It’s been a long time since a save took me across the north sea to Western Europe. My last recollection is from around six years ago (around 2011/2012) when I took the helm of a Schalke squad that included the likes of Raúl, Huntelaar, Draxler, Matip and Kolašinac. The link to Dresden goes a lot further back than that though, back to some of my earliest gaming experiences growing up in north Manchester. Before the days of Football Manager and Championship Manager, I was hooked on the Amiga versions of Sensible Soccer, and Dynamo was a team I’d regularly take up. Even then, I never enjoyed playing as the world’s biggest clubs – it was too easy. I preferred a challenge, a building project, and that’s still the case now on the latest Football Manager release.
Dynamo Dresden are a club with a lot of history, they were one of the most popular and successful clubs in West Germany during their early years, from the 50’s onwards. They won eight titles back then but since 96 they’ve drifted between the second and fourth tiers. With that history, and a recently rebuilt 32,066 capacity stadium (Stadion Dresden) they’re a club with undoubted potential.
The initial ambition is very clear; get Dynamo promoted back to top flight football in the German Bundesliga, keep them up and build an established Bundesliga club. This dips into the philosophy a little bit, which is covered in more detail below, but I’d like to promote youth as much as possible throughout this series and try to develop our facilities to better accommodate that.
Longer-term ambitions would see us push for European football and eventual challenge the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund for domestic honours.
A personal ambition is to win the German Cup (DFB-Pokal) with Dynamo, who have never won the competition that began in 1952 (Bayern Munich have won this competition a record 18 times).
The word ‘philosophy’ conjures up some bleak memories of Louis van Gaal’s tenure at Old Trafford, but regardless, I think it’s important for a football manager to have an ideology. They should have beliefs and principles – a vision of how they want the game to be played. I see no reason as to why that cannot change and adapt for different situations or cultures, but a set of core principles should guide both short and long-term decisions.
As a newly appointed manager in Germany, I’d like to honour some of the key traits that have made German football so successful. We’re fully aware of the German national team’s accomplishments over the years, and much of that stems from the setup and culture of the domestic leagues. German football is renowned for its efficiency, team spirit and work ethic. German sides typically work very hard and demonstrate efficiency and commitment, with a strong focus on developing young German talent and trusting them with first team opportunities. This setup has made possible the national side’s ability to rebuild aging squads with next generation talent, who are benefiting from first team football and providing a larger selection pool.
My favoured formation throughout FM17 (the 4-2-3-1 Counter Press) has been frequently used by recent Germany sides, so it’s an extremely suitable tactic for us to utilise.
As a new tactic, I would like to develop something similar to that used by Diego Simeone’s La Liga winning Atletico Madrid, and Claudio Ranieri’s Premier League winning Leicester. Both side’s made use of a counter attacking 4-4-2, which echoes many of the typical German traits mentioned in my philosophy – hard work, teamwork, efficiency, team spirit, commitment etc. These sides are/were very much focussed around ‘the team’ rather than the standout individuals. That ties in perfectly with what I’m trying to achieve.
I always feel the need to have at least one defense minded formation/tactic, for situations where you need to see a game out or are the underdog. A defensive 4-1-4-1 is my regular choice here and it will be again at the beginning of this series.
The standout feature of Dynamo’s facilities has to be the stadium. Stadion Dresden was rebuilt during the 90’s and has a capacity of 32,066. It’s a stadium fit for the Bundesliga.
Other amenities such as training and junior coaching facilities are average. I’ll need to invest in these areas once the finances improve in order to help us to develop young talents for the first team.
Right now, the club has limited finances, but that’s largely down to their current stature. Securing promotion to the Bundesliga would undoubtedly improve the situation; the size of stadium in particularly has the potential to improve revenue through improved gate receipts.
The squad already boasts a few young talents that are definitely worth keeping-on to develop further. Young winger, Erich Berko, and playmaker duo, Niklas Hauptmann and Aias Aosman, have encouraging attributes.
The central midfield is aging and fairly limited, that will need addressing, and the strike force is a little light on numbers and quality.
We have a quality young keeper on loan from Hoffenheim (Marvin Schwäbe), though we’ll obviously need a longer term replacement for the following season.
Full backs Philip Heise and Niklas Kreuzer are good players in their prime.
Overall there is definitely some potential to work with, but there are some key areas to address and the depth of squad is a slight concern.