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Author Topic: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey  (Read 1925 times)

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Jonathan

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Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« on: October 30, 2017, 08:24:32 PM »

By popular demand, I have decided to start a new Football Manager thread. As you might have guessed from the title, this will take place, not in England, but in Germany. I have found myself playing a lot more FM games in Germany lately than in England. This game has a well-defined pre-planned career path that, hopefully, my character's success and circumstances will allow to happen. But while I know what career path I want my guy to take, I won't spoil the surprise for you.

There have been a lot of changes to Football Manager in the 13(!) years since Butter first started posting about Peterborough United, not all of them for the better, IMO. A lot of feature bloat designed to make the game more immersive actually served to slow it down, and I stopped playing for a while. Thankfully, lots of people must have complained, because a few years ago they introduced a more streamlined, "tactics-and-transfers" version called Football Manager Touch that is more in line with the old game. It's that version that I'll be playing.

One of the things that you can do now is add to your manager's biography by setting his experience level - everything from a rank amateur to a World-Class superstar a la Messi or Ronaldo. In this case, I've gone for a realistic option. My character is a former professional player of some national renown who earned a handful of caps (let's say...six) for the German national team as a player. For someone who will be taking over a 2. Bundesliga team as his first managerial assignment, that seems about right.

One more word - I'm actually six games into the season and had to pause the game so I could write about it. I want to catch up quickly so I can keep going, so these first few posts might be sparse on detail as I go back through the game reports and messages to reconstruct what happened. Once I'm done with that, match reports will be more detailed. Let the fun begin!

Up next: An introduction to our hero, and a (brief) overview of the roster. Oh, and the announcement of what team I will be managing...
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 08:48:50 AM »

Introducing Johann Hirsch.

Born April 14, 1985 in Munich, Hirsch is a former midfielder for four clubs who was capped six times for Germany. After suffering a severe knee injury, Hirsch retired from playing and when into coaching, starting out at one of his former clubs, 1. FC Köln. On July 8, 2016, Hirsch was hired by Fortuna Düsseldorf as their new manager, his first job in the top spot.

Fortuna Düsseldorf is a club with a history, albeit not a storied one. Founded in 1895, the club has a fairly empty trophy case than you would expect for a team that is almost 125 years old. Perhaps the club's greatest accomplishment is the back-to-back DFB-Pokal (German Cup) victories in 1979 and 1980. The club also finished third in the Bundesliga in 1973 and 1974, although as late as 2008 Fortuna were playing in the Regionalliga. Düsseldorf won the 2. Bundesliga in 1989, and that is where we find them today.

The hiring of Hirsch was seen with some suspicion by the Düsseldorf faithful due to his ties to Köln, their fierce rival. Financially, the club is in decent shape with secure finances, a bank balance of approximately €9 million and a season ticket base of 14,200 fans. The club is valued at €18.79 million. Pre-season media predictions have the club finishing 12th out of 18 clubs, indicating a mid-table finish as the most likely outcome.

The club's home ground is the Esprit Arena, named after the clothing manufacturer. It is quite a large ground, holding 54,600 people. The arena's most notable night likely has nothing to do with football, as it was the site of the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 09:40:56 AM »

Arriving at the manager's office, I'm fairly happy with the squad, although my main concern is defense, and, of course, goals. I put some loan offers out on promising young players, some of them are rejected, some are accepted but the player chooses to go somewhere else, and we get our man in three instances:

Mart Ristl is a 20-year-old ball-winning midfielder who we sign on loan from Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. Our scouts feel he can be one of the strongest players in the squad and serve as a field general. He gets high marks for his bravery, has a determined personality, and is well-suited to play in the 2. Bundesliga straight away. We are paying €750/week, which is half of his wages.

André Hoffmann is a player in a similar mode, but he can also play in defense as well as the midfield. He is adept at marking and enjoys playing in big matches. However, he is injury prone, but as a loan player, that not as concerning to me as we have other options. Again, we are also paying half his salary, but this time you can move that decimal point because it equates to €7,500/week. We have also negotiated a €500K future fee should we wish to purchase Hoffmann outright - a bargain when you consider he is currently valued at €2.8 million.

