards the end of February saw him miss a month of the season, plus one in the last league match of the season, in my greed to have him keep chasing the goal and assist trail, almost saw him miss the Champions League final. He ends the season with 20 goals, 15 assists and an average rating of 7.58 in over 3,200 minutes of action. He won the German player’s player and player of the year awards, was named our fans player of the year and was in the Bundesliga and Champions League teams of the season. Not bad at all for a free transfer!
If you haven’t read my Ode to Oliver Burke yet on the Higher Tempo Press, then please do go and have a read of it. I think he’s actually overtaken Timo as my favourite player in my current side. We’ve been through so much me and this little 2D dot running around my screen. This is the tip of the iceberg, him scoring the goal to bring us our first ever Champions League win. He ended the season on 11 goals and 10 assists, his most productive season yet.
The Dada was our main striker for the season, and he did well. 19 goals and 9 assists from just over 2,700 minutes on the pitch. He’s still only 22 and now worth £26m but part of me still feels as though we’re lacking something up front. That bit of quality that’ll take us on to the next level.
Where do we go from here after a treble win? First things first, the save doesn’t end here. Far from it. Retaining the Bundesliga and bringing the Champions League trophy to Leipzig is only the beginning.
The initial aims I set out at the beginning of the save have been met ahead of schedule. It’s time to start an era of domination now.
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