Good morning #TheJenaJourney fans! Welcome back to my #FM15 series where I am managing German side FC Carl Zeiss Jena. I am about to enter my fifth season in charge of the former East German champions, and we have just been relegated back to 2.Bundesliga. I am here to report on the close season and the four week long pre-season, the shortest pre-season I have ever ordered at Jena, and probably will surprise most people considering we have been relegated and are looking to evolve things in time for the new season.
Fear not my friends, after the season we had I just felt that everyone needed a nice long rest – and when we returned on the 2nd July I already had all the new signings lined up as well as having let go those that were being let go.
I waited impatiently for the end of June. I had a long list of potential signings, providing they were released from their clubs. Last season I refused to pay a player more than £5k a week. Now we have been relegated I decided early not to pay more than that this time, unless I had a potential superstar on my hands.
The day rocked around and contracts were offered faster than a Premier League side getting knocked out of the FA Cup. By the end of the frantic activity I had added the players below to my squad. We are becoming rather Argentinian, with the South American country’s head-count now standing at eight.
All in all, I was happy with my transfer dealings and policy – all the players signed add competition and not a penny more than £5k is being earned amongst them. With the new signings I was unlikely to be promoting too many youth teams players up this time round. The best two we have had for a while, Trinks and Giese both failed to impress last season, so I am going to let them cook a little longer in the youth and second team squads.
The matches were pretty mixed. I had decided to start off with the annual matches with Wehern and SV Jena, two local sides before heading off for a tour of four tougher away fixtures against European opposition. As you can see below, we hammered Wehern 6-0 and SV Jena 4-0 before the Club Brugge game. We lost that one 2-1, depsite having the better of proceedings. The first of two French sides were Bordeaux, a Ligue One outfit. The new signings were starting to bed in nicely, the football was looking good and the evolved tactic looking pretty decent. We drew 2-2, which was highly pleasing. Next were Champions League regulars Lyon. We got pretty shellacked, losing 3-1 – but again there were promising signs. Finally, it was a trip to London’s Olympic Stadium and West Ham. The Hammers, now managed by Ronald Koeman, were lucky to beat us 1-0. The pre-season results, below, don’t look great but I was pleased all in all.
This is how we have played all pre-season. I have moved the DM up to a CM/D and I feel that is offering us more somehow. I have also changed the F9 to a DF/S, and a few goals have been scored. I am not sure whether this will remain though.
So that was pre-season. I hope I don’t regret making it quite tough on the lads opposition wise. It occurred to me at the end of it all that we had lost almost every game last season, so it might have been nice for them to win a few games before the league season started. Too late now!
Tomorrow I will be back with the first four matches – we start with also relegated Kaiserslauten at home, equally relegated Bochum away, then the cup against some minnow and then a home game with Augsburg.
See you then!