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Aug 09, 12 at 3:38pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
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Reinartz has proven to be fantastic and has since pushed Toprak back to a rotational role while Wollscheid has made the other position his own (I play with one ball playing defender and one limited defender).
Sidney Sam and Andre Schurrle have been the stars of my season though with 15 and 16 goals coming from AMR and AML respectively. I still can't get Keisling playing well and if I get funds in the summer a new striker is definitely on the cards.
My midfield has been supurb with Renato Augusto attracting interest from around Europe and the German spine of Hitzlsperger, Ballack, Rolfes and Bender holding it together in the middle.
I hope to push for the title, but will be happy with Champions League football next season and I firmly believe I can win the Europa League this season too.
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Aug 10, 12 at 3:47am ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
You're in a similar position to me then, its close between myself Bayern and Schalke after 22 games. Just drawn the home leg against Man Utd 1-1, which means I'll have to go there and score. In all honesty though I wasn't expecting much from the tie.
I agree with you about Rienartz, he's first choice centre-back for me this season, he's excellent in both penalty boxes. Toprak's just been injured for 6 weeks so Friedrich has come back into my side and done reasonably well. I'm looking forward to signing Wollscheid in the Summer, though, he looks a decent prospect.
How are you playing Sam and Schurrle in AMR and AML? I'm playing them in the same positions but not getting as much of a return, and Sam's form has dropped dramatically after the Winter break. Schurrle's goal tally isn't anything special but his assists and general performances have been good.
I've found Rolfes has kicked on his role as captain as well recently, he's been running the midfield in the last few games. I'm playing him as a box-to-box midfielder so he chips in with the odd long range goal every now and then. He also managed a hat-trick against Nurnberg, albeit thanks to an 84th min penalty to complete it.
I'm the same as you, hoping for just Champions League football. I'd be disappointed now with anything lower than 4th. I think a striker will be top of my shopping list in June as I also can't get Kießling performing, although Derdiyok has hit double figures now. Winning the DFB Pokal might be a tough ask, as I'll have to beat both Dortmund and Bayern.
Aug 10, 12 at 4:21am ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
I am just playing Sam and Schurrle as regular inside forwards, no changes to their instructions apart from setting "Long Shots" to "Often". Seems to be working and they are doing most of my scoring while Kiesling bumbles around shooting nearer the corner post than the goals.
Rolfes has been good but has not really got a good run of games. He gets injured quite regularly and I have a strong midfield with Ballack, Bender and Hitzlsperger with Renato Augusto playing the advanced role at home and against smaller teams.
I am currently playing Everton in the 2nd knockout stage of the Europa League however both Manchester Clubs have found their way into the competition so my hopes for winning it have diminished slightly.
I doubt I will have a huge amount to spend next season so I am hoping to find a good bargain in the transfer market to get a goal scoring centre forward, hopefully Dzeko will find himself on the outer at City.
Aug 11, 12 at 5:30pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Time for an update.
I managed to secure the Bundesliga title! A great home win against Bayern Munich meant that I only had to match their results during the run in to win the league. Some more great performances from Sidney Sam and a little scoring spree from Kiesling meant that I had done enough to prevent the Bavarians winning another title.
Unfortunately the Europa League was disappointing, going out in the quarter finals to Dortmund, but as both Manchester Clubs and AC Milan were in the draw I never really fancied myself to win it.
The DFB-Pokal was a success also, meaning I won the domestic double. It seemed all the big teams went out in the early rounds barring myself, I had an easy run finishing with Aue in the semi-final and Frankfurt in the final.
I have already begun season 2 and won the DFB-Pokal Super Cup against Bayern.
I managed to get a quality striker to lead my line this season, with Lukas Podolski transfer listed at Arsenal, I snapped him up for 8million as you will see in my transfers. My squad didn't need much, a good blend of youth and experience was already there, I just needed a little more strength in depth, particularly in the forward positions. I decided to cash in on Wollscheid as Reinartz, Toprak and Camporese will be more then enough to cover for the loss, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to take Shaquiri from Bayern as part of the payment.
Let me know if you want any more screenshots.
I have started the second season quite well, have not conceded a goal in the opening 3 matches, including ties against Schalke (5-0) and Hoffenheim (0-2) but a draw away against Furth (0-0) was less than acceptable and I have fallen 2 points behind Bayern already. I hope I can reel that in quickly and put the pressure on them to keep up.
My Champions League draw was kind, Chelsea, AEK and Fenerbahce. I hope to qualify for the knockout stages and push on from there. My squad is a season or two away from being genuine contenders, but we will get there I hope.
