I love playing Master League with lower rated teams. I always begin with clubs original lineup (as opposed to ML lineup which gives you the same players no matter which club you play). That’s how I began playing Bundesliga with sv Darmstadt 08.

To be truthful, Master league is not hard to play. Especially with PTE patch where you can get great free players to begin your campaign. My vision of Darmstadt was to keep the best players and introduce some new ones who would help me to play the best football possible. I decided I won’t buy players, just sign them on free transfer.

I also wanted to try a new kind of tactic. I didn’t know which formation I would use, but I knew I wanted to play without wingers and try do be recognizable for quick and short passing game, mainly through the middle.

If you want a more detailed instruction how to set up a formation and a strategy, I strongly recommend reading my manual.

I began my negotiations period by signing 9 players on a free transfer. The man I needed the most was the goalkeeper Fabiano. I also brought some experienced internationals – famous striker Mario Gomez, excellent attacking midfielders Carvalhas and Ruben Micael, and three central defenders out of which only Dutch Ron Vlaar would be a first team regular. The rest of the players were brought as substitutes for existing Darmstadt first team regulars. Team depth is very important for successful ML campaigns.

As Darmstadt already had a decent midfield, both attacking and defensive, I decided to play 4231 formation with 3 attacking midfielders (AMC) and 2 defensive midfielders (DMC). I would play counter attack with short passing.

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My kickoff and in possession formation. Sometimes I used Kempe as a central attacking midfielder, but would then make his role MC, not AMC.

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Out of possession

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Now it’s time to mention I’ve played on Superstar, 2×8 minutes, assisted controls (lowest level).

As always, you begin with a mixed fortune because of the low team spirit. But, my game soon raised to a level I didn’t expect so I was soon firmly in the TOP 5.  I even didn’t lose early in the cup as I usually do (probably because I’ve thought I was playing Bundesliga, didn’t even realize on two occasions I’m playing cup). I finished the first half of the season in the 4th place.

After the December, I brought Leitner from Dortmund, Schieber from Hertha and Cen from Liverpool on a free transfer. Cen was the only one to immediately become a first team player, replacing my 31-year old right back whom I’ve sold. My team was balanced and now every position was covered. Even though I had 70 and 71 overall ratings on defensive midfielder positions, they weren’t my weak spots. That’s the thing about overall rating – a player can have a good overall rating, but be bad for a position he plays at. If a central defender has high ratings for attack (attacking prowess, finishing etc.) he will have higher overall rating, but it won’t do him much good in the defence. That’s why you have to examine every individual players and determine is he fit to play that position.

My good run continued. I finished my cup adventure in the semi finals. There I’ve met with Bayern, who has beaten me heavily in our first league match, so I’ve decided to try and play a 5-man defence. And it worked like a charm, the game finished 1-1. But, I’ve lost on penalties.

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As for the Bundesliga, I exceeded all of my expectations and finished 2nd. I’ve regularly beaten all of the weaker teams, home and away, with a stumble here and there. The only team I’ve lost to twice was Leverkusen. Them and their damn Kiessling. I’ve played Bayern again and finished 1-1 again.

I had the best attack in the league, but the defence was sometimes leaky. Gomez scored 15 in the league and finished as a 3rd top goalscorer.

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I didn’t score much attractive goals as I was playing to get the best result every time, so I can show you the best three goals of the season, one being a solo run late in the league game against Bayern which brought me a valuable draw. Notice all the fake shots I’ve done there. I will make a tutorial soon on this very useful trick.

Which conclusion did I draw from this?

When you learn how to play this game (defence, attack…) and you find the right formation for a team you’re really motivated to play with and you’re on your way to the top of the league, your wife will come and smack you a kiss on the lips when you’re trying desperately to defend against Müller, Robben and Lewandowski and Bayern will score. You can’t complain because she will make you have babies with her instead playing  stupid video games.