Earning Our Stripes Teil 12: Es war eine hart umkämpfte Schlacht.

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Guten tag! Welcome back to Dirk van Oortveld’s quest to survive in the Bundesliga with MSV Duisburg and get them into the upper echelons of European football teams! If you want to catch up on what’s happened previously, check out this link here.

Folks, it’s been a hard fought battle to make it to the end, but the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, our first in eleven years, is now at an end.

I’m sure the two people, excluding myself, who are emotionally invested in Dirk van Oortveld’s trials and tribulations are anxious to know exactly how it all went down?

This is the 2019 half of the season. As I anticipated, we had a really rough time going up against the top four teams in March and April, but we did end the second half of the season with five wins and two draws against Stuttgart and Wolfsburg.

With this many losses, how did we do for the overall league table?

We lost our last match against Braunschweig, unfortunately. Luckily for us, however, Stuttgart lost their last game and we edged them out on goal difference for 15th! Kaiserslautern will return to 2. Bundesliga, Mainz will join them, and at the very end of the season, we were able to step out of the relegation playoff spot and survive the Bundesliga season outright.

As you can see in our league positions, we spent a decent period of time mid-table, but as the season start to drag on, we slipped to the bottom of the table, where we would ultimately finish our campaign at.

This was my first season ever managing in the Bundesliga, and it was significantly harder than I expected it to be. I’ve had my fair share of time in top flights around the world, but my experience in Europe’s top flights is noticeably lacking. There are definitely some top quality teams here, and that’s the quality I want Duisburg to eventually reach, but it will take a lot of work!

15th-place at the end of the season secured us a handsome payout of €36.55m Euros. We kept about €6m in the bank at the end of the season, and we now have some significant money in the bank now.

With over €40m in the bank, our wage budget for the upcoming season is €450k p/w and we have over €13m in transfer funds. I’m normally not a big spender in the transfer market, but I plan on making the most of the money at my disposal.

With the additional money in the bank, I received an announcement from Ingo Wald that the club was able to clear its outstanding debts, and I also asked for — and received — a planned €1.1m expansion to our youth facilities. We’ve got slots blank on our roster because I’m not registering the league minimum of 4 club-trained players, so it will be of great help in the future to help my youngsters reach their potential as first-team players.

This is our commercial summary for the year. Our match day commercial and retail sales dropped, but we’re seeing increases across the board, and these players saw the most shirt sales. I’m actually surprised Tashchy was the top seller since he had a horrible season and had a 22 match goalless streak. It’s probably more that he’s a fan favorite than that he’s a good player because while I’m not going to fire him, he’s going to have a diminished role in the next season because he’s not stepping up to the level that I need him at in this division.

This is our schedule for the preseason and until the end of September. This should be a light preseason, with a couple of competitive teams to face off at so that we can get everyone fit and enable our new signings to get settled into the team, and we’ve got a lot! But that’s for the next update!

Oh, and I’ve also been receiving some wonderful job opportunities from other clubs over the last year! The most notable of them is from Napoli, who approached me to interview at the start of June. Of course, I declined it, because I can’t keep calling this series “Earning Our Stripes” if I’m not in charge of a team nicknamed Die Zebras.

Overall, I can’t call this season a failure, because we survived relegation in a league that’s a complete unknown to me, but it was a tough one even against lower-table opposition, which makes calling it a definite success also a tough thing to do.

We’ve got a lot of money in the bank, and I’ve put that transfer fund to use. As of writing this update, I’ve already found 7 signings that I believe could help us make the next step, and there’s still time to do some business as I overhaul our squad and cut out the players that I don’t think were able to make that step up that we need to remain competitive in the Bundesliga.

In the next update, the preseason will be wrapped up, and I’ll go over our results, our new signings, and I’ll go over which of the original 2. Bundesliga squad I think will be able to make the step up and continue to be solid for us in the Bundesliga.