4.5. Bottle or Treble
Contents: Challenging on all fronts, European dreams, fixture carnage, hitting the bottle hard and getting kicked in the nuts by Football Manager.
🎵 Suggested Tune: Message in a Bottle – The Police (Spanish Acoustic Version)
CD Tenerife are embarking on our biggest ever end of season run-in; 2nd in La Liga with 7 games to go, 5 points behind Barcelona but with THREE games in hand; Qualified for the Europa League Semi-Final where we will play former Premier League Champions Liverpool, and have reached the final of the Copa Del Rey where we will face league leaders Barcelona in our first bid for silverware since winning the Secunda Division back in 2019.
Can we keep our bottle and stay in contention for not one but three trophies in just our 4th season in charge of Los Chicharreros?
The Spanish word for treble is “triplicar”, and while everyone on the island is thinking it, not one member of Los Chicharreros dares to mention it out loud as we prepare to welcome English giants Liverpool to Tenerife.
Here’s how we line out against Liverpool where we need to make the most of Home advantage knowing that a difficult return leg in Anfield awaits.
We go with our 4-4-1-1 formation using a Gegenpress style strategy – our focus is to press high and expose Liverpool on the flanks where there will hopefully be space caused by high pressing Wingers/Inside Fowards and also by their attacking wing backs in Benjamin Henrichs and Alex Telles. We will implement a direct passing style to move the ball up the field as quick as possible for Brenner to do what he does best.
Liverpool will kick us off here in Tenerife…
WHAT A START FOR TENERIFE WHO TAKE THE LEAD AFTER JUST 22 SECONDS 🔥🔥!! Xadas makes a darting run on the counter and plays an outstanding ball to Brenner, who smashes it home to make it 1-0 and one of the quickest goals ever scored in Europa League history. Tenerife couldn’t have wished for a better start!
I was wrong , they could and did – just three minutes later a corner from Xadas is headed back across the box by Brenner and Jadon Sancho is there to head the ball past Bizot in the Liverpool goal – after just 4 minutes Tenerife are 2-0 up and look to be coasting through to the final! We continue to dominate the first half, and somehow we are 4-0 to the good when the half-time whistle blows – Brenner completing a first half hat-trick to bring his tally to 38 goals in all competitions. From there we switch to a more possession based strategy to simply contain and frustrate Liverpool, and the game looks set to finish 4-0 until Sadio Mane gives Livepool a glimmer of hope with a 90th minute consolation goal – advantage Tenerife after Leg 1 of the Europa League Semi-Final.
Whatever way FM has simulated our fixtures, the month of May is absolute chaos in terms of our fixture schedule. We find ourselves with 4 fixtures in a week and 7 in just over 2 weeks, a lot of rotation will be needed not to mention that we also somehow have 4 away league fixtures in a row.
Unfortunately the “European hangover” proves too much to handle – we pick up back to back 1-1 draws against Granada and Alaves in the league followed by a disappointing defeat at Bilbao where the only highlight was Brenner’s 40th goal of the season, and suddenly it’s advantage Barcelona in La Liga who are 1 point ahead with two games to play. Before that however, we have our 2nd leg Semi-Final clash with Liverpool in Anfield where we know that if we at least can score a goal then the Europa League final should be waiting.
We live dangerously, and in the end a goal from Brenner just before half-time gives us a 5-4 aggregate victory as Liverpool win 3-1 on the night – almost a bottle job but not quite!
In the other Smi Final fixture, despite holding them to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, Borussia Monchengladbach are trounced 5-0 by Milan in the 2nd leg and it’s the seven-time European Champions who will meet Tenerife in the final which will be played at Villa Park on 18th May 2022.
One Bottle.. 🍾
Thankfully we don’t suffer the same European hangover this time around, and we pick up back-to-back wins against Malaga and Villareal in La Liga. Unfortunately so too do Barcelona, and the league goes down to the wire with the Catalan giants one point clear on the final day of the season. We travel to Celta Vigo knowing that only a win will keep our title hopes alive, however we also know that we will need a miracle from Malaga at the Nou Camp to actually hand us the title.
Of course, neither of the above happen – on the last day of the season we completely bottle our chances and end up losing 2-0, while over in the Nou Camp the celebrations are well underway as Barcelona beat Malaga 3-1 to finally reclaim the title from Real Madrid who have won it for the past 3 years running. The only good news is that Real Madrid’s defeat in the Madrid derby paves the way for Bilbao to finish 3rd and it’s the year of the underdog surely as we finally start to see a gap between the Galacticos and Catalans at the summit of Spanish football.
Two BOTTLEs.. 🍾 🍾
La Liga runners-up Tenerife are looking to make history in their first ever European Cup final, taking on Italian heavyweights AC Milan who despite having won the European Champions League on seven occasions have never actually won the Europa League previously. Both teams name a strong first XI, however Tenerife will be without key man Jadon Sancho who misses out through injury.
Tenerife were explosive in their Semi-Final first leg against Liverpool, however it’s Milan who are quickest out of the traps and take a 1-0 lead on 11 mins thanks to well known FM wonderkid Andrei Ivan, whose lead is soon doubled on 19 mins through Samu Castillejo and it’s all falling apart for Tenerife here in Birmingham who are 2-0 down at half time. Manager MaddFM brings on Mason Mount in place of Lucas Tousart, and it looks to be an inspired change as the England midfielder wins a penalty on 50 minutes which is calmly converted by the ever composed Xadas – however Milan respond just three minutes later via Ivan’s second goal to wrap up the game, and sadly for Tenerife they hold on to win the game 3-1 and it;s another disappointment for Los Chicharreros who will fly home to Tenerife empty handed but with their heads held high having defeated the odds to reach the final.
THREE BOTTLES.. 🍾 🍾 🍾
So far we have bottled the league and the Europa League final, can things get any worse for Tenerife this year??
They can and do – Xadas‘ opening goal on 14 mins is cancelled out by Martial’s 34 minute equaliser, and both teams are evenly matched at half-time by a scoreline of 1-1. Tenerife look strong in the second half, however lady luck is not yet finished with Los Chicharreros who have to endure Xadas missing a penalty on 46 minutes followed by a disallowed goal from Captain Yann-Aurel Bisseck on 76 minutes, and the game finishes 1-1 despite Tenerife dominating.
Extra time follows, however it’s another stalemate and the 2021/2022 season will be capped off with a penalty shootout here in the Copa Del Rey final between League Champions Barcelona and League Runners Up Tenerife live at Estadio Olimpico de Sevilla.
So, after starting this blog post with a potential treble on the cards and our best chance of silverware to date – we finish the season as La Liga, Europa League and Copa Del Rey Runners-Up which we would have been more than happy with at the start of the season however it’s still hard to take after coming so close to actually winning one of the three competitions. Overall it’s been a highly successful season, reaching two cup finals and finishing 2nd in the league for the second year in a row – not to mention the fact that we officially found our #RoyDeLosRovers in the form of Brenner who scored 42 goals in all competitions, 30 of which were in the league making him Top Scorer in the competition ahead of Patrick Schick and Diego Costa and earning him Player of the Season for the year.
Two things happen at this point – suddenly there is interest in Brenner from a host of top European teams, and when I go to offer him a new contract he advises he is not willing to sign one due to the interest shown.
All of a sudden the alarm bells are ringing as bids are submitted around the €40m mark, especially considering the kid has a €60m release clause which was as high as we could get from his bollocks of an agent when he signed last year. Surely none of them will match it?!
Just when we had finally found our Roy De Los Rovers, his head is turned by oil rich PSG and we are literally powerless to stop him – within two clicks of the mouse, Brenner is a PSG player and we are back to square one in our Roy De Los Rovers quest. Here we go again!!!
Thanks for reading!! Due to work commitments and the recent hot weather we had a bit of an FM hiatus, however it’s great to be back and in my next post we will be on the hunt for a new Striker now that Brenner has f*cked off and we have a pile of cash in the bank to spend. If you have any scouting suggestions please post them in the comments section below, or else feel free to shout me up on Twitter here – retweets are also appreciated and don’t forget to also subscribe below 👍. Cheers, watch out for a new post in a few days! MaddFM aka Paul.