The ’20/’21 Eredivisie Season – Simulated on Football Manager 2020

In my last post, I wrote about my plans for Football Manager 2021. Although some people think it was too early to release my ideas, they still stand, and I’m going ahead with everything I said. After I made the decisions and wrote them down, I started to think about ways to prepare myself for the release of FM21. Today I’ll show one of the things I did to kill time and prepare for my main save in Football Manager 2021. I fired up FM20 for one more time! 

I wanted to manage in my home country for multiple reasons. I know the league, FC Twente is my local team, but there are also a lot of fascinating transfers that happened during the summer. I really think the Eredivisie will be interesting to follow this season and managing in this league will be a lot of fun! 

Of course, Ajax lost some of their key players again, while contenders AZ kept most of their squad intact. PSV started the 20/21 season with a new manager (Roger Schmit) and added some quality to their team. Feyenoord is still unbeaten since Dick Advocaat took over and added some quality players to their team as well. 

Besides this top 4, FC Utrecht spoke out to be very ambitious and want to attack the earlier mentioned top 4. As always, the Eredivisie is full of bright prospects who are awaiting their breakthrough season. We’ve also got some ex-internationals coming back to the Eredivisie, which is a huge bonus! Who doesn’t want to see Arjen Robben coming out of retirement to play for one more year at his boyhood club FC Groningen?

Let’s take a look at some of the transfers that happened in the Eredivisie:

  • Arjen Robben to FC Groningen
  • AntonyKudus and Klaassen to Ajax
  • Letschert, Familia-Castillo and Martins-Indi to AZ
  • Silva and Teixeira to Feyenoord
  • Fernández and Meier to Heerenveen
  • Max, Zahavi, Sangaré, van Ginkel, Fein and Götze to PSV
  • Lamprou, Ebuehi, Ilic and Dervisoglu to FC Twente
  • Hoogma, Arzani, Mahi, Elia, Sylla and Oelschlägel to FC Utrecht
  • Tannane, Rasmussen, Openda, Broja and Touré to Vitesse
  • Giakoumakis, Machach and Coric to VVV
  • Wriedt, Köhn and Yeboah to Willem II

Some of the above names will be very familiar to Football Manager players, and it seems to become an intriguing season in Holland!

My expectations

I’ve holidayed the 2020/2021 season three times with an updated database in FM20 to see what would happen, and what I can expect in FM21. I know it won’t be the same as players will have different attributes, there will be new features, reputations changed, etc. But, I find it interesting to see what would happen with FC Groningen, since they’ve signed Arjen Robben for example. 

My main FM21 savegame will be with FC Twente, and they’ve had quite some squad changes. I’m curious to see where they stand with all these new players. Some time ago, when De Tukkers signed Cerny, Pierie and Danilo, I was talking to some former co-workers and said that FC Twente could easily go for a top-5 finish with their current team! At the time of writing, after four games played, they are 6th in the table. I needed to see where FM20 would take them. 

Halfway through the 2020/2021 season

So, we’re now halfway through the season, and Ajax still seems to be the team to beat. Divided over these three simulations, Ajax played 54 games before January and only lost four! PSV is the other consistent top team in these simulations, while Feyenoord and AZ are a bit inconsistent. They both only manage to be only one time within the top 4.

I had expected a better FC Twente. They were between 9th and 16th during these simulations. Let’s have a look at what happens when we finish these holidayed seasons!

The full season holidayed

It seems like the top 2 is predetermined, and Ajax and PSV will be fighting for the Eredivisie. Ajax was crowned champions three times in these simulations. So, they are clearly the team to beat if we want to win the Eredivisie some time.

There are some other remarkable performances; FC Emmen ending in fourth, Fortuna Sittard in sixth and seventh, Sparta in eight two times and FC Groningen relegated one time.

Let’s have a closer look at my team, FC Twente. In the first simulation, they’re ranked 12th in the league. They nearly survived relegation through play-offs in the second simulation, and finish on a tenth place during the third simulation. FC Twente is not as good as in real life where I expect them to end up around sixth in the table. I might need to lower my expectations based on these simulations where they turned out to be a mid-table team!

FC Twente’s Best XI and the challenge of managing them

I would’ve used different players in other positions, but the best XI’s are quite the same overall. Jeremejeff has proven to be a regular goal scorer for FC Twente. Cerny and Ilic are the main attacking midfielders, while Dervisoglu and Lamprou battle for the AML position. The rest stays pretty much the same. However, I’m curious to see how Danilo and Meenig would do in this team.

The biggest challenge of managing FC Twente in the first few seasons will be rebuilding the squad. As you can see in the image above, there are a lot of loanees in the team. Relying on the loan system could be the focal strategy for the first few seasons because there won’t be a lot of money at Twente with their financial troubles from the last couple of years.

Signing players on free transfers, bringing some loanees in and promoting youngsters will be the way to go for me in FM21. But, how does their manager solve this in these simulations if we simulate the 2020/2021 summer transfer window in Football Manager 2020?

They’ve signed two players in January; Thomas Bruns from Vitesse and Guiliano With on a free. During the summer they spend quite some money, which is a bit surprising to me, to be honest. €3.9M in total! They’ve only sold Queensy Menig to Sparta for €825K, which could lead up to €1M. I’m also surprised they didn’t bring in some loanees! They could be up for a real struggle during the second season. Let’s see if we can do better in Football Manager 2021…


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