First of all I want to say thank you to everyone for the support for this series so far, I’m fairly new to the community and from all of the retweets, comments or shoutouts on the previous two Deep Lying Podcasts from two bloggers I really rate – @FM_Grasshopper and @VRFussball it’s all really helped.
So we left the last update at the winter break as league leaders with a 3 point gap to 2nd place and 6 points to 3rd place so had a bit of a cushion but the league is very competitive, could we hold on or go up even?
8/15 points. This was a real up and down run of fixtures, Paderborn are the weakest team in the division so the draw was poor and we never turned up. The loss to Ingolstadt was one where they were just very clinical and we weren’t.
Good but expected wins over Bielefeld and FSV Frankfurt at home was pleasing to see, especially sticking 5 past Frankfurt despite going down to ten men after 49 minutes but failing to beat Dynamo was frustrating.
Skrzybski started and finished this really nice counter to get us off the mark against FSV Frankfurt and I like how we got numbers in support and in good areas and a smart finish at the end
6/15 points. What the fuck was this, were we going to bottle it? Karlsruher were pushing us for the top 3 spots and on the balance of play we could feel aggrieved to come away with nothing but our away from was starting to worry me again. Defeating mid table Darmstadt 2-1 signalled a dominant display but we would then draw our following 3 games.
The draws to Bochum and Nurnberg were just ridiculous and we were starting to bring other teams into the fold but other sides were slipping up too, with the exception in general of Ingolstadt who were putting in a great run.
A strong draw away to Hannover who were one of five teams pushing for the top 3 promotion spots was sort of pleasing but it was more lost points. A slight positive was that left winger Redondo was on fire and scored 3 goals in this period.
Rico below, consoling himself for when Union bottle promotion. What a delight you are, but at this stage I couldn’t really blame him.
To give a picture here these were the league standings with 5 games left. 1st Ingolstadt – 58 points 2nd Union Berlin – 52 points 3rd Karlsruher – 51 points. Remember only the top 2 spots would be automatically promoted with the third place playing the 16th place side from Bundesliga.
Thankfully we would put together a run of wins at the business end of the season with 3 goals in this period of 5 games from striker Philip Hosiner, wins over St Pauli, Dusseldorf, Wurzburg and SV Sandhausen whilst bagging 11 goals was very pleasing although we had a easier run in I’ll admit. The 0-3 loss was out of the blue and they destroyed us but I took it on the chin and we go again to paraphrase.
We took it to the final day where we came from 1-0 down after 8 minutes to smash SV Sandhausen 4-1, it all came together and we were ruthless. Below you can see Trimmel scoring our 4th to complete an emphatic victory.
3rd place Karlsruher would lose 0-2 to St Pauli on the final day and would incredibly face Hertha Berlin.. Yes it was that close to being a Union v Hertha Berlin playoff derby but I was buzzing with promotion, I saw that the first leg finished Hertha 2-2 Karlsruher so I decided to attend the 2nd leg.
Hertha would take an early lead but would be pegged back before half time, from there on it was a nervy affair but Hertha needed to score to stay up due to away goals rule. They would strike it from 25 yards in the 93rd minute. GOAL! It seemed an age but in dramatic fashion there was an offside flag, it must have nicked off a Hertha player but looked harsh and they were down.
I was sort of wanting them to stay up to get some derbies but in ruthless fashion I picked their right back Peter Pekarik up on the cheap for £180k so swings and roundabouts.
2. Bundesliga League table
An improved season, more goals scored and less conceded but Zach Clough injury for 8-10 months in his second appearance killed his momentum and was a big miss. We really pushed Ingolstadt close for the title eventually losing out by a point but Union Berlin were promoted to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history.
We would complete the first phase of my three year plan early but like a few others have experienced I was now hit with right, are we actually ready for this?
Although the social feed could be much improved in terms of the generic postive/negative/average responses, I really enjoyed this
I was tempted by FMSamo to write a seperate youth article but at the moment I’d prefer it to be kept within the main updates, check him out he’s blogging his Leipzig save and can be found on twitter @FMSamo.
Anyway we were successful in upgrading our youth facilities at a cost of £2 million and they jumped from average to good which is pleasing, we also had another good youth intake with Christos Angelikousis looking to have a very bright future, I’m going to show off the new recruits and how the others from last year are progressing.
I had tutored Maximilian Hensel and Werner Bornkessel with players with stronger peronalities which was encouraging in terms of their progress but Markus Altendorf ambitious personality was great from the start. I really like that all three youngsters have strong physicals and all three are tied down to pro contracts when they turn 17.
I also wanted a German focus within the squad and haven’t really managed this and see my best bet in producing top young talent which is another philosophy I have.
Progression of youth intake of 16-17
I’ll keep this short but for me there were three outstanding players this season. Fabian Schonheim was an absolute rock at the centre of defence and a 7.49 average rating proves how strong and consistent he has been.
Errol Zejnullahu is a player I’m falling for, I’m going to Berlin and me and him will be best mates such is my praise for this hero. He is starting to glide past players and is always improving. 6 goals, 9 assists, 7.36 average rating and 6 man of the match performances for us in a team that generally doesn’t score lots is so vital.
Lastly I decided to give Kenny Prince Redondo some game time (yes, what a name) as a winger (a) on the left of the attack and he massively surprised me. 8 goals, 13 assists and a 7.35 average rating assured he was first choice and I extended his deal because of this.
Summer transfer budget
I met this news with utter dismay, considering due to wage increases and promotion clauses our wage budget rocketed to £275k p/w so it was tight but due to hitting the squad with low cup and league bonuses I was able to get around £1.3 million to spend. Risky business perhaps but needed in my opinion.
So promotion at last for Union, could we stay up with a quite tight budget? What did you think of this update?
Thank you for your support and any comments, shares, retweets etc are very much appreciated. As always I’ll reply to any comments either left under this blog or on twitter @johnmcintosh19.