A Manager's Journal - "1860 on the Rise"

52 posts Park Captain
edited October 2019
Welcome to my management journal. My name is Antti Saarinen and I am the manager of 1860 München. I have decided to run a journal on my journey into football management, following my progress and documenting my successes and challenges along the way. I hope to inspire other footballers and coaches into making the step up into football management.

About Me


I retired from playing in August of this year; I enjoyed a wonderful career and made many memories that will stay with me forever. I don't want to focus too much on this so I have inserted a snippet about my career from Fifapedia. Note: this was the first time I ever searched for myself on the site.


What has been missed in the above snap shot is that I was actually offered a unique opportunity whilst on loan at Greuther Furth. They allowed me to coach and manage their Under 18's side, whilst playing for the senior team. I loved every moment of being the manager of that side, and we finished 3rd in a very competitive youth division.

My other coaching experience was with one of Nurnberg's younger sides. I spent the latter years of my playing career mostly focusing on my coaching and completing my badges. I always put 100% effort into playing and training, but towards the end, especially my season at Greuther Furth, I got much more mental enjoyment out of managing, and coaching, which really helped me decide to retire when I did. It helped me a lot that I knew what my next career path was after playing, where as I know a lot of players struggle with that.

First Senior Job

I actually had a few offers, believe it or not, after I decided to retire and expressed an interest about going into management immediately.

Note: FC Bayern München II

I decided to take the job at 1860 München due to the history of the club and their focus on utilising their youth academy. I was welcomed to bring in my own staff. They had a ready-made squad, which had every chance of performing well in the 3. Liga.

I attended a meeting with the club Chairman, Michael Scharold, to go over the objectives for the season. It was stressed to me that I need to invest in new youth academy players, whilst developing the youngsters we already have. I must also work hard to make a financial profit by the end of the season, in addition to the profit margins the club want to keep the wage bill similar, however will allow an increase of up to 20%. In terms of performance on the pitch, Scharold explained the club would love a run in the cup; however, focus should be on achieving a respectable mid-table finish.

My Staff

In football you make lots of friends throughout the business, you start networking from the beginning of your career and every now and again you come across someone who just gets you, and understands the way you think and shares the same philosophies as you. Well I found that in my good friend Jussi Maarkonen. We played together for a season at HJK Helsinki and was regularly in same Finland camp together, where we would room share when travelling away.

Jussi retired last season after a decent playing career. He finished his career with 28 caps for Finland and won the UEFA Cup with Zenit Saint Petersburg.

He has been the assistant manager at HJK Helsinki for the last 12 months, and his experience will be invaluable. I have hired Jussi as the Assistant Manager.

I only brought in one additional member of staff, as 1860 already had plenty of backroom staff working with the club, who have been doing a great job, so I did not want to upset the apple cart.

I employed a coach who worked with Jussi and myself in the Finland setup. Teemu Aaltonen is a specialist performance coach. He has developed a system to rate players and track progress. Each player receives ratings out of 100 for each of their attributes. It is a fascinating system, which you will get to see in action plentiful throughout this journey. I have great faith in it, however the ins and outs of it I very much leave to Teemu.

The Squad

We have now spent a couple of weeks looking over the lads and along with Teemu; we have compiled a report on the players. See below for details:


My first initial reaction when looking at the squad was how big it was. I always enjoyed being part of a close-knit squad and that I understood my role within the squad. 28 players will provide a lot of uncertainty around individual player roles and it restricts game time for many of the younger players.

I will like to work with a smaller squad, and provide good senior level game time for all the players involved. I will be looking into offloading a few players on loan as well selling some players I deem surplus to the squad requirements, obviously taking into account the possibility of injuries.

Other notable observations was the amount of players out of contract at the end of the season. 77% of the 26 contracted players finish their current contracts in 2020. Instead of letting some leave as free agents, I am going to try to cash in on them early.

We have some good young players who I will be putting onto training programs to enhance their development.

At least 8 of the players in the squad are rated amongst some of the better players in the division, and the likes of Lex, Leinhart and Erdmann are regarded as some of the best players in the division.

We have a good average age of 24-25 years old in the squad. I will be looking to keep this age range at a similar level, as I believe it to be a good mixture of potential and experience.

Nico Karger is the longest serving current member of the squad having been here since 2015.

The current club captain is Felix Weber; I have no issues with him remaining in that role. I am going to assign Sascha Mölders and newcomer Dennis Erdmann as vice captains.

