After a 4-1 win over Ingolstadt, we lifted the German Cup and our first trophy of the series! The scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story though – we played terribly in the first half and went into the dressing room 1-0 down at the break. A kick up the back side saw a resurgent second half however, with a stunning hatrick from Mayoral and a goal for Sancho, we secured a fantastic second half comeback.
Along the way we knocked out Dortmund (semi final), Nürnberg (quarter final), Stuttgart (3rd round) Hamburg St.Pauli (2nd round) and Würzburg (1st round). As an unexpected bonus we’ve qualified for the Europa League group stages as cup winners, having fallen short of the European spots in the league (top 6).
Ambitions for next season were discussed with the players; we agreed that a top half finish was a realistic proposal. The board want at least a mid table finish. I’d like us to qualify for Europe again but we’ll have a lot of games to deal with during the next campaign with an added competition to compete in. It’ll all kick off with a match against Dortmund (Bundesliga winners) in the German Super Cup; the curtain raiser for the German footballing season.
In the Bundesliga we’ve improved by one position and 5 points compared to last season.
We didn’t spend a huge amount on transfers this season having brought in a large number of recruits for a record spend last season. With the squad being young, performing well and having a good dynamic, I was more concerned with adding a little quality here and there rather than wholesale changes. We signed a few recognised players on loan who might be persuaded to sign permanently given the right circumstances.
Wonderkid, Ryan Sessegnon, was brought in on loan from Arsenal. If we can afford to make the deal permanent in a years time he’d be a massive coup for the club.
Tyrone Mings was a cheap addition at left back for just £400K. Center back and leader, Jamaal Lascelles, joined on a season long loan from Newcastle for £725K.
Young defensive midfielder and future captain, Fede, was signed for £2.5M.
Jordan Sancho (on loan from Dortmund) and Hassan Bandé (free transfer) were our additions in attacking midfield.
We’ve been set an initial transfer budget of £30.61M. £50M was banked for our final league position of 8th and a further £3M for winning the cup. Our average attendance of 31,361 was a new record high, seeing us garner more income from tickets than any previous season.
Plans to upgrade the data analysis facilities (£700K) have been set in motion and will be completed just in time for Christmas. Work on upgrading the youth and training facilities are now complete, which are labelled as excellent and great. Further plans have been put in place to improve these further with an additional £9M investment, which will take 7 months to complete.
The youth recruitment budget has been increased to an average level and the junior coaching budget increased to a satisfactory level. I want to increase these further when the opportunity arises.
Plans have been put in place to buy Stadion Dresden in a years time, which we are currently renting for £624K per year. This will save us a lot of money in the long run and make it possible for us to expand the stadium too.
Phil Foden, on loan from Man City, was easily our star player this season. With a return to his parent club looking likely we’ll have to try and find another star player to fill the void.
Borja Mayoral was our top goalscorer with 12. Not a huge number but his average rating was decent and he’s still young and developing.
As a nice personal accolade I was awarded German Manager of the Year and Players’ Manager of the Year.
In January we added a couple of notable names to the staff pay role: Per Mertesacker was signed as our new head of youth development. I’m quite excited to have an ex German international in this position, it feels like the perfect fit. Ex Nigerian international and Ajax legend, Finidi George, has signed as a scout.