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Having a Crac Ovia here in Poland

Started on 27 January 2019 by JT / First Post
Latest Reply on 25 June 2019 by ScottT / Last Post
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Regular Season 21/22

On the Pitch

Annoyingly we have stuttered a little during March and April as the boys seem to have taken their foot off their gas.4 draws and a defeat across 7 games certainly has not been the form that got us to the top of the table. Will it make an difference? Probably not unless we have a massive collapse in the final 7 games.


Still our points total is 4 points better off than last year and we only need 7 points to get to the winning points total from last year. In fact 68 points would have won the league in the first two seasons so i am hoping we can just finish the job to pick up my 3rd League title.

End of Season - Championship Group 21/22

On the Pitch

Despite taking our foot off the pedal in he run up to the Championship group the boys refocused and smashed their way to my 3rd league title in 4 years. 19 points from the 21 available gave no one a chance and showed our ruthlessness again.


87 Points smashes our previous record of 76 points and the 17 point gap between us and 2nd Place Legia being the biggest yet. Saying that an AI team hitting 70 points is also a record and a first and its Legia's best showing in 4 years so maybe they will be able to become the 2nd team in Poland and provide me some competition in the upcoming years.

So how did we do it? Well we had the best defence in the league for one but we also managed to score goals. Branimir Hrgota was the top scorer in the league and his 29 goals in a campaign was the best ever for a Cracovia player. In fact his run of form in the Championship group was superb scoring in 5 of the 7 games.

However, he didn't win the player of the season. That went to new boy Anders Trondsen who not only won the Club's player of the season but also won the Leagues player of the season. 12 Goals and 8 assists from the central midfielder was incredible for a 1st season and he has quickly become one of my favourite players. In fact him and young Ivanusec were breathes of fresh air for us this season and were a big driver for our even more dominant performance than last season. It goes without saying that we were heavilty represented in the leagues team of the season


But we can still improve. We have three players on loan (Lookman, Diaz and Grandsir) and we have to remove our reliance on loans. Mainly because they dont seem to be performing. Other than Grandsir all of the others we have had have been ineffective mercenaries and so i will look to change that next season, The other obvious area to look at is my wing backs. Both are getting on a little now and some younger blood that could really improve our play next season.

A transfer budget of £4m (our highest yet) and another £20k per week for wages has been allocated for another onslaught on Europe. As per last year, i have to be getting into the group stages of either the Champions League or the Europa League (more likely) and a domestic double. If i can't do the double an undefeated league campaign will suffice.

Here i come 5th season.


Quite some offer here. To jump ship or not... that is the question?

Summer Window 22/23

Transfers

After our demolition job last year in the league, it really highlighted that we didn't need to change much and so it was one of our quietest summer windows as i looked for quality instead on quantity. In terms of the outgoings there were only two of note. Back up striker Vestenicky left on a free after his contract ran out whilst the only other move was left back Ferrarresso was moved on for £300k.

Incoming wise, it was just the 4 new(ish) faces. On top of that we once again re-extended the loan spell of Grandsir meaning he will have been on loan here for 4 1/2 years but Monaco keep renewing his contract so the hope of him being here permanently is slim. The other slightly non newish face was the return of Kelechi Nwakali (who was previously on loan here for 6 months) but this time on a permanent transfer after Arsenal released him. He was a great AMC in his cameo time here and with him and Ivanusec i have two great options in that slot.

For the last few years i have been talking about bringing in a left back who can operate at fullback as we have gone 4 years without one. I finally found my man as 22 year old Czech Vaclav Dudl joins for £1.3m from Sparta Prague. I think he is a great option and means i now have a LB and a RB who can overlap the inside forwards ahead of them. He was also the only man signed for any money as the final signing was made on transfer deadline day as a second man from Monaco joins on Loan. I know i said i didnt want loan signings but South African Lyle Foster looks to be a great player and could finally give Hrgota a rival for the striking slot.


On the Pitch

So as always we have to compete in two competitons. The Champions League and the Polish League. Games have come thick and fast, in fact even faster than normal but that is what the World Cup in Qatar causes. I will get to the European run in a bit but it has meant we have had some problems in the League. My hopes of an undefeated season have been dashed, as we have already lost 2 games (as many as the whole of last season). Draws have also crept in as well and it looks like we are likely to be in a fight this year.