Summer Transfer Window

My first port of call was to send out the scouts to find some investable young talent for the academy. I sent Karl Becker around the local leagues. I then sent the more experienced Moritz Winkler, who hails from Austria, to meet up with an old friend of mine in Finland to scout the young talent of my home nation. We have some great young players in Finland, some of which are not picked up by bigger clubs around Europe simply due to lack of exposure. An expense I felt was necessary, however it took some convincing to get the green light.

The summer transfer market was unremarkable in terms of my own input. I did not add to the current crop of players, former manager, Daniel Bierofka, before his departure, had signed all the new players joining up this season.

My real only input was more of an output. I let a few players go out on loan to gain first team experience and sold a further 3 players who were deemed expendable. The main reason for the departure of the more senior players was to garner some extra revenue to satisfy the clubs financial goals and because I could not guarantee them the playing time, they would have expected. Below is a summary of my summer transfer window transactions.


My next instalment will focus on the first half of the season.
Post edited by UN5Y on


  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    I like 442 as a formation. I always enjoyed playing in it, and I used it a lot with Greuther Furth's U18's and it always worked really well.

    I have good options for all positions, with a few players able to play a variety of roles around the pitch. On the whole the team are a hard working bunch, both in Attack and Defence, so this mixture should compliment the formation.

    I have put together a depth chart for the positions to summarise the players roles in the squad.




    I couldn't have asked for a better start from the lads. They have been amazing. there is a long way to go obviously, but 5 wins from 7 is some going. The only result i'm slightly disappointed with is the Chemitzer loss. We already recorded wins against stronger opposition, so that result stung a bit.

    Lex, Owusu and Molders have been sensational so far, scoring 12 of the 14 goals between them. I hope this form continues.


    7 points from a possible 18, is disappointing especially considering the start we made to the campaign.

    I want the team to be strong and hard to beat at home. Any team who have a good record at home will always have the mental edge over their opponents. I'm happy with the 2 strong wins we achieved against Carl Zeiss Jena and Uerdingen, especially as we kept 2 clean sheets.

    Sascha Molders was injured for the majority of these games so we lost that additional physical presence going forward.


    Another inconsistent couple of months. We can't seem to string a run of wins together. I'm happy with our away form, with 7 points from 12 available, however we need to improve at home.

    The derby defeat against lowly placed Bayern II was particularly disappointing, but we managed to bounce back with 2 consecutive wins, so the lads showed good character there.



    Stefan Lex has been outstanding for us, contributing to over 40% of our goals so far this season. The loanee, Owusu, has given a decent account of himself so far this season: I'd like a few more goals from him though. Molders was sorely missed during September and October, after grabbing 4 goals in the early part of the season, he has returned from injury nowhere near as sharp and has only managed to add 1 goal to his tally in the last 7 games.

    League Table


    We're well on track to achieve our objectives and then some, we're in a great position to mount a serious challenge on promotion.

    I like my season objectives to be dynamic, at the beginning of the season I was hoping for us to give a good account of ourselves and firmly sit in mid-table, however we should now be looking beyond on that, I can't see why we can't seriously push for that automatic promotion place. 18 games to go, who knows what can happen.
  • ElMarcos
    322 posts Sunday League Hero
    Goodluck with 1860 Münich!
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    Winter Transfers


    Lukas Scherff can play LM or LB and has a high defensive and attacking work rate. Timo Gebhart had produced very little for us so far, so when I had the opportunity to do a straight swap for Scherff I jumped at the deal.

    Ilan Sauter is a good prospect for future, can play CB or LB and we used the money from the Bekiroglu transfer to bolster our defence. Bekiroglu was becoming frustrated with lack of playing opportunities, so the offer from AIK came at a great time.

    Bonmann and Moll both had offers come in for them from teams from higher leagues. The buying clubs offered attractive fees, so it was a no brainer to accept the transfers. Gustav Berggren was signed as a long term replacement for Moll. Berggren, like Scherff, has a high defensive and attacking work rate, perfect for that box-to-box midfield role.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019
    An update to the Squad Depth Chart after the winter transfers


    Our Scout, Moritz Winkler, has found a gem in young Finnish keeper, Tapio Kuikkonen. Tapio is currently playing for the Reserves at just 17, so he is an option should Hiller be unavailable. The other option would be to recall Tom Kretzschmar from his loan at Oxford United.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    Not a bad start to 2020, but we need to beating teams like SV Waldhof at home. Stefan Lex was injured during this period of games, so it was nice to see Owusu stepping up.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    More dropped points at home, we're near the top at the moment and these are vital games, games which we need to be taking 3 points from.

