Death does not smell that bad in some cases I think. It was more of the origin of the smell that kept me wondering. I was not entirely sure if the faint odor was coming from the rotting giant I was summoned to revive or from the ancient relic that was staring me across the table. Which ever it was, it indicated that time was short and the end was nigh.
The wheels started turning fast across Europe when I told AS Roma board that I was done with them and going for new challenges in the future. While fending off angry text messages from the board members I actually found out that some of those wheels were turning out to be favorable. To be precise, Carlo Ancelotti. Carlo, the lover of cheese and some other finer things in life had pretty much had it with being picketed by 1974 World Cup winning team and wanted to work in a more relaxed environment and using language that did not sound like old porn. Long story short, Carlo took my chair in AS Roma and left Bayern Munich for good.
After some very fast and not so very subtle moves, there I was, at the Allianz Arena in a very fine office belonging to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge staring me down like a wolf staring its prey. He wanted to know my plans for the team and my plans for the future. Sure. I had plans. I had plans for the future and I definitely had plans for the present.
For some reason(I think he knew he was leaving after a couple)Carlo had been very careful with his roster. While having added some youth to the lineup he had the key leaders still in place. While still very capable, they were not getting any younger. Especially on the defensive side, there would be a forced change coming in a season or maybe two. On the other areas of the pitch there was also work to be done to freshen up and maybe get rid of some of the dead meat hanging around.
I had some issues in the team that needed to be addressed urgently so we could get our campaign on the way without any extra burden considering our roster. One of these issues was found between the pipes. While I think this is a good issue to have, it still can give you some trouble if not addressed properly. In these sort of situations, you need to gauge your own commitment towards the future of the club and how are you planning to success on a more immediate level. My case was that there was Manuel Neuer on the roster. One of the best goalkeepers ever to take the field and for the moment maybe the best. At 33 still very much at the top of his game. I also had Christian Früchtl on the roster serving as my bright future. My plan which I am hoping to succeed is trying to loan Früchtl somewhere to serve as number 1 while keeping Neuer here and buy some back up for him. Neuer still has at least couple of seasons of solid football in him and selling him would be detrimental to the team morale most likely. Furthermore, he is more valuable to me as a captain and player since his valuation is around 15M for the moment. If I can manage to keep Früchtl happy playing somewhere else for a couple of seasons, I most likely have a star GK at the age of 22-23 once Neuer is out of wind.
I was pretty certain that I would introduce my Trident to Bayern fans also so there would be a need for some excess center backs in my team. Having Hummels, Boateng and Niklas Süle as my main guys(there were some options that could play CD)to man the middle of my defense, I felt that I needed to bring in some young talent to compliment them and groom towards passing the torch eventually.
With my recent tactical approach preference, I was going to use WB´s a lot. Looking at the Bayern roster, I was pretty comfortable with the setup they already had. The only issue I would face here would be that my WBs are most likely going to be targeted by the money giants in England and Spain. Names like César Azpilicueta, Juan Bernat, and David Alaba could be very well seen in some other jerseys than Bayern when the season progresses. Obviously, I could fight for them to stay but there are two things I always consider. One is valuation. It is fairly easy to get huge sums from the giants if they want your high reputation players. I usually get the price I am happy with any player. Another thing to consider is the wage. I am not willing to pay huge wage bills to keep players that are hunted. I can alter my tactics and use my team strengths to fill the gap until I can find replacement or I change the approach. Doing this I usually manage to keep teams on higher morale than in situations where I have a lingering battle going on over a transfer.
While I mostly stay at shape one, I need DM´s and AMC´s to compliment my guys in the middle. AMCs usually are more of the specialists but in most of my teams, my CMs and DMs are capable of doing both of the roles when needed. In Bayern’s case, most of the load was going to be put on the shoulders of Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches. With these two team is set for ages unless somebody comes knocking with an offer you can´t turn down. With the two youngsters, I have Arturo Vidal and Javi Martinez who could also see some time as a BPD if needed. Up further in the midfield, I have some weeds I need to take care of and come up with some solid solutions in the field of roster management.
I only had two viable options for an AMC/SS role in my roster with those being Thiago and the other being one of my all time favorite players, Thomas Müller. Rest of my upper strata midfielders are more of winger/inside forward types and most likely all out of the door before the end of the summer window as there is little chance that I will be fielding any wingers this season. I might keep a few around and see if it is possible to turn them into the middle roles as AMCs or SSs. Most likely have some extra patience for Julian Brandt and Serge Gnabry.
I have always considered Timo Werner a true speed demon. Carlo´s last purchase before the exit, Timo should provide a sound tip for my trident. 45 goals in two seasons with the RBL before joining Bayern this summer are a very good calling card for this 24-year old Stuttgart native. Not the best option for your pressing needs but 20 goals a season is a good trade off in a team that will be the one keeping the ball rather than pressing. The issue here is that he is the only striker I have. I could retrain one or two of my wingers but with these resources, I most likely go nuts on the market over the summer. I got some sick Padawans in the youth ranks but they won’t help me get through the multi front season I am facing.
One of the first plans that started to go sideways was loaning Christian Früchtl to be number 1 elsewhere. There were no takers to be found. With the season closing in fast I was in a situation where I might be forced to juggle my GK talent to keep things civilized. Not good. I already brought in Ricardo Ferreira from Odd to serve as my GK backup and nurture my future GKs with his Professional personality. Hopes are up that someone will show up for Früchtl after some competitive games under his belt. With Corentin Tolisso as my main choice for RWB and some teams already asking about David Alaba and César Azpilicueta I did what every Bayern manager has done since the dawn of time, I went and bought a player from BvB Dortmund. It should not take too long for Felix Passlack to challenge Tolisso for the starting RWB spot. I also felt that there were some gaps to fill in the roster so I went to shopping. I also managed to sell some surplus to trim the fat.
