A Cock and Red Bull Story – Part 1 | @cmclassicsquads

Guten morgen, and welcome to a brand new blog adventure! I hope you’ve been enjoying Basque Boys and the CM01/02 Aces, but I thought the gap between seasons wasn’t very long, and that a new story would space them out a bit. So allow me to explain what this one is all about…

Since writing Basque Boys, I’ve loved the idea of having restrictions for signings because it makes for more of a challenge, so I looked into what other clubs have rules and policies, and that led me to RB Leipzig, who’s remarkable rise has caught the attention of the footballing world recently

So what are their rules? Well.. They only sign players 24 years old or younger, and have a salary cap of £4m a year (about £77,000 a week). Assuming Ronaldo and Messi are the best-paid players in the world, earning £30m a year, RB Leipzig’s cap is 13.3% of that. So assuming CM9798’s highest earners are on £50,000 a week, 13.3% of that is around £6,700 a week, so that’s our salary cap, but this will be reviewed each year and will rise along with the top earner’s salary.

There is also a Bundesliga rule that states that every club must have a minimum of 12 German players in their squad, so I’ll be following that as well, just to make it a bit trickier.

So that’s a basic overview of the challenge ahead, and after a quick play around in the editor, RB Leipzig is alive! complete with 42,959 all-seater stadium, and a background image for a more authentic feel.

I didn’t want this challenge to be easy, so when creating the club in the editor, I set the following, reputation and blend all to 8. The average values for the league are 10, 9 and 9, so we’re definitely below average.

The club wasn’t founded until 2009/10 in real-life, after Red Bull bought fifth-tier side SSV Markranstädt, so not many of their first squad were playing in 1997/98, but I managed to find four of them, so this is the squad I start with…

As far as stats go, Timo Rost looks the pick of the bunch, and hopefully Lars Müller might turn out to be as good as his namesakes, Gerd and Thomas, but I guess time will tell.

Kläsesner, Müller and Kujat all have big club release clauses in their contracts, but the board won’t let me list any of them for loan, so they’ll probably get snatched from me, but Rost doesn’t have the clause, so he’s staying.

Mainz 05 are straight in for Kujat, and I accept the £800k bid, as the cash will come in handy, and add to my £100k budget.

I start hunting for players, and it’s immediately clear that recruitment is going to be a hard task. With that in mind, I’ve decided not to book a pre-season tour so I can focus on assembling a squad.

I naturally head straight to the German Under-21 squad, where I pick up my first 2 players for free. A further 12 signings follow over the next couple of weeks, and the board let me list the majority for loan, which will stop bigger clubs taking them. This is the squad for our first match…

Signings have included one of everyone’s favourite freebie defenders, Andrew Duncan, Brazilian winger Leónidas (of @KingOfTheRooks’ wonderkids fame), who was also free, and Hasan Salihamidzic from Hamburg for less than £100k.

So the talking is over, and it’s now time to see how this bunch that I’ve thrown together in just a couple of weeks, actually perform. This is how I set up for the first match against Nürnburg.

I normally like to say a bit about the opposition before each match, but I know none of Nürnburg’s players or their manger, so that was quick!

We waste a few early chances and find ourselves 2-0 down at half time. It’s 3 just before the hour, and then Nürnburg have a man sent off. We start to play better, pulling 2 goals back, but the visitors get a fourth on 81. There’s another Nürnburg red card late on, but it’s too late to make a difference. Their keeper was man of the match, so we must have done ok going forward.

Despite the defeat, we showed glimpses of what we could be capable of, and managed 7/14 shots on target, so hopefully that’s a good omen.

One of my biggest worries is goals, so this signing is one that I’m happy with. I had no qualms about splashing £300k on him, and hopefully he’s as ruthless for me as he was in Dave’s Mulhouse blog (I’m not going to steal Dave’s nickname for him though).

A couple more signings follow, with Wuttke completing the quota of 12 German players, and Soares looks like he could be worth the £100k I paid Benfica for him (and he has no big club release clause!).

Now for our first away game, and it’s Mainz 05, who lost their first match. They have a certain Mr. Klopp in defence, and our ex employee Kujat up front. Leónidas is injured, so Sritong-In makes his debut, as does Soares in place of Kläsener. We take a battering, and are lucky to only be 1-0 down at half time.

We have a chance to get straight back in it after the break, but Kinamemba Boateng blasts his penalty over the bar. We have a few chances, but Mainz score again with a quarter of an hour remaining. It finishes 2-0, and it’s another defeat, and once again the opposition’s keeper is man of the match.