Now on to Europe. We started in the 1st round Qualifiers as per against Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia. At home in the first leg we smashed them 4-0 with Hrgota, Dabrowski, Frankowski and Trondsen getting the goals. I thought that might mean we could rest a lot of the first team for a dead rubber 2nd leg but in Bratislava we were 3-0 down within 20 mins meaning i was in real danger of blowing a massive 4 goal 1st leg deficit. Somehow we got to half time and at that point i bought on the big 3 (Nwakali, Trondsen, Hrgota) and we got two goals back meaning we still lost the tie 3-2 but a 6-3 aggregate victory.

The next round saw Steaua Bucharest come to play but Hrgota got 2 at home to seal a 2-0 win before we won 2-1 relatively easily in Romania to seal a comfortable 4-1 aggregate victory. Next up were IFK Norrkopping and we had history as they knocked me out of this very competition a few years ago. This time we were away in the first leg and in Sweden we struggled as we lost 1-0. It meant we needed a big 2nd leg and we got it, as we comfortably beat them 3-0 to avenge our exit from them a few years ago.

We were now 180 minutes away from the Champions League group stage. Standing in our way were Celtic. Progression was unlikely, i was gearing up for another Europa League group stage but the boys wanted more and they delivered more. At home, Anders Trondsen smashed in two to give us a 2-0 victory. Not done there we went to Glasgow and played them off the park winning 3-1 to give us the most unlikely 5-1 aggregate victory and Champions League football for the first time in our History!

However, i sense the fun is going to end there..


It has been epic 2 month spell and one of the more enjoyable spells of this save. Reinvigorating it to some degree. Anders Trondsen has been a beast and he is already becoming my favourite player on FM19, even more than Russell Hessenthaler in my Woking save and that is saying something. More importantly i can say

WE ARE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! OOF! WE ARE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
With all these loan agreements with Grandsir, it's almost like having him permanently! Glad to see you managed to get Nwakali in permanently though, after he was released by Arsenal. He will already have an idea of the system and the personnel within the squad, which is a benefit. Your other signings look promising, too.

Finally, you've made it to the Champions League group stages! Congratulations. It's a tough group, but third-place is a possibility. Best of luck. Hopefully your league form can improve after a couple of losses.
2019-06-07 12:20#257228 ScottT : With all these loan agreements with Grandsir, it's almost like having him permanently! Glad to see you managed to get Nwakali in permanently though, after he was released by Arsenal. He will already have an idea of the system and the personnel within the squad, which is a benefit. Your other signings look promising, too.

Finally, you've made it to the Champions League group stages! Congratulations. It's a tough group, but third-place is a possibility. Best of luck. Hopefully your league form can improve after a couple of losses.

He has been here so long that he now has Polish as a second nationality. Ridiculous! although not as ridiculous as my first group game where we caused a surprise or 3

September - December 2022

On the Pitch

Due to the Qatar World Cup i come back to you with a 3 month update as things finished a little earlier in Poland to allow for the Winter World Cup, and what a spell it has been as i have been continualy shocked by my team. After a slightly topsy turvy first few months in the league, September saw us win all 3 league games at a canter including a 7-2 smashing of Jaglellonia and a 3-1 battering of rivals Wisla.

October on the other hand was a bit more of the hit and miss as we won 4, lost 2 and drew 1 before we won the final league game of 2022 2-0 against Slask. So although we havent been at the levels of last year we are still looking good in the league as we lead by 6 points and should be on course for another title especially as the fixtures will thin out a bit


Well in some ways it will thin out, as we crashed out of the Cup in the 1st Round in a poor showing against Pogon but our European adventure is going to continue after Christmas.


We have pulled some of the biggest shocks in European football. It started in our first group game at home to Juventus where we went 1-0 up, than 2-1 down before hitting two more goals through Trondsen and Hrgota to give us a famous 3-2 win against the Old Lady. Anders Trondsen in that game was incredible scoring our opener and the equaliser and is now attracting interest from the Premiership. Juventus got their own back in the 2nd group game winning 2-0 in a game where we barely got out of our own half. We followed that up with a 1-1 draw in Brugge before going to Madrid and getting smashed 3-0. However, in the final group game of 2022 we did the unthinkable and beat Madrid in Krakow 1-0 with Hrgota picking up another famous winner.