Fresh meat for the grinder:
- Felix Passlack , RWB – From Dortmund 25.5M
- Çaglar Söyüncü, CD – From Freiburg 26M
- Gabriel Barbosa, STR – From Inter 62M(Record purchase)
- Marc-Oliver Kempf, CD – From RBL 7.25M
- Zé Gomes, STR – From Benfica LOAN
- Marco Tumminello, STR – From AS ROMA 21.5M
- Ricardo Ferreira, GK – ODD 1M
- Nadiem Amiri, AMC/SS – Hoffenheim 30.5M
- Atakan Akkaynak, DM/MC – Leverkusen 17.75M
- Diego Demme, DM – RBL 7.25M
Spoiled meat into the trash:
- Douglas Costa, IF – Real Madrid 48.5M (61M)
- Gianluca Gaudino, DM – Schalke 8M(12.5M)
- Arturo Vidal, DM/MC – Arsenal 6M(8.75M)
- Sebastian Rudy, DM – Wolfsburg 4.1M(6.25M)
- Thiago, MC/AMC – Inter 47M
- David Alaba, LWB – Man Utd 43.5M(69M)
So what did I achieve here? I bought guns up front, have my defense in good shape in terms of ball playing ability and pace, brought in natural SS in the AMC slot and brought some tenacity and toughness in the midfield. Also, I invested in the future. All of the players bought are young but ready to play, most of them will see a significant rise in their value furthering more options for me in the future. Excluding Gaudino, all the players sold are older and some in the peak of their value. Atakan Akkaynak was loaned straight away to Ingolstadt in the 2nd Bundesliga to get some playing minutes. Rest are remaining with the first team. I am still looking for a deal for Christian Früchtl to settle my GK position for the season.
All the players I bought, were brought in having my 5-2-3 Trident in mind. My defense is made up with 3 CD line and 2 WBs blasting in the flanks. On offensive, it looks a lot like 3-4-3 with my wing backs bombing way up to build on the attack and overload the box with four players pushing from the middle.
Most of my goals and chances come from the middle provided by my attacking duo or my AMC/MC pair from the deeper but when given opportunity, my overlapping WBs also provide some FM16 style goal moments.
Some middle build up play for a goal:
My two MCs are set to be a BBM on support and CM/DLP set on defend. If Sanches and Kimmich are playing it is BBM and CM on defending. BBM adds very nicely to my AMC and F9 on support duties creating marking problems for opposition CDs and possible DM. My other striker is usually set up to be DF on support also. CM on defending stays further back providing extra cover for D-Line and acting as a recycler. You can actually see him recycling the ball in the clip above.
My D-Line plays mostly quite high so the added pace is essential since I get harpooned a lot. Players like Boateng on the CD position provide a counter to this. Very fast counter balls to flanks usually give me the most problems since my WBs and my MC with defend duty have a hard time reacting to those, leaving gaps in front of D-Line and on the flanks. Usually suspecting this or seeing it in the game results in me dropping my mentality(pass risk meter) which eventually drops my D-line or taking other tactical measures to contain the harpooning. My D-line is composed of BPD in the middle with a CO duty and two CDs with ST duty on the sides. If I need to have a DM for some reason I usually drop my CDs to defend.
My overlapping WBs are on support but have a ton of instructions to dictate the way they play. And on that note, I want to add something to this.
If you have read my posts from the FM16 era, you might remember that my tactics were very rigid and simple, to begin with. How ever for the past year I have spent substantially more time with my good friend @MerryGuido and I have become a somewhat of an understudy of his strikerless mentality and stuff he does with his tactics. While I use strikers and also have some very different tactical preferences his handy work has influenced me quite a bit and was instrumental in creating my trident approach for AS Roma. The same tactic with fitted modifications is in the work with my Bayern team and is producing good results.
I have already mentioned it a million times but I am a match manager. I have a set base I start games with and I usually might end up with very different shapes, mentalities, and instructions when the game comes to its closure. I very rarely let my Ass.Man to control games because I want to stay in control of that. He can do the boring shit, Interviews and press and stuff like that. This leads to sometimes trying things with a risk and maybe totally blowing games I should win but for me it is the way I want to go about my business.
This might be the first time I mention anything about my set pieces but there is not much to mention. I usually try man the box on both ends with my strongest aerial threats closer to GK. Pretty much it. Throws and free kicks are mostly by default. I know, I could tinker more with those but I am happy with things as they are.
In essence the base for my tactics is as follows:
If you take a look at the TI screen, you see that there is a ton of them in place. Depending on our opponent and whether we are playing home or away and the situation we are in, our mentality goes all the way from contain to overload and everything in between. At home, it is mostly overload. Away it depends on the team we are facing. I have heavy pressing(close down more) which I regulate with my player PI´s as I do also with passing and tackling. I don´t have Pass to space on at start usually but it serves a purpose if needing to speed up the play which usually also loses the Retain Possession. Retain Possession is used since we are the ones that should dictate the games in Bundesliga. I have mixed passing as my default option since I want some odd through balls from deep towards my strikers to keep defenses honest from time to time. I want my players to be more expressive and roam since they are capable of doing it and mix up things in the latter third of the pitch. Don´t want people to dribble that much. I also have this on some of my players PIs. I like my players to Stay on Feet since the individual tackling is mostly pretty harsh. I still like to remind that all of these are subject to a change if the situation calls for it.
Having said and done almost everything possible I can to prepare my team for the coming season, we are setting ourselves to start the season against Schalke and provide our fans and followers a memorable season with lots of high points and achievements to remember. Hopefully I have some of that stuff written for you in the next installation of The Butcher Of Bavaria.