Next up are Greuther Fürth at home, who have won 1 and lost 1. Leónidas is back in for Boateng. Stritong-In gets us off to a flying start, but Duncan gets injured, so Kläsener is on. It’s soon 2-0, as Sritong-In gets his second on 20, and Leónidas makes it 3 on half an hour to give us a healthy half time lead.

We reach the hour and are playing well, but then our keeper gets sent off and gives away a penalty. Salihamidzic makes way for Grell, the sub keeper, who can’t keep the penalty out and it’s 3-1. The visitors pull another one back, but we scrape our first win.

We now take a brief break from league action for a cup match with Frankfurt, who are 2nd in our league. Duncan remains injured, so Kläsener keeps his place.

We lead at half time through Rost, but parity is restored 2 minutes into the second half. It ends all-square and extra time awaits. I’m worrying about penalties, but Leónidas wins it 8 minutes from time with his 3rd goal in 2 games. The board are very pleased with the win, and we’ll play Bochum next.

I’m looking for new players daily, and bring in another 2 on loan. At least if they’re terrible I can send them back. I’m liking Younga-Mouhani’s stats, I just hope he’s not one of those players who has great stats but sucks.

Back to league matters, and Uerdingen away. Marcus Wedau, one of their star men is about to leave for a bigger club. We’re unchanged. Sritong-In gets his 3rd goal of the season to give us the lead just before half time. It’s a quiet second half, and luckily Uerdingen only managed 3 shots on target out of 16 efforts, and Holzer is man of the match, helping us get our 3rd straight win.

Our next game is away to Gütersloh, who’s only player I know is keeper Adam Maytsek, from his future Leverkusen days. Mager makes the bench, and Younga-Mouhani starts for Salihamidzic. Gütersloh dominate early on, and Soares’ red card doesn’t help. We take the lead completely against the run of play and it’s 1-0 at half time.

The second half is a minute old when Holzer gets his second red card in 4 games, I’ll have words with him. Gütersloh equalise from the spot and 3 more goals follow to complete the rout. It was tough anyway but we never stood a chance with 9 men.

Next are Freiburg, who are 6th in the league and unbeaten in 4 games. Dogan is on international duty, so Kläsener moves to right back, and Duncan comes into the centre, and Mager starts in defensive midfield for Oelkuch, who has the flu.

We’re taking another early hammering, and fall behind just 8 minutes in. After 20 minutes, Mager has a rating of just 4/10, so on comes Reifenscheid, and we switch to 3 centre backs. The formation change helps at the back, but we can’t find a goal and it’s a second successive defeat.

The final game of this week is away to St. Pauli, who are second from bottom, so this is a must-win game. Duncan has caught the flu from Oelkuch, so Kläsener comes in, and after Mager’s shocker last match, Kaschuba starts in front of the back four. We’re behind at half time and I’m deflated as I walk to the dressing room.

Although we’re only a goal down, I decide to throw caution to the wind and give Nikolai’s 3-6-1 formation a go for the second half, and boy does it pay off. We run riot right from the restart, with Younga-Mouhani and Nyamah scoring either side of a Sritong-In brace. The board say very good result.

So after 7 games we’re 12th, not fantastic but at least we’re not bottom. The defence is typically leaky, but that’s part and parcel of the 2-3-1-2-2. We’ll give the 3-6-1 a go for a few games next week and see if it helps.

Two more signings follow, I’m delighted to get Dejan Petkovic on a free, a day before he turns 25. I wanted Herman Hreidarsson as I only had one left back, his stats were great but he wanted £6k a week, which is almost at the limit of our salary cap, so I went for Miguel Mota, who’s my third Portuguese signing of the season, just call me Nuno Espírito Santo!

The squad is taking shape now, but looking for new players will be a continuous cycle.

And here’s proof that all the players are within the £6,700 weekly wage cap.

So we’re off and running, and I’m sure you’ll agree that this is going to be an interesting journey. Join me next week to see if red bull can give us wings to fly up the table! Aufwiedersehen, pets!

3 thoughts on “A Cock and Red Bull Story – Part 1 | @cmclassicsquads

  1. This is a really good idea Nick. If Sritong-In stays fit you’ll score a lot with the 3-6-1. Racking my brains for any German gems.

    Ok episode two time now!

    Cheers Gary

    aka @retrofootballnw

    • Thanks Gary, I hope it’s as enjoyable to read as it was to play and write! That’s always the danger with this game, you could be flying high one day and then have your season derailed by injuries, but I won’t reveal anything and spoil it for you. I think regens will be the order of the day for transfers, but we’ll see what happens and who retires. Cheers, Nick.

  2. Pingback: A Cock and Red Bull Story – Part 6: Wreh of light | CM 97/98

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