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[FM21] Whole Yellow Sun

After suffering an attempt against his life where he though he would be safe, Deniz Naki got no place to go. In this story, he will try to bounce back, and, as a manager, realize the potential he never did as a player.
Started on 14 November 2020 by Tango
Latest Reply on 1 March 2021 by TheLFCFan
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What a crazy season. Whether that be the huge sales and the sum of money recouped or the route to the Champions League title. Incredible and congratulations!
What a ridiculous two years. The incredibly tight season in the Champions League and losing to Real in the first knockout round two seasons ago. To walking the league and beating Madrid in the final of the Champions League, incredible work. Very impressive job from Deniz.
Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 monthsEdited

22. The pinnacle


The eared UEFA Champions League trophy is the pinnacle of what a manager can achieve at club level. Of course, technically the Club World Cup is in a higher hierarchy, but as European football drifts apart from the rest of the world both in quality and culture, this tournament tends to be more and more ignored in Europe.

So we pretty much did it. There are only two paths from here: we either remain where we are, or we start to go down, which got Deniz to think if maybe his history with Union Berlin was nearing the end. It was time to think about leaving and the kind of legacy he wanted to leave behind.

Leaving, however, is not easy: he had the life of dreams in Berlin, respected by the people around him and with a somewhat good salary (even though a manager of his quality should make more than €89k per week. He didn’t warn anyone about his thoughts on leaving. At least not for now.

Transfers In / Transfers Out

First-team signings

CB Miguel Peña, age 22 (newgen)
CM Prince N’Guedi, age 19 (newgen)

The champions of Europe usually don’t need too much mending, but a defender as good as Miguel Peña is the kind of player that lifts a team’s level for good. Prince N’Guedi was brought because I wanted to give the squad a player who’s good on the ball that would run everywhere on the pitch.

Substitute level signing

LB Yavus Dayı, age 20 (newgen)

After years with Miranda, we let him go to be a player more useful somewhere else. His replacement came from Freiburg, once again hitting that delicious relegation release clause.

August 2027


The pre-season got a little bit into the season given that I chose a bad time to go on vacations and they scheduled a Testimonial in-between competitive games. Even though, we managed to show great strength at these games, spanking the current UEL champions by 4-1.

September 2027


But after that beautiful 4-1 victory, we engaged in a series of below par performances, winning our games mostly through our strength than by playing good football. The 6-0 over Paderborn was the only exception. We got a comparatively weak group at the UCL, with Lyon, Porto and Trabzonspor, getting two slim victories in the first two games.

October 2027


Our first defeat of the season came late, but it came big. For one moment, the team relapsed and played like the old days, before the arrival of Deniz Naki.

November 2027


But we managed to bounce back from that defeat and get back onto our feet. Another victory over Dortmund away from home, leaving their ghost behind us once and for all. More than that, a marvelous performance and a 6-1 win at Lyon for the UCL. Where did that come from?

December 2027


To wrap up the year, other two dominant wins at Bundesliga and a solid performance from our substitutes against Porto, getting the win at the dying moments of the encounter.

Partial Standings after 17 rounds


We pretty much got away with it. Bayern and Dortmund felt the hit of a dominant Union and gave up. In fact, Bayern had only one good game thus far, and you know which game it was. Who is seizing this opportunity to shine is Köln, whose sequence of good crops of young players is being put to good use.

UEFA Champions League - Group A


Even after being thrashed by Union, Lyon got the reminiscent spot to the second stage, after getting 4 points against Porto. With all due respect to our rivals, this group has been much, much easier than our last ones, and we got 6 wins in 6 games.

