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[FM23] A royal case of the blues


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Despite playing since FM08, in FM13 I completed my first ever save with a club that wasn't Liverpool. That club was Schalke 04. Playing an old-fashioned 442 with wingers and the lethal Klaas-Jan Huntelaar upfront, we were able to dethrone Bayern in our first season before falling apart in the second one. In FM23, a decade later, I decided to go back to "The Royal Blues" only to find it in a mess. Returning to the Bundesliga after one season in the 2nd division, Schalke are now the underdogs, with a squad that contains little quality and mostly players who aren't good enough to compete in the league. On top of that, there is a massive debt looming over the club.


Like I mentioned, despite being below average in general, the squad contains some quality, which is important as I start without the first window. Simon Terodde scored 30 in 30 last season in the 2. Bundesliga, and he will remain our first choice upfront, despite is obvious limitations - he is slow and technically lacking, but can definitely put a goal at the back of the net. The versatile Rodrigo Zalazar and on loan Tom Krauß (who will remain at the club if we survive) are already important members of our team despite their young age.

First Season Aims

The aims this season is to avoid relegation battle and be competitive in the DFB-Pokal. I don't think it's going to be so straight-forward, but it's also not an impossible mission. The board also expects developing young players through the youth system, which is of very high quality as you would expect. There are a few players in the U19 would could make their first steps this season, for example 16 years old RB Taylan Bulut and 17 years old GK Faaris Yusufu, but above all is Assan Ouédraogo, a 16 years old versatile midfielder.

Edited by TheJanitor
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I contemplated a lot here and I am still not certain. As I mentioned, I previously had success with Schalke playing 442, and I want to try it again. However, I'm not impressed with the quality of wingers and strikers we start with, which might be a problem for this specific formation. I decided to go with a 442 inspired by Ranieri's Leicester (but it's not a recreation by any stretch) as my Plan A.

Plan B offers a 3412 which offers closer support for my for my strikers and couple of wing backs, which we do have a couple of decent ones. I'm also considering a 352, but it will again require some investment up front.

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Staff Recruitement

It's never fun but every save game starts with grinding for staff. I always want to get at least 4 stars coaches. The lack of funds meant the pool was limited, so I considered compromising, but like Rorschach said, "Even in the face of Armageddon, Never Compromise". At least it will keep the budget tight. Anyway, here are the incoming:


Not much in terms of departures, only assistant manager Beniamino Molinari, who is below average and I already got a good assistant and see no point in having two other than coaching. We also released a fitness coach as I brought in a better one.

July Results


Preseason went by smoothly, and we were able to beat Regionalliga West side Kaan-Marienborn comfortably in the DFB-Pokal. Excitingly, Assan Ouédraogo broke the record for youngest ever player to represent Schalke as he came of the bench in that match.


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