Welcome to my main save on FM23 with the oldest club in Norway, Odds Ballklub. The name of the blog “Against All Odds” has a slight issue in that the team is commonly referred to as “Odd” so, in the blogs, I will call them Odd. Playing in the Eliteserien in Norway, where this season in real life, they have just finished in 5th place. Their season is played over the summer between March-November and there are two options for the start of the game: start in 2022 or 2023. The problem I found with starting in 2023 is that a lot of the first-team players were out of contract so are not with the club if you start in 2023. I will start in 2022 and I have the current squad who have just finished 5th, which will be a good target to reach in the first season.
In this blog, we will look at the current squad, and the likely formation and starting XI that I will look to use, at least to start with.
First Choice – Leopold Wahlstedt
A solid choice in goal, Wahlstedt is an attacking, aggressive keeper who enjoys closing down defenders and rushing off his line. With great jumping reach and one on ones, he should be able to save plenty of shots that he faces. At 22, he can be our No. 1 for several years to come.
Out on Loan – Sondre Rossbach
This is a strange decision. Rossbach was the main goalie at Odd for years, coming through the academy. This season, he has been loaned out to league rivals Valerenga. With Wahlstedt being slightly ahead of him and 4 years younger, I cannot see Rossbach coming back as a first-choice player. Hopefully, we can get a good fee for him next winter once he comes back.
Back-up – Peder Nygaard Klausen
A young option in net with great aerial reach, command of area and handling. With 14 determination and a fairly professional personality, he will hopefully develop well being our backup or out on loan somewhere if we decide to have our other keeper as a backup.
Youth – Lars Dahlen
The final keeper in the team is a 16-year-old on a youth contract with much of the similar qualities as Klausen. Being two years younger, I would prefer to keep him at the club as I believe that players should be developed at the club until they are 18 before being loaned out for game time. I think this was some information from a developer at SI but I can’t remember who. I am really excited about Dahlen and he could become a really good player for us in several years.
First Choice – Espen Ruud
At 38, Ruud is an experienced full-back who might be a bit vulnerable in the speed department. I am prepared for his physicals to fall off a cliff very soon but at his age, he could probably last the season with us still playing regularly.
Back up – Kevin Egell-Johnsen
Egell-Johnsen has well-rounded attributes in all the important areas without having any particular strengths. He will be given game time regularly to help Ruud and hopefully become his replacement. With only a year left on his contract, we will definitely be looking to renew it this year.
Youth – Simen Ostby
Ostby could be a right-back or a centre-back, I am unsure where I want him to play, especially with Egell-Johnsen playing ahead of him. It might be better to push him inside to play centrally and make use of his passing to turn him into a ball-playing defender. Let me know your thoughts on this guy.
First Choice – Odin Bjortuft
If we can keep Bjortuft for a longer spell, he could become a club legend. There are a few young players in this squad and having a solid young defender is excellent. With no obvious weakness in his game, he will always be a solid option at the back, although AaB and Brondby are interested in him.
First Choice – Steffen Hagen
Another old defender in the team but there is no way that I can leave Hagen out of the starting lineup. He has been at the club since 2006 and has a model citizen personality, one of the best in the game. I will be looking to use him to mentor some younger players and hope that personality can be spread amongst the team.
Back up – Ivan Mesik
The first player that we have on loan, the 20-year-old from FC Nordsjaelland is a very solid player and one that I would love to have permanently. With great technical attributes, I can see him as the replacement for either Hagen when he gets older or Bjortuft if I struggle to keep hold of him.
Back up – Solomon Owusu
It is not often that I have four centre-backs that I would happily start. A natural at either centre-back or defensive midfielder with the ability to play out on the right or left, Owusu is a versatile defender who can do everything apart from head the ball, jump and stay focused. Other than that, he can be a great player on his day. He is also tied down to a 3-year contract so he will be a good option for a long time.
First Choice – Josef Baccay
Another young player who has joined the club this season, Baccay is a great attacking wing-back. His pace, stamina, teamwork and work rate are all excellent for this level and I am hopeful that he will be able to have our own Andrew Robertson in Norway.
Back up/Youth – Samuel Skree Skjeldal
The first option that I am not massively convinced by although he is a decent option. Skjeldal has 11 in a lot of attributes and whilst he is young and will get better, I am not convinced he is ready for a backup position in the squad. I might loan him out and get in a new replacement who is a bit better but I will wait until I get someone in before getting him a loan.
First Choice – Filip Ronningen Jorgensen
I am really looking forward to managing this guy. At 19 years old, he is the best midfielder in our team and has all the attributes to be a great playmaker. He is wanted by Porto so the fact that a Champions League team is interested in one of our players is huge! He is also on peanuts compared to some other players so we can definitely afford to give him more in the future.
