(Head to Part 1 if you missed it)
I’m back with another season review. It’s been a quick one but very eventful. The aim stays the same: to be more successful than RB Leipzig. We’re now just one league away from them and an important derby. Without further ado, here’s what happened in my second season in charge!
Season 2 Goals
Gain promotion to the Bundesliga.
Get past the first round of the DFB-Pokal.
With the second tier TV money, I had a few hundred thousand euros to spend, but I didn’t break the bank as I’d need it for wages. I snapped up some great Dutch strikers on frees. Zeegelaar was released by Telstar, while Feyenoord let Strijbosch go on a Bosman. Rafaela Ioime was brought in as a player/assistant manager after I realised I didn’t have an Ass-Man! I tried to stay as close to home as possible, with the majority of the players being Dutch, German, or at least German-based. Good hauls overall.
As the progress table shows, it was a real zero to hero effort this season. The first third was dedicated to finding our feet in the league but it was encouraging that our lowest position all season lasted just two games. By Christmas, we were knocking on the door of the playoffs, which surpassed the board’s aim of staying away from relegation. In all honesty, I wanted another promotion and believed we had the tactics and players to do it. What I didn’t expect was to go on and win the league at the first time of asking. The final half of the season involved a 15-match unbeaten run which ended immediately after we were confirmed champions. We had stiff competition from former Bundesliga champions and greats: Stuttgart, Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg, and Hoffenheim. But they were no match, much to my surprise.
Well, we got even further than I expected. We beat fellow 2. Bundesliga side Darmstadt in the first round 2-1 and top flight Mönchengladbach 3-2, before falling to Nürnberg 2-1. It was an amazing run and a fantastic win against a Bundesliga team.
Zeegelaar was a revelation, becoming the club’s all-time top goalscorer with 20 goals in his first season (the previous record was 17 by Fauré last season.) We scored 78 goals in the league, meaning Zeegelaar scored over a fifth of them. Diakhaby was brilliant in the middle while Valery provided great forward cover alongside the Dutch maestro (whose name apparently means “seaguller” in English. I’m sure Eric Cantona would appreciate that.) Campanini was a great signing for the holding midfielder role. He was only signed as a squad rotation player but made the position his own, only missing 11 days of the season with a bruised shin.
We’ll be a Bundesliga side at last! It also means we can finally meet with RB and do all we can to stuff them. The long-term goal (apart from being the best team in Leipzig) is to stay in the top flight. It won’t be as easy as it was this season but the increased money will be very helpful. The squad will need some more bolstering and I’ll continue to be frugal in the transfer market to make the money last.
Join me next time to find out how I did in Part 3!