CHAMPIONS LEAGUE & BRAGGING RIGHTS – SEASON 2014/15

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE & BRAGGING RIGHTS – SEASON 2014/15

Hello and welcome back! Cheers everyone for the comments and the views, really appreciated and gives me hope going forward that more and more people will read the blog!

So anyway, 2014/15. My first season in the Champions League with Genk. You want to see how I done? Of course you do! But as always, transfer comes first.

TRANSFERS

More regens! I love regens. They make the game so much better. Anyway, Dejair comes in a very solid, Burdisso type of mould. Strong, good marker and tall. Being only eighteen, I obviously hope that the big boys won’t snatch him straight away as he looks very, very good for the future. Oumar Huber arrives for the long term, really. At only 17, he can already challenge for László Köteles’ place in the first team. With first team football, something I am willing to give him in a few season, he can potentially become so much better than László. Alejandro Trigo caught my attention when one of my scouts recommended me. A fast player, who has the look of a very good centre midfielder for the future. I think the only thing that I don’t like about him is 172cm height, would’ve put me off him really if he wasn’t as good as he can potentially be. Cristian Campi I signed as a player/scout, mainly because he was a brilliant scout yet wanted to play for a few more years. I didn’t even give him one appearance. Take that, Mr. Campi! Paulo is a player again I’m excited for. A center back who can pass very well. A perfect Ball Playing Defender for the future. He looks superb. Gilcimar completed my Brazilian rout. Again, fast, agile and overall a very attacking wingback. Looks superb for the future, a player that maybe, I’ll have to alter my tactics for. Always wanted to try out attacking wingbacks.  Nathan Aké came on loan in January as I had an injury crisis, with three out of four of my defenders receiving one /two month injuries.

By far the biggest transfer out during the one was of Kara. Monaco came in for him for £9.25M and really, I could resist. I had a few Brazilians coming in and I thought, hey, it won’t be such a big loss. Next to go was Kim Ojo. I was getting sick of him missing easy chances and plus, he wasn’t really better than Jelle Vossen and will never be better than him, so I shipped him off to Getafe for £750k. Plus, I had Blose who I knew was going to be great. So it was all well in the end, really. Kim got first team football, I got money. Aging centre back Nádson left to join Kim Ojo in Spain for a tidy £800k.

BELGIAN SUPER CUP

My first Super Cup went relatively well. A solid 2-1 win, dominating throughout. I decided to start Sphamandla Blose as Jelle Vossen was still not in a perfect condition to play. He didn’t disappoint, getting two goals against a relatively strong Club Brugge side.

BELGIAN PRO LEAGUE

Superb league season. Great on all fronts. Scored 95 goals, which is bloody brilliant. Conceded the least in the league, just showing how superior we were. Of course, Club Brugge drawing 16 of their games did help us a lot.

COFIDIS CUP

Again, a double winning season. Easily got past everyone up to the semi-finals, where we faced a Club Brugge . Comprehensive win at home really got us the result. Comprehensive? Bloody hell, a thrashing! Vossen grabbed a hat trick. I love that man. The final wasn’t hard either, even though we came up against Anderlecht. Two goals from Blose, one from Hubert and Monrose sealed a second successive double.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

My first season in the Champions League…wasn’t the best. God, it was awful. Bottom of the group, pathetic. Though, to be fair, I was given a group consisting of two money ridden clubs and a great European club in general. Was a pathetic season in the Champions League, but the money we got was well received, really. It can only get better.

BEST ELEVEN

So as you can see, I’ve been blooding regens into the squad. Riviere was excellent and Paulo replaced Kara just as well as anyone could, really. Blose showed what he could become in his debut season for the team, netting 19 goals in 31 games, identical to our best striker, dare I say, ever.

So that’s it. Apologies if it is a bit short, but it was a pretty standard season. Unlike the next season. Surprises galore. Bye.

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CHANGES, REGENS AND CUPS – SEASON 2013/14

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CHANGES, REGENS AND CUPS – SEASON 2013/14

Welcome back, ladies and gentleman.

So, the season of 2013/14. After my finish of 5th in the league and being runners up in the cup, I wanted to improve massively. Probably to huge surprise, of those who know me, I did!

Let’s start with the transfers.

