The Coach: What I’ve learnt since Matchday 1

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve taken a great amount of enjoyment in the first-ever season of Official Fantasy Bundesliga.

However, ahead of Matchday 1, if I had known then, what I know now then maybe I’d have given Flo ‘The Scout’ a better run for his money!

There are nevertheless nine games left in the 2016/17 campaign and the international break seemed like a perfect time to have a look back at the wisdom I’ve gained over the 25 rounds of fixtures so far.

I made a strong start to the season with a 128-point haul on Matchday 1, but casting an eye over my squad, it’s clear to see that I made a few errors in judgement.

The first was blowing my budget on 11 strong players, instead of investing in a squad that boasted strength in depth. Doing so meant that when Mahmoud Dahoud didn’t feature in Borussia Mönchengladbach’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen I had no options at my disposal and had to settle for a member of my starting line-up picking up no points.

Fortunately, Robert Lewandowski proved to be an inspired choice as captain, racking up 48 points courtesy of his hat-trick against Werder Bremen. However, the ability to chop and change your team throughout the weekend, not to mention your captain, have proven to be two keys to success.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my preferred 3-4-3 formation, which I still believe is the most effective in the game even if it doesn’t offer you as much flexibility as the 4-4-2. It’s the personnel, not the system that has undergone the most construction through 25 Matchdays.

I will be the first to admit that I not only underestimated the importance of challenges won, but also miscalculated which players to back in the search of those extra points. David Alaba has averaged just under six challenges won, while Jeffrey Gouweleeuw has averaged just over six. Safe to say both were quickly dispatched of.

Elsewhere, midfielders that take on their men and aren’t shy of pulling the trigger, such as Naby Keita or Thiago Alcantara, have proven to be more valuable than the likes of Christoph Kramer or Arturo Vidal, whose role in their respective sides is to be the midfield enforcer.

A surprising feature of my strategy has been the implementation of a two-keeper system that gives me two bites of the cherry when it comes to collecting clean sheet points on any given weekend. I’ll be honest, right now I’m not sure I’ll adopt the same approach next season, but for now I’m happy to settle for the duo of Rune Jarstein and Peter Gulasci.

If I had stuck with my Matchday 1 line-up, I would only have 1,659 points compared to the 2,337 I currently have to my name. Of course that doesn’t take into account how I used the captain’s armband to double a players’ tally, which more often than not has been Lewandowski.

My squad on Matchday 1 and Matchday 25, with the exception of Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is like comparing night and day. The blend of bargain buys and challenge winners is serving me well as we enter the business end of the season, while trying to pick out three key transfers is a delightful challenge every Friday.

It’s been well documented that I’m a player who is more than happy to take risks in the hopes of reaping big rewards. Unsurprisingly at times its worked and at times it hasn’t, but even with the lessons learned that is one thing that will never change about my approach!

Never tactics bored,


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