Aug 14, 12 at 3:08pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Missed this update the other day when I came on; well done on winning the double! Great achievement. Also managing to bag Podolski is a bit of a coup - was he unhappy at Arsenal? He's almost single-handedly guided Koln to a top 6 finish on mine thanks to his scoring record (I've edited the database so he leaves for Arsenal in the Summer). Wouldn't mind a screenshot of Shaqiri if possible, he's a player I've signed for Wolves on the last two FMs and he turns out really good if you focus on his crossing in particular.
You're right, the Champions League draw has been rather kind and I think you should be able to get through that group with ease. With an easy draw in the first knockout round you never know how far you can progress. I ended up losing 4-2 on aggregate to United this time round with Rooney getting a brace in the 2nd leg that all but killed the tie.
However, in the Bundesliga I managed a 2nd place finish. Bayern won the league with a game to spare after I lost 1-0 away at Hannover, we ended the season in style beating HSV 5-1 at home. Bit disappointed as I'd done the double over Bayern thanks to a 2-1 win away, but inconsistency cost me towards the end of the season. Poor results against lower sides in the league mainly. My DFB-Pokal run was halted by Dortmund in the semi-final, but it earned a nice bit of prize money and they were the better side. Koln and Hoffenheim managed to secure the other two Champions League spots in what was an extremely close finish. Schalke ended up finishing 7th after crumbling post Christmas.
Main aims for pre-season are to bolster the midfield, I feel I need back up for Bender in the holding role and possibly someone a bit more attack minded. I'm going to need another striker as well, can't keep relying on Derdiyok's goals and Kiessling only chipped in with 4 all season! Wollscheid is coming in on July 1st so I should be alright at the back.
How much transfer budget did you get?
Aug 14, 12 at 4:18pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Well done, all things considered. I had quite a bit of luck with my game, an easy start to the season ensured that I started well and built from there.
Podolski was unhappy at Arsenal, despite playing 19 league matches, he scored 6 times and wasn't settling well. Arsenal had him listed for 8million pounds, which was about half of my transfer budget. He was the only player I paid for in the off season. I also signed Aiden White and Robbie Cotton on free transfers, just to add a little squad depth.
In regards to a back-up for Bender, I signed Diego Reyes in the first season, and he has been ok, but he is only 20 now and still has a lot of growing to do. He plays as much as I can allow to help his development.
Shaqiri has been good, but not remarkable since joining, I guess he will need time to settle in. Sam got injured for 4-5 weeks at the start of the new season and Shaqiri has had to play more early on than I would have liked.
When Bayern came in for Wollschied and I got them to pay 4million plus Shaqiri I couldn't say no, particularly with Reinartz and Toprak playing so well and Camporese as a solid understudy.
Spoiler:Best Youth Graduate
I have had an indifferent start to the new season, despite Podolski's goals I have been a bit leaky at the back and I am sitting 5th in the league after 9 games. Losing away to Gladbach and at home to Freiburg and away draws with Furth and Frankfurt have cost me. Though I did manage a creditable draw at home with Bayern.
The Champions League is going well, I beat Chelsea in matchday 1 at Stamford Bridge and a 5-0 win at home to AEK followed it up.
Will keep you informed.
Aug 15, 12 at 3:11pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Yeah, I had the odd bit of luck here and there as well as an awful lot of goals coming from set pieces.
All in all a good deal for both Podolski and Shaqiri then really. I found with Wolves it took Shaqiri a while to settle but his sheer pace and creative ability will bag you loads of assists. Maybe a run in your side at Sam's expense will benefit him. Reinartz and Toprak formed a solid partnership for me as well, as a team we actually conceded the least in the league all season.
The board expected a title challenge this season and offered me £28.5m to spend (I'm guessing my extra revenue from Champions League football meant I had more available to spend than yourself). My first two signings were both midfielders:
Long-term target Markus Henriksen from Rosenborg to provide competition for Augusto and Rolfes. He cost me £4.2m rising to £6m.
Secondly, I brought in Denys Garmash from Kyiv. He's more of a holding player and will rotate with Bender when required.
The deal to sign Wollscheid was already agreed on the 12.2 patch so he comes in on July 1st and I've also agreed to sign a couple of youngsters from other German sides, as my own intake was nothing special. Jens Hegeler has returned from his loan as well so he'll provide some competition. Stefan Savic has found himself in the Man City reserves so I'm tempted by a season-long loan deal for him, while I also think we could do with another left back as back up for Kadlec.
I'm still on the hunt for a striker with Louis Saha on a free looking like a good short-term option, providing he takes a pay cut after his release from Spurs. He would obviously be back up. Moussa Konaté is an option for the future, and his versatility would also be helpful:
My main target is Jonathan Cristaldo, but that all depends on how much Metalist are going to ask for his services.
Will update again at the end of pre-season.
