Der Bär Wird Wieder Brüllen, The Second Season, Part One

“Das Schwierige, was ich jetzt tun kann, das Unmögliche wird sieben bis zehn Werktage dauern…”

Jakob Mueller was tired, and it showed as he walked out of his office, slouched, briefcase hanging haphazardly from his hand, jacket over one shoulder and the knot in his tie down to the second button on his shirt. The board was expecting some sort of miracle, and he had to provide one, legally of course, but the job was proving to be tougher than he thought. Not that he didn’t like a challenge, but at the end of the day, 1+1 still had to equal 2 at some point.

“Jakob!” he heard a voice call out. He turned around, and saw a door open.

“Coach?” he asked. “What are you still doing here?”

“Scouting reports to look over, analysts reports to look over, contracts to look over…I am seeing numbers and charts when I close my eyes, I am not sure that’s a good thing.”

Jakob smiled slightly when Coach finished talking. He liked Nicholas, he was young, but he was very upfront in what he didn’t know, and was willing to listen to you until you showed you had no idea what you were doing. That one Recruitment Analyst lasted all of a week before being shown the door.

“How are Elise and the kids?” Coach asked.

“Missing their Papa, but that is not unusual this time of the year. How is the team looking?”

Coach shrugged. “Losing to Dynamo after thrashing Magdeburg was a gut punch, I am not going to lie. Facing Koln in the First round of the Pokal is a tough ask, but I am optimistic. Not because I have to be, but because I want to be. We have a good chance of staying up I think. I know the guys will fight like hell to stay up. How are things on the financial side?”

“Tight. But if we are careful, we’ll scrape by.”

“Actually I was hoping to talk to you about that,” Coach said.

“The travel budget is maxed out, Coach,” Jakob sighed. “I am out of apostles to rob for you.”

Coach stopped short, then smiled. “My mother used to say that from time to time when things were tight. What if I said I can get us another hundred thousand euros a year for the next few years?”

Jakob stopped slouching, then heard a beeping noise. Coach looked at his wrist and hit a button. “Ach, I didn’t realize it was this late. Elise finds out I kept you here, she’ll thump me at the next Family Day.” You didn’t realize how young Coach Schmidt was until he smiled.

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the door and tell you on the way,”

A few minutes later Jakob was standing in shock, trying to process what Coach had told him. They had walked outside, and Jakob had turned towards the parking lot.

“So the rumors are true,” he said, and Coach nodded in reply.

“It’s either that, or we start robbing banks,” Coach said.

“Well…”Jakob said, and Coach looked at him with an arched eyebrow.

“There some things we can do on the accounting side, but they aren’t things you want to keep doing. At some point you do run out of apostles, and then you’re looking at doing something criminally stupid, or stupidly criminal.”

“Not on our watch, yeah?” Coach replied with a smile, and then Jakobs phone rang.

Sighing as he looked at the screen, the accountant answered it.

“Yes Honey. At the offices still. Yes I know how late-” He stopped talking, because coach had taken the phone out of his hands.

“Frau Mueller, it Coach Schmidt. I am doing well, thanks. Listen, Jakob is here because I kept him here, and I want to apologize for that, I asked him to go thru some financials with me and I lost track of time.” He paused to listen for a moment.

“Well, thats because I don;t have a wife half as good as you at home to help-” He paused for a moment and looked at Jakob. “Your second cousin, eh? Well, tempting though it is I am married to my job to much at the moment to inflict my sort of lifestlye on someone who deserves more.” He smiled, then laughed, and walked back over to Jakob.

“He’s getting in the car right now, I promise. Tell Lukas and Markus I am sorry for keeping their Papa so late, and I will make it up to them the next Family Day, OK? Bye now.” Hanging up, he put the phone back into Jakob’s shirt pocket.

“We’ll talk more tomorrow. Go home to your family,” He said with a smile.

“Sure. Make sure you tell Elsa about this, she finds out last-“

“Ja, Ja, hell to pay, I know, I know. Home Jakob.’ Coach made a shooing motion with his hands, and went back inside. Jakob stared at his retreating back for a minute, then turned and began his walk to the car park.

The club finances weren’t the best when I took over. Promotion, while unexpected, means a stronger league, better money, and I think a couple of years in the 3. Liga could be good for us, let us build a foundation for future success, because right now, we don’t have the finances for it:

The 2.4 million Euro expenditure is the club putting in underground heating. Why they chose to do that, I am not sure, because they stadium we are in is on the wrong side of “Run Down” if I am being honest. I didn’t think we were going to be busy in the transfer market, because

Everybody going full time means our payroll is definitely going up, and we have to be careful who we pay for and what.