    Bayern II have now done the double over us this season, yet they can't get out of the bottom 5, very frustrating to say the least. Stefan Lex was back from injury, which is going to be massive going into the final 3 games in May,

    There are 6 teams battling it out for the promotional playoff spot (3rd). Eintracht Braunschweig, Uerdingen, Unterhaching, FSV Zwickau, Ingolstadt and ourselves all within a couple of points of each other. We still have to play Unterhaching and Ingolstadt at home, a very interesting end to the season.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019

    Gutted to lose against Unterhaching at home, that more than sealed our fate to be playing in this division again next season. The draw against 19th placed Großaspach was a knock on effect of the previous game. Im glad we picked ourselves and finished on a high beating Ingolstadt.

    Ingolstadt was Sascha Mölders final game as a professional footballer. He has been a great servant for Die Löwen scoring 33 times for the club since joining in 2016.

  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    2019/20 Season Final Player Statistics


    Despite missing 8 games through injury, Stefan Lex, was by far our best performer throughout the season. He contributed to over 30% of all the clubs goals this season. He also finished 5th Top Scorer and Joint 4th for Assists in the league.

    Owusu, who will shortly be returning to Arminia Bielefeld, finished joint 6th in the league for goals. With Wein and Greilinger both joining Lex in the top 5 Assisters in the league.

    Marco Hiller was joint 3rd in the league for Clean Sheets.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019
    Final 2019/20 Standings


    Not the second half of the season we were hoping for, however competing for promotions places at the latter stages of the campaign has given the fans something to cheer about.

    The board are very happy with mine and Jussi's performance this season, and to be honest we can be proud with what we have achieved, in terms of achieving all the objectives set out to us at the beginning of the season.

    Financially, we have reduced the wage bill and made just under €3,000,000 from transfers.

    In terms of youth development we have invested really well in the academy, which will be documented on the next instalment. Fabian Greilinger and Dennis Gressel have come on leaps and bounds, setting themselves as regular starting XI players.

    I look forward to what next season holds, but my goal will definitely be promotion. I will look to invest in the squad during the summer, but for now I'm going to take a much deserve holiday back to Finland to see family.
  • Danimal5981
    2504 posts Fans' Favourite
    It's so weird; I remember the times when Kaiserslautern were top dogs and teams such as 1860, Duisburg and Rostock were solid Bundesliga contenders. And they have to make do with 3. Liga..., sad. Do something about it!
  • DanielA-NUFC
    107 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    I like this story! I did a Braunschweig one last season. Going to venture into it again this year maybe to rebuild Kaiserslautern or ingolstadt
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    It's so weird; I remember the times when Kaiserslautern were top dogs and teams such as 1860, Duisburg and Rostock were solid Bundesliga contenders. And they have to make do with 3. Liga..., sad. Do something about it!

    I know this is what made me want to do this story, it is similar to League 1 which has Bolton, Sunderland, Portsmouth in it. I've always liked the German leagues. I'm half way through my second season... watch this space 😉
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    I like this story! I did a Braunschweig one last season. Going to venture into it again this year maybe to rebuild Kaiserslautern or ingolstadt

    I was close to doing the story with Kaiserslautern actually, but I like the fact 1860 have a very loud and succesful neighbour. Hopefully if I'm given the chance by the board we can, in the future, be divisional rivals again.
  • DB1512
    467 posts Sunday League Hero
    Cool story, hopefully you can battle for promotion next season. Will the main focus of the story be on the club or on the manager? In other words, if you get an offer from better clubs will you make the jump or will you be loyal to Munich?
  • Wiggie44
    163 posts Has Potential To Be Special
    A great season to start with, especially the unexpected promotion challenge. Should be a good solid base going forward
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    DB1512 wrote: »
    Cool story, hopefully you can battle for promotion next season. Will the main focus of the story be on the club or on the manager? In other words, if you get an offer from better clubs will you make the jump or will you be loyal to Munich?

    The story will remain focused around the manager, I hope he stays at 1860 for a while, however if a really good opportunity comes knocking I will take it. My aim is to get 1860 back in the Bundesliga, but Saarinen's career goal is to manage in the Bundesliga.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    Wiggie44 wrote: »
    A great season to start with, especially the unexpected promotion challenge. Should be a good solid base going forward

    Thank you, I was surprised to, would have been great to succeed first season. Thinking realistically I think 1860 would have struggled if they went up.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019
    Second Season - 3. Liga


    After the success of last season, I wanted to make a serious statement of intent; TSV 1860 München are aiming for promotion this season. We have a great platform to build on, with some good players, but one thing I learned from last season is we need a bit more depth. Injuries and relying on younger players was a contributing factor to us dropping points.

