The one thing I love about this simulation, maybe even more than playing with virtual Bayern Munich, is the ability to do world building surrounding it. I’d like to think a lazier person wouldn’t fill you in on how the world of football in Alternate 2020 looked, and therefore I feel better about myself going the extra mile.
So, I’m keeping the match report shorter because this January transfer window was a doozy.
BuLi MD 19: Bayern Munich vs. Schalke 04
Last Result: S04 (1 - 0) FCB
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1)
L. Sané - Müller - Gnabry
Thiago - Goretzka
Alaba - Hernandez - Süle - Kimmich
This is basically our starting XI if we make the UEFA Champions League Final.
FC Schalke 04 (4-1-2-1-2)
Raman - Gameira
McKennie - Serdar
Chillwell - S. Sané - Nastatić - Boril
New signing Ben Chillwell joins from Leicester City in his first game only two days after his transfer goes through.
45 + 3’ GOAL from Thomas Muller (FCB 1 - 0 S04)
It took a while and many attempts on target. But after being patient, and timing his runs, Müller received his pass from Robert Lewandowski, turned, and scored.
Halftime Substitution: Alphonso Davies for Serge Gnabry
I’ve been yo-yo-ing between being disappointed with Serge & his lack of production and wanting to give him every possible chance. This time, the disappointment wins.
59’ PENALTY by Salif Sané (FCB 1 - 0 S04)
I think if this was anywhere else on the pitch, it would be a free kick. Thiago passed it to the box to Lewandowski. Salif, the other Sané, clipped Lewy on the back of his leg and the striker went down. No cards were distributed, but the referee pointed to the spot.
60’ PENALTY GOAL from Robert Lewandowski (FCB 2 - 0 S04)
I knew I was going to send the shot to the keeper’s right (shooter’s left). It was a well struck ball and Alexander Nübel went the wrong way.
61’ Substitution: Álvaro Odriozola for Joshua Kimmich (FCB 2 - 0 S04)
Our debut for our loanee from Real Madrid. Kimmich was out of position all day and was tired as a result. This is the perfect time to make this switch.
75’ RED CARD & PENALTY on Salif Sané (FCB 2 - 0 S04)
You can’t commit fouls in the box twice in one game and expect to stay on the pitch. Once again, the aggrieved party is Lewandowski who is fed a great ball by Thiago Alcantara. Lewy puts a great shot on net that Nübel, to his credit, did a great job saving. But, Sané slides in too late, clips Lewy’s leg and gets sent off.
76’ PENALTY GOAL from Robert Lewandowski (FCB 3 - 0 S04)
Alexander Nübel stutter stepped in the direction that Lewandowski scored the last time (his right, shooter left). Knowing this, I purposely went to the keeper’s left. Nübel was left guessing wrong again and the Polish striker bagged his 19th goal of the season.
And that wraps up this game! Yet another Bayern shutout.
Jersey Swap - Matija Nastatic
5/5 passing, 4/5 dribbling, 3/5 tackling
Tip of the Cap - Alphonso Davies
5/6 passing, 4/7 dribbling, 1 assist
Golf Clap - Niklas Süle
8/8 passing, 7/9 dribbling, 3/5 tackling
Standing Ovation - Thomas Müller
16/18 passing, 17/19 dribbling, 2/2 SOT 1 goal
Meister of the Match - Robert Lewandowski
11/13 passing, 13/16 dribbling, 3/3 SOT, 2 goals, 1 assist
January Transfer Window Recap
Everybody strap in for this chronological order of major Bundesliga and International Transfers. I’m including the BuLi transfers in this because they directly affect us in some way. Any transfer over €50 million gets an asterisk. If it hits 60 million it gets two, 70 million gets three, and so on (Hint: one of these is bigger than the others). Each days transfers are sorted by price. I’ll also be grading these transfers using three metrics: 1) whether or not I think the player fits or benefits from moving to the club; 2) whether the player’s new club got a good deal and/or improved with the player’s addition; and 3) whether or not the player’s old club should have sold him and if they got a fair deal. So let’s see who did well.
January 21 - 10 days until the deadline
Kyle Walker from Manchester City to FC Barcelona for €34.5 million
Well, I guess selling Nelson Semedo and Sergi Roberto as well as other young right back prospects and only replacing them with an old Cesar Azpilicueta wasn’t enough after all... As for Walker, this seems like a lateral move from one good side to another so it’s a middle of the road move in my eyes.
Player: C / New club: A- / Old club: B-
Rodrigo Betancur from Piemonte Calcio (Juventus) to AS Monaco for €34.4. million
Interesting that Juventus would let go of one of their more promising central midfielders. For Monaco, this is exactly what a team that’s 2nd in Ligue 1 needs to fight for that top spot with PSG. I think he has the potential to flourish in a system where he’s the biggest player.
