Senior Squad review - Grasshopper Club Zürich #FM16

Today's blog is a 1st team review of Grasshopper Club Zürich (GCZ) in FM16. I'll be focussing on the immediate challenges and areas that need strengthening from Day 1. I will finish off by discussing likely tactics and offer an insight into how I will be approaching my save on Nov 13th.

The first thing I always consult when joining a new squad is the reports view within the squad screen. The ability, potential and recommendation star rating system are a initial indication as to who my important players are.  So I can see straight away that there are 4 stand out players (Källström, Ravet, Dabbur and Caio), who will be discussed further below. 


GCZ have two evenly classed Goalkeepers, with Joel Mall (24) signing from Thun in the summer.  Mall will compete with Vaso Vasic (25) during pre-season for the No.1 spot.  From looking at attributes Joel Mall slightly shades it in my opinion, although I am worried about his Determination stat of 3:

  • Joel Mall (24 years old), earning £1.5k until 2017
  • Vaso Vasic (25 years old), earning £1.8k until 2017

Recommendation: With transfer funds low, I would advise keeping the two GKs as they are and rotate on form and attitude.  Certainly this is a position I may need to think about from Season 2 or 3... 

Full Backs/Wing Backs

At GCZ, there are 3 full backs: left sided Nemanja Antonov (20), right sided Benjamin Lüthi (26) and versatile Moritz Bauer (23) who can play both DL and DR.  As it stands all 3 will get game time with Bauer able to play both in both flanks.  However, should an injury arise early on in the season, I may need to approach another left sided fullback. Personally, Moritz Bauer is the better defender but I may need to select these three based on the opponent I play:

  • Nemanja Antonov (20 years old), earning £2k a week until 2019
  • Moritz Bauer (23 years old), earning £1.8k a week until 2016
  • Benjamin Lüthi (26 years old), earning £1.8k a week until 2017

Recommendation: The immediate action for me is to extend Bauer's contract.  Not only does he cover both flanks, at 23 he is likely to improve a bit more.  I certainly do not want to lose him, as it effectively means I need to recruit at least another 2 players!  As mentioned above, rotating these three will be key depending on the opposition. A game where I am expecting space in the final third might merit Antonov and Lüthi's involvement, whereas a problematic opposition winger may need Bauer's marking skills. Considering a loan to provide further cover...

Central Defenders

GCZ have three decent central defenders (Levent Gülen, Alban Pnishi and Alexandre Barthewith another two youthful covers (Noah Loosli and Jean-Pierre Rhyner). From the onset I plan to play with 2 central defenders, so with frequent rotating I could get away with not reinforcing here.  New signing Alexandre Barthe is perhaps the better defender with much needed experience:

  • Noah Loosli (18 years old), earning £600 a week until 2016
  • Jean-Pierre Rhyner (19 years old), earning £625 a week until 2017
  • Levent Gülen (21 years old), earning £2.5k a week until 2017
  • Alban Pnishi (24 years old), earning £1.9k a week until 2018
  • Alexandre Barthe (29 years old), earning £2.4k a week until 2018

Recommendation: I plan to rotate in pre-season and see how the 3 experienced CBs are performing with one another. Using Loosli and Rhyner could be an option in cup games, provided they are partnered with an experienced team-mate.

Central midfielders

For a vital position of the pitch, GCZ is somewhat lacking here.  We have a very special Deep Lying Playmaker in new signing Kim Källström (32) who will most certainly become one of the chief playmakers in the team. To assist Kim, we have Marco Basic (27) who provides solid defensive cover in the centre of the pitch. We also have Harun Alpsoy (18), who has the potential to be a solid Super League player in the future.

  • Kim Källström (32 years old), earning £7.25k a week until 2018
  • Marko Basic (27 years old), earning £2.6k a week until 2018
  • Harun Alpsoy (18 years old), earning £800 a week until 2018

Recommendation: I definitely need to strengthen in this area.  If Källström is to flourish as my DLP, he needs protection.  So I plan to play at least one central midfielder alongside Kim, if not two - perhaps a Ball Winning Midfielder AND a Central Mid (defend) in certain games.