It means going into the final game we need to better Atletico Madrid's result to go into the Champions League knock out rounds and if we dont we have the Europa League to look forward to. Either way we are winners, and one thing we have been winning in is prize money. That prize money allowed us to do this


On top of this we are also expanding its capacity by 2.5k to 17.5k. The wheels are starting to turn.
A huge opportunity to progress into the knockout stages of the Champions League, a task which originally seemed extremely unlikely. Fingers crossed for you.

January 2023

On the Pitch

Normally the month of January is a month of rest but we had our final Champions League group game as well as 3 League games to get through with a smattering of friendlies to get our fitness back up. It all started with Brugge at home and like all of our other home European ties we were victorious beating the Belgians 2-1 despite having two men sent off. All we needed now was Juventus to take at least a point in Madrid and we were through to the Champions League knock out rounds.


It wasn't to be as Atletico Madrid beat Juventus 1-0 and into the Europa League we went. I can't be disappointed as we have been excellent picking up victories against two massive European sides whilst also staying undefeated against a Belgian giant who in their history had even made the final of the European Cup many years ago. Branimir Hrgota and Anders Trondsen have been the shining lights in Europe this year and without either of them we would have no chance of getting anywhere. Unfortunately the Premier league has noticed with Burnley and Everyon both bidding for the Norwegian Trondsen. I did briefly accept a £6m bid from Burnley for Trondsen but changed my mind as really we would need at least £10m for me to consider.

One player to leave was regen Kamil Kusczek who came through my first youth intake. He has been a solid back up this season in central midfield and Middlesbrough bid £1.8m + 30% of future fees for his services. It is a shame to lose a home grown player but with other youngster Kanach and Ukrainian Silyuk we have some capable back ups to Dabrowski and Trondsen.

With the Champions League now finished we turn our attentions to the Europa League 1st Round Knockouts where we have been drawn against Besiktas of Turkey. I would have said unwinnable but after beating Juventus and Atletico Madrid, you never know what is possible.

Meanwhile in the league we won all 3 league games to keep our stronghold on the league extending our lead to 9 points in the league.


Things our ticking on nicely as the transfer window opens in Poland. I don't think there will be any new signings for the rest of the season as everyone is performing well and i want to give the youngsters a chance who are coming in for the odd game in rotation. We should have enough to finish off the league and i dont think there is anyone who i can bring in that will make a massive difference vs Besiktas.

So off we go
The league looks to be in a good place right now, for yourselves. A shame to lose out on qualifying in the Champions League, but there have been some hugely respectable results along the way now a tough side in Besiktas await in the Europa League. It should be an intriguing affair over two legs.

Some tidy business on the sale of Kusczek. A decent fee and a decent percentage of away future fee, which will be useful if Middlesbrough offload him for a big fee - fingers crossed!
So unfortunate to place 3rd in a CL group in that manner. Alas, you can be proud of what has been achieved and look forward to EL knockout football. The league looks like it can be wrapped up sooner rather than later.

22/23 End of season review

Transfers

I said there would be no action in the transfer window and i was wrong. In the end there was one new face to come in on loan for this season and next. Right back Joao Ferreira has joined on loan from Benfica having played in Poland last season at Lechia, where he impressed. He is younger than first choice Rapa (who is now 33) and a better prospect than back up Zieba so he should add something to the side.

In terms of outgoings i loaned out back up Zieba for more game time whilst loaning out a few of the U18's


Youth Intake wise it was another average showing with just a couple showing potential to maybe be a back up. Nothing worth taking note of though

On the Pitch

On the field it has been business as usual in the league as we wrapped up the league title with 5 games to go. Once we wrapped it up we were distinctly average as we took our foot off the pedal but it is now 4 league titles in 5 years with Cracovia which is a massive achievement and sees us leapfrong Lech in the alltime table with 9 titles.


However, what you guys really want to know is whether we progressed any further in the Europa League. Now because of the World Cup the 1st Knock out round is just a one legged affair meaning our home advantage against Besiktas would be very useful indeed. The game itself was a goal fest as attacking football ruled all and our boys came out victorius in a 6-3 victory. South African Lyle Foster opened the scoring whilst a hat trick from Jean Paul Boetius put the game beyond doubt.