We are still a bit understaffed for my tastes, but at this point I am not going to complain. The people I have are OK< and if I am being honest, if I were to let them all go there’s no guarantee the people I could hire in their place would be any better for the same price.

We received €752K for TV rights, which helped out, frankly anything extra is nice at this point.

The 3. Liga rules are pretty straightforward:

The League prediction looks good for us as well:

Until you realize Borussia Dortmund II, BMG II and Freiburg II can’t be promoted, which means the teams below them can certainly be demoted, and that’s what the pundits think is going to happen to us this season. And Dynamo Dresden are the odds on favorites to get promoted…grrr.

The transfer window was pretty quiet. I did a lot of scouting, but more than one player who was willing to talk contracts had some outrageous demands. Why someone thinks I am going to pay €400K a year for their services in 3. Liga is a bit beyond me, but then again I just play FM…

Transfer wise, we did some good business I think. I was really looking to strengthen our defensive backs, and I think I did pretty well:

Max Weiß, Keeper

Kevin Sommer was a good Keeper for us last season, I can’t deny that. But if we want a fighting chance of staying up, of staying out of the relegation battle, we needed someone better. I spent a decent amount of time looking at Free Agent Keepers and the few I thought were good wanted to much money. The transfer listed Keeper’s I looked at either wanted too much money, or didn’t want to come to the club. The loan listed keepers I looked at, well, their teams wanted upwards of €150K a month in fee’s, and that’s before I paid 80% of their salary as well. Then I lucked out and found Weiß listed for loan from KSC. No monthly fee’s, I just had to cover part of his salary, and instantly upgraded our keeper position. He’s quite good for this level of football, and that what I am looking for.

Robin Fuhrmann, Tim Meyer, Tim Kircher, Defender’s

Depth and rotation, two things that are hard to come by in the lower leagues. One thing I am slowly resigning myself to is that at this point, having one good player backed up by several average player’s isn’t going to be an option everywhere, at this point I am working on having a couple of good above average players at some positions, players who I feel comfortable rotating knowing the drop off between them skills wise is minimal at best. Furhman is a good example of this, he has the most upside of the three I brought in, and is a solid player now, and with playing time and training will grow into a good player. At what position I have no idea at the moment, for now it’s D(C), but the fact he can play wingback on either side is a plus.

I’ve high hopes for Meyer. At 18 years old he’s already quite good for this level of football, and if his Off the Ball and Bravery improve, he can be very good. As it stands right now, his ball control, crossing, and passing and quickness make him the starting WB(L), but his lack of marking and composure could hurt us sometimes.

Kirchner is what I call a “Lunch Pail” type of player. He doesn’t excel in any one area, he’s average/above average in most others, and he doesn’t have a real weakness in his game. Sure, he has some low attributes, but nothing horrible. He has a job to do, he knows what it is, and he’s going to do it to the best of his ability, and not a lot more beyond that. I brought him in because he was on a free, he can play anywhere on the right (for the most part) and I don’t have to worry about him making too many mistakes when he is playing. I also know the chances of him doing something extraordinary or out of the blue are going to be rare as well, and sometimes that’s all your looking for.

Shalva Ogbaidze, Andreas Hirtlreiter, Attacking Midfielder’s

Geurts and Breitfeld are decent attacking mids, but I didn’t have a lot behind them, so I was looking to do what I could to shore this area up.

Hirtlreiter isn’t the strongest, nor the bravest, but he’s quick, agile, has above average off the ball and technique, and above average flair as well. I brought him on board because he can play AM(R) and ST, and M(C) in a pinch, and while I wouldn’t comfortable with him being a full time starter at any of those positions (a few areas would have to come up a bit for that) coming off the bench on a rotation basis to spell Breitfeld is a good fit for him.

Shalva Ogbaidze is a slightly older, slightly better version of Hirtlreiter, but will be coming of the bench and starting more at ST than anywhere else. Not the strongest, but with good quickness, agility, first touch, passing finishing and flair, he’s got enough to do a job up top.

