Good morning #TheJenaJourney fans! Welcome back to my #FM15 series where I am managing German side FC Carl Zeiss Jena. It is season five, and following three straight promotions up to the Bundesliga we were relegated last season. I’m now thirteen league games in and we sit top of the table. Just four games today, but they are real humdingers against 1860 (3rd), Sandhausen (5th), Paderborn (2nd) and Hamburg (5th).
First up was the trip to 1860 Munchen and the Allianz Arena. A win here would go a long way to making me believe that we were real contenders again this season. It is worth remembering that nobody in my squad earns more than £5k a week, a remarkably low amount of money for this level of football. Bottom club Halle have four players that earn £5K+, second to bottom Aalen have 11 players earning more than that and our opponents 1860 have 13. It is difficult to fully believe you can be the best when you know you pay much less than the others.
My only selection dilemma for the game was whether to bring Cebellos back in on the left wing. Tino Schmidt had played there last time out and scored in the 4-1 thrashing of Karlsruher. I opted to keep it as was and we went out in search of a win at the Allianz, something we failed to do last season. We didn’t look at the races and fell behind after 25 minutes. Two minutes later we were two down, a free kick flying in. We played against ten men for the last half an hour due to a red card, but we couldn’t get a shot on goal until the 89th minute, Conde following up from Tino’s saved hit. That was it, a missed opportunity to move further clear at the top of the table.
With the Sandhausen game being pushed back due to international call-ups, the next game was Paderborn who were just above us in 2nd place. We had the disappointment of a hernia for Conde to deal with, but Dereli and Koc were fit enough to take places on the bench. As ever, Macuilt returned from international duty in no fit state to play, so Villagra came in. Fortuna won on the Friday night to leapfrog both us and Sandhausen, so a win was, as ever, vital.
Yan Perin absolutely larruped us ahead after twenty minutes, a real thunderbolt of a strike. We then gave away a needless pen for pushing, which was thumped home easily. YP was ruled offside having got the ball in the net for a second time and the ref blew for half-time. We were doing well. Annoyingly they went ahead after 51, header from a cross. I’ve said before that YP scores in bundles and he got his second in the most lucky of styles today. The goalkeeper cleared it, it smacked him on the back and went in. Golazo. Straight from kick off we went 3-1 down, this was getting so frustrating. It was 4 ten minutes later. My mind started wandering to calling it a day with Jena, it was feeling like my time was done. Giese then chopped their man down for a second penalty and I was virtually typing out my resignation letter. 5-2 was the final result, an absolute disaster.
I decided to pause it all there. I wasn’t feeling good about the save today, and I didn’t want any bad feeling slipping into the game and making it worse. I am seriously considering calling it a day at Jena and starting a new challenge somewhere else, I don’t know why but my heart just doesn’t seem to be in it having got them to the Bundesliga in double quick time. Relegation killed the dream a little bit to be honest! I don’t know – what do you all think?