We might have expanded the Red Bull Revolution to London, taking over, rebranding and RBifying West Ham, but RBLeipzig are still my main focus. They’re still the club that everything will be geared towards.
After last seasons almost invincible season, we come into season 7 in not-so-familiar territory as favourites, and under pressure to succeed. We are odds on to retain the Bundesliga crown for a fourth successive season. Since the beginning of the save, I’ve enjoyed being the underdogs. Nothing has really been expected of us from the media or from the board, and as such, I’ve been able to fly under the radar. At the stage now where the pressure is on to win every match, to win the BuLi, to retain the Champions League for the third season running…
Will we be able to cope with it?
It looks like a lot of outgoings, but it involved a lot of players on the fringe, or ones that were never going to make an impact on the first team, either leaving the club permanently or on loan.
We’re recouping just under £500k a month in loan fees, which isn’t too bad at all. Our finances are absolutely fine, so there’s no major need to recoup any money, so to get a little bit of pocket money every month for players out on loan is a nice positive. The one major summer outgoing was a biggie…
Goto was signed in the summer of 2018 from Urawa Reds for £1.2m. Four years, a few loans out and not very many RBL first team appearances later, he leaves for our league rivals, Dortmund, for a potential fee of £59m. A 4816% profit. Not bad at all. It just shows you why you shouldn’t disregard a player just because they don’t fit into your tactical set up.
One of the key parts of my save so far, and one of the big reasons why I think we’ve been so successful, is keeping our main core of the team together. I’m not rocking the boat every summer with 10+ signings. With that point in mind, there was just the four players joining RBL this summer.
Mario Muller is a young prospect for the future, who’ll go into our youth squad and be put on a development programme to improve. The other three incomings are below.
I’d been tracking Diallo for a few months, Stuttgart didn’t really seem to want to part with him, but I was determined to secure one of the best young German prospects and make him an RBL player. A potential fee of £30m is a bit much, but he’s got a lot of room to improve even further. A news item popped through that Serbia had joined the EU, so I started to scour for players that could be signed more easily for RBS. That’s when I came across Plazinic, and he bypassed joining Salzburg and came straight to Leipzig. He’s a really hard-working playmaker. I like the look of him. Mino is quite a pricey purchase at £3m for someone who won’t really be in and around our first team quite yet. He’s a prime candidate for a loan move out to RBS next season. I am, though, looking forward to seeing how he develops too. Mainly signed with the intention of developing and selling him on.
We’ve had a very good Hinrunde.
After last season’s unbeaten league season, we remain undefeated going into the Winterpause of the 2022/23 season. The last time we lost in the league was against Wolfsburg on the 17th of April 2021. You’ll notice a few things looking at the results so far this season though:
- Timo started the new season like he ended the last, scoring goals.
- We’ve only had one slip up so far, that 2-2 home draw against newly promoted Braunschweig. It took a 90th minute Dadachov equaliser to keep our undefeated run intact. Celebrations were had!
- We haven’t played against Bayern yet, due to the Club World Cup, which we’re involved in again as reigning European champions.
That leaves the league table looking like this.
We’re top, but only just, thanks to our CWC exploits. Bayern have awoken and are on a great run of form themselves so far this season. They were seven off the pace at this stage last season, this season, there’s just one point in it. Am I worried? Not at all, we should carry out great early season form into the Rückrunde. We’ve been solid at the back, only conceding nine goals which is a seven goal improvement on last season, whilst scoring one more in the process.
DFL-Supercup & DFB-Pokal
Fairly standard progression from us in the DFB-Pokal so far. We huffed and puffed against Nurnberg and eventually found a way through to make the 3rd round against Union Berlin.
The DFL-Supercup was a hugely uneventful match, and it took penalties to secure us the trophy against Bayern. It’s always nice asserting some domestic dominance that early on in the season.
