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Anzhi Makhachkala: Start of Season 2

Hello Everyone or Здравствуйте as the Russians say! 

Welcome back to another instalment of my quest to bring massive amounts of success to relatively new and mega rich Anzhi Makhachkala. In the last post, we had managed to defy expectations and win both the Russian Premier League and also the Russian Cup, both for the first time in the clubs history. With winning the Russian Premier League, we also qualified for the holy grail of football…The Champions League… could we defy even more critics and lift the Champions League? Well probably not this season or the next but were going to give it a dam good go…but before all that its pre-season time and that means transfers…but before that, me and the Anzhi board sat down and had a few discussions… 




So with a massive 26.5m plus a stupid amount to spend on wages… 



There were a lot of players moaning about not getting a chance to play so I shipped them out to our Division One feeder clubs. 

Last season we raided Dinamo Moscow for players, this time it was CSKA Moscow (plus one from Dinamo Moscow) and the good thing is that their all talented Russian players. Let me introduce you to them… 

Pavel Mamaev 


Alexey Igonin my back up defensive midfielder in my eyes just wasn’t strong enough anymore and at 34 years old it was time for him to move on. Mamaev cost a hell of a lot but he is the best Russian defensive midfield and will be for years to come. He and Taras Stepanenko will be rotated throughout the season as a continuously look to strengthen my midfield. 

Georgy Schennikov 


Schennikov is one probably the most talented Russian youngster around and once I knew he was interested in joining Anzhi…I didn’t hesitate one bit. He is the perfect player to replace Yury Zhirkov in the future. Signing the youngster now means that I can put Zhirkov back into left winger roll, the position he was so destructive in the early stage of last season and this signing also means that I can rotate the left hand side and keep the players fresher. 35m in my eyes isn’t that expensive because he will feature in my Anzhi team for at least the next 10 years…so he’ll cost an average of 3.5m a season. 

Alan Dzagoev 


Alexandr Sapeta ended up having to play nearly every game from January onwards and it was nervy as I didn’t really have any cover in the attacking midfield position, well I had Willian but he was so effective on the wing. As soon as I saw Alan Dzagoev’s name after I’d selected ‘unrealistic transfers’ even if Xavi had have been there, Dzagoev would have still been signed. I have an absolute weird fixation with his player…even ask Darren, he’s the only player I’ve suggested for his ‘Scout Network’. In real life he’s currently playing at the top of his game and is centre of everything good in Russian football. I didn’t care how much he costed…I was signing him.  

Leandro Fernandez 


I came across his chap just before the Russian Euro 2012 squad was announced, he had just qualified for Russian citizenship and was selected to be part of the squad. As soon as the championships were over talks began and days later I have a new centreback. Leandro Fernandez will help in not just strengthening my defence but allow me to field more foreign players elsewhere as I struggled a bit with both Jan Vertonghen and Rafael Toloi being foreign and I didn’t want to rely on Ali Gadjibekov too much. Yeah he’s 29 and 16.5m is a tad expensive but he’s Russian and decent…do I need to say any more. 

So that’s the transfers out of the way next to show you our pre-season results… 

Pre-season Results 


Pretty straight forward results and the only main point of these matches were really for fitness. I’m struggling to get any better friendlies and trying to set up a tour of a country seem to be impossible, but to get results against Russian teams, that I could potentially play this coming season are kind of handy.  

Now lets get down to the business end of the season, because the Champions League draw isn’t until the end of August…this means I can show you our results in the Russian Premier League, Russian Cup and our first chance of silverware this season in the Russian Super Cup. Now the Russian structure is baffling! I’ll start with the Russian Cup which started before the Super Cup, normal nations use the Super Cup as a season opener…not Russia lol. 

Russian Cup 

With only one friendly played I was very worried about the first match against Kuban, and decided to field a full strength team…no messing around resting players and it worked, we’d managed a nice 5-0 victory. Our next match was a massive encounter against Zenit. We managed to muster up a 3-1 victory and had eliminated one of our main threats…we were on track to retain our Russian Cup. As I said above the Russians are crazy and the draw for each stage of the Russian Cup was done on the same day so this is who are still left in the Russian Cup and who we’d have to play to get to the final and who we’d have to play if we got there. 


