Welcome back! A new season awaits, my first full season at Wolfsburg. Hopes are high, we are expected to end 5th, personally, with the money we have to spend (£75m) I fully expect to push the top 4. Bayern, Liepzig and Dortmund seem a step too far currently but my aim this season is to nick that final Champions League spot while continuine to tick off a load of nations in the challenge.
A half decent run in the German Cup, we got through to the Quarter finals with ease but unfortunately came across a Liepzig side way too good for. We played well but eventually lost the game 2-1.
Runners-up last season, I had a feeling we could go on another run this season.
The Group Stage was easy, we ended with 6 wins from 6 and it was nice to see us qualify with 2 games to spare, meaning I could mix the team up a bit.
Into the Knockouts and as group winners we went straight into the last 16. Lille were our opponents and we got through with ease, beating them 5-0 on aggregate.
We then faced Inter Milan in the Quarters and after losing the away leg 1-0 we were struggling, in the home leg we played well and levelled the tie in the 85th minute, we tried to defend but Inter picked us off in injury time to knock us out 3-2 on aggregate.
Now to the big one, after spending nearly £200m in the Summer with over £150m of outs I expected it to take a bit of time for the squad to settle but we started really well. A defeat to Bayern opened the season but after that we went on a 12 game unbeaten run, that went all the way until early December before we eventually lost at home to Liepzig. It didn’t slow us down though as we ended December with 7 points from the next 3 games.
As we entered the mid-season break we were well in the title race, sitting 2nd, 2 points behind Dortmund.
We came back from the Winter break and were faced with a tough looking January and so it was to be, a win against Nurnberg was sandwiched in between away defeats to both Bayern and Dortmund slipping us down to 4th.
By this point, without giving too much away, I had ticked off every nation I had in the squad, this meant I could put the challenge to the back of my mind for the rest of the season and play my strongest side. As this is where form really picked up. After the Dortmund loss we won our next 7 games and we entered the final few months we sat in 3rd but only 2 points off top spot.
With the Europa League games coming thick and fast, games started to pile up and players began to tire, with this results started to become affected and in April we only managed 4 points from 4 games, this took us out of the title race but with 2 games to go we had easily sealed 4th place meaning Champions League football next season.
A fantastic season, Champions League next season and it was nice to see that we weren’t too far off the big boys above us.
Nations Ticked Off
Now to the challenge, the last few seasons we have done really well, ticking off tonnes of natione but this season was by far the best!!
Nation 87 – Uganda
The first player to tick their nation off was defender Musa Ramathan, signed in the Winter window last season, he had scored and got the rating in the previous season but only managed to play 9 games as I forgot to register him in Europe! He played his 10th appearance in the opening match of the season.
Nation 88 – Iceland
Midfielder Isak Johannesson scored his first goal for the club last season in the semi final Europa League win over Benfica, he had played more than enough games as well but didn’t get the 7.5+ rating. He eventually got it in late-August in a 1-0 win over Nurnberg.
Nation 89 – Argentina
Damian Franzoso was a player already here when I joined, last season he was really poor when called upon but this season was amazing. Our opening games of the season will be mentioned quite a bit moving forward. We faced Furstenwalde in the German Cup 1st round and beat them 8-2! Franzoso failed to score but got a 7.9 rating. He eventually scored his first goal in the 2-2 draw against Dortmund.
Nation 90 – Italy
A Summer signing from AC Milan for £26m, attacking midfielder Luca Mortellaro scored and got a 7.6 rating in that 8-2 cup win, he made 39 appearances during the season, scoring 7 and getting 9 assists.
Nation 91 – Czech Republic
A late Summer signing, Tomas Soucek came in from West Ham for £1.9m, he also scored in the 8-2 win and got a 9.2 rating. He made 34 appearances over the season.
Nation 92 – Qatar
A loan signing from Liverpool, Abdulraham Emad is incredible, he scored a hat-trick and got a 10.0 rating in the 8-2 cup win and when called upon over the season was amazing. He made 32 appearances getting 13 assists and 8 goals.
Nation 93 – Colombia
Signed from Arsenal in the Summer for £31.5 winger Mario Ferero also scored in the 8-2 win and got a 10.0 rating. He scored 20 goals over the season and was a key man in our top 4 push.
Nation 94 – Costa Rica
Manfred Uglade was signed in the Summer from Gladbach for £18m, it took him a while to get going but eventually scored his first goal in the 3-0 win over Molde and then got a 7.7 in the 1-1 draw against Koln. Overall he made 28 appearances (14 of those as a sub) and scored 11 goals.
Nation 95 – USA
Another signing from Arsenal, defender Alex Dill was the most expensive signing of the Summer costing £42m. Top top quality though, he got an 8.1 in the 8-2 cup win and then scored his first goal in the 4-0 win over Alanyaspor in the Europa League. He made 28 appearances over the season and will be a key part of my squad moving forward.
Nation 96 – Ivory Coast
A deadline day signing at the end of the Summer window. Marc Guehi came in to add some depth to my defence. He scored in the 5-0 win over Freiburg and got a 7.5 in the 3-0 win over Molde. 31 appearances over the season, 4 goals.
Nation 97 – Venezuela
A loan signing from Leicester, winger Miguel Castro was really poor. He scored in the 6-0 win over Karlsruhe and then got a 10.0 in a 6-1 win over Weder Bremen. He made 10 appearances before being recalled from his loan spell.
Nation 98 – Sierra Leone
Signed from Genoa for £12.5m, Striker Yayah Kallon took a while to get going, he scored in the 1-1 draw against Frankfurt before a 7.5 in the 5-0 win over Freiburg. 17 appearances throughout the season.
Nation 99 – China
I signed this lad as a player I could look to tick off China in th future but when I got to mid-November I had already ticked off nearly every nation in my squad. Li Xu came in for £2m from LA Galaxy, he scored and got a 7.5 in the 5-0 win over Molde, a game in which I put out a load of youth player and made 11 appearances over the season
Nation 100 – Guatemala
With all the nations in my squad ticked off I decided to promote 2 pretty poor looking youth players into my first team to see what they could do. The 5-0 win over Molde in mid-December was amazing and Hector Najarro scored and got a 7.8. For a player who is rated so poorly he was amazing when called upon, in his 10 appearances over the season he scored 4 times.
Nation 101 – Romania
Radu Jercalau was the 2nd of the youth players to be brought in for the Molde rout and he also scored and got a 7.5. Another lad who also is rated really poorly but was amazing. He played 10 times, scoring 8 goals!
Absolutely amazing, this is the first season where every single player in my squad that I brought in to tick off their nation actually ticked it off. It was all done and dusted by early-March when the final 2 played their 10th games.
What a brilliant season! Challenge-wise I ticked off 15 nations, my best season so far but on the pitch results were brilliant. 4th in the League means Champions League football next season and with that plenty of cash!
Unfortunately though I hammered the bank balance this season with ovder £50m spent on transfers more than I brought in and so much money on wages. This means we ended the season, after gaining £76m of prize money only £42m in the black!
This means the budgets next season are really low in comparison to what I was given when I joined.
Only £17m to spend with around £200k per week spare in the wage kitty.
Obviously, new players need to come in. I don’t have a single player in my squad who needs to tick theri nation off, so I expect a big change in the playing squad once again.
I plan to keep the base of this team around, we have some quality player who I don’t want to leave, the backup players however will go, freeing up some space to bring in 10 new players to tick off some more nations.
Here’s hoping we continue our push up the table and give the big 3 something to think about next season.
Thanks for reading.
Huge season. I find balancing Europe and the league is always tough, but you’ve added a whole new level of difficulty