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Digital Dortmund: Prologue

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Manchester United v Borussia Dortmund - 2016 International Champions Cup China Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but I like to play video games now and again. It’s a nice relaxer and it helps stimulate my brain when I try to write. I mostly play first person shooters, open world-type games, sports games. But one game I’ve been really getting into lately has been Football Manager.

While FIFA allows you to have direct control over the players on the field and how they look or play, Football Manager is more of a simulator where you set the line-up, the style of play, and other things that go on in game (how to work the ball into the box, the width of the formation, etc.). It’s different, and if you like actually playing the game more than game management, then maybe FIFA is more your cup of tea.

However, what I like the most about Football Manager is that it’s a lot more in-depth than FIFA. You get to hire coaches, scouts, schedule friendlies, request things from the board; there are more leagues to pay attention to, reserve and youth teams to scout and steal prized prospects from other clubs, and even real-life coaches to add to your own staff should they get fired. There’s also infinitely more competitions in Football Manager, such as youth tournaments and more domestic cups, more in-depth ways to train your team, and all the little language that’s included in contract negotiations. For someone who loves detail in games like this (which is weird considering I can’t stand MMOs), it’s like crack.

I was browsing YouTube the other day, looking for video guides on how to scout better or how to set my line-up and prevent easy goals, when I came across a couple of videos that detailed Football Manager experiments where teams like Ajax, Southampton, Porto, and even Dortmund had never sold their best players. So guys like Lewandowski, Bender, Merino, and Gündogan were taken from their current squads and placed back in Signal Iduna Park for a number of seasons as the video creator saw fit.

So, combining my love of soccer, Football Manager, and Borussia Dortmund, I want to perform a little experiment of my own. I wanted to see how Dortmund does five to ten years from when I started the game and report back to you, our loyal readers, all the results in a cleanly summarized way. What we’ll be able to learn from it? Possible ingoing and outgoing transfers, how we do in competitions, how our players perform, etc.

A couple of things:

1) I will not be managing Dortmund at the start. As much as I would love to do that, I like a little bit of realism and would have to work my way up there first. If they do offer it to me, however, I’ll do my best to get hired.

2) I won’t be poaching any of their players unless they request transfers or loans. In the game, much like in real life, players can get fed up with a lack of playing time or if a new player is brought in to play their position, and they can request to go on loan or to be transferred. If a Dortmund player gets put up for a transfer and I can afford them, I’ll put a bid in for them.

3) I’m not going to give you many details on how my club does. There’s an old saying regarding talking about your fantasy team: The only person interested in your own team is you. I’ll give some updates on how my club did and on the rest of the world, but the primary focus is on Dortmund.

4) I have no idea how frequent my posts will be. Maybe they’ll be once a week, maybe they’ll be once in a while depending on how fast I get through each season. But I promise this won’t abruptly end without a reason.

I’m excited to see what the game has in store for Dortmund, especially with how their famous youth academy will churn up some gems for the team to turn into stars and then sell for millions of dollars. Maybe they’ll win a Bundesliga title or a European competition during the timeframe of this venture, or perhaps they’ll add another DFB-Pokal trophy to their collection. There’s even the possibility of everything crashing and burning with the end result of our beloved Borussia Dortmund having to spend a season or more in the 2. Bundesliga, or lower! Who knows how it’ll end; that’s the beauty of a simulator.

So come join me, as we watch our digital Black & Yellows aim for every piece of silverware under the sun.