Now with the Russian Cup firmly on the way could we win our first piece of silverware in the 2012/2013 season… 

Russian Super Cup 

Final – CSKA Moscow v Anzhi Makhachkala (Central, Kazan – 30,000) 

We couldn’t have made a better start to the final, Samuel Eto’o gave us the lead in the very first minute of the match but, it didn’t last as on 8 minutes Jan Vertonghen left the field injured. Totally against the run of play we managed to make it 2-0, a thunderbolt of a finish from Pavel Mamaev, against his former club as well. CSKA Moscow licked their wounds and replied instantly through Keisuke Honda. We led at the half time but it didn’t take CSKA Moscow long to level the game in the second half, Tomas Necid made it 2-2. The game looked destined to go into extra time and possibly penalties, but in the 90th minute Willian had different ideas and sent me and the Anzhi fans into raptures and he sealed the Russian Cup 3-2. What a game, what a player!


After the heroics of the Russian Super Cup its time to bring you the opening four fixtures of our Russian Premier League campaign, I’m afraid there won’t be a League Table screenshot as I forgot to take one. 

Russian Premier League 


Our season opener couldn’t have been more difficult, we would be kicking off our title defence against Spartak Moscow. Well I thought it would be a difficult match but we went in at half time 3-1 to the good, Willian picked up where he left off in the last game and Balazs Dzsudzsak with two goals gave us the emphatic lead. Samuel Eto’o added to the tally in the second half and we recorded a 4-1 victory. We then had to travel to Terek, this turned out to be a very frustrating tie and end in a 0-0 draw, I have no idea how looking back at the stats… 


We needed an instant reply to the disappointment of the Terek result and Volga NN was the perfect match in which to do so and the players didn’t disappoint, Willian, Samuel Eto’o and Balazs Dzsudzsak were all on the scoresheet as we recorded a 3-0 victory. Our last match of August was against the team we defeated in the Russian Cup Final last season Krylja Sovetov. Krylja played a very defensive 4-5-1 formation, which as in the Russian Cup Final we struggled to breakdown but Willian did so just before half time and in the second half the floodgates opened with Samuel Eto’o netting two and Vaclav Kedlec who made a substitute appearance (on for Samuel Eto’o) finishing the match off, 4-0 the final score.


So 10 points from a possibly 12, I couldn’t have asked for more and we’d kicked off the season in great form. No on to the bit I’ve been waiting to see… 

Champions League Group Stage Draw 


WOW REALLY!!! Juventus, Marseille and Real Madrid…well you did want the Champions League to be the interesting part, think it could be an early bath for us or possibly a Europa League place. I’ll leave you with the Champions League and Russian Premier League Title odds… 


Oh wait…message from Sulyeman Kerimov… 


No comment :)

So that’s it for this post thank you for reading and the next post will show our progress in the League and Champions League as the Russian Cup doesn’t kick back off until April. If you have any comments or want any screenshot please request them below 

Cheers again 

Martin Pickard x

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10 years ago

Ecstatic to see another update of my favorite story going at the moment!

Brilliant signings pal. Not only did you add strength and depth to your squad, you stole CSKA Moscow’s best Russian players! I imagine Akinfeev is next on your wishlist? :P Btw, out of curiosity, who did CSKA buy seeing as you poached their top players?

Congrats on victory in the Super Cup, can imagine how satisfying it was to win by scoring a last minute goal! Cool how your stadium cost basically nothing!! And ouch, you received a harsh group in the Champions League. It really would be an amazing achievement if you managed to qualify for the knockout stages! Anyways, good luck pal!

10 years ago

Brilliant signings, its like you have the best Russian players. That is a really hard group, I don’t know how you are going to qualify for the next round. But if you do, it will be an amazing upset.

George Dobson
George Dobson
10 years ago

Great results Martin that chairman loves to spend money :D great results and all your signings look great

Darren Smith
10 years ago

Wow those signings were expensive but all very good players and you’ll always pay a premium when poaching on domestic clubs….just look at England :) I think those new players will help add some consistency and avoid major disasters when injuries strike, something that will be important with the Champions League to think about.