Our third loan signing is Arianit Ferati, a 19-year-old attacking midfielder that we loaned from Hamburg. Unfortunately, we have to pay full freight on Ferati - €8,500/week - if we wanted to get him, but we think it's worth it.

Two other potential key players on loan deals are defensive anchor Kevin Akpoguma, on loan from Hoffenheim, and key striker Rouwen Hennings, on the books at Premiership side Burnley. Hennings is costing us €17,500/week - for that money, he'd better score goals by the bucketload. Akpoguma is in the third year of a three-year loan and comes at a much more reasonable €4,500/week.

One of the players I couldn't get on loan was young striker Cedric Teuchert from Nürnberg. I was happy to pay his wage of €1,500/week no problem, but Nürnberg also wanted me to pay them 50 thousand a month for the privlege of loaning him. I didn't feel that was reasonable, and while I negotiated up from a €0 monthly fee to €16K, 1.FCN wouldn't move off that number, so no deal was reached. A shame, really, as I think Teuchert could have helped us.

One of the reasons that we have so many loan signings, the biggest reason, in fact, is the paltry €117K transfer kitty that I have been given. I was able to increase that to €250K by telling the board I thought we could reach the promotion playoffs this season, and later, when I chose to cut the end-of-year potential win bonuses for the squad, the club board put the savings into my transfer budget, bumping it up to €1.1 million. Now to find a player worth spending it on...
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 10:16:54 AM »

The best player on the club, with the possible exception of Rouwen Hennings, is Ihlas Bebou, a 22-year-old Togolese midfielder rated at €2.4 million. Unfortunately, his contract is up at the end of the season and, when I go to open contract negotiations at the start of the season, his agent informs me that he has no interest in signing a new contract and is looking to move at the end of the year. However, I notice a unique clause in his contract that calls for an automatic one-year contract extension should he appear in 20 league games this season. I have every intention of doing so, unless Bebou gets hurt and misses significant time. So hopefully, that contract extension will buy us some time, and the success I envision us having will convince Bebou to stay.

Another important player for the team is Kaan Ayhan, a 21-year-old defender and midfielder from Gelsenkirchen who had played for his hometown team, Schalke. After a loan spell at Frankfurt last season, Ayhan was allowed to leave for us in the off-season for €500K. Although born in Germany, Ayhan is of Turkish heritage and as earned eight under-21 caps for Turkey. He plays either in the center of defense or the midifield, depending on the personnel I have available and the situation of the match.

After consulting with my staff, who know the players better than I do, we decide to go with a 4-4-1-1 formation with four defenders, four midfielders across the middle (with one, usually Ristl or Ayhan) as a defensive anchor. Ferati is the attacking fielder playing ahead of the other four midfielders, and Hennings, of course, plays up top.

In our first friendly, against lower-league side USV Allerhelligen, we get the win, 1-0, but not much else. Preseason is about performance, not results. Christian Gartner, an Austrian midfielder, plays the best for us, but will struggle to find a place of his own in our starting XI once the season starts.
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Zafer Kaya

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 10:29:10 AM »

You know you're getting old when fake football managers are much younger than you.

Butter

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 11:08:47 AM »

Here we are, kids: DipplestraBe!

Sorry.  Who is this 32 year old douche.  I'm with ZK, too young.  Makes me feel old.
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Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 09:48:05 AM »

Three more friendlies are scheduled before our 2. Bundesliga season opener. Here's what happened in all of our preseason friendlies:

Preseason Friendly, @ USV Allerheiligen, July 10, 2016
Our first action comes against lower-league competition, and I use the match to build up fitness levels. Somebody forget to tell the referee it was a friendly, as he issues four yellow cards in the first half, two for each side. Kevin Akpoguma and Rouwen Hennings go in the book for us. Finally, in the 61st minute, Emmanuel Iyoha receives the ball on the right side of the 18-yard box and finds Christian Gartner at the top of the box. Gartner buries the shot for the lone goal of the game and we're off and running, of a sorts.
Won, 0-1
Man of the Match: Christian Gartner