    That being said I needed to keep in mind the Boards financial demands, so I raided the free transfer market. I needed players who knew the division and had seen the progress we had made last season to entice them into joining us. I signed Gnaase, Bösel, and Costly all first team quality and all played in the division last season. Mohr and Kusić came on free transfers also from the division above and really bought into my ideas. We are a club with great history and I told these players I want to bring back those glory days, and they can help that happen.

    The back end of last season I sent a scout to do some quick research on the top divisions in Poland and Romania for some talented players with expiring contracts, he did not disappoint. He found Florin Ștefan from Romanian side Sepsi OSK and Davit Skhirtladze from Polish side Arka Gdynia. Both players have experience of playing in higher divisions that will bring invaluable quality and experience into the squad.

    Last season’s strike force of Mölders and Owusu was not an option this season, so I had to build a new forward line to play alongside Skhirtladze. I wanted a striker who had experience of playing in this division, and I ended up with 2. Tarsis Bonga and Florian Hansch both played in 3. Liga during the 2019/20 campaign. Bonga was at Chemnitzer and Hansch was on loan at Hallescher from SV Sandhausen. These two players cost me €700,000, which comes straight from the transfer revenue earned in the Steinhart to Swansea deal.

    My final transfer of the summer was Amadou Bakayoko, a hardworking, physical striker who will provide competition for the 2 new German strikers. We used the money from the Nico Karger transfer to sign Bakayoko from Coventry City.

    In addition to senior transfers, I also promoted six players from the academy, who had also featured for TSV 1860 München II last season. These players were showing great potential and developing well so the idea was to send them on loan to more senior teams to aid their progress. Four of the six were loaned straight out with us only keeping Kuikkonen as back up to Hiller. We was unable to find a suitable club to loan Fiete Hölzel to, but we will be actively looking for him to go out in January.


    We had a few players leave the club, which helped cover the costs of the new signings. Most notably was Felix Weber attracting the attention of the Swiss giants, FC Basel, a much welcomed €3,000,000 into the club finances, however I was sad to see him leave, but I could not deny him this great opportunity. A similar situation with Steinhart, a lower transfer fee, but Steinhart was excited to challenge himself in the English Championship with Swansea City.

    We sent a few other younger players out on loan; due to the squad size increasing, I did not want these players missing out on playing competitive football, so to aid their development we decided it was best to let them go out on loan to teams with smaller squads.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    I'm happy with our performance in the European International Cup over in France. Victories against two second tier French sides, and then to narrowly lose in the final against one of the top sides in Sweden. We got what we needed it out of it and that was to regain match sharpness as the season was fast approaching.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    2020/21 Squad


    Marco Hiller still only 22 has shown that he can hold down the number 1 spot, and I have rewarded him by not bringing in another senior goalkeeper. Tapio Kuikkonen is developing really nicely and for only 17 he is showing maturity well beyond his years, I dare say he will feature a few times this season.


    The defence may look a bit bare, but a lot of our classified midfielders will feature in the back four this season. I am hoping that some of younger lads can make an impact this season and push for a place in starting XI, namely Weeger, Belkahia and Kusić.


    Some strong reinforcements have been brought in to strengthen the midfield. I'm hoping Grielinger can continue to show his class and carry on from last season. Last season's top scorer, Stefan Lex, has started to regress so may feature less this season, but will stay play an instrumental role in our push for promotion.

    As previously mentioned, despite the attacking abilities of Wein and Ștefan, they will have to adapt to more defensive roles this season. I'm hoping new signing Tobias Mohr will have a big impact this season.


    A brand new set of forwards, with no familiar face in the set up. I'm hoping they can gel quickly and start scoring early for us to stand a chance of challenging for promotion. An experienced striker in Skhirtladze should get off the mark quickly especially considering the league he came from.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    2020/21 3. Liga campaign begins...


    What a start, like last season, we have come out of the blocks absolutely flying. 5 out of 6 wins in the league, still unbeaten, is an amazing start. It looks like Stefan Lex has kicked off the campaign where the last one ended, 5 goals in 7 games from the veteran.

    Nice to claim DFB-Pokal victory against a side from the division above too, a massive boost to the lads confidence.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    Another great couple of months. I knew Eintracht Braunschweig were going to be tough this season, I have a feeling they will be up there come to crunch time. The fans are excited at the minute, the buzz around the club is thriving, and so it should it be with 11 wins from 13 games and only 1 defeat, is a great start in anyone's book.