The next round was also a one legged affair but this time we were away to Sevilla. This time it was too much to ask as our away form in Europe has not matched our home form (8 victories from 8) and we were blown away by a far superior team 5-1. A horrid way to go out of the competition but our progression into the knock out rounds has done wonders for Poland's Coefficient (Up 7 places to 20th) and our own (Now 57th in Europe). Hopefully it means a few more seeded ties in the future!

So that is Season 5, a similar tale domestically where we have won the league and performed awfully in the Cup whilst picking up the Polish Super Cup but with a slight twist in a decent European adventure. Domestically we dominate as seen in the Leagues team of the year where had 8 players. Anders Trondsen was voted the Leagues best player and quite rightly our own. He was superb last year hitting 21 goals and 11 assists in all competitions in what was a Yaya Toure esq season. He could change games by himself and his set pieces and long range shots were on point. A real power house and my favourite player on FM this season. On a side note i have never had a central midfielder bang in that many goals in a season as he ended up our top scorer.


So where do we go from here? Technically the squad is great. I want to try and retain Grandsir and Foster for next season, hopefully on permanent terms rather than loans. Other than that, we don't need any massive reinforcements so really it is going to be about perhaps looking at some younger prospects ready to take over from the slightly older squad members. Cornel Rapa (33) is getting on right back and needs replacing, however Ferreira should cover that. Datkovic (30) is a decent back up centre half but he has some value and he might be worth selling on if we can find a younger ball playing centre half. Interestingly Branimir Hrgota had his worst season last year with just 15 goals and it might be time to move on the Swede. At 30 years of age he is starting to deteriorate and Foster was immense so if we can bring in Foster than we have the replacement in place. The only other position really is the Central midfield slot where Dabrowski (Also 30) is doing well but could be replaced by a younger face.

Either way we have a massive £19m to spend and a very hefty wage budget to make the little changes we need to make. Exciting times ahead
Brilliant work in the league and even in Europe, despite a heavy defeat to Sevilla. The transfer budget is pleasing, as so is the boost in coefficients, which will be a positive hopefully.

23/24 Mid Season Review

So i feel like i am at that point in the save where my updates need to become less frequent as are now at an established stage of the save. Domestically we dominate and the expectations are that we win the league every year whilst Europe is now the main focus as we try and break further into the latter stages whilst building up the nation of Poland.

So therefore i will be moving to two updates per season as we tick along. It also might mean i have time to write up about another save i am planning too. So onto the transfers.

Transfers

So we were given a war chest but there was no way i could spend it. With the stadium purchase going through and the upgrade to the capacity, if i had spent all £19m i would have put us way into the red and that seemed like a bad idea. Luckily we didn't need a lot and i believe in making small changes every year so not to disrupt the harmony.

The main theme of the window though was to look to move on the older players (Over 30's) and bring in some younger replacements who could

a) have the potential to be even better than what we had
b) become sellable assets in the future as we continue to build our reputation.

Therefore starting with the outs we shifted on back up centre half Niko Datkovic (£1.3m), Captain Damian Dabrowski (£1.4m) and right back Cornel Rapa (£400k). All of whom were 30 and over and were not likely to be starters this season with the incomings i had planned. We also shifted on young 21 year old Michal Rakoczy who had featured in my first few seasons but had been out on loan for the last 2 for just under £900k whilst we than loaned out some youth who had potential to get some more game time. All in all around £4m raised from sales.

In terms of incomings, the first big piece of news was Samuel Grandsir and Lyle Foster joined on free transfers having been here on loan from Monaco. Grandsir as we know has been on loan her for 5 years meaning he was part of the furnitue whilst young Foster impressed last year getting into double figures despite spending large chunks of the season on the bench. I think he can be the long term successor to Hrgota who is the only over 30 remaining in the team this season.

They were joined by young 17 year old Jules Ousamanou who i have had scouted since he was 15 with this deal being in the pipeline for over a year. At £180k he is a bargain and i really think he could be our version of Kante in a few years. He will get plenty of game time this season as he will take the place of Kucszek who we sold to Middlesbrough in the winter and i am sure if he progresses well enough he will be crucial in our pursuit for European success.