Preseason Friendly, @ FC Kitzbühel (AUT), July 12, 2016
This was a bloodbath. Young American Jerome Kiesewetter opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a side-footed effort from 8 yards out. Our next goal came on the stroke of halftime, when Marlon Ritter's expertly struck free kick bent around the Kitzbuhel wall and inside the left post. It got worse for them five minutes into the second half, with another free kick at the top of the penalty arc. This time, Kaan Ayhan took the kick, and he bent it OVER the top of the wall and past the outstretched keeper. In the 62nd minute, Rouwen Hennings found himself with the ball and closed down on at the top of the box. That meant that Ihlas Bebou was open, and Hennings found him, with Bebou converting an easy chance. Hennings got his second assist, picking out Iyoha with a cross into the box to finish the rout.
Won, 0-5
Man of the Match: Kaan Ayhan

Preseason Friendly, v. 1.FK Pribram (CZE), July 23, 2016
Our first home action of the year comes against Czech side Pribram, the team that was formerly (and famously) known as Dukla Prague in the 20th century. Our backup keeper Lars Unnerstall was between the sticks in this match, and he didn't exactly engender confidence when he gave up a soft goal in the 29th minute. Things got worse in the second half when Akpoguma got his foot on a Pribram shot, unfortunately, he turned it into his own net. Arianit Feranti spared our blushes with a lovely consolation goal, but it was too little, too late.
Lost, 1-2
Man of the Match: Arianit Feranti

Preseason Friendly, @ Berliner AK, August 1, 2016
We end the pre-season as we began it, with a road match against lower-level German opposition. It went down to the wire, and while we had our chances, outshooting Berliner AK 21-4, we only could manage seven shots on target. Finally, in the second minute of stoppage time in the second half, receiving a pass from Xavier Sobottka at the top of the box and burying the shot it what was the last kick of the match. The most notable part of this match was the presence of trialist Heinrich Schmidtgal, a German-born veteran of the Kazakh national team. I brought him in to see if he could improve our situation at left back, and he impressed my coaching staff and I enough that we offered him a two-year deal at €6,500/week. We also signed Brazilian midfielder Ronny, who was available on a free transfer after paying the past six seasons at Hertha Berlin. Ronny is signed for three years at €5,500/week. Both players are 30 years old, and provide veteran leadership at relatively low cost. With those two signings, our roster is set for the start of the 2. Bundesliga season.
Won, 0-1
Man of the Match: Rouwen Hennings
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 10:30:16 AM »

You know you're getting old when fake football managers are much younger than you.
Who is this 32 year old douche.  I'm with ZK, too young.  Makes me feel old.

Haha - I'm not really sure why put down 1985 as Johann Hirsch's birth year. I guess I was inspired by Julian Nagelsmann.
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Kwyjibo

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 03:51:38 PM »

Making up for lost time, eh Jonathan?
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Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 06:15:44 PM »

I spotted you 1,300 posts - I'm coming for you, Kwyj!!!
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2017, 12:33:17 AM »

Match 1, Aug. 8, 2016
@ FC Erzgebirge Aue (finished 2nd in 3. Liga last year, promoted)
Series: First meeting in-game


Starting lineup:
GK: Michael Rensing
Def (L-R): Lukas Schmidt, Kevin Akpoguma, Alexander Madlung, Julian Schaurte
Mid (L-R): Axel Bellinghausen, Oliver Fink (c), Kaan Ayhan, Ihlas Bebou
AM: Arianit Ferati
ST: Rouwen Hennings

Here it is, my first match in the big chair, and it's on the road against a team that was promoted. There's two ways read this - No. 1, they're not that good, and they're playing in front of the home fans, so they have nothing to lose. No. 2, they're good enough to get promoted, so they can play at this level, and they're playing in front of the home fans, so they have something to prove. All of which is to say, I'd rather not be playing a promoted team at their place to start the season.

