Although it was last discussed in detail at the start of the project, you may remember that a big part of my plan for VfL Bochum was to use their already good youth facilities to develop players with the long-term aim of having a production line of talent. What should make my job much easier is that the board agree with my sentiments with their only real philosophy of note being “Give Youth a Chance” ; they should be very pleased with me favouring the long-term strategy by giving game time to youngsters – even if it means it could cost us points in the short-term. Whether or not these players stay and become part of the first team squad is really not too important in the first few years and we could honestly use the funds from transfers to develop the facilities further anyway. But to really become a top contender in Germany (and then Europe), we will need a sustainable model and that means year upon year of talented players to support and eventually become part of the first team squad. Continue reading
The Midfield. Das Mittelfeld. That crucial area of the pitch that is simultaneously a creative hub and a defensive screen; where passing patterns are woven and opposition attacks destroyed. Usually containing players with talents varied like the instruments of an orchestra, they can be tuned to sound as bombastic as an Italian opera, as balanced as a Viennese waltz or as playful as Brazillian samba. As the cliché tells us – it can be where the game is won and lost. Lucky then that the incumbent VfL Bochum manager built quite a varied midfield for me to work with, combining steely defensive players in the centre with lightweight but creative attackers out wide. In this article, I’ll be looking at the central area of midfield where a trio of very capable players should give me the central lock-down that my tactic depends upon. Let’s take a look at the contenders…
There’s nothing quite like that palpable atmosphere in a football stadium – with its tension, mumbles and an energy you can almost taste. My first few times in the Ruhrstadion (AKA rewirpowerSTADION for sponsorship reasons… *grumble grumble modern football grumble*) I was transfixed by the tifo displays, the sea of flags, the constant drumming, the megaphones and the almost other-worldly tunes they sang. Perhaps not as tempestuous as Italy or South America, from my perspective the German fan culture still has an edge that seems to have long left the UK. It doesn’t feel dangerous, it feels alive. And they chant and chant and drum and hiss and cajole and chant some more. The Bochum fans in particular have some great catchy chants and one of them is responsible for the naming of this series of articles.
After a protracted reorganising of my life forced me into a several month article hiatus, I felt it was time to jump back on the wagon, dust off my virtual boots and start asking my scouts to find me the next Jamie Vardy. So far FM16 has mostly been about tactics, tweaking and a new level of deeper learning for me, though like many of us I’m still prone to the occasional freak out of frustration when something just isn’t going as planned. To be honest, my most recent Altrincham save was binned when I took a few weeks off, came back and had no desire left to raise the sleeping Chesire giants to the pinnacle of English football, especially as it was something I’d done before. I needed a spark of inspiration… Continue reading
In the last article, I discussed the basic style and approach of VfL Wolfsburg, generating a base tactic for FM16 in the process. After having blitzed through pre-season and moved a few games into the season proper, it feels a good time to start analysing whether or not the tactic is both stable and a faithful representation of the real life Wolfsburg. We start however with an aside with a relevance that will be established later…
First of all, I reckon there’s a small apology in order as it’s been an awful long time since the last post about Mönchengladbach, but with FM15 giving way abruptly to FM16, there was always going to be a crossover point in this Bundesliga tactics series… So we soldier on anyway beyond Gladbach and their “deep-lying gegenpress” and onto something that will seem much more familiar (and with less hipster sparkle) to fans of the English Premier League in particular – VfL Wolfsburg’s 4-2-3-1.
For a bit of background, Wolfsburg are one of those teams that German’s have reservations about because they’re not very German in their foundation and finances. Like Bayer Leverkusen, they are one of two top flight teams that are entirely owned by a company – in Wolfsburg’s case, Volkswagen. Though simplistic to say their recent success has been bankrolled by a multinational automobile conglomerate, it certainly hasn’t done them any harm having plenty of money behind the scenes. The peak of their success was a Bundesliga championship in 2009, but both Dortmund and the now virtually unstoppable Bayern have kept them at arm’s length in recent seasons.
In the first part of this series, I used the FM tactics creator to cobble together the shape and the settings that would hopefully mimic Lucien Favre’s Mönchengladbach side of recent years. Various articles and diagrams informed my decisions beforehand, but the important part is the subsequent analysis where I get to see if it actually plays out how I envisaged. Football Manager is as funny an old game as the game of football itself, replete with unforeseen consequences that would make Gordon Freeman’s eyes water (yes, that’s a Half-Life reference). You can choose the settings with the best intentions, but end up with problems that you did not expect.
First of all, hello and Guten Tag. I’m Felley and I think I have just written the most hipster-titled article of all time.
As for the actual content, I have been entrusted – if that’s the right word – by Ed and George to recreate some real life tactics in the marvellous game that is Football Manager. Based in Germany, I’ve been slowly absorbing the football culture like a sort of travelling nerdy sponge. Spending afternoons soaking in both the kitschy, wheat beer fuelled discussion on Sport1 and training with a local non-league side on a sodden, sandy Aschenplatz, one quickly learns the value the Germans place on football intelligence – both on and off the pitch. It is against this backdrop that I am writing my first batch of articles for The Deep Lying Podcast as I look to recreate the tactics of the Bundesliga. In the first of what will hopefully be a long and fulfilling series, I’ll be taking a look at Borussia Mönchengladbach, recreating their playing style and looking at their recent tactical exploits…