OstDeutscher Sieg | Part 2 | Zwickau #1: The East German Adventure Begins

Our mission to lead an East German club to Bundesliga glory begins here as OstDeutsche Sieg kicks off in the full version of Football Manager 2023. Find out all about the save concept and the task awaiting us in OstDeutsche Sieg here.

Ruprecht Prusseit – which translates to “Robert a Prussian” – fell into football management when he picked up a nasty ankle injury during a Sunday League match near his home in Dresden. His team had been trailing 2-0 after an hour when he picked up the injury and the manager was so exasperated with the team’s efforts that he walked off for a cigarette and to read the daily edition of Bild.

38-year-old Prusseit dusted himself off, popped a bandage around his poorly ankle and threw himself into managing the team. He inspired a superb comeback, as his team won 3-2. His teammates encouraged him to hang up his boots and take over control of managing the Sunday League side. And, after being slightly offended by their eagerness to see him retire, he eventually agreed and swiftly led his pals to the local league title.

The celebrations saw Prusseit take the boys down the local beer hall and it’s safe to say things got a little out of hand. So the loud incessant buzzing of his mobile phone on his bedside table the next morning was far from welcome. He picked the phone up and didn’t recognise the number, so considered ignoring it and going back to sleep.

But, luckily, hungover intrigue took over. Prusseit mumbled “Hallo” to discover that, on the other end of the line was a man claiming to be Lars Schauer, the Managing Director of third-tier German side FSV Zwickau. Schauer told Prusseit one of his many Zwickau directors (they have nine!) was a huge advocate of grassroots football and had been impressed with his work. The MD just so happened to be in Dresden and was keen to meet for a chat.

So Prusseit jumped out of bed and into the shower, popped on his finest shirt, and met Schauer back in the same beer hall he’d been to last night – which brought unwelcome memories flashing back. The duo discussed footballing philosophies over a few more Steins of beer, which ended with a particularly drunk Schauer offering Prusseit a job as Manager of FSV Zwickau.

The next morning, Prusseit – who had never even considered taking coaching badges and of course only had Sunday Football experience – drove the 78 miles over to Zwickau. He was greeted by a huge welcoming party of Schauer and his Director team of Matthias Krauss, Lutz Teichmann, Ingo Kursawe, Frank Fischer, Wolfgang Elsel, Ilja Poser, Peter Rogsch, Stefan Hersh and Marco Holzel, as well as Director of Football Jerome Konig. And the bizarre dream was very much a reality – Prusseit was officially a Football Manager!

Who are FSV Zwickau?

FSV Zwickau is a third-tier club that plays in the city of Zwickau, the fourth-largest city in Saxony after Leipzig, Dresden and Chemnitz. The club has the honour of being the first-ever East German champions under its former name ZSG Horch Zwickau in 1950. So Zwickau felt like the perfect, most logical place for Prusseit to begin his mission to lift the Bundesliga title with clubs based in former East Germany.

Zwickau, nicknamed Die Schwäne (The Swans), has a pretty complicated history, going through all manner of mergers and name changes before finally taking on the current name in 1990 – which is when Football Manager considers the club to have officially been founded. It’s never added to that 1950 championship but did win three East German Cups in 1963, 1967 and 1975 and reached the semi-finals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1976.

Following German reunification in 1990, Zwickau played in the third tier and were promoted to 2. Bundesliga in 1994, where they stayed for four years. They eventually dropped down to the fourth tier but financial issues saw them demoted to tier five in 2005, before battling their way back through the leagues and into tier three in 2016. In 2021/22, FSV Zwickau finished 10th out of 20 teams in 3. Liga.

FSV Zwickau in Football Manager 2023

Prusseit took control of a club that has solid finances with £1.9 million in the bank and no outstanding debts, but is overspending its £54,696 wage budget and has no transfer budget available.

Zwickau’s fanbase of 1,500 supporters consists of 14% hardcore fanatics and 35% core fans, with just 14% casuals and 18% family-supported. It has 29,500 followers on social media, no fans on the season ticket waiting list and a moderate influence on the club’s board. The fans expect Zwickau to be competitive with fellow third-tier side Erzebirge Aue and better other rivals Chemnitzer, Lok Leipzig and Magdeburg. They also expect consolidation as an established 3. Liga team.

The board has slightly loftier ambitions, expecting Prusseit to record a top-half finish in his first-ever season of football management, which seems a slightly tough ask. Indeed, Zwickau are predicted to finish 13th out of 20 teams in 3. Liga and don’t have any players in the media’s dream 11.

Zwickau play at the 10,134-capacity GGZ Arena, which was built in 2016. Its home kit is predominantly red with white flashes, alongside a grey away kit and white third kit. The club has four derby clashes, including two Sachsen Derbies with Dynamo Dresden and Erzebirge, as well as the Westsachsen Derby with Chemnitzer and Ost Derby with Hallescher. Erzebirge are the only fierce rival alongside a mass of other rivalries.