6' - Six minutes in, and Aue has already had FOUR corner kicks as they have controlled possession early on. This is precisely what I was afraid of. Rensing has already made a beauty of a save, tipping over a shot from Dimitrij Nazarov after he got the ball at the top of the box from, what else, a corner kick.

15' - Ayhan with our first real chance of the game. Hennings won a free kick on the edge of the area, and Ayhan's shot beat the Aue keeper but sadly skimmed the top of the bar.

19' - After a build-up of possession in our attacking third of the field, Hennings received the ball from Ayhan at the top of the box and struck a volley toward the far post that couldn't be stopped! Aue players protested offside, but to no avail. 1-0 Dusseldorf!

20' - Straight off the kickoff, Bellinghausen dispossessed his man and we once again held possession. Ferati got free of his defender and received the ball in the box, but the shot went wide and we missed a golden chance to take a quick 2-0 lead.

49' - Aue with their best chance to score, as Pascal Köpke beat Rensing, but his shot went wide as well. Dodged a bullet there.

53' - We win a corner, and Ayhan lifted the kick into the box. Whilst Aue cleared the kick, it wasn't good enough and we regained possession. Bellinghausen passed to Ferati, and he didn't miss this time! 2-0 Dusseldorf.

61' - Rensing made a great save on Nazarov as Aue begin to build the pressure up. They know it's getting close to now-or-never time.

70' - Double substitution for us, as I bring Sobottka on to replace Fink, who suffered a knock earlier in the match, and Iyoha comes on for Bellingham.

75' - It was coming, you could tell it was, and then it happened. An Aue defender heads away a pass and the counter attack is on. Köpke beats his man, squares the ball for Nazarov, and goal for Aue. 2-1 now.

79' - Aue tries the same thing again, attempting to start a break after a goal kick. Ayhan cuts out a pass and plays one-two passing with Bebou. Bebou is able to thread a pass to Hennings, who sneaks one through at a tight angle! GOAL - Hennings bags a brace and our two-goal margin is restored: 3-1.

85' - Yet another Aue corner, and this time, Mirnes Pepic gets a head on the kick. Rensing makes the save, but Clemens Fandrich pounces on the rebound, and it's 3-2.

Thankfully, we were the only team that threatened to score in the last minutes of the game. We didn't find a fourth goal, but it wasn't through lack of trying. This match played out the way I feared it would, but we were successful in the end. Not surprisingly, Rouwen Hennings is named Man of the Match for his brace.

Win, 2-3, start in 7th place
Shots/on target: Dusseldorf 16/8, Aue 17/7
Poss: 53-47, Dusseldorf
A: 11,716 (1,477 away fans)
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2017, 01:09:39 AM »

The 2. Bundesliga is tough. Two days later, we're right back at it for another match:

Match 2, Aug. 10, 2016
1-0-0. 7th place, 3 pts.
v. Eintracht Braunschweig (finished 8th in 2015-16)
Series: First meeting in-game


Eintracht is the German word for "United", and you probably known Braunschweig better by its Anglicized name, Brunswick. So basically, we're playing Brunswick United. Eintracht was founded the same year as we were, 1895. They also have the same number of German First Division titles as us - one. Except theirs came in the Bundesliga and ours was in 1933, when the First Division was pretty much a knock-out competition comprising all of the regional champions.

Fink still hasn't recovered from the knock he picked up in the Aue match, so Marcel Sobottka comes in for him. Axel Bellinghausen will wear the captain's armband.

Starting lineup:
GK: Rensing
Def (L-R): Schmitz, Akpoguma, Madlung, Schaurte
Mid (L-R): Bellinghausen (c), Sobottka, Kaan Ayhan, Bebou
AM: Ferati
ST: Hennings

9' - We start off well, with Hennings and Bebou both getting chances early on. However, Braunschweig is the first team to test the keeper, as Rensing is called into action to save a shot from close range, then tip the rebound attempt over the bar for a corner.

23' - Another save by Rensing, as two Braunschweig players passed the ball down the pitch before a left-footed strike by the Eintracht forward. Rensing holds on to the save, no rebound or corner kick this time. We are getting our chances, but they are just getting better ones.