Replies


@Jack that game was a rollercoaster. We played poorly and I envisaged no future from there until João Félix fucked up. Then my hopes got high up, but we still had to give birth to an anvil in order to go through

@ScottT Bye and Tobio went away, but they left behind the money to build a solid team from there. Especially Aguirre, who fitted our squad like a glove

@TheLFCFan I was gutted for playing Real at our very first opportunity of advancing to the quarter-finals. The gods of football paid us with dividends the following season
Yep, you're really enhancing your dominance now. Bayern have fallen by the wayside and the current top 4 don't really have the credentials to keep up with you at your rate. Excellent work!
Walking it now, no real competition despite a blip against Bayern. Champions League wise, easy group and you duly put the teams you had to beat, away. Good first half of the season but I am wondering what more Deniz can achieve now.
The heights that you've taken Union Berlin to is something that their fans could only dream of happening irl. Deniz has done some phenomenal work for the club, and although they'd be sad to see him depart: I'm sure they wouldn't begrudge him. Hopefully he can go away and work his magic elsewhere, and possibly return one day.

Well done mate, and keep up the good work :D
Phenomenal work in one of Europe's top nations, and I do agree that it's probably time to leave. It would be quite easy to move now to any top 6 side in another top nation, like England, Spain or Italy. But I would encourage you to consider a second-tier nation - Belgium or Russia, perhaps.

23. Bittersweet


With the league fight pretty much over, we had time to focus on the Champions League. Winners of it for the first time last year, I still wanted to get another one in order to not be known as a one-hit wonder. The fans of Union deserve a solid job allowing them to keep dreaming without me. That’s my main goal as of now.

That is the reason we made plenty of signings this window, but no one above the 18-year-old mark, and no one for the main squad. Out of these players, my favourite ones are Chancel Mulenda, Michele Colangelo, and Babak Loveinian. Showing them at this crude stage, however, sounds pointless to me.

Transfers In / Transfers Out

Let’s get to the pitch, shall we?

January 2028


Wow, we won all games in the league this month. How surprising.

February 2028


Eager for revenge against Bayern after a defeat that harmed our pride, we got up the pitch against them for the Pokal. Maybe too eager, even. We had control of the match but didn’t cause them too much harm until Alphonso Davies, a Canadian legend by this point, solved the matter for us.

At the UCL, a not-really-tough encounter against Roma, pretty much stamping our ticket towards the quarter-finals in the first leg.

March 2028


After a sequence of wins, a ridiculous tie against Nürnberg, only to remember what rage feels like.

April 2028

The quarter-finals of the UCL saw us facing Real Madrid once again. They were our tormentors in 2025/26, but our victims in the 2026/27 Finale. And they were headed towards going back to being our tormentors in the first leg at Madrid when Bernardo Silva opened the scoreline at the 61st minute, and much more when Osimhen scored a penalty at the 91st. 2-0 down, tragedy, pretty much eliminated. Malik Kuru, our boy-wonder, however, found a miraculous goal at the 94th minute and kept us very alive.

It doesn’t help to suffer the first blood of the second leg, though. Osimhen scored at the 32nd minute and put them 3-1, making us need 3 goals in 45 minutes to get it over.

That’s when Deniz Naki gave the speech of his life.

He flopped his arms around, and witnesses can swear that he almost took flight. The man’s face turned red, then purple, then blue, then red again, always far from the habitual white. No one remembers exactly the words.

All they can remember is Gastón Pereyra receiving a nice through-ball from Özkan and gently slotting it into the cheek of the net at the 46th minute; Malik Kuru wrestling the defenders after a long ball from N’Guedi at the 53rd minute and getting face to face with the keeper only to tap it to the same spot where Gastón placed it earlier; Gvardiol profiting from a dubious attempt of the goal-keeper to punch the ball away after a long throw-in from Anggoro and heading it into the back of the net at the 63rd minute, making it 3-1 and putting Union ahead. Zárate still had time to push a counter at the 87th minute and make it 4, a very useful goal giving that Williamson got one back at the 94th. We are through to the semifinals.

At the semifinals, the first leg would be in front of our fans An der Alten Försterei. Malik Kuru, always Malik Kuru, got two goals after 75 minutes of a blank scoreline, granting Union a solid advantage for the second leg.