Prusseit currently had five coaches on the books, despite only being allowed three but, for some strange, four doctors, no chief scout and only one physio and one scout. So the staff will also need a little refining.

Meet the FSV Zwickau team

The best player at FSV Zwickau, according to Prusseit’s coaching team, is versatile right-back Nils Butzen, who looks a decent player but lacks a little pace. He’s the only 4-star ability player followed by seven 3.5-star players in another right-back Patrick Göbel, centre-backs Robin Ziegele and Davy Frick, left midfielder Robert Herrmann, goalkeeper Johannes Brinkies, and midfielders Maximilian Jansen and Mike Könnecke, who has the world’s bluest eyes! A lack of strikers was evident, as Prusseit’s goals were reliant on Dominic Baumann and 39-year-old Ronny König, who still has solid physicals but is unlikely to be prolific.

However, there is decent potential in the squad led by 20-year-old Noel Eichinger, who joined the club in the summer, left-wingers Yannic Voigt and Noah Shawn Agbaje, and American former Porto right-winger Johan Gómez. But the club’s under-19 squad offered nothing in terms of potential stars.

Getting started with a local derby!

Prusseit had very little preparation for his first-ever season in football management. But, having assessed the players available to him and listened to his coaches’ advice, he was leaning towards starting with a relatively defensive mindset. And that was split between a 4-4-2 and a 5-3-2 formation. He tested both during his two pre-season friendlies, which saw an awful 0-0 draw and an even worse 1-0 defeat with 10 men for an hour and in which Ziegele got injured, so that offered very little assistance. But he initially opted for the 4-4-2 due to a lack of centre-backs.

If, like Herr Prusseit, you’re new to the German lower leagues, 3. Liga rules include match squads containing four domestic under-23 players and at least eight under-23 domestic players. The top two teams are promoted automatically, the third-place side goes into a playoff with a 2. Bundesliga side, while four teams are relegated. While it’s worth remembering that B teams (which includes Freiburg II and Dortmund II) can’t be promoted. Intriguingly, the league considers Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and USA as EU nations.

Fellow East German side Dynamo Dresden are overwhelming favourites for the title at 4/11 followed by Ingolstadt (5/4), 1860 Munchen (11/4), Duisburg (10/3), Osnabruck and Saarbrucken (10/1) and Erzebirge (18/1). Zwickau had odds of 33/1.

Prusseit’s first game in football was a massive one as Zwickau welcomed fellow East German side Hallescher for an opening day Ost Derby. Another terrible game seemed to be heading for a dull 0-0. But Gómez came off the bench to bag what looked like being a winner, but Hallescher went down the other end to equalise from the kick-off. Annoying, but deserved.

His first away game took him to Meppen, whose winger scored an absolute worldie at the start of each half while Zwickau’s strikers couldn’t score simple chances from six yards out. So they lost 2-0. Next up was one of the league favourites Duisburg and Zwickau made a great start as Eichinger scored his first goal for the club. Duisburg levelled from a corner but Göbel smashed home a penalty before Eichinger swiftly volleyed home his second. Dodgy keeper Brinkies gifted a second just after half-time and Prusseit was worried. And he was right to be as two more long-range strikes came close to equalisers. But his team just about held on for his first-ever win as a Football Manager!

However, they were awful on the road again as Brinkies let Elversberg’s first two shots in. Prusseit rang the changes and Konig got one back before Könnecke hit the post with a free-kick in the final minutes. But he had to tick off another away defeat, which prompted a full-time team talk that was so angry that Herrmann requested a transfer!

Prusseit slightly tweaked the tactic, moving Jansen back a notch to play as a Regista. He first trialled it on “fan day” as Zwickay welcomed SpVgg Bayreuth to town. They started slowly as Herrmann gifted Bayreuth a goal. But they got level through a Göbel penalty, before Gómez again turned the game as he created a goal for Eichinger then scored a 30-yard screamer to seal a very much undeserved 3-1 victory. However, they lost Baumann for six weeks with sprained knee ligaments.

That inspired Prusseit to hand Gómez his first start and the American didn’t disappoint, creating the opener for the unhappy Herrmann at bottom-of-the-league Verli. The hosts of course scored their first shot on target but Herrmann doubled his tally from a corner then a long hoof was flicked on by König for Elchinger to make it 3-1. A first away win looked nailed on as König tapped home after a goalmouth scramble but some shaky defending saw the hosts score twice in a minute! But Zwickau just about held on for a 4-3 win.

Prusseit had made a solid start to life as a Football Manager. His Zwickau side sat 8th in 3. Liga with 10 points from six games. They’d scored a league-high 12 goals but conceded 11, so it was safe to say the new manager was off to an exciting start.

But could he build on a solid start and maintain a mid-table position? Join us on Friday to find out!

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