Welcome back. Last season was a huge success, 3rd in the league, an amazing run to the Champions Leagues semis and a German Cup win, I also ticked off a whole load of nations in the challenge meaning I am now just over half way to completing it.
This season we don’t have loads of money to spend, £34m to be exact, so I need to sell the majority of our players who have ticked off their nation to make sure we have the funds to a) improve the squad and b) help with the challenge. Things are getting tougher though, being half way through means I have ticked off the majority of the big nations and it’s hard to find decent enough players to improve what we have.
After last seasons German Cup win I had high hopes we could do something similar, it started well with our usual hammering of a lower league side in the 1st round before good wins over Dusseldorf and Gladbach to get to the Quarters.
Where we faced Bayern, a tough game but one made even tougher as we decided to not show up. A 3-0 hammering and we were out.
We were seeded 2nd in the draw and were handed a decent looking draw with only Real Madrid to worry about. I mixed the team around a bit to try and tick some nations off so results suffered slightly, 8 points from our opening 5 games meant we went into the final game at home to Real knowing we had already qualified, we played well to draw 1-1 but it was only enough to end 2nd in the group.
In the Last 16 we faced a very good Newcastle side, PL champions in 2029 and constantly near the top of the table, so it was pleasing to see us beat them 2-1 at home, we then went to St James’ Park and were absolutely hammered. 4-1 the final score, it could’ve been more to be honest. 5-3 on aggregate and we were out.
Now to the big one, 3rd last season, with the additions I had made to the squad I really felt we had a shot of ending there again or maybe even higher.
It started so well, we were utterly amazing in the opening games. We opened with 5 straight wins including victories over Leipzig and Dortmund before a mini-dip with 2 points from our next 3 games.
Form was patchy but we hardly lost, only a defeat to Stuttgart in mid-December and as we ended the year we sat handily in 2nd place behind Bayern, it was tight though.
New Year, new hope, we had a great rest and came back on absolute fire. 4 wins from 4 in January, 8 points from 12 in February and at this point we were well in the title race. Bayern were still just ahead of us but when we ended March with another 100% month we had overtaken Bayern after they had fallen apart.
4 games in April, 3 wins and 1 draw, Bayern had slipped up again meaning with 2 games to go we sat 5 points clear, a win in our next game at home to Stuttgart would crown us Champions.
We played amazing, taking a 2-0 lead by half-time and after that we sat back and coasted to the finish line!!!
No words! Absolutely incredible. There was so much transfer business done during the season as you will see with how many nations I ticked off, for those players to come in, settle and then do what they did is nothing short of a miracle!!!
Nations Ticked Off
Now to the nations ticked off and my word it was amazing. I had plans to only bring 10 in, I brought in a lot more than that!
Nation 115 – Mozambique
A player I signed last season but he failed to score or get the 7.5+ rating, Jorge Mate played 7 times last season but this season managed to score and get a 9.1 rating in that opening cup battering, a 7-0 win over Kottern. He played 3 more times to get that magical 10 game mark.
Nation 116 – Slovakia
A Summer signing for £18.5m from Roma, Striker Josef Novak came in as my main forward and didn’t take long to do what was needed. He scored in the 1-1 Super Cup penalty loss to Dortmund and then grabbed an 8.8 in the 2-1 League win over Dortmund. Over the season he played 39 times scoring 26, the most at the club this season.
Nation 117 – Japan
Winger Kunpei Hirabayashi came in during the Summer from Leverkusen for £38m, the biggest deal of the window. Another top quality player who scored and got an 8.0 in the 2-1 win over Leipzig. He played 36 times, scoring 14 goals, assisting in 11, he also ends as the clubs player of the season.
Nation 118 – Angola
Central Midfielder Josh Dasilva joined from West Ham for £9.75m in the Summer, the best Angolan I could find and he did well. He got a 7.5 in the 1-0 win over Frankfurt before scoring a penalty in the 4-4 against Leverkusen, he played 38 times over the season.
Nation 119 – Northern Ireland
Daniel Ballard came in from Dortmund in the Summer on a free transfer, an absolute coup and the defender was integral to our amazing season. He scored and got a 7.7 in the 3-1 Champions League win over Lille and over the season played 39 times.
Nation 120 – Switzerland
A late Summer signing, Alexandre Jankewitz came in from Young Boys for £12.75m, the attacking midfielder was really good over the season, he scored and got a 7.5 in the 1-0 win over Hoffenheim and over the season played 35 times.
