Season Preview: Chicago Bears

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Well, football season is back – thank God – so it’s time to preview the 2018/19 NFL season for the team from the Windy City, the Chicago Bears. Much has changed for the storied franchise since Week 17’s 23-10 loss to divisional rivals the Minnesota Vikings, that concluded a disappointing 5-11 season – good enough for the 2nd worst record in the NFC. As the season ended, so did John Fox’s three year tenure as Head Coach, with the organisation bringing in former Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Mike Nagy as Head Coach. Nagy is expected to finally get the once great franchise moving again, twelve years after their last Super Bowl appearance. Nagy has since moved quickly, bringing in his own staff in Offensive Coordinator Norv Kubiak and Defensive Coordinator Ryan Charles. Nagy is expected to give both coordinators a lot of independence on their respective sides of the football, and will involve both men heavily in the scouting and drafting process. Coach Nagy has stated his reasoning behind this approach when asked by reporters:

Really, it’s just a part of our process. We’re aware we have work to do, and this is the way we’re going to do it. I trust Norv and Ryan’s judgements, and we’re going to get better working as a unit.

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Righting Die Mannschaft: VI

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Right, it’s time for the much promised 2018 World Cup Final. I apologise for not getting this out earlier, but before FM19 really kicks off, I want to get this series finished and use this post to say goodbye to Football Manager 2018. If you’re just finding this save now – you’re a bit late! – here are the first, second, third, fourth and fifth updates respectively. In the previous update we faced real life world cup finalists Croatia in the semi-final, and after a fantastic second goal by Thomas Müller, made our way through to the final (fairly comfortably in the end). Our opponents in the World Cup Final would be shock finalists Wales, led by star man Gareth Bale, playing on the left wing in Ryan Giggs’ preferred 4-4-2 system. Apparently Giggsy’s a maestro in Football Manager. Wales have had a very interesting route through to the final, coming through a group featuring Argentina, Poland and Saudi Arabia. They then defeated Colombia in the 2nd round, Chile in the Quarters, before somehow managing to defeat star studded Brazil in the semi final to make the Final. Somehow, little Wales have managed to defeat most of South America on their way through. Will they be able to defeat my die mannschaft though?

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Once again, thank you very much to @FMAcidphire2185.

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Righting Die Mannschaft: V

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Right, things are über serious now, and I’m going into the game a little concerned – but more about that later. It’s the Semi-Finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In reality, I’ve done far, far better than Jogi Löw’s side did in real life, but in game, I’m expected to reach the final at the very least. No pressure then. When I said in the last update that a quarter final exit would be an unadulterated failure, I was right. This would be less so, but still undoubtedly a failure in the eyes of the DFB. So yeah, again, no pressure. Anyway, this update will cover the Semi-Final against Croatia, a nation that I have a strong affinity to – along with all Balkan nations – in real life, but in this FM world, Croatia can go stuff itself. If you’re just joining this save now – where have you been?! – here are the first, second, third and fourth updates respectively. In the last update, we played the Quarter-Final against perennial nearly men Belgium, and they proved to be that yet again, as we came through 3-2 with a 119th minute goal in extra time from Mario Götze.

We’ve drawn Croatia for this round, when we could have had an easier match in Wales, but compared to Brazil, I’m more than happy to have Croatia as our opponents. Brazil can face Wales – who have been using a basic 4-4-2 – and really should be going through to the final.

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Righting Die Mannschaft: IV

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Ok, now we’re down to the Quarter Finals of the 2018 World Cup. The final eight. Things are really getting serious now, and all that’s left is big matches. For most countries, making it to the last eight would be a good/great performance, but not for die mannschaft. For Germany, this would be an unadulterated failure. I’m very much expected to win this game by the DFB, and the game itself. This update will be covering the Quarter Final match against Belgium, one of the most promising international teams in world football for quite some time. In case you’ve missed any of my updates on this save so far, here are my first, second and third updates. In the last update, I covered the Last 16 match against the 2010 World Champions, Spain, where we comfortably came through 1-0 victors thanks to a goal from our 2014 hero, Mario Götze.

Again, we have drawn a bigger nation in Belgium when we could have had weaker options, but this world cup – or Vladimir Putin – seems intent on throwing challenges at us, so let’s see how this one goes. I had plenty of decisions to make before the game itself.

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Righting Die Mannschaft: III

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Right, it’s time to get serious. It’s the Knockout Stages for die mannschaft at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In case you’ve missed any of my updates on this save so far, here are my first and second updates, leading up to this update, our Last 16 tie against the 2010 World Champions, Spain. Yikes. In the last update, we covered the group stages, and our – in the end – fairly easy progression through to the Knockout Rounds of the 2018 World Cup. I outlined how I have progressed from using the 4-1-2-3-0 system in the first game against Japan, to eventually deciding that our 5-2-3 system was the way to go, and coming to the conclusion that win, lose or draw, that’s going to be our system for the rest of this world cup.

As I said above, we – unfortunately – drew Spain in the Last 16. I was hoping to get a smaller nation that would have been slightly easier such as Colombia, Iran or Australia. However, we’ve got Julen Lopetegui’s Spanish side, and we’ve just got to get on with it.

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I’m still in love with these…

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Righting Die Mannschaft: II

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Right, time for the main event, it’s time for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In the last update, I covered our path towards the World Cup, and left some hints towards my plans for die mannschaft moving forward. I also revealed the squad I would be taking to the finals, and here it is again should you wish to have another look. In my own esteemed opinion, I think it’s quite a brave squad to take, with a large amount of young players such as Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt, Julian Weigl, Kai Havertz and Willi Orban. Of course, these players are still extremely capable products of the Talent Development Programme™, but it’s still more risky than simply including all the old-timers from the 2014 tournament in Brazil – then again, look what happened to Jogi Löw.

In case you missed the last update, here is the group that we’ve drawn for the tournament, a pretty easy route through to the knockouts in Japan, Switzerland and Nigeria. I’m expecting comfortable wins against Nigeria and Japan, with Switzerland probably being our only real challenge there. Realistically, anything other than going through as group winners just isn’t acceptable, even if I’ve forced the squad into something of an early transition period.

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Righting Die Mannschaft: I

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Perfect timing isn’t it really? I’d planned to do a Germany save just before the group stages got underway in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, initially to try and recreate the 3-5-2 tactic used in the 1990 World Cup by the then National Team boss Franz Beckenbauer. However, that has since gone by the wayside, and instead I’m looking to have a nice national team save, hopefully until the end of Football Manager 2018.

Conveniently, World Cup holders Germany have since been knocked out of the World Cup, and serious questions have been asked about the state of German football. I don’t profess to be a expert on the current state of the German national team, but I do consider myself quite knowledgeable about German football history – probably the history I know best apart from Balkan and English football history – and therefore I can see the possible similarities between the current side and the side post 1974, when West Germany won the World Cup on home soil, before severely declining in 1978.

Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 22.42.11That’s where this man comes in. I know it’s the same picture I’ve used several times now, but to all intents and purposes, Jonathon Aspey is the German National Team coach. It’s now my job to avoid the fate that befell Jogi Löw this Summer. I also need to continue the tactical development of German football. To a certain extent, I feel that they somewhat settled post the World Cup win in 2014, and personally, I feel that their style had actually regressed from the 2010 heyday, where they were easily the most enjoyable side to watch. I have a few plans to put into place to ensure that progression, whilst also bringing through the next crop of young German talent produced by the Talent Development Programme™.

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