TRANSFERS

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As you can see, a lot of regens. Franz Leitner joins from FC Red Bull Salzbrug for a minuscule fee of only £1.2M. A midfielder who can play as an AM and a striker proved to be a real bargain. With excellent work rate and technique, coupled with decent creativity and decisions, this 18 year old proved to be a real joy.  As I left Austria, I wondered into the regen pool of Switzerland. I found my man in the name of Nassim Riviere.  A quick, agile with good crossing ability and ability to play on either side of the wings and at only 17, he was one for the future. One for now, though, Jonas Svensson. Known by many as one of those talented players that start the game in Scandinavian countries, Jonas is quite the Attacking Playmaker. Only the finishing was the thing that let him down time after time, but still, he done respectably well. Tortel Lumanza Lembi joined on a free after being released from Standard, purely just to increase my home-grown players list. You may not know, but there must be 6 players trained in Belgium that have to be in the collective number of the starting eleven and the substitutes. Bosko Ban, another regen, joins from Hajduk. As you can see, I love my young European players. He joins for a quite high fee of £625k for a sixteen year old, but still, I believe he can become better than all of my midfielders in the future. Tonie Brännström, a nineteen year old talented winger from Malmö joined us in January. Not a transfer I really wanted to make, but with my scouts saying that he could become the best thing since sliced bread, I offered Malmö what they asked for. Tonie was immediately loaned to Sint-Truiden, where he didn’t really shine. Now, the man that I think can become one of the best strikers for the club, ever. He comes under the name of Sphamandla Blose. My scouts brought him to my attention after a scouting trip in Africa, and boy, what did I find when I signed him? In his second season for the Kaizer Chiefs he managed to get 11 goals in 10 games until I snapped him up. The two goals on his international debut for the national team were also pretty bloody impressive. So, as Tonie, he was loaned out to KV Mechelen  for the rest of the season. With 8 goals in 17 games, I knew that I couldn’t loan him out next season. He was brilliant. The last player came in the shape of Bogdan Lobont, the current AS Roma goalkeeper, who got released on the save. He was a substitute for most games, rarely ever playing, as Köteles was playing superbly. There was simply no need.

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Now, for the outs. I released Thomas Buffel, who was key for my side, but his huge wage demands and the fact that he was nearing his thirty’s, made me not renew his contract. He joined Nantes and stayed there for a season. After retirement, he has become manager of third division UR Namur. Another big departure was the one of Elyaniv Barda. Great player In real life, but just not my type on FM. He did get the job done when required, but his huge wage demands forced him out. After signing with Hapoel Tel- Aviv, and staying there for three seasons, he has retired and comeback to Belgium as a coach for Lierse. Another quite big departure, one of Benji De Ceulaer. This one did raise me some money, so it’s okay. After appearing only 18 times for my side, coming on as substitute for most, obviously old Benji was not happy. He started causing shit, so I sold. Of course, the fans saw this in another light, and hated me for almost a season! Benji retired in 2017 and became manager of Charleroi. He got sacked after a year. Joke’s on you, Benji. Other players like Jeroen Simaeys, Torben Joneleit, Abel Masuero, Kristof Van Hout, Fabien Camus and Kennedy Nwanganga left because they were either asking for ridiculous wages when offered new contracts or were too old.

BELGIAN PRO LEAGUE

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My first league title as manager of Genk! Very solid season, only three losses in the league as well. I did have a shot at going undefeated, but a loss to Lierse and then two losses when the title was all but wrapped up cost me the golden trophy. Jelle Vossen managed to get 16 goals in the league. Again, I love Jelle. Just making sure you know.

COFIDIS CUP

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So yeah, this time I didn’t fluff my lines in the final! A double in my second season in charge. Quite proud of that. Was relatively worried after that shocking 2-3 loss to Club Brugge in the semi-finals first leg, but then, to my surprise, we totally mangled them in Bruges. 1-4, with my full back playing as an attacking winger getting a hat trick. Brilliantly executed comeback. Beerschot AC were no match for me and were easily beaten on the day.

EUROPA LEAGUE

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Hmm. A rather awkward European campaign. Inconsistent. Horrible at times. Like during the losses against Maribor and Djurgården. Just lazy.  Luckily for me, Cagliari dominated everyone and a very weak Ajax turned up. I made it through on the final day of the season, without shame, I’ll admit it, playing very cautiously against Ajax at home. That point guaranteed me second place.  Getting drawn against Malaga was a pain too. Even though a 2-0 win against them at home, I knew what they were able of. Luckily, Kara grabbed an away goal in Malaga, and the loss didn’t matter. Chelsea were next and outplayed me, heavily. But it didn’t matter. I knew that I would be in the Champions League next season. With the big boys.

BEST ELEVEN

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So as you can see, Jelle! Superb once again. Monrose did add a lot from the wings, something that was very appreciated, considering there was an absence of another striker. Jonas Svensson, Khaleem Hyland and Kara, also hit double figures in goals. Brian Hamalainen was  a great creative force, assisting twenty one times in all competitions.

Well that’s it for the 2013/14 review!  A great season, but could I have an even better season next, with the Champions League entering the schedule?

