The All Nations Challenge #14

Welcome back! So here we go, operation “find a club in 2.Bundesliga, do well, but not well enough to go up” is here! For me this is the only way I am going to have any chance to get anywhere near completing this challenge. After my sacking from Wolfsburg it became evidently clear I was not going to be able to do it in the Bundesliga and the 2.Bundesliga is the only other league where there are no foreign restrictions and it may be a low enough division for those obscure nations to score and get a 7.5+ rating!

Well it didn’t take long for a job to come that took my fancy and after an interview and a weeks wait I accepted the role to take over as manger of SC Paderborn 07.

As you can see they are not doing well, 3rd bottom of the 2.Bundesliga but for me that’s great, we can hopefully kick on this season and end in the top half, get some players in for the challenge and hopefully tick a few off.

The main reason for coming here was the wage budget. The 2nd highest in the 2.Bundesliga at £393k per week and although there wasn’t much spare when I joined I knew I could offload some of my reserves to free up some money.

Financially the club aren’t in the best state. A bank balance of -£7m isn’t great but I don’t need masses of transfer funds to sign these players from the smaller nations.

I took over at the start of January, the beginning of the Winter window and I sold around £10m of players and brought a few players in to help me with the challenge.

It actually started really well, results were good and we were flying up the table. 6 wins in our opening 8 games including a good cup win against Bundesliga side Augsburg was the perfect start and although we lost in the cup quarter to Braunschweig we ended March with morale high and we had shot up to 8th in the league.

We did lose our first game of April before winning the next 3, we ended the season with some good wins and only 1 more defeat. This meant we had ended the season in style and somehow had finished 4th!

We nearly got promoted! Thank god we didn’t!

So a great half of the season, it’s slightly worrying how well we did, I mean winning is great but challenge-wise I cannot get promoted! This could be fun!

Nations Ticked Off

I managed to tick off 4 nations over the 2nd half of the season. I signed 7 but the other 3 were awful, even in this tier they were really poor, this shows you that it is still going to be very tough even in this division.

Nation 154 – Gabon

My first signing, Sidney Obissa joins from Ajaccio for £1.2m. A decent defender who was really good for me in the second half of the season. He got a 7.5 in his first start, a 2-0 win over Bochum before scoring a penalty in the 3-0 win over Karlsruhe in early February. He went on to make 17 appearances, averaging 7.21.

Nation 155 – Kyrgyzstan

Guijigit Alykulov joined for £425k from Kairat, another decent looking player who can play on both wings. He scored in the 2-1 win over Kaiserslautern in late-January and then got a 9.4 rating in the 5-0 hammering of St Pauli in mid-March. He made 17 appearances in the second half of the season, scoring 10 times.

Nation 156 – Kenya

Striker Henry Atola joined from AIK for £1.2m, a natural goalscorer who did really well when called upon. He scored and got an 8.8 rating in the 4-1 win over Augsburg and went on to make 14 appearances, scoring 10.

Nation 157 – Kazakhstan

Denis Bakyt joined from Kairat for £1.1m, another quality player who came in on deadline day, he didn’t start well but in late-February got a 7.8 rating in the 4-1 win over Ingoldstadt and then scored his first goal in the 3-1 win over Greuter Furth. He made 13 appearances and to be honest wasn’t amazing.

Not bad really and here for your perusal is the whole squad.

As you can see we have some other nations there which were signed for the challenge. Togo, Eritrea, Oman, Jordan and French Guiana. None of them were great but each signing was the best player I could find for that nation. We will see how they get on next time around!

What Next?

So another season down, a good start here at Paderborn so I have confidence next season we can win some games and with that some of those nations left will get ticked off.

There are 69 nations to go and most are really small and have very few players and those that are there are bloody terrible.

The ones in white are the players I have in my squad to tick the nation off.

I have a few signings in mind, most are young kids rated 0.5* CA/2.5* PA, that is literally what I’m working with now!

So this could take a while, I plan on trying to tick 7 or 8 nations off a season at best, even that may be too much too ask!

The good news is the budgets are decent.

A slight reduction in wages but we still have around £30k per week spare, more than enough to get in what I need. We also have just under £1.6m to spend, I’m sure I won’t need that unless I find some hidden gem who I need to splash the cash on.

Let’s hope we can do well next season, clearly not TOO well but good enough to tick off a few nations and get this challenge closer to the finish line.

Thanks for reading.

Steve/LutterworthFox

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