Tobias had taken one look at the weather forecast and declared he wasn’t going to watch the team get beat in the rain, so they ended up at the bar with about a hundred other fans. The game itself had been a muddy, messy affair, and FC Köln’s quality was proven that as the extra time whistle blew, they could outrun the Dynamo attackers, but they couldn’t break the lower line of engagement and back four. Reher, Siebeck, Schulz and Pollasch had been above average defensively, but Weiß had the stadium, the fans at the bar, and Sasha in particular, gushing over his performance. Köln has pressed all game, 34 shots, 17 on target, but after Demorovic had scored in the 20th minutes, he had been an impenetrable wall. Covered in mud, he was clapping and yelling, directing the defense, who were listening well. The only person more animated than Weiß was Coach, who had been warned on more than one occasion to stay in his area, and had ventured out more than enough times for the ref to finally take him aside and threaten him with a Yellow. A smile and a clap on the referee’s shoulder, Schmidt had promised he would stay in the area, and did a pretty credible job.

The bar held it’s collective breath Sebastian Andersson stepped up to the spot, approached the ball and kicked it high and left. A short second later, the ball hit Weiß’s outstretched hand, and everyone was yelling and screaming. Siebeck stepped up to the ball, the clubs most reliable penalty taker, and struck it hard, almost in the exact same spot as Andersson had, but a bit higher. Jonas Urbig, all 188cm of him, got just enough of a hand on it to misdirect it, where it also went wide left. The crowd groaned, Tobias sighed loudly, Sasha said something about Siebecks mother before the beer Ulrich handed her got her to quiet down.

Demirovic’s shot went in, Zogjani equalized, and Eric Martel stepped up. He took his time, ran forward…and tapped the ball as softly as you pleased right down the middle, where a standing Weiß caught it neatly and looked at him, and expression that in no uncertain terms said “What the F**K was that?” The camera panned to Coach Jaissle, who was seen yelling something similar before the camera panned away. A couple of minutes later, Geurts stepped up and struck it hard left, Urbig guessed wrong, and the ball hit the back of the net.

Dynamo had just beaten Köln in the First Round of the DFB-Pokal.

A half hour later the bar was still celebrating, singing, laughing, and watching the highlights. The initial interviews had been formalities, Coach Schmidt congratulating his players for their efforts, most of all his keepers, who had been awarded Man of the Match for his efforts between the sticks. Some player interviews had followed, Siebeck thanking the rest of the squad for the team picking him up after his miss, and then the formal interview afterwards in the press room. Most of the interview was the usual banal stuff, the interesting bit of news came at the end.

“How far can the team go coach?”

“As far as they can. If it’s the next round, it’s the next round, if its the final its the final. No matter what happens I am proud of them, of their efforts on the field.”

“Coach, rumor has it you signed another player today, who couldn’t play in today’s game because of registration issues, can you talk about that?”

“Yes, I can, we have an agreement with FC Bayern, they have agreed to send Justin Janitzek to us on a loan until the end of the season. Once he clears the medical screening in Bayern, the remainder of the paperwork will be filed tonight, and Justin will arrive here tomorrow.”

“Our defense just got that much better!” Hans said, finishing his beer.

“He’s not bad,” said Tobias, looking at his own beer. For Tobias, that was high praise. The rest of the bar had started talking as well, loud enough that the reporters question had been missed.

“He’s not costing us anything,” Coach Schmidt said with a smile, “Because in addition to signing him this afternoon, we also signed an agreement to become a lower league affiliate for FC Bayern.”

“WHAT DID HE SAY!” Sasha yelled, loud enough that everyone in the bar who didn’t know her turned to look at her.

“He said they signed an agreement with Bayern to become an affiliate,” Tobias said.

“I heard that!” Sasha yelled back at him.

“Then why did you ask…never mind,” Tobias sighed again, and looked at his mug of beer.

“Bayern. We’re an affiliate for Bayern,” Sasha all but spat.

“Looks like it,” Ulrich replied.

“Could be worse,” Hans said, only to dodge out of the way when Sasha turned around on him.

“How?” she asked. Sasha hated Bayern with a passion. There was only one team she hated more in all of Germany.

“Could have been a Hertha affiliate…”

Sasha took a deep breath, as if she was preparing to argue, then sighed and nodded.

“Yeah, you aer right. Get us another beer please?”

Eine Kugel ausgewichen?

Janitzek is an instant upgrade for us at Defender, tall, above average in most every category that matters, I am really hoping he will add to an already strong part of the squad.

I know this season we aren’t going to be able to run and gun our way thru the league, there are too many quality teams we are competing against, but if we can stay close to a net positive goal differential, and draw some of the teams we are supposed to lose to, I’ll count a non relegation finish a success.

I am worried about the team financials though…

Next up, a look at the season, how we are handling scouting, and trying to build for the future.

Thanks for reading!

FM Jellico

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