    We were really unlucky to be knocked out of the DFB-Pokal on penalties by a strong Bundesliga side in 1. FSV Mainz 05.

    A quiet couple of months for Stefan Lex, but good to see a few other players contributing with goals.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    The character all the players have shown in the lead up to Christmas is outstanding. The defence has been red hot only conceding 2 goals in 6 games. The stand out result being the away victory against 1. FC Magdeburg, who sat in 3rd place at the time.

    A nice range of players are chipping in with goals. There hasn't been a stand out player so far this season as I have implemented a strong rotation system with the starting XI. The results are proving its working and the morale around the players is high, so I intend to continue with the system.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain

    So we've reached the half way point of the season, and we're firmly on top. 10 points clear and 16 wins from 19 games fills me with confidence that our objective of promotion is becoming a strong possibility.

    I'm not a superstitious person, i'm not worried about talking about promotion too early. We're playing like champions and due to the position we're in at the moment, I want nothing less now.

    I'm particularly happy with how strong Erdmann and the rest of the defence has performed. We have the best defensive record in the league, and i'm a strong believer in building from the back.

    I called it that Eintracht Braunschweig would be up there, however I could never have called such a poor season for MSV Duisburg.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019
    January Transfer Window


    I have promoted another academy player as per the request of the board. I'm not against him stepping up, I just believed he could have benefited from more time with the II team. He has however got great potential, and i'm going to look at getting him out on loan as soon as possible.

    Like Baumann, above, I don't believe players will gain much from being bit part players. If i want these players to have an impact on the starting XI in the future I need to get them out and playing senior football. That being said, I am unable to provide regular opportunities in our squad at the moment due to how well all the regular players are doing. I managed to secure 4 decent loan deals for the players I am keen to see grow and come back fighting for their places. I only sent Klassen and Sauter on six month loans as I feel by next season they will have decent parts to play in the squad.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    The beginning of 2021...


    Maybe I should be more superstitious, we started 2021 how we ended 2020, but then we just couldn't muster up a victory. We only managed to earn draws against 3 teams plying their trade in the lower echelons of the division, including MSV Duisburg: previous comments coming back to bite me in the arse.

    I have a feeling Eintracht Braunschweig are just going to be 'that team' for us. I'm going to have to think of a way of bettering them as it seems, like ourselves, they will be playing 2. Bundesliga football next season.

    On a plus note Tobias Mohr scored 5 goals in 8 games, proving himself to be one of the squads more influential players.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019

    A much better couple of months, complacency had definitely started to creep into play in the months before. It's hard not to be confident when you're on top, but I must make sure that the lads stay focused at all time and on stick to the task at hand. The complacency will likely stem down from press conference 'performances', I have be singing the praises of the lads and applauding their season, but maybe a little bit of caution isn't always a bad thing.

    I mean we're not winning as many games as i'd like but we did still record 19 points from a possible 27. What this has allowed though, is the other teams around us to close the gap at the top to just 6 points.

    We have 2 fixtures remaining of the season, so ideally we just need 3 points from a possible 6, however both games are away fixtures and every team below us now is after a late season scalp.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    edited October 2019

    Well it's official, we're the 2020/21 3. Liga Champions. It was however confirmed on the back of a 2-0 loss away at VFL Osnabrück. I would have liked us to have taken matters into our own hands relying on our own results to win the title, but unfortunately it was not to be. Magdeburg suffered a defeat at the hands of bottom club, Chemnitzer, which meant they mathematically could not win the title.

    Our final game of the season was an anti-climax also, but it did not dampen the spirit of the "Die Löwen" faithful as they celebrated long into the night the fact that we were the champions.
  • UN5Y
    52 posts Park Captain
    3.Liga Final Standings 2020/21


    All in all, it was a fantastic season for the club. i'm extremely proud of what myself and Jussi have achieved, a club with history as rich as this deserve to be playing higher, and we're glad to have put the wheels in motion for one day a possible return to the Bundesliga.

    Eintracht Braunschweig have come up with us, as I thought they would, I'm actually enjoying the rivalry we are starting to build with the Northern club.

    We have a lot of work to do again in the summer if we are going to compete in a much tougher division next season. Myself and Jussi will be spending a few weeks back in Finland again this Summer as the crazy sod is getting married to his childhood sweetheart. I can imagine celebrations will be short lived as we have already started discussing the summer transfer window and in no time it will be back to business as usual.
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