Aug 15, 12 at 4:03pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
I have just reached the Winter break and on the back of 6 straight wins in the Bundesliga I have clawed my way back up to second after dropping as low as 8th. The return to form coincided with the return from injury of Renato Augusto.
However, Augusto has just broken his leg and will be out for 5-6 months, so I have to find a replacement AMC in January. There are a couple of good options on the transfer list with Coutinho, Tom Cleverly and Dries Mertens all available at bargain prices. I am leaning toward Mertens as he is a great set-piece specialist and that is something I am really lacking, however both Coutinho and Cleverly are more highly rated by my scouts.
Isaac Cuenca is also transfer listed, but at 14million, so I am going to try and get him on loan to give me another dimension of play as he is a natural winger as opposed to the inside forward play of Schurrle, Sam and Shaqiri.
Shaqiri has been good in rotation with both Schurrle and Sam, scored a few screamers from long range. Podolski is great, he can't stop scoring, 22 goals in 23 starts.
I will give you another update at the end of January.
Aug 17, 12 at 7:02pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
As I type this I am playing in the German Cup final against Bayern Munich, my nemesis. I lost the Bundesliga title to Bayern on goal difference, and I was knocked out of the semi-finals of the Champions League on penalties by them also. I am hoping to at least take home the German Cup, but at 1-0 down after 4 minutes it doesn't look likely.
After some deliberation I signed Coutinho in January to cover for the injured Renato Augusto, a shaky debut (5.7) but has really come into his own and will really push to make the AMC position his to lose heading into next season. I also signed Cuenca on loan, though I won't make the move permanent.
My main focus heading into season 3 will be another goal scoring striker, I am going to try and move Kiesling on, as I need reliable backup for when/if Podolski is out. The other positions I will look to strengthen will be the full backs. Kadlec is attracting interest from Valencia and if they match his 8million price tag I will let him go. I am looking at Alex Sandro from Porto as a replacement.
Danny da Costa has done ok this season as an understudy for Schwaab, but to win the UCL I will need better, so I begin my search for a quality right full back.
My central midfield is ageing with Rolfes and Hitzlsperger the other side of 30 now and Ballack almost in a zimmer-frame. I have Bender and Reyes as defensive options, but I will need a creative central player to take over from Rolfes and Hitzlsperger. I haven't shortlisted anyone for the position yet as I signed a gem of a regen on a free in January and will be anxious to see how he goes in pre-season.
I have now managed to lose the German Cup to Bayern, meaning they won the league, cup and knocked me out of the UCL. Makes me hungry to really stick it to them next season!
Let me know if you want any more screenshots.
Aug 22, 12 at 11:56am ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
You must be really peeved at Bayern right now! Coutinho looks a good player and certainly one for the future. How are preparations for the new season coming along? Did you manage to bring in any replacements for the ageing midfielders?
I managed to spend about half of my budget in the end, with some of the signings being kids picked up from other German sides and the main transfers I mentioned in my last post:
I decided to bring Macheda in on loan to provide some extra cover up front, on top of the fact that he looks a prospect and with a run of games he could get goals. I also signed Louis Saha on a free after having him on trial during pre-season - for £11k p/w on a one year deal there is little to no risk involved!
I still feel I need a "big name" striker as I'm really not convinced by Kiessling and can't rely on Derdiyok all season long. Although, I may end up leaving that till January. The rest of the squad is taking shape nicely with plenty of cover in defence and midfield. Stafylidis is a left-back from PAOK who has just come in as back up to Kadlec, he's by no means ready for the first team yet.
So this is how pre-season went in the end. On top of the friendlies, I was also given the Great Britain u23 job for the Olympics but despite topping the group with a +9 goal difference I faced Brazil in the Quarters and crashed out 2-1. Hugely disappointing.
Defensively we looked good in pre-season and I'm hoping this will continue in the Bundesliga. Just before posting this I've managed to win 2-1 away at Hannover in my opening game, having been a goal down with 7 7 minutes remaining! A big 3 points and a bit of revenge as it was the defeat away there towards the end of last season that pretty much cost me the title.
I'm just awaiting the Champions League draw now and preparing for the grudge match against Bayern.
EDIT: Had to edit the post purely for this result. The team were fantastic from start to finish! Complete rout.
Spoiler:Leverkusen v FC Bayern
Edit: Aug 22, 12 1:25pm
Aug 22, 12 at 3:44pm ^re: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
My Leverkusen game stalled when I was offered the Inter Milan job, without expressing any interest, and as they were sitting in 14th in the Serie A, but in the Champions League they were top of their group I had to accept. I was top of the League with Leverkusen, so I saved the game before accepting the Inter job and may well go back to it.
Great to see you going well and I will stop back here to check on your progress and update you should I go back to the Leverkusen save.
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