Football Manager is a game loved by many, with thousands hoping to make simulation football history. However many (like me) tend to struggle to decide which club to turn to. It’s just plain difficult to decide on a club with an interesting backstory that doesn’t follow the crowd of your typical road to glory. In this series, we will take a look at possible football manager save ideas to keep you busy during the current you know what.
For the first week, we will focus on a common save concept but with a twist you might not expect. This solo save focuses on the east German city of Leipzig. The football side of the city has been dominated by the Red Bull-owned RasenBallsport Leipzig since 2009. Since taking over fifth-tier side SSV Markranstadt, serious investment has led to the club flying through the divisions to the point where they are currently competing in the top tier in Germany, the Bundesliga, as well as brushing up with Europe’s big boys in the Champions League.
This save idea will focus on the David’s fighting the Goliath competing to be the biggest club in Leipzig. To avoid being your traditional ‘Big Brother, Little Brother’ save, there are plenty of options to choose from to topple Julian Nagelsmann’s Red Bulls. So, let’s looks at some of the clubs on offer in Leipzig.
Since the club’s reformation in 1997, Chemie have risen from the twelfth tier of German football to find themselves in the Regionalliga (Fourtgh tier). With promotion as champions in the 2018/19 season, Chemie have a tough task on their hands to not repeat their relegation from two seasons previous.
An ageing side the previous season, you will inherit a team taking a new direction towards youth. Teamed with this youth is quality to give some stability, with goalkeeper Benjamin Bellot coming in from Danish side Brondby. However, players who have had past success at the club still remain with attackers such as Florian Schmidt and Daniel Heinze. Bringing back the fittingly named Tommy Kind should bring some goals for a side looking to make a better go of this tier.
Onto the finances and facilities. With a 18,000-capacity stadium you’re not going to be short on ticket revenue if some success starts brewing on the pitch. A budget any Sky Bet League Two club would be happy with places you as one of the poorer sides in the division however. But facing former Bundesliga side Cottbus will put any budget you have into perspective. The facilities are average at best, with room to develop as the club does. An emphasis on youth probably won’t be top of your list with RB around the corner to steal anything good that pops up.
Chemie I see as the middle difficulty in this challenge. A side with potential and if played smart, picking up a few RB rejects here and there, this is an interesting option to continue their promotion, and rise to the top.
The first side to win the top tier in German Football under their previous name VFB Leipzig, Lokomotive certainly have history on their side. Currently sat in the fourth tier, Lokomotive are one of the favourites for promotion, but with only the top side going up, this challenge won’t be easy. Lokomotive currently have three top division titles to their name; your task will be to add to that.
Their side consists of seasoned veterans David Urban and Matthias Steinborn, with your highest earner Aykut Soyak being someone to pin your hopes on. A side that doesn’t lack strikers creates an opportunity to play an open expansive system to out score your competition on the way to the title. Your only problem seems to be in net, with the first choice Benjamin Kirsten out for nearly two years, leaving you with the choice to recruit early or stick with the youngsters already around.
Financially better than your divisional rivals Chemie, with the reputation to attract the best players from RB, Lokomotive has the advantage. The outstanding earner Soyak clearly distinguishes his class, it will be adding more at half the wage with the quality needed for mounting a challenge. Better established facilities put you in a good position to develop your own youth as you push back through the divisions, especially facing the sleeping giants of the 3 Liga.
Predicted third puts this as the easiest of the three challenges with which comes pressure. The club with the most history certainly gives you the foundations to push up and challenge the bigger brother.
The final option takes us down a division to the fifth tier with International ‘Inter’ Leipzig. Being the baby of the group, founded in just 2013, Inter claim to be the open-minded club of the city with former major Wolfgang Tiefensee serving on the board. With minimal years of playing, this gives you the chance to build your own legacy and philosophy on a side yet to find their own.
A small squad with nationalities from all over the world, you will do well to get this side singing of the same sheet towards promotion. The Croat Lovro Sindik operates as part of your spine in a very average side including young keeper Julian Knoll and Korean Kim Dong-Min. A possible standout is Sporting Lisbon and Porto trained midfielder Braima Cande, with his physical attributes the start of a possible pressing high system.
Starting a division below the other two already puts you at a disadvantage and the facilities and finances don’t make it any easier. A definite blank canvas to build as you move up with little wriggle room to start with puts this as the hardest option of the three. Predicted 8th puts you as an outsider for the two automatic promotion places and the right additions could see you competing with Chemie and Lokomotive very soon.
Inter starting in the division below puts you at a disadvantage but with no recent history you can shape the club to your liking. Little money and low reputation makes this the hardest choice of the three by far, but possibly the most rewarding when you eventually overthrow the Red Bull boys!
Now you know the options, so what’s the challenge? As we mentioned earlier the plan is to become the ‘Bigger Brother’ of the city of Leipzig. So, depending on whether you start with Chemie or Lokomotive in the fourth tier, or International in the fifth, you have a few promotions before even thinking about challenging RB. First step therefore is to just reach the Bundesliga, the faster, the better.
Next you will have to take on the reason for this save, RB Leipzig themselves. With considerable financial muscle, you may take a few beatings early on, but consider the long game. With the prize money in Germany a couple of mid-table finishes could see you spending the cash, rather than looking over your shoulder. One step at a time, a few decent regions and wonder kids in the bag, and European football won’t be too far away.
The final step is to take Leipzig on and surpass them. By this time RB may have a couple of titles themselves, so you will need to claw this back first. With a bit of European glory, you’re sure to be the king of the crop in Leipzig and your legacy will be complete. If you have the lust for success, you might not want to stop at Leipzig, with fellow German giants Bayern and Dortmund now in your sights.
So, the challenge is laid down all you need is access to the clubs. There are multiple databases around to unlock the little brothers of Leipzig, with attached the one I recommend as the best.
For me this challenge was superb, taking the lower league concept from England to learn the ways of a different system. Team this with a target side to overtake, and the motivation remains throughout this save. It took me 18 seasons to achieve Bundesliga glory with my Chemie side, but I am yet take the next step to European glory. Can you overtake the success hungry Red Bull?
Written by: Adam Cole – @CoachAdam_Cole