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

You have signed good players once again, especially Dzagoev, and you got off to a bright start this season with the Super Cup win. That Champions League group is as tough as it gets but you have nothing to lose there, I bet you will cause at least a couple of major upsets there ;) Good luck!

10 years ago

Wow, where are you guys getting all that money from? Is the club still operating in the black?

10 years ago
Reply to  Martin Pickard

Pretty impressive man, well done.

10 years ago

Great results. You almost have no problem in the league. BUt that is a crazy group. Wow! You wanted a challenge, now you have one. This story is going to get more interesting.

10 years ago

Wow, loads of money spent Martin, and you brought in good players too :) From the way you’ve started I’m backing you to walk the league, and good luck in that very tough CL group!

10 years ago

Can I get your chairman to share just half a million out to my team? ;) Seriously though, some very nice signings, and good work on winning the Super Cup.

It’s best I don’t write what I said when I looked at the draw you got in the Champions League. That is a seriously nasty group you’re in, but I’m sure none of those teams will look forward to visiting your stadium.

Ana Garcia
10 years ago


So much money to spend! I wish I just had a million to spend in South Africa!

Hard draw in the champions league, just make sure that you beat Real Madrid. ;)

What are your finances like?

Anyways best of luck, I wonder how much more money your chairman will give you! :)

10 years ago

It’s a pretty tough group that you have been drawn in, but you can at least let your foreign players play as much as you want there, you should be able to compete with Marseille, how you do against Juventus could decide how the group ends up (Real Madrid might probably still be too strong for your team, they have Ronaldo after all)

I thought English players were expensive but looks like Russian players are too, and you have signed some good players, should be interesting to see CSKA do with the 90 million you have given them, but I think you probably have some of the better Russian players around, oh yeah is Arshavin interested in joining your club? Though I think he is getting on a bit in terms of age

10 years ago

Brilliant signings as usual and i can’t see any teams stopping you. The worst part is you are signing their best players which make you stronger and them weaker. The champions league group is super tough but it should be a nice challenge.

10 years ago

LOL, you saved the best for last with another huge some of money. All joking aside and excelent start to the season Martin with some phenomenal signings – they are all so good!!
Looking forward to seeing how you handle the Champions League as that is one hell of a group. Good luck!

9 years ago

Good story and looks like a really interesting season……….but it looks like you have given your team more funds, prob by adding yourself as a someone like Man City, selling low value players for massive amounts to finance the CSKA players, the numbers dont add up. Would be interesting to see your Players Out and Income/Expenditure.

Still, as long as youre enjoying FM thats the main thing :)

9 years ago

Well, let me say a few words. I also picked Anji to manage in my first season in Russia ever and this is what i did, and where i stand. At the start i also bought vertoghen and he did great but after 1 season many teams wanted them so i sold him for triple price i paid. In the first season i got few players like lee addy from red star belgrade very cheap and he s very good in russia, and second season he s starter after vertoghen left. I also bought marko pantelic, milos ninkovic, richard kingskon (GK – free) luis guilherme (GK) and signed some russian player like Kolodin (expensive but very good – starter) gusev and ivanov, chicherin, gadzibekov so i have enough russian players and they r good. i finished russian premier division as runner-up but i won russian Cup and built squad for future. at the start of the second season i signed pavluchenko (was for few months on loan at 1st season) and pogrebnyak (free) adryan, carlos aduardo, aleksandar kolarov, zhyryanov, taras burlak (DC), sergio asenjo (great GK – Free) and some others. I sold vertoghen and also dzudzak and made some money for them. i have strong squad now and im first favorite for the title and i will play champions league. we ll see how good business i made but i think im going to be up. I made walter zenga my assisant manager and cigned ludovic giuly and some other famous players as coaches at the second season. Think thats good too.

Matt Bland
Matt Bland
9 years ago

why has my 2nd season not started in sept? my game seems to be carrying on with no league fixtures and im now in november 2012?

9 years ago

this is a really interesting read. keep going!

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