33' - Our best chance so far, as Akpoguma plays a ball to Hennings that finds him one-on-one with the keeper. Rouwen shoots for the top...and Raeder tips it over. Hennings really should have made more of that one.

37' - After losing possession of the ball in their box and then regaining it past mid-field, Bellinghausen plays the ball down the left side to Schmitz on an overlapping run. Schmitz finds Hennings at the six-yard box - and the Dutchman hits a left-footed half-volley past the keeper Raeder! 1-0 Dusseldorf.

We had another good chance just before halftime, but Sobottka's shot was right at Raeder's chest, and we go into the locker room with just the one-goal lead.

52' - Madlung concedes a free kick for shirt pulling, and was frankly lucky not to have been booked by the referee, who has a reputation for strictness. Braunschweig controlled possession, found Nyman all alone...because he was offside. The flag goes up, and we get the ball back.

61' - Ferati with a speculative attempt at goal from outside the area, but his banana kick goes over the bar.

70' - Another double substitution for us as Adam Bodzek comes on for Mr. Shirt-Pull, Madlung, and Marlon Ritter replaces Ferati.

71' - Mart Ristl makes his Dusseldorf debut, on for Sobottka as we swap out an attack-minded midfielder for a more defensive one.

77' - Braunschweig's Matuszczyk with a header, but Kaan Ayhan, also playing in a more defensive role, clears the ball. We are practically playing a 5-4-1 now.

89' - Marcel Correia second chance to shoot for an equaliser in the past five minutes. Both times, thankfully, he shoots wide.

90'+3 - With the match winding down, Bebou wins the ball and plays it to Hennings's feet. Going for his second straight brace, he hits what the commentator calls a "hopeful looking shot"...which Raeder saves easily. No matter, as the whistle blows and we have our second-straight win and first one at home in the new campaign.

Despite the silly shirt pull, which was really just a symptom of being gassed after two matches in three days, Alexander Madlung wins MoM for his display anchoring our back line. Julian Schauerte has picked up two straight disappointing ratings now, and I start to think about bringing in some help at right back before the transfer deadline on August 31.

Win, 1-0, up to 4th place
Shots/on target: Dusseldorf 22/7, Braunschweig 9/5
Poss: 53-47, Dusseldorf
A: 31,022 (3,152 away fans)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 02:50:46 AM by Jonathan »
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Butter

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2017, 07:33:11 AM »

2 days later, that's a rough schedule.  How is the recovery between matches?  How many teams are in the second division?  How long is the season, standard through early May finish?
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Jonathan

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2017, 09:17:09 AM »

A lot of the "two-match weeks" are slated for Sat/Wed, similar to England, but then matches get moved around for some reason (but not television, as neither of these matches are televised) resulting in the Sun/Wed situation we had last week. 2.Bundesliga, like the Bundesliga, is an 18-team league, with 34-match-long seasons and a scheduled finish date of May 20. The promotion/relegation playoffs will take place after that.

The top 2 teams are automatically promoted, and the bottom two teams are automatically relegated. The 3rd placed team in 2.Bundesliga plays off against the 16th placed team in the Bundesliga for the right to play/stay in the BL for next year. Likewise, the 16th placed team in 2.Bundesliga plays off against the 3rd placed team in 3.Liga for the final spot in 2017-18.

For some strange, arcane, legal reason, the third tier is called "3.Liga" instead of "3.Bundesliga". It was going to be the latter, but the DFB (German FA) runs that league instead of the DFL (German Football League), which runs the two Bundesliga tiers. And even though Bundesliga means "Association League," apparently, the German Football Association (which literally has the word "Bund" in its name) can't use that term, but the German Football League can. Go figure.
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"I believe that in the long view of history, the British Empire will be remembered only for two things. The game of football, and the expression 'fuck off.'" - Sir Richard Turnbull

Butter

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Re: Fußball-Manager: A German odyssey
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2017, 09:53:58 AM »

For some reason, I was thinking Sunday-Tuesday.  Sunday-Wednesday makes more sense, but we can quibble over what "2 days later" means some other time.
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