Here we go then. I took the decision to fire ahead into my eighth season in charge of RBLeipzig. The race is on for me to get the season finished before the beta drops for FM18. Will I manage it? I’ve managed to bloody charge through half a season in record quick time for me to be fair, but that might well be down to downloading the brilliant Tempo skin by Keysi Rensie (why hadn’t I already downloaded it!?) and being able to instant result quite a few of RBSalzburg and RBLDN’s matches! This has enabled me to fully focus all my efforts on RBL.
I want a clean sweep of trophies for my last hurrah on FM17, let’s see if I’m on track to do so…
It was pretty busy over the summer in Leipzig, as usual.
There’s a couple of key permanent outgoings to note. Vanja was my first ever signing on this save and he’s been a great servant. He managed to eventually oust Peter Gulacsi from the number one spot for a few seasons, but was ousted himself when Christian Fruchtl arrived. He never moaned once about not playing regularly. What a man. Plus, we made a small £2.3m profit on him as well.
Majetschak is an RBL youth product that was at the club when I joined. He was always on the fringes of the first team, he did have a great season out on loan at Hoffenheim a few years back, but it was time for him to go. Quite happy that Hamburg stumped up £10m for him.
Finally, out goes my long-standing captain, Willi Orban, to Watford for £3m. He led the club on it’s charge to greatness in the first couple of seasons but has largely found himself on the fringes as we’ve cemented our status as the best team in the world with Champions League and World Club Cup triumphs. He’s still been club captain though, as I’m fiercely loyal to them always.
I might already know that this is definitely my last season with the club, but that hasn’t stopped me picking up some promising players over the summer, and I definitely wasn’t going to abandon my aged 24 and under signing policy. I’ll go through the key incomings below.
M’Baye is a young, explosive forward who I’ve brought in to really challenge Timo for the slot up top. He’s got a lot of room to improve further as well, but he’s absolutely up my street in terms of what I look for in a striker. Pace, off the ball, finishing and composure. The fee is pretty big for what I wanted to pay, but I think he’d be worth it in the long term.
My rock at the back, Robert, and I had a falling out over the summer. You know, the usual. He wanted to leave, I said no. I won of course, but with Willi Orban leaving the club, I needed some extra cover at the back. In came Glaycon Rian who I’d been tracking for a few years. Not too bad across the board for his defensive qualities, a £15m outlay doesn’t break the bank for us these days.
The final transfer I wanted to show you is one that makes me sad that my time on FM17 is coming to an end. Plucked from DC United for £6.25m, I really think Tapia is going to be something special. I chose to send him out on loan to Gladbach for some first team experience, and have M’Baye, rather than him, in and around my first team this season.
Hardly a blemish to on our record so far in the BuLi this season. We’ve had some thumping wins, v Schalke, Bayern, Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg, plus some sneaky ones, against Dortmund and Hertha. You’ll also notice we’re currently on a run of 11 matches without conceding a goal in the league. Bloody delighted with that.
Of course we’re top of the league, and we’re absolutely flying. Hoffenheim are a whopping 14 points behind us going into the Winterpause. Bayern are really struggling under new manager, Paulo Fonseca, while Dortmund have only just sneaked into the European spots in the last couple of matches. Our fifth consecutive league title is all but won already.
DFL-Supercup & DFB-Pokal
I keep saying it, but I love the DFB-Pokal. We’ve had a solid, if unspectacular run so far, but we’re well on our way to winning it for the sixth time in a row. Bayern and Dortmund are both already out, so our run to lofting it above our heads again come the end of the season is relatively clear.
The early season DFL-Supercup win was a good performance too, and got us well on our way to winning every competition we’re taking part in this season. Now for the tricky one…
So far, so good. Unbeaten in the group and successfully negotiated our way to the knockouts with a first place finish. What’s our reward? A tie with Real Madrid. Excellent. It’ll be tough, but I’m always confident when the away leg is the first one. I need this one last Champions League win.
What is left to say about Lemario? He’s scored 15 goals from 14 starts this season, with eight assists thrown in too and a whopping average rating of 8.38! Oh, and the small matter of winning the Balon d’Or! That’s right, a Red Bull owned player has won the coveted award. The man signed on a free transfer in the summer of 2020 becomes the world’s best player three years later. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever had one of my players win it. Delighted. He won World Player of the Year too, was named in the World Team of the Year and was named France’s Player of the Year too (after scoring his first international goal in 2023, after just 13 caps! Absolute madness he’s not had more).
We had a bit of a falling out over the summer as mentioned already. He wanted to leave, I said no, he said yes. You know, the usual on FM. Of course, I got my way, and he’s been an utter rock at the back so far. Leading the stingy defence that’s only conceded 11 goals so far this season in all competitions.
I couldn’t go a player section without a mention of Timo. He’s still playing up top, and he’s into double figures (11) for the season at the halfway stage. Not quite as dangerous as he has been in the previous two seasons though, but I made a subtle tweak to the player instructions for the DLF on support, asking him to move into the channels. My theory behind that is for him to wreak havoc for the opposition backlines with even more movement up top, opening up the space for the shadows to move into.
Remember I’ve got Mbappe too? Another free transfer from Monaco, cheers lads, he’s done well to comeback from a couple of niggling injuries that kept him out for big chunks of last season. Just the four goals scored, but he’s leading the way on assists with nine so far this season. If he’s been this good on the day one FM17 database, he’s going to be outrageous on FM18.
The Red Bull Revolution
RBS are firing on all cylinders in the Austrian Bundesliga, as you’d expect, and leading the league by nine points. The lead was bigger, but a couple of disappointing draws plus our only defeat so far in the league towards the end of the first half of the season has seen it cut. What a signing Jeremie Boga has been for RBS though, he’s scored 54 goals in three and a half seasons after joining on a free transfer. He’s leading the way this season, influential from the shadow striker slot on the right hand side. We’re on course for a fifth consecutive domestic double.
Europe has been an up and down story for RBS. Drawn in a ridiculously difficult group again, containing Real Madrid and Manchester United, we took them on! A brilliant 2-0 win against United at the RBArena was probably one of my best results on the save so far, and we went into matchday six knowing a win against United at Old Trafford would take us into the knockouts for the first time. Cue a 5-1 thrashing. Europa League knockouts here we come, and we’ve drawn Juventus. Brilliant *insert sarcastic emoji*
What a season it’s been for RBLDN so far! Going into January 1st, we’re sitting pretty atop the Premier League! Five points ahead of the chasing pack of Arsenal and Manchester United, with Pione Sisto bang on form again this season, bagging 13 league goals so far from the left hand shadow striker slot. A summer window addition of Trent Alexander-Arnold from RBS for £7.5m has proven to have paid off so far as he sits second in the average rating rankings for us, 7.41 so far. Can we hold on to round off the save with a Premier League win?
RBLDN’s first foray into European competition under my management is going well too. A best placed playoff against Shakhtar was safely negotiated and we were drawn into a group with Bayern, Dynamo Kiev and PSV. Three wins and three draws later, we’d finished top ahead of Bayern and ever-so-luckily were drawn against minnows, and reigning champions, PSG. Three lovely draws in Europe for the RB clubs in my last season, cheers FM.
Thanks to the brilliant Keysi Rensie (that’s two plugs for the Czech great in this post!) we’re having an FM18 giveaway on FMSlack this weekend! If you’re already joined up, head to the GeneralFMChat channel, find the pinned message and tell us what FM means to you for a shot at winning a copy of the new game. If you’re not joined up yet, you can win too, but you’ll need to join first! Click the FMSlack image for a quick link to join all the Slack fun.