May 2028

At the second leg, our winger Bruno Miranda got ourselves our third and pretty much a peaceful way towards the final. City were still playing for their pride and went berserk on us. We held them nicely until the 82nd minute when Jean-Claude Moreau tied the leg. Their second, with Lautaro Martínez at the 90th, was not enough to allow them something to dream. We are through again to another UEFA Champions League Finale, this time against Barcelona, the rivals of our last year’s adversary.

If you believe in superstition, once again we beat Köln at the Pokal Final one week before the game. Spirits were high and the squad was confident towards the game. This confidence went on for 19 minutes into the final, until a quick action from Barcelona saw Gavi getting face to face with Jungnickel. As our keeper tried to cover the inferior corners, the Spaniard got him with a naughty chip, making it Barça 1-0.

We suddenly saw ourselves in an uphill battle against one of the biggest clubs in the world. We advanced our lines and went full attack, as the clock ticked against us.

It took us another 55 minutes to find the equalizer: Zárate cut to the inside and found Devaux unmarked to kick it past the keeper slotting into the goalkeeper’s corner. Our philosophy suddenly changed, adopting way more caution after equalizing. But we were alive.

And so we went until the final whistle, and until the end of the first half of the extra-time. As the clock marked 115 minutes and the scoreline presented the number 1 twice, Peña gifted Mbappé with a pass the Frenchman had never received from a teammate for the whole game. As Peña rushed to Mbappé to try to fix his mistake, he left Dybala unmarked, and the Argentinian didn’t forgive us: 2-1 with a crossed low-driven finish.

We once again set our mood into attacking mode. This time, however, we didn’t have 70 minutes left; we had 4. Our aforementioned confident spirit was gone, and the willingness to score and to find glory at the back of the net gave room to frustration and disorganization. With our hopes torn apart, Ilaix Moriba received unmarked in between our defenders and hammered the last nail of our coffin. This time we didn’t make it. Barcelona 3-1.


Final Standings - Bundesliga 2027/28


Bayern got their s**t together in the second half of the season, not enough to reach us. We dominated the Bundesliga once again, and more than ever, and we had a brilliant UCL campaign once again. The gutting circumstances in which the UCL trophy was delivered on a plate to Barça, however, marks the end of a bittersweet season, in which we were 99% of what we could have been - and that made all the difference.

Malik Kuru topscorer of the Bundesliga / Season Review

For 2028/29, Deniz remains. The defeat at the Finale made him feel like it was not the right time to leave. However, his decision is announced: this one will be the last. After that, Deniz Naki will focus on his next project, focused on winning the World Cup with a national team whose contract is already signed. Stay tuned for further developments.

Replies


@Jack yeah, the league was pretty much in the bag by that point. Without Bayern and Dortmund to give us a challenge, no one else can really step up

@TheLFCFan well, I think it came to a point in which we cannot achieve anything other than something we already got, right?

@J_ames thanks, m8! And yeah, it’s getting repetitive and we are already a legend, so there is no much else to achieve

@Harleygator well, I went for a national team for a change. I think the World Cup is the last achievement missing, later we can think about having fun
Not the perfect ending to a great season but certainly a good one with trophies coming in left, right and centre. You’ll get your revenge on FC Fraudalona.
Another top season walking the league and the only dropped points seemed to come towards the end when all focus was on Champions League. You gave it everything and perhaps the lack of domestic challenge played a role in not preparing the side for a real challenge in the final. One more season for Deniz to crack that second Champions League, I wonder what nation he will be taking charge of...
Couldn't have been much easier in the league! As for the UCL, another great run but disappointment in the end. Two finals in two years is very good going, though :P
Warning: this episode can feel excruciatingly long. Feel free to cherry-pick the parts that interest you the most. I won't be hurt.

