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Darren – Ultimate European challenge, the journey begins 10/11

Hi folks, today I will be starting the longest FM journey I have ever been on. I recently posted about the new Ultimate European Challenge hosted exclusively on this site. I would recommend reading that post to get an idea of what this story is all about and also to think about trying the challenge yourself. Basically I have loaded up five countries, England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. I have also started the game unemployed with a reputation of ‘International Footballer’. To complete the challenge I must win the top flight title and major domestic Cup at least once in all five countries. I must also win the Champions League at least twice with any club in any of the countries. A really tall task, but I’m looking forward to a big challenge!

After starting the game I had to wait until February before accepting a job offer. Both Newcastle and Athetic offered me a contract, but I had already managed the toon and didn’t fancy being restricted by Athletic’s transfer policy. Then Hamburg SV of Germany came calling, I thought Germany would be a good starting point and HSV a decent club as well. I accepted the offer and hence began my journey in Germany.

After accepting the job offer I then proceeded to check my side and their morale, injuries…BIG MISTAKE! I really should have checked that before accepting. HSV’s morale was all red with arrows pointing down, they also have a lot of star players out. Kacar their best midfielder, Van Nistelrooy, Min and Guerrero their three best forwards. This left me struggling for forwards and forced to play everyone out of position.

After getting over the injury and morale problems I examined the damage to their Bundesliga position. Pre-season saw the board ask their old manager for a title challenge, I don’t think he could have done much worse. Lying in 10th position and 11 points off a Champions League place let alone top spot.

Below is the squad I have to work with, I haven’t included the injury or morale indicators but believe me there not pretty. My only striker that is fit, Petric, is the opposite of what I need. He has good technical attributes, but terrible physical ones, this will make my tactic far less effective. Take note of Westermann’s goals scored and average rating as you will see him transformed later in the post.

Well before I share the first results with you, lets look at a little background into the club.

I only had 10 games to prove myself this season and turn Hamburger SV’s form around. This was all I needed as we won 7, drew 2 and lost just one game. You will be wondering who this Westermann is, surely he’s a striker…believe it or not he is my centre back. Scored every goal from set pieces and is unstoppable during corners!

Such a great run of form really turned the clubs fortunes around and we managed to rise up to 6th position. Bayern won the league with ease and they will be very tough to dismantle. I am not sure if we’ve managed a Europa League place for next season as the rules are a little complicated. Either way I am happy with the achievement.

I previously mentioned looking at Westermann’s average rating and goals scored. Below is why, he has scored nine goals for me from ten games. The centre back has also improved his average rating from 6.77 to 7.11 since I took over. My set pieces really worked well and his attributes are deadly for corners.

Aogo is the other reason for my success from set pieces. Westermann can only work with the right delivery and Aogo can really deliver a great ball. His assists rose from 3 to 12, showing just how much difference a good set piece can make. With a lack of good strikers I would have struggled without so many goals coming from dead balls.

Well that is how my first season ended, I came in late but revived a damaged club as best I could. Next season will be tough with the likes of an ageing Van Nistelrooy and Ze Roberto leaving. I will also be losing Rost, Castelan and Trochowski who are mainly substitutes. Usually this is good news but the reason their leaving is because I cannot afford the wages they all demand to secure a new contract. The club is in debt and struggling to repay loans, so it remains to be seen just how much money if any I get in the summer.

If anyone wants to try this challenge I will welcome any questions and remember I’m hosting a specific rankings for this challenge so don’t miss out. My posts will be in the form of season updates and until the next one thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

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MRDNRA
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MRDNRA

Westermann looks like a great defender. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up as one of your top scorers next season either if you can keep working the set pieces as well as you have done so far.

Looks like you’ve got yourself a good challenge though. Looking forward to the next post.

Darren Smith
Guest

Hey MRDNRA, Westermann is a little shabby with his tackling but I can’t drop him because of the goals he provides from corners! The next post will be coming soon mate. :)

Laxeyman
Guest
Laxeyman

Hi Darren, a good start to your European challenge, you really turned HSV’s fortunes around. Hopefully next season you can push on and claim a Champions League place. It won’t be easy with all the debt at the club, but I’m sure you’ll do well. Good luck!

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Laxeyman, the side isn’t great and I need to bring in my own players but the cash flow could be a problem. Only upside is the German opponents aren’t as tough as in England.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Hello Darren
How ironic you end up with Hamburg. Kevin Keegan Hamburg and Newcastle – Darren Smith Newcaslte and Hamburg :) Great start though!! Westermann is amazing!!

Darren Smith
Guest

lol thats actually right Kevin, didn’t think of that. Hopefully I can get the German trophies wrapped up quickly and move on the country no. 2 I’d like to go to a club with more money really.

Wazz
Guest
Wazz

Darren! Great job. You brought HSV from 10th position to 6th in just 10 games. That’s great! Your team’s only one position away from getting into an European competition. Also, you really got the best out of Westermann and Aogo. I hope your club will have a better finance in the near future.

Good Luck mate! :D

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Wazz, getting 6th was a struggle but my set pieces were all to thank. Next season could be a tough one with a small budget, but we’ll see what happens.