First Choice – Vebjorn Hoff
Our second player on loan is Hoff, who was sold to Rosenborg for £350k and then loaned back to us after playing 16 games. He is a great option and has very similar attributes to Jorgensen. He will play further forward, acting as the Mezzala on the left, despite being better suited as a playmaker. We have a lot of playmakers…
First Choice – Syver Aas
Another young player who is good enough to be starting for us is Aas. He has a perfectionist personality and 16 determination which I am hoping will help him progress and develop well, possibly replacing Jorgensen as our best centre midfielder or taking over if a huge bid comes in for Jorgensen.
Back up – Magnus Lekven
A similar play to Aas but at the other end of his career, at 34 years old, Lekven is a good option when we need to rotate or a player is tired/injured. As a team leader, we will need to keep him happy although he has agreed to be a squad player.
Youth – Jesper Svenungsen Skau
Whilst Skau is a good player and has a lot of potential, it is hard to see him fitting into the side when we already have two teenagers in the first team. A loan may be the best option for him but similar to Skjedal, we would need to ensure that we have enough depth options before letting him go out.
Dead Wood – Thomas Rekdal
I can only see Rekdal playing when we have injuries or if we are in serious trouble with squad depth. He is an influential player so we have to be careful and is only expecting to be a breakthrough player, and he does have some key attributes such as teamwork and passing but he is not great outside of the attributes for the midfield role. I will see give him plenty of game time in the 2nd team and see if he develops.
First Choice – Milan Jevtovic
I will look to play with a winger on the right and an inverted winger on the left. Jevtovic has excellent ability as a winger: he can run, cross and dribble as well as being right-footed. I am not sure how his player trait of cutting inside will play with the winger role though.
Back up – Mikael Inge Ingebrigtsen
Equally strong is Ingebrigtsen and I have found it quite tricky to work out players’ best positions as we have a lot of good wingers who are mostly able to play with both feet. Ideally, I would prefer the right winger to have a stronger right foot but I will probably play Ingebrigtsen as an inside forward to make use of his strong left foot.
Youth – Dennis Gjengaar
I was unsure where to put Gjengaar on this list. He can play anywhere on the right and is natural as a winger or a wing-back. The only problem with him playing more defensively would be his tackling, heading and concentration, as well as having to share the position with Egell-Johnsen. As a winger, he has some great attacking attributes and a perfectionist personality. He is wanted by First Division teams on loan so that might be an option that we consider with him to help his development.
First Choice – Gilli Rolantsson
A versatile winger who the media think is an excellent full-back, Rolantsson can play anywhere on the left. We will look to exploit his pace and acceleration to get past teams and put a ball in the box. He also has 17 long throws so I may be able to do a throw-in tactic for the first time.
Back up – Conrad Wallem
A slower but more technically gifted player, Wallem is a well-rounded attacker who played every single match in the league last year. With that experience at 21, he is on his way to reaching his potential and whilst he might not start every game, I hope he will be a solid option to come on and change a game if we need him.
First Choice – Adama Diomande
The first of our 30+-year-old strikers, ex-Hull and LAFC attacker Diomande has some excellent ability at this level. He only has a year left on his contract so we will need to tie him down for longer in the future although the board only want us to give 2-year contracts to players over 32.
Back up – Philipp Zulechner
Lacking in technical ability, Zulechner is a mentality monster who will give everything for the team and provide us with extra motivation off the bench. With the experience of playing in the Bundesliga as well as the top flights in Switzerland and Austria, playing in Norway will hopefully allow him to score plenty of goals, which he has been lacking for several years now, having not scored more than 4 goals since the 2013/14 season.
Back up – Flamur Kastrati
The nomadic striker is now playing for his 7th different team in Norway, where he has not scored since 2019! A bit concerning but as long as he stays on the pitch (with 20 aggression and 19 bravery, I can see some red cards coming), I will back him to score goals again for us.
Youth – Abel Stensrud
Wanted by Bryne in the Norwegian First Division, Stensrud will probably be loaned out this season but he does have incredible attributes, especially finishing, off the ball and composure, all of which are the same or better than our best striker, Diomande. With his trait of placing shots, he should score buckets of goals.
Youth – Anders Hartveit Ryste
Our final player is one that I am really excited about. With 16 determination, Ryste will hopefully be our first-choice striker in a few years. He will stick around for now and then maybe have a loan out when he hits 18.
The hierarchy is pretty self-explanatory: the older players are higher up. With a lot of influential players in the squad, it might be tricky to keep them all happy but the hope is that they become less influential as their playing time decreases.
This is the idea for the tactic and starting lineup, at least from the start of the game. I will tweak it during the friendlies and opening league games if I need to and decide if players need to be swapped roles or dropped.
The board have a few expectations that we have to meet, only staying within the wage budget and finishing in the top half. The latter stages of the cup is desired and all the other contract objectives are favoured but we could break a few of them. It is nice to not be expected to play a certain style straight away.
A bit of a long introduction to the squad but I wanted to give the time to introduce all the players at the start of the save. Next blog, we will go over the transfers if we make any, the fixtures (mainly friendlies but we might get onto the league games) and a look at one other area of the club, possibly staff as we currently have 0 scouts!
Thank you for reading and I will catch you next time!
FM Pioneers (@FMPioneers)