Attacking Midfielders/Wingers

The positions within the space between the midfield and the attack are perhaps GCZ's strongest area.  With adequate cover in the AML, AMC and AMR positions.  Caio and Yoric Ravet are the experienced heads with over 100 GCZ appearances between them. A tactic will need to focus on utilising both players.  I have already focussed on Caio in a previous blog, so here is Yoric Ravet:

My initial thoughts about Yoric Ravet is that he will play effectively as an Inside Forward.  He has good Pace, Dribbling and Off The Ball & he also has associated Player Preferred Moves (PPM) such as Move Into Channels and Tries Killer Balls Often.  This dynamism is perfect for the IF role.  One thing to note is that Ravet's preferred foot will be different after the Winter Data update, as the Left Foot stat has been slightly exaggerated.  I am still in two minds whether or not to edit the DB or base my role dependant on an enhanced left foot.  For instance, Cuts Inside PPM can actually combine with a left footed right sided player very well...especially if that player is playing as an Inside Forward.

The other notable talents are Nikola Gjorgjev (17), Shani Tarashaj (20) and Mergim Brahimi (22) who with game time will no doubt become solid Swiss Super League players.  I am especially excited by both Gjorgjev and Tarashaj who I expect will become regular Swiss International players with the correct development.

  • Nikola Gjorgjev (17 years old), earning £170 a week until 2017
  • Shani Tarashaj (20 years old), earning £3k a week until 2019
  • Mergim Brahimi (22 years old), earning £1.5k a week until 2018
  • Yoric Ravet (25 years old), earning £5.5k a week until 2017
  • Caio (29 years old), earning £6.25k a week until 2018

Recommendation: All of the above players are pretty versatile and interchangeable within the attacking midfield positions.  For this reason, this is one area where no immediate changes are necessary.  Longer term, I may wish to cash in on Caio or Ravet to maximise their sale value...and I certainly should be focussed on developing the younger three players - who will hopefully go on to great things at GCZ.


The most valuable player in the squad is Munas Dabbur, who aged 23 yeas represents GCZ's best chance of scoring goals. The immediate challenge is keeping hold of him as there will no doubt be many clubs looking to sign him.  Dabbur has very good Finishing and Off The Ball stats and is completely two footed.  If you want to know why two-footedness is so important for a Striker, read here.

Other than Dabbur, there really is not much to talk about here.  There are upcoming young strikers who show potential like Florian Kamberi and Manuel Kubli (both 20) and another two wild cards in Sherko Kareem and Semir Music (both 19).  Shani Tarashaj can also naturally play Striker as well.

  • Sherko Kareem (19 years old), earning £900 a week until 2018
  • Semir Music (19 years old), earning £850 a week until 2015 (Dec)
  • Florian Kamberi (20 years old), earning £1.6k a week until 2019
  • Manuel Kubli(20 years old), earning £625 a week until 2017
  • Munas Dabbur (23 years old), earning £3.8k a week until 2017

Recommendation: Keeping Dabbur for at least another season is wise.  He will be hard to keep beyond this date if Bigger Clubs come in for him and he is unlikely to want to sign a new contract in Summer 2016.  I may want to consider extended his contract, because he WILL bang the goals in.  The other youngsters have a chance to impress during pre-season but if there is any doubt ahead of the new season, I may want to consider a loan or an experienced striker on a Free Transfer.  The lack of excess quality in this area leads me to think that a One Striker formation is best...



Above are formations that, I believe, can be taken forward from Day 1 of the GCZ save (from left to right: 4-3-2-1 asymmetric AMC, 4-2-3-1 DM Wide, 4-2-3-2 Wide and 4-3-1-2 Narrow).  The final formation and tactic I end up with will be tweaked and (hopefully) perfected in pre-season/early weeks of the season, which I will blog on.  What I would like to stress though is my underlining belief that formations and tactics should become before any player selection.  For instance, there are certain playmakers discussed above that I want in the team (my Engance in Caio and my Deep Lying Playmaker in Källström).  I cannot just chuck them in a 4-4-2 and hope it works.  Football is luckily more complex than this.  I need to think about how both Caio and Källström prefer to play (hints are found in their stats, PPMs etc) and how I want to utilise them and others around them, in order to bring about a greater good e.g. directness, movement, pressing etc.  The combinations of players into a formation therefore develops around a set of ideals and beliefs in how I want my team to play. 

To cut a long story short, I am therefore leaning towards a 4-3-2-1 asymmetrical formation.  I have spent a long time thinking about Källström and Caio, my playmakers who dictate play.  What they both require are players who can press and make runs around them (see my IF, WBs and BBM).  Offering them an outlet to playmake.  But I also need a player who can hold centrally, so that the DLP has protection and does not have to press oncoming attackers alone.  The roles and shape are fluid and will often change based on the opposition I face, but that's my initial thoughts so far.  

Next week's blog is another focus on the beta: Part 2: Potential GCZ targets for 2015/16 and beyond... (Friday 13 November 2015).

FM Grasshopper