Kieran
Guest

Well Done Darren,

Nice to see you work your magic somewhere rather than england ;)

Good luck!

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Kieran, Germany is very different to England, but I’m hoping my tactics will transfer well.

Ana Garcia
Guest
Ana Garcia

Interesting start!

Hamburg seems like a decent club to start with, and with a free scoring defender what could go wrong!!

Hopefully your small transfer budget wont hurt you too much in the new season, and good luck trying to get the first part of your challenege completed!

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Ana, Hamburg are one of the top clubs in Germany. Really we should be looking for a top three finish next season and anything else would be a bonus. The transfer budget could be a minor problem, but as long as I can sign three or four targets I’ll be happy. Would be great to win the league quickly so I don’t have to stay in Germany too long…this challenge is all about timing really. I’ve already missed out on an opportunity to manage Arsenal and Ath Madrid…I’m holding out for Barca. :) lol

Sears
Guest

Hey Darren,

That was an impressive start. I really like the Bundesliga and the quality in Germany is fantastic, especially the young players. I know Westermann, I always bought him on FM10. He was versatile and has wonderful defensive attributes. You seem to be having financial difficulty but let’s hope that doesn’t effect your progress. HSV have a decent team, Elia is a fantastic talent. All they lack is quick strikers. Good luck during pre season, hopefully a few bargains will appear.

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Sears, Westermann will be a very important players. We will definitely need some bargains in pre-season but the squad isn’t too bad already. Ill be looking for a striker and some midfielders.

bryn
Guest
bryn

Hey, darren!
Im new to ur site and love this idea of the challenge!
What tactic are you using and how do u set the players up at set peices???

Well done and i hope you get a good budget for nxt season!

Darren Smith
Guest

Hey Bryn, glad you like the challenge. I’m enjoying it so far and looking forward to a long career. You can see my tactics and download them if you want from here http://allthatisfootballmanager.com/2010/12/fm-2011-newcastle-tactics-4-4-2-and-4-5-1/ I use these tactics all the time and with my HSV side. The set pieces are only changed slightly from default. Basically set freekicks aimed to ‘best header’ and corners aimed to ‘far post’. I have my best heading defender ‘attacking the far post’ for corners. Hope this helps mate.

bryn
Guest
bryn

Cheers!
Its so simple, but you make i so effective with your teams! I hope to use it in my preston save! I am struggling in the prem with no money and poor strickers! i hope this helps! thanks darren!

Good luck with the challenge!

Darren Smith
Guest

No problem Bryn, any other questions don’t hesitate to ask mate.

Birdy
Guest
Birdy

Hey Darren

Westermann is playing awesomely and he looks unstoppable just like Mussachio. Good luck on your next season i reckon you will get a top 4 spot going the way you are

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Birdy, Westermann is one of those top players from set pieces. Very rare to have one ready for you when you take charge. I really want a top three finish next season but who knows, a little luck could bring more.

CsAtlantis
Guest
CsAtlantis

Hey Darren

Eljero Elia should be a great asset for your club, Liverpool are chasing him in real life now, any good strikers on the transfer list?

Personally I am thinking that it would be interesting if I buy someone like Kadlec and drag him to every club I end up in across Europe on my Challenge :D

Darren Smith
Guest

Hi CsAtlantis, Elia is a really good player. Great pace and flair…his only downfall is hitting the net but he’s great for a winger. Unfortionately all the Strikers on the list aren’t what I’m after…they lack pace and shouldn’t be used as a poacher. Ive spotted one target for free though so Ill persue him.

Dragging Kadlec across Europe sounds great…he would be worth more in combined sales than Robbie Keane and Anelka put together :) Wish I could afford him.

Lye Kuek Hin
Guest

Hi Darren,

I would definitely try it out when i have some spare time. First season is surely tough as the clubs came calling in is in a crisis. I believe for this challenge, the work starts on second season. Good luck with Hamburg. Hopefully you have some money to spend for next season.

Darren Smith
Guest

I’d love to know how you get on if entering this challenge Lye. Its gone down well so far and hopefully more people will get involved. Your right about the work starting in the second season, the board said they weren’t judging me at the end of the first so. Unfortionately I will have next to no budget though…we’re in bad debt and the board have already told me they want the club to bring youth through as we have money problems. Sound just like Mike Ashley at Newcaste grrrr :)

Arjuna
Guest
Arjuna

Hey Darren,
This is a great challenge, much like the pentagon but much more easy to get going in.
If I post updates on Lye’s blog will you add it to the leaderboard?
Arjuna

Darren Smith
Guest

Hey Arjuna, glad you like the challenge. Sure I can add you to the leaderboard if your doing the challenge and writing on Lyes site. Just make sure the challenge itself is credited to Allthatisfootballmananger though. Look forward to reading it mate!

Johnny Karp
Guest

The squad is solid enough, I guess you could win the title right away but you will surely finish in the top three.

Darren Smith
Guest

Thanks Johnny, the title is always a possibility but I’m setting my sites on the top three as a minimum.

Atlant Nila
Guest
Atlant Nila

It looks fun today i will start also :)

Darren Smith
Guest

Glad you like it Atlant. Let me know who you would like to be and Ill add you to the rankings.

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