Nation 121 – Belgium
Orel Mangala joined from Gladbach on a free transfer, the central midfielder wasn’t rated highly but when called upon was good. He scored and got a 9.6 in the 7-0 German Cup rout and played 15 times over the season.
Nation 122 – Bolivia
Right Winger Sebastien Vaca joined Benfica for £1.5m, one for the future but I decided to give him a start in the Champions League 2-2 draw against Fenerbache and he grabbed a goal. He then got a 7.6 in the very next game, a 2-0 win over Dusseldorf. He made 25 appearances over the season.
Nation 123 – Palestine
Signed on a whim just to add some Strking options and he was the best Palestinian I could find, Oday Dabbagh came in from Sporting CP for £1.6m and although he didn’t score in the 7-0 German Cup win he grabbed 4 assists and a 10.0 rating! He then score his first goal in late-September, a 2-0 win over Union Berlin. He made 20 appearances over the season but only scored twice.
Nation 124 – Chile
Marcelo Urzua joined from Liverpool on a free transfer, an absolute steal and the midfielder was really good when called upon. He scored and got a 9.2 in the 7-0 German Cup win and over the season played 21 times.
Nation 125 – Cyprus
Marcus Edwards joined from Aston Villa for £4.1m, again not rated very highly but in my eyes he looked decent. He scored and got an 8.5 in the 6-0 hammering of Fenerbache and over the season played 12 times. Really and truly he wasn’t great but he was the best Cypriot I could find.
Nation 126 – Ukraine
This one was so frustrating! Left Back Vitaliy Mykolenko came in from Leipzig for £12.25m. He looked amazing but my god he was awful. It took him 18 appearances to eventually get a goal, a penalty in the 3-0 win over Leipzig and then 2 games later he got a 7.5 rating in the 3-1 win over Dortmund in late January! He ended up making 40 appearances!!
Nation 127 – South Sudan
Another crap looking Striker came in, I felt I needed to at least try and tick off some smaller nations and the best way to do it was with their best Striker. Dani Lual Gumnok joined from Mathare United on a free. I decided to give him a go in the 7-0 cup win and he repaid me with a goal and a 7.5! He then made his 10th appearance and was sold!
Nation 128 – Guadeloupe
A Winter signing, central defender Nathaniel Saintini came in for £250k from FC Sion and he was an instant hit. He scored and got a 7.8 in his 2nd start, a 3-1 win over Gladbach and went on to make his 10th appearance in the final game of the season.
Nation 129 – Azerbaijan
The 3rd intake player to tick off a nation. Azeri Winger Vusal Əliyev came through the 2031 intake, he looked amazing and was instantly promoted to the first team. He scored and got an 8.5 in the 7-0 cup win and over the season made 10 appearances scoring 3 times.
Nation 130 – North Macedonia
Another Winter signing, Winger Marko Zalokar came in from Vardar Skopje for £1m, a player I initially wanted to loan out and give him a go next season but with how well the challenge had gone I decided to give him a chance straight the way, he got a 7.5 on his debut, a 2-2 against Leverkusen and then scored in mid-March, in a 6-0 win over Paderborn. I won’t lie he was amazing, playing 11 times, scoring 5.
Nation 131 – South Africa
And finally! This one took a while!! I signed South African defender Philani Comitis in the Summer from Gladbach for £11m. The best South African I could find and he was brilliant. He got a 7.6 in a 0-0 draw against Werder Bremen in early-October but it then took him all the way until the 3rd from last game to grab a goal, a penalty, in the 3-1 win over FC Koln. Over the season he made 22 appearances, he was injured quite a bit but in my eyes is a future star and is already wanted to by some of Europes big boys.
Absolutely incredible, I originally wanted to tick off 10 nations a season, this time I ticked off 17!!! That takes me up to 131 nations completed out of 226….in 11 seasons!
And here for your perusal is the whole squad.
What an incredible season but now the hard work begins. I’d said earlier in the post the nations avaialble for me to sign are shrinking by the day and now it is going to be really hard. Out of the top 60 nations I only have Norway, Sweden, Russia and Iran. After that every single nation is outside the top 60 or 70 in the World rankings.
With the league now won I could easily say “screw it, let’s bring in players from the obscure nations and not worry about winning” but I need to win, if I don’t win we don’t get the 7.5+ rating and poorer players means less goals. So it’s going to be a tough task ahead.
So next season we go again, another big season ahead, I need to tick off as many nations as I can and that means another squad overhaul. The good news is the budgets are much better.
Over £76m to spend, very nice!
Anyway, that’s all from me for now.
What a season!!!!!