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INTRODUCTION AND SEASON – 2012/13

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INTRODUCTION AND SEASON 2012/13

Welcome to my first real blog entry! Hopefully one of many.

Anyway, who are Genk? Well, Koninklijke Racing Club Genk are a club from Genk, Belgium. Founded in 1988 after a merge between K. Waterschei S.V. Thor Genk (who reached the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1982, losing 5-2 on aggregate to eventual winners, Aberdeen) and KFC Winterslag. Genk didn’t do anything of note until the 1997–98 season, drifting out of the top division and the second division, with a second place in the top division and a superb 4-0 dismantling of Club Brugge in the Belgian Cup final. Genk won their first Belgian league title the following year. A cup in ’99 followed and another league title in 2002 ended this great spell for Genk. It was not until 2008 that another cup was won, once again, coming up victorious in the Belgian Cup against KV Mechelen. Naturally, with Genk, a series of trophies followed. The league was won again for the third time in 2011.

Genk have won the Belgian Cup this year, defeating Cercle Brugge in the final 2-0, with goals from Bennard Yao Kumordzi and Jelle Vossen, late on with the goals coming in the 85th and in the 89th minute.

Being a relatively small club regarding Europe, Genk have been an excellent exporting club. Faris Haroun [currently at Middlesbrough], Steven Defour [currently at Porto], Christian Benteke [currently at Aston Villa], Thibaut Courtois [currently at Atletico Madrid, on loan from Chelsea] and Kevin De Bruyne [currently at Werder Bremen, on loan from Chelsea].

So, the youth academy is quite key. But from my experience, FM usually deals me a crap pack of cards when the Youth Candidates come around. Anyway, we shall see.

So, the season. Probably not the best one, but the first season is by far the hardest and is usually key to my future involvement with the save. Let’s start with the league table.

BELGIAN PRO LEAGUE

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5th in the league, not that bad. A horrible run of form at the end of the season cost me. Four losses, three draws and three wins in the Championship playoff group resulted in that 5th place finish.

COFIDIS CUP

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As you see, a final in my first season. Not that bad. Of course, losing to one of my biggest rivals hurt, but they were much stronger than us. Knocking Club Brugge out was without doubt something to be proud of, denying them a chance at a double.

EUROPA LEAGUE

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Not that disappointed with the campaign, if I’m honest. Easily qualified for the group stages, getting drawn into a group with Academica [Portugal], Hapoel Tel- Aviv [Israel] and Liverpool [England]. Wins against everyone but Liverpool secured an easy qualification to the First Knockout Round, in which I faced Champions League rejects, Arsenal. Not the best scenario occurred in at the Crystal Arena, with us gifting two goals to Arsenal to give them those vital away goals. But pretty much everyone were left gobsmacked at the Emirates, with us coming away with a superb 1-3 win! Not that the Europa League matters for Arsenal, amirite? Then followed by a 3-1 loss at Gladbach, with a 4-4 draw at the Crystal Arena, we were out,  5-7 on aggregate. Decent, nonetheless.

TRANSFERS

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As for the ins, I only made one. One proper one. Srdjan Mijailovic joined for a relatively high fee.  A no nonsense defensive midfielder, he will be one of the key men for my team. Can chip in with a couple of assists too. Which is always great.

Viktor  Claesson joined on loan due to me being hit by an injury spree in January. He shipped a goal and an assist in 8 matches for me. Not overly impressive. None the less, he stayed on loan until mid-next season. Then he quit the loan spell due to no playing time.

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Looking through the outs, nobody really stands out. Perhaps Siebe Schrijvers, a fast paced striker.  No one else has made it, though.

BEST ELEVEN

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There is that limitation in FM. Now, I will reveal, I am far ahead in this save. So of course remembering tactics etc is quite a challenge. So we will just have to judge by my excellent memory, which really isn’t excellent at all! So as you can see, Jelle bloody Vossen. What a player he is. Excellent in all roles up top and makes an excellent Box-to-Box midfielder when needed. Kim Ojo was excellent too but I was really not a fan of him not scoring and ‘cowering’ chances in big games. In midfield, Hyland and Mijailovic formed a great partnership, one that will only get better. Speaking of partnerships, Kalidou Koulibaly and Nádson. Both solid and can score. What more can you want?

So, that’s it! My first blog entry. Hope everyone enjoyed it. If you have any queries, contact me on Twitter.

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So this is it.

Welcome to my blog. Erm. Hello. How are you? I certainly hope you will enjoy my story with Koninklijke Racing Club Genk.

Make yourself comfortable, shall post a proper story entry tonight, hopefully.

Till later,
Lukas.

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