24. Last but not least


Given how dull and boring the Bundesliga was becoming for Deniz, he started to think since last year about a new challenge. With the end of the 2027/28 season came the Euro, which gave Deniz an idea: megaevents such as the Euro or the World Cup usually end with a multitude of managers getting sacked by their respective federations. Given how shitty Germany was performing at the group stages, it crossed Deniz’s mind that the position would be vacant really soon.

At the comfort of his own couch, then, he sat and waited. He watched every single game of the competition. It was fun, actually. Out of the big teams, Spain and England easily got through Group A, knocking out Denmark and the Czech Republic. At Group B, the Netherlands were the surprising elimination from a group in which Norway, Sweden and Scotland (!) advanced. France walked through Group C, from which Greece and Poland managed to qualify as well, with Switzerland being the only knocked out. Italy had no problem in Group D, followed by Austria and Portugal, eliminating Ukraine in the process. Germany only got some ridiculous 4 points, beating Ireland, tying against Albania and losing against Belgium, who topped the Group E. Group F had no national teams attracting Naki’s interest.

Germany, Naki’s favourite, played some more horrid football against Austria in the second round, but managed to qualify after penalties. England beat Greece 3-1, and Spain, France, and Italy pulverised respectively Sweden, Turkey and Serbia.

Counting that a quarter-final knock-out would still be reasonable to justify the sacking of a national manager, Naki eagerly followed Germany perform awfully against Croatia, but the Germans went through on pens again. England beat Norway 3-2, Spain eliminated France 1-0, and Italy overdid Belgium after penalties. Germany only came to be eliminated at the semi-finals, in which they went to penaltis one more time, this time to lose against England (lol, losing to England on pens). The penalties also made sure to arrange that Italy would be the other nation in the final, won by England.

Even though somewhat embarrassed by terrible performances, Germany chose not to sack André Pawlak. In the end, it was France who decided to part ways with Franck Dumas, and, obviously, the Netherlands had enough of Frank de Boer.

After applying for both jobs, Deniz announced publicly the 2028/29 season to be the last one with Union Berlin. After that, he would focus on the World Cup title with whatever country would pick him.

There was, of course, the chance of not being picked by any nation. The Netherlands rejected Naki and went for another national manager. France, however, decided to give the Kurdish manager a chance: Deniz Naki will be joining France in 2028.

Union Berlin


With the departure set, Deniz had one season to pack his bags and decide what kind of legacy he would leave behind. His last season had to be special, so he had to make sure to make the correct signings toward this objective.

Transfers In / Transfers Out

Star signing

CM Jules Blondeau, age 20 (newgen)

When Naki took over Les Bleus, it was hard to believe that a talent such as Jules Blondeau was still at Lyon, with all due respect. With potential to be fighting for the Ballon d’Or in the next few seasons, Naki paid whatever price necessary to bring Jules in.

Shadows for Kuru and Pereyra

AM Thomas Fitschen, age 19 (newgen)
ST Ralf Neumann, age 19 (newgen)

I can’t believe how big Bayern screwed up with Fitschen. The top quality advanced playmaker came free of charge after the Bavarians failed to extend his contract. Neumann, on the other hand, has a potential to be similar or even slightly better than Kuru, and his huge size will make him an important impact sub. Man’s a huge boi.

Players for the after-Naki

GK Timo Brenner, age 20 (newgen)
AM Serdar Aksoy, age 19 (newgen)
LW Jean-Yves Lapasset, age 19 (newgen)
ST Aleksandar Pavlović, age 18 (newgen)

Whoever takes over Union after Deniz can’t complain that he didn’t leave talented players to be developed.

August 2028


As usual, our youngsters obliterated a non-league side. In the Bundesliga, a solid start away from home, but some difficulties to break Ingolstadt’s defence.

September 2028


Once again we suffered a defeat against Bayern, like they once a year decide to come back from the dead only to haunt us. At the UCL, an important victory against Chelsea, and an easy one over Salzburg.

October 2028


Another unstoppable sequence in the Bundesliga. At the continental level, two surprisingly complicated games against Monaco, who parked their bus in front of their own net after the arrival at the venue.