Player: A / New club: A+ / Old club: C
January 22 - 9 days until the deadline
*Lorenzo Insigne from Napoli to Manchester City for €57.9 million
Do Manchester City need another striker after they have a very much in form Sergio Aguero? I get that you sold Gabriel Jesus and want a backup, but this is an expensive option. But money hasn’t ever been a problem for Man City and this is a good next step for Zo. If I was Napoli, I’d have asked for a bit more.
Player: B / New Club: B+ / Old Club: B-
January 23 - 8 days until the deadline
Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace to Paris Saint-Germain for €37.3 million
This just makes no sense to me. PSG held on to Neymar, Angel Di Maria, and Kylian Mbappe over the summer, plus they brought in Jadon Sancho. They don’t need yet another versatile winger. Zaha’s going to be stuck behind a long line of more capable talent. Good on Crystal Palace to get a good fee for him though.
Player: C- / New club: D / Old club: B+
January 24 - 7 days to the deadline
*Álex Grimaldo from SC Benfica to Atletico Madrid for €51 million
Atlético Madrid need some help on that side after we took Lucas Hernandez from them. They are currently in 3rd in La Liga, only two points behind their bigger brothers in the capital city. It’s a steep fee, but they have the money for it and Grimaldo is a good player. Good business all around.
Player: A- / New club: B+ / Old club: A
Ben Chillwell from Leicester City to Schalke 04 for €28.4 million
As we mentioned above, this move happened just a few days before Schalke played us. He started that game. Guess they like him already? It’s a great move for Schalke, but Leicester are stuck having a few days to scramble and make a plan for a new left back. They did get a great fee for him though, so they could immediately spend it on someone.
All three: B
January 29 - 2 Days to the Deadline
****Paul Pogba from Manchester United to Piemonte Calcio for €82.9 million
Wow. Let’s unpack this. It’s a great move for Pogba who absolutely needs to play Champions League football every year. Manchester United has struggled to achieve even the bare minimum over the past few years, and with the club sitting in 5th right now, it’s going to be tough for them to maintain that momentum. The absolute losers here are United, who managed to let Pogba walk, bought him for over €90 million, and then sold him at a loss. Juve absolutely win, as they enter a tough UCL draw against Liverpool and are 2nd in Serie A to Napoli.
Player: A- / New club: A / Old club: F
Nicolás Tagliafico from Ajax to Tottenham Hotspur for €39.1 million
I’m impressed that Tottenham decided to spend for once in their lives. It’s a hefty fee for the 27 year old, but Tagliafico is the kind of player who is worth it. Ajax benefit from the nearly €40 million lining their pockets and Tagliafico gets to play in one of the best leagues in the world. Tottenham is sitting in 6th only 11 points from league leaders Man City and Tagliafico might be able to provide them the help that Kyle Walker-Peters couldn’t.
Player: A / New club: A / Old club: B
Erling Braut Håland on loan from Borussia Dortmund to Levante
A good move for BVB. Like in real life, Lucien Favre has been hesitant to use the Norwegian, so it makes sense to give him a chance elsewhere. Levante meanwhile are fighting to stay alive in La Liga as they are currently sitting in 17th with 16 points. This may be the shot in the arm they needed. Håland just needs to go where he can play, so this is a plus for him too.
All three: B+
Now before we get into the hellish landscape of deadline day, I’d like to make one important note of something that happened to us with four hours to go.
FC Barcelona have shown interest in purchasing Thiago for a fee of €44,600,000.
I rejected it immediately. Now, let’s get to the chaos.
January 31 - Transfer Deadline Day
*Alexandre Lacazette from Arsenal to Liverpool for €53.1 million
Sorry, what? Why does Liverpool need another striker? It would be one thing if Roberto Firmino was slow and inconsistent, but he’s the top scorer in the UCL and EPL. I guess it hurts Arsenal, who are four points behind Liverpool in 3rd (can you tell it’s a simulation?), but it’s not a position of need. Laca has a lot of competition and Arsenal will miss him.
Player: C+ / New club: B- / Old club: C-
Rafa from SC Benfica to Borussia Dortmund for €45.5 million
Good move for BVB, it’ll help relieve the stress caused by the departure of Sancho. Rafa finally gets into a bigger league. Benfica get a huge chunk of cash. Win-win-win.
Player: B+ / New club: A- / Old club: B
Jordan Pickford from Everton to Internazionale Milan for €42 million
Chalk this under great moves that wouldn’t ever happen in real life. Pickford moves away from England to a bigger, newer challenge in Italy. Inter aren’t even top 5 in Serie A so hopefully he will help. Everton are left somewhat rudderless as a result.
Player: B / New club: A- / Old club: C
Welsh defender Ben Davies from Tottenham Hotspur to RB Leipzig for €26.7 million
Finally, Leipzig is using some of that leftover cash to plug holes in their backline.
Player: B- / New club: A / Old club: B-
Jordan Henderson agrees to a free transfer from Liverpool F.C. to F.C. Barcelona
This is just wacky.
Player: ? / New club: B+ / Old club: C