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

“How deep in the hole do you thinks they are?” asked Hans. They were standing outside the stadium waiting for practice to open. That they had to pay a nominal fee was beside the point for most people.

“Enough that they are charging us to watch practice,” Sasha grumbled, She took a drink of her coffee and grimaced. “I swear this tastes like something run thru the filter about ten times,” she said, finally lifting the lid off and pouring the contents out on the nearby grass.

“How would you know what that tastes like?” Heinrich asked.

“I don’t, but my grandmother used to talk about how after the war it took ages for them to get anything resembling the coffee, even the ‘ersatz’ stuff was just swill apparently.”

“Speaking of swill…” Hans said.

Sasha sighed. “It going to suck,” she replied. “Anyone with common sense can see it. They’ve got no money for signings, not money to pay any free agents, the best we can hope for is to be a stepping stone club in the short term, or a club that others send their prospects to for some first team playing time.”

Hans was looking around as Sasha talked, and waved to a familiar face in another group. “Well,” he replied, looking back at his own little group of friends. “As long as we stay up.”

Sasha nodded. “You wouldn’t believe how controversial that opinion is…”

First, the good news:

Then again, when you think about it our only other choice was to default, go into adminisatration, and all the way back down to the RegionalLiga, or lower, so the fact were are financially solvent is good. Financially stable? That remains to be seen.

Now, the bad news. I have almost no screenshots from this season. Either I didn’t take them, likely, or misplaced them, possible, but not as likely, because I was interested more in grinding the season out than I was getting screenshots and video. It also doesn’t help that I don’t have a save file from the end of the season, as is my usual practice. However, I can tell from the dates of the screenshots, I was playing this season around the time my wife had her knee replacement surgery, so Football manager was not one of my priorities.

As an aside, her surgery went very well, she’s kicking my tail a lot easier these days, and the can gives her a bot of reach and power when she needs it.

But there some exciting things to happen to the club, at least for me:

The increase is staff sizes was very welcome, not that I’ll be able to bring in the coaches I want, but more adequate coaches and scouts are better than none. The club loves, but, but doesn’t love me love me, which I find hard to believe, because short of turning water into wine this has been a couple of seasons of miracles. The last one is the most important to me though. The club had money in the bank. We had the same training facilities I had when I started, which weren’t that great to begin with. In the real world, making them better is a handy recruiting tool. In the make believe world, it’s still a handy recruiting tool. The transfer window was full of sound and fury again, I swear I must have looked at a hundred or so players, I was having some success, and then AEK came in for Mirza Hamzic, the board accepted the offer, I couldn’t protest (Thanks FM) and he left. One of our better, younger players on the squad, gone.

This season is slightly different than the previous two, in that were aren’t just looking to stay up, but to try and build a foundation for the teams going forward. I don’t need a team full of superstars just yet, but a group of players who play their positions well, play with each other well, and don’t make a ton of mistakes on the field? I am all for that, and a lot of the players we brought in reflected that.

Jiri Slama is a defender who can play more than one position fairly well. He doesn’t score, he doesn’t get an assist, but in his previous seasons at Brno and Sigma Olomouc, he’s been a credible defender, and I can live with that.

Michael Stocker is the same type of player, another solid D9C) who can flex left if needed, or up to DM as well.

Elmin Dold, on loan from Freiburg, can play anywhere on the right side of the field, but is best suited to play D(R).

Franklyn Okerke comes to use from Cottbus, where he played mostly at AM(R) and Forward.

What do these four players have in common? None of them are long term solutions. But they are cheap, solid fixes for the time being, players who wil get an opportunity to do a job and keep it until someone better comes into replace them. They aren’t Bundesliga level players, heck they are probably borderline Bundesliga 2 players, but they chose to come to BFC for playing time in a bigger venue in a bigger league, for cheap.

Why fight it?

Somehow Jean Marie Nadjombe parlayed a few seasons at Fortuna Koln and Offenbach into a move to Bologna for 145K. He played all of three games there, and they put him out on loan. He’s a very good D(L), and while we probably couldn’t keep him if we wanted to, and I looked into that, he’s very solid for this level of football.

Lennard Dohrmann is a stopgap winger, a very good RegionalLiga winger who is probably in a league just beyond his ability level. But every other player I tired to bring into the position turned me down, wanted more money, or went to a bigger club. He doesn’t strike me as a long term solution, but I am more than happy to be wrong here.

Theo Berdayes is the signing of the transfer window. That he’s a loan player from Wolfsburg should tell you everything you need to know about this seasons transfer window. But I wasn’t expecting Hamzic to leave, and Berdayes checked all the boxes off:

  • Filled a positional need
  • Wanted to play
  • Was available
  • Wolfsburg wanted no money for him

He is a very good striker for this level of football. In fact, he looks like one of those guys who could have a long solid career either starting in a League like Bundesliga 2, or sitting on the Bench in the Bundesliga making about the same amount of money.

If you are a team who is in need of help, but are strapped for cash and can’t pay outrageous salary demands of parent clubs, go to Serbia, Croatia, Czechia and Slovakia. There you will find good young players at good clubs on wages so low even paying 100% of their salary will barely affect your bottom line. This years version of that is Antonio Juric, who is a very solid DM/M(C) who could be a quality player if given playing time. He wasn’t getting it at Dinamo, who were more than happy to send him to Berlin.

Lastly, Rachid Moumni. To be honest, if I had the opportunity to sign him, even on a free, I probably wouldn’t. The holes is his game are just to much to get over, but I need midfield depth, and he’s available for the right price (free), so he will be part of the rotation, as long as he doesn’t cost us any games.

The one big hole this season: Getting a better keeper. Lucas Lavallée isn’t bad, but he’s not good, but after every other keeper I went to either turned me down or went to another club, I don’t have a choice really. Pavlovic seemed interested in returning, but Red Star wanted me to pay his full salary and sign a non-negotiable deal that would have cost me somewhere around 4.5M if I wanted him. If this season Lavallée comes anywhere close to being what Pavlovic was for us last season, I’ll be ecstatic.

This season, it’s all about not being relegated again. 34 points, and as close to a positive goal diofferential as we can get, and I will be happy with that. Helping us out this year are the fact that Hansa Rostock and Ingolstadt were promoted, and they aren’t anywhere near ready for this level of football, and of the teams that finished below us last season, 1860 Munchen, Kiel, Regensburg, Magdeburg and Vfl Bochum, only a couple were proactive in the transfer window.

I like our chances.

Custer had a plan too…

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