November 2028


The boy-wonder Malik Kuru remains a boy but is even more wonder. This time, he put Chelsea at their knees at Stamford Bridge in order to guarantee the top of the group B.

December 2028


A very peculiar game at Frankfurt, opening 3-0, suffering the equalizer at the 86th minute and then bagging twice to get the win back.

Partial Standings after 17 rounds


We are flying, but that’s not a surprise anymore. The defeat against Bayern was the only one, and ruined a potential 100% run in the first half of the season.

UEFA Champions League - Group B


Even though they didn’t complicate our life as much as Monaco did, Chelsea went through the group stage without further problems. Next round we’ll be facing PSG.

France


UEFA Nations League A - Date 1

England 2-0 France
Lewis Cook 81’
Joe Tompkins 90+4’

Croatia 0-0 Ireland

England 1-0 Croatia
Jadon Sancho 47’

Ireland 0-6 France
5’ Eduardo Camavinga
32’ Miguel Pacheco
35’ 38’ Houssem Aouar
60’ Clément Lecoq
74’ Morgan Molina

Our first-ever international date had plenty of action. First, against England, current EURO champions, we managed to hold them until the 80th minute, then we fell apart. Against Ireland, using a combination of youngsters and experienced players thinking ahead for the World Cup, the kids surprised me with a big win over Ireland.

UEFA Nations League A - Date 2

France 3-2 Croatia
12’ Josko Gvardiol
21’ Lovro Majer
Eduardo Camavinga 26’
Enrick Cipriano 28’
Maxence Caqueret 77’

Ireland 0-0 England

Croatia 1-2 England
Lovro Majer 21’
34’ Jadon Sancho
41’ Joe Tompkins

France 2-1 Ireland
Ewen Chartier 22’
52’ Andrew O’Mailey
Erwan Betrancourt 66’

Our second date with international football felt… weird. In two games we should have won by a mile, after great expectations created after the 6-0 over Ireland, we suffered to beat the two weakest teams in the group at home, almost blowing our qualification chances.

UEFA Nations League A - Date 3

France 3-2 England
11’ Joe Tompkins
Kylian Mbappé 22’
Melvin Bard 27’
74’ Malcolm Boxall
Jean-Clair Todibo 90’

Ireland 0-0 Croatia

Croatia 1-4 France
20’ 34’ Miguel Pacheco
47’ Manuel Coulon
57’ Filip Benković (o.g.)
Lovro Majer 90’

England 4-1 Ireland
Lewis Cook 28’
Raheem Sterling 41’
Marcus Rashford 42’
Callum Hudson-Odoi 59’
85’ Jason Knight

The game against England, following their tie against Ireland, would be crucial to define who would advance to the semifinals, and we thankfully got the win after a thriller that was solved only after a 90th minute corner kick. Against Croatia, all we had to do was confirm the victory and stamp our passports.

UEFA Nations League A - Group 4

France 5-0-1 18-8 10 15
England 4-1-1 11-5 6 13
Ireland 0-3-3 2-12 -10 3
Croatia 0-2-4 4-10 -6 2

Replies


@Justice getting some revenge before departing would be magical. Fingers crossed.

@TheLFCFan well, lack of internal competition cannot be an excuse if we look at Barça

@Jack I think I’d probably have left the club had the outcome of the season being anything else. Getting to the final pumped me up to win it, losing it made me want to try one more time
England winning a shootout and then returning as European champions, beautiful. As for Naki, it is only right for him to stay for another season to try and win back the Champions League. Blondeau is certainly the type of signing that will go a long way in his attempt to do just that.

France have made a sensible appointment and will reap the rewards in the long run. A good start so far.
Wow, I hate Bayern for stopping that almost perfect run until December! Outstanding work for club and country, looking forward to how both careers pan out at the end of this season.
I'm expecting, with the French job, Deniz is going to be sipping his regular morning brew on the banks of the Seine soon?

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