Super Cup & Champions League
We put the demons of last season’s undeserved UEFA Super Cup defeat behind us, by coming from behind to beat Europa League winners, Juventus, in this season’s edition.
The undefeated run in all competitions stretching back to that Super Cup loss against Arsenal last season though is over. Luckily by the time we headed to the Nou Camp on matchday six, we had already secured our place atop Group A. It’s disappointing, but it keeps us focused. We’re not invincible, and we should use it to spur us on.
Club World Cup
We headed to the US with the chance to retain our position as the best team in world football. A comprehensive semi-final win over Mexico’s Club America saw us face off against Independiente.
Despite absolutely battering them for 120 minutes, we couldn’t break through the Argentinian’s stubborn defence. For all of Timo’s goalscoring exploits so far, he’s absolutely useless at penalties. I think he’s scored two or three in six and a half seasons! Luckily we had Fruchtl in goals saving a few, and four other players stepping up to slot theirs home. We are the World Champions again.
This section is becoming a bit predictable. In no particular order…
He continues to cement his standing as the greatest free transfer in football history. He’s pushing being valued at £50m now, which is ridiculous. 8 goals and 12 assists so far from him this season. He’s been described as a phenomenon, a force of nature, a machine. He’s all of those things. It’s the combination of sheer speed, agility, technique, flair and dribbling which makes him so difficult to stop when he’s using his trait of running with the ball often.
#Timouptop is going as excellently as last season. 13 goals in 20 starts so far, including 10 in 13 in the BuLi. What an inspired decision to move him upfront…44 goals in 60-odd games now. Still just 26 too, he’s not even at his peak yet. Frightening.
It pained me to see Oli move back to England in the non-FM world. My FM17 save will live on as a story of what could have been for my fellow Scot. I’ll do another in-depth focus on him very soon, but before that, he’s hit 9 goals and provided 3 assists so far this season, in just 14 matches.
Thought I’d give a brief tactical update since I haven’t mentioned it much since I wrote about it. The one thing I have mentioned was the shift in the striker role. I’d struggled with it previously, and the double whammy of changing it to a deep lying forward on support, coupled with moving #Timouptop has really helped us unlock some more of our potential as a team. We’re still only playing with one team instruction from the outset, play out of defence, but I do occasionally play around with a few other ones in-game depending on the situation. The ones I mainly tinker with are the tempo (usually lowering it), our defensive line (either up to exert pressure, down to draw our opponents out a bit more) and our width (normally instructing us to be narrower, to bring the players closer together).
The most attacking full back has now switched sides as well, with Klostermann instructed to be more advanced as a wing back, while Henrichs, who usually plays left back despite being right footed, is more of a defensive full back.
Our results with this set up have been nothing short of brilliant. Has anyone else attempted something similar? Are narrow setups this years version of OP full backs on FM16?
The main club update is some stadium news. You might have spotted our home attendances growing towards the end of the league fixtures. We’ve now moved in to the 59,931 capacity neue Red Bull Arena. This should really aid the club in cementing our place at the top of European and world football.
Remember them? Consigned to these short updates now in the main RBL ones, but they’re still going strong. At the halfway mark of the Austrian Bundesliga, we’re sitting 10 points clear of Sturm Graz, with tycoon owner, Reindorf Altach in third. Rapid haven’t had a great start to the season at all, with 11 draws from 18 league matches.
The main RBS news comes in Europe, where after being drawn in another solid looking group containing Roma, Dortmund and Benfica, I wasn’t confident at all. However, Dortmund’s poor league form transferred into the Champions League too, as they drew five and lost one of their six group matches. A brilliant 3-1 home victory against Benfica gave RBS the point advantage they needed to sneak into the Europa League knockouts at Dortmund’s expense. The first time since I’ve been in charge that we’re in Europe after Christmas. Delighted with that, and we’re certainly on the right track to develop the club’s reputation. We’ll face a tricky tie against Feyenoord.
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