WIth Dabrowski leaving we needed a playmaker to partner Trondsen (Who takes the captaincy from Dabrowski) and the man i chose was 22 year old Italian Manolo Portanova from Juventus. He joins on a free and has a big wage (for us) but the Italian looks excellent. Pacy and can pass the ball i am hoping him and Trondsen form a formidable and exciting midfield two for us.

The next three ins were all ones for the future as i added in Serbian Striker Sladjan Radisavljevic (£650k), French right back Andrew Voteau (£700k) and Polish Attacking midfielder Adrian Dudka (£16k) to the side. Voteau will be the one that gets the most game time as he will rotate with Ferreira this season whilst Radisavljevic will get the odd game in the cup this year, and will probably feature more if we sell Hrgota next summer as i have planned.

The final new face to the side was a deadline deal as i searched for another ball playing centre half. German Jordan Torunarigha from Hertha Berlin was the man i chose. Hertha are paying a large chunk of his wages but the German joins for £1.2m with an extra £300k if we win the Polish Cup. As a left footer he becomes a natural replacement for Hack should we sell or he gets injured. It now means we have four very good centre halves (Two German and two Polish) meaning if our first choices continue to be pursued by English sides we could sell one and not be too worried.

All of that for around £2.8m meaning another transfer profit and with a much stronger squad than last year. I am feeling confident we could compete on all three fronts (League, Europe and the elusive Polish Cup).


Our only main worry now is we are severely lacking in home grown players and i am going to have to start thinking about shifting players on who are foreign so i can bring in a few more Polish players to take their spot. The general problem is the fees being demanded for Polish talent are astronomical and it means my spending is likely to outstrip any incomings unless i plan carefully.

On the pitch - Domestically

So i thought i would split the performances up between domestic and European football. Starting with the day job so to speak of dominating Poland and it has been business as usual.


Our defence has been excellent conceding just 6 goals in 19 games with 15 clean sheets as we have generally gone about our business with precision and confidence despite havng to rotate to allow us to have the best possible shot of success in Europe. A 9 point gap looks good and i am predicting a 5th League title for me with the real possibility of hitting a record points haul if we can keep it together for the rest of the season.

The Cup has normally been an area of pain for me as we have only made it to the quarter finals once in the last 5 years but we have now done it for a 2nd time having got past two lower league sides and Korona to set up a quarter final tie away to Legia Warsaw. On top of that we have won the Supercup for a 4th time as we beat Legia 2-0 for my 8th trophy as Cracovia manager.


On the pitch - Europe

Now onto the real stuff as we started once again in the 1st Qualifying round of the Champions League. Due to our performances last season though our Coefficient soared and we found ourselves seeded in all 4 qualifying rounds. The first three rounds were all routine as we dispatched Dinamo Batumi (5-0), Ostersunds (8-1) and BATE (3-0) before being paired against Dutch Champions Feyenoord in what was a very unlucky draw.

We were at home in the first leg though and after a tight 1st half we preceeded to run riot in the 2nd scoring 3 in the last 15 minutes to give us a 3-0 first leg lead. Back in Rotterdam, they scored early but Captain Anders Trondsen fired an important away goal in the 47th minute. We went on to concede two more late in the game but a 4-3 aggregate victory meant we were in the Champions League group stages for a 2nd straight season.

Although our coefficient had gone up we were still in the 4th pot and our draw of PSG, Atletico Madrid and Besiktas was a tough one on paper. Last year our home form was impeccible but we couldn't repeat the heroics of last year as we lost to PSG (1-0 and 3-2) and Atletico Madrid (4-1 and 2-1) meaning it was all down to our results against Besiktas. A 1-1 draw in Turkey was a good start and in the final group game we needed to beat Besiktas to progress into the Europa League. The boys did not disappoint as they smashed the Turks 3-0 to progress us in Europe.

So back after the Winter break we have a tough draw against Roma but our European adventures are proving to be a consistent pleasure.


The domestic double is still on and we are still in Europe. Times are good. See you soon!
I look forward to this new save you mention! As for this story-save, you continue to look excellent on the domestic front and the business made is progressive, but savvy. Fantastic recruitment with the minimal fees, but with the quality to progress you forward and ensure you did enough to beat Besiktas to third in the Champions League group, to carry your European adventure into the Europa League. Another trophy captured, too, with the possibility of a treble looming. Things are looking good!

And finally... you got Grandsir permanently. The biggest success of the lot! ;)

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