Introduction: How do these articles work?
Each week I examine a different team in detail and look at why they’re a good team for FIFA 18’s career mode. The teams are broken down into the following categories:
- Tier 1: Teams in tough divisions that can push on to challenge for silverware
- Tier 2: Teams that will have to fight for survival in a challenging division
- Tier 3: Teams that start in a lower division but can hope to get promoted and work their way up higher leagues
- Tier 4: Teams that start right at the bottom of the pile, with few funds or high potential players
Hamburg (tier 1)
Tier 1 teams can challenge for the title in a tough division, but it’ll be no walk in the park.
Starting transfer budget: £23,592,635
Starting wage budget: £65,767
Default formation: 4-1-4-1
• Domestic success: Medium
• Continental success: Low
• Brand exposure: High
• Financial success: Low
• Youth development: Low
Key player: Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Best young prospect: Jann-Fiete Arp
Why choose Hamburg?
In real life, Bayern seem to be running away with the Bundesliga – unless you’re a Bayern fan, you might find it a little boring. But it doesn’t have to be that way in FIFA 18, as there are plenty of teams that can potentially usurp the throne.
Although they might not seem like it, Hamburg are actually a great team to do just that. Relegated to the second tier in real life, they are one of the lowest-rated sides in the Bundesliga in FIFA 18. But with a good budget and some incredibly high-potential players, they’re well placed to mount a surge up the division if you build them up properly.
Essential to any successful season is a solid defense, and Kyriakos Papadopoulos is key to that for Hamburg. His 90 strength and great tackling make him so difficult to get past, and he’s lethal in the air too – 91 jumping and 90 heading will see him score plenty of goals from set pieces. He’s one of the best players in the team but still has room to grow more. If he plays well, he can keep out even the best strikers.
Hamburg’s best young prospect is Jann-Fiete Arp. It’s not often that you get a player with 89 potential in your team, but Hamburg have exactly that with Arp. He’s just 17 but is already a very competent striker and will get better and better. Make sure you give him of game time to ensure he grows rapidly towards his potential.
Tactics to use
Despite being fairly low-rated in the league, Hamburg actually have a pretty decent starting lineup. Here’s their strongest 11:
I’ve changed their formation from 4-1-4-1 to the more attacking 4-3-3 in order to make the most of the players at their disposal. Hamburg’s main strengths lie in their attacking players, and you’ll need them to perform if you’re to eventually launch a challenge for the league title.
Another point to note is that there aren’t any obvious problems or weak spots in the team, at least in terms of OVR. However, given the strength and competitiveness of the Bundesliga, you probably don’t want to be as attacking as this. As well as that, if you want to give your high-potential players a chance, a better formation might be better.
So, here’s Hamburg’s highest-potential starting lineup:
I’ve changed the formation to 4-2-3-1, and it feels like a good balance between the original 4-1-4-1 and the 4-3-3 I showed earlier. There’s still plenty of attacking intent, but the central midfielders sit a bit further back to provide more cover against the stronger sides.
Here’s a look at those players’ potentials:
Key signings required: GK, winger, CAM
The good news for Hamburg is they have a high-potential player in pretty much every position. Still, there are a few places we can still improve.
Julian Pollersbeck (potential 79) and Christian Mathenia (potential 78) are good players, and you may feel they’re good enough. But at the same time, it’s still one of the weaker positions in the team.
While Nicolai Müller is one of the best players in the team, he’s also 29. We all know how FIFA seems to hate older players – in a year or two he’ll be rapidly declining. We should therefore look for a long-term replacement.
And finally, the situation is similar at attacking midfield. In the highest-potential lineup image above, Tatsuya Ito is actually a winger who can play at CAM. Aaron Hunt is good but is also 30, so will be declining soon. As with Müller, we’ll need a replacement.
I’ve tried to keep all the signings realistic, only buying players from nearby countries who might conceivably move to the Bundesliga. Let’s see who we can get.
André Onana: potential 85
While Hamburg’s goalkeepers are by no means problematic, we can still improve the position. You’ll be playing some extremely strong teams over the course of the season, so having a reliable pair of hands in goal will make a huge difference.
To achieve that, buy André Onana from Ajax. He’ll be one of your best players straight away; he starts at 78 OVR at just 21 years old. He’s got 85 potential, but given his high OVR and young age, he could quite easily exceed that.
He’s a good all-rounder, but particularly excels with his reflexes and diving. That’ll make him an excellent shot-stopper, able to deal with being peppered by opposition shots.
His transfer fee is expensive: £13m, a big chunk of your budget. But his wages are surprisingly cheap for his ability, and you’ll only need to pay £8,400 a week.
Edmilson Junior: potential 80
Club: Standard Liège
Nicolai Müller is a fantastic winger: he’s lightning fast, he can shoot, dribble and has excellent stamina. He’s a great player and will be tough to replace.
Having said that, Edmilson Junior is a near-perfect replacement. He’s rapid, can run all game, has excellent dribbling and can pass too. But there’s more – he’s got a 5 star weak foot and 4 star skills, plus the flair trait. He’s a real danger going forward. His 75 OVR also means it won’t be long until he takes over from Müller.
He’ll cost you £8.7m, and his wages are £17,500.
Alen Halilović: potential 84
Club: UD Las Palmas (loan)
Cost: £325,000 (recall from loan)
In the highest-OVR lineup and highest-potential lineup images above, neither attacking midfielder is ideal. Tatsuya Ito is a winger, while Aaron Hunt will start declining soon. We need a better option.
My suggestion is Alen Halilović. Interestingly he actually starts on loan at UD Las Palmas in Spain, but he’s easily good enough to get into Hamburg’s starting lineup in FIFA 18 – his 77 OVR and 84 potential make him too good to keep away. Although he’s a wide midfielder, he’s just as good at attacking midfield, where his pace, dribbling and passing will be vital.
Recalling him will cost £325,000, which is a pittance compared to the value he’ll add to the team. His wages on his return are £26,000.
Those transfers add up to £22,012,000, with £51,900 going towards wages. That means you’ll have £1,580,635 left in your transfer budget. If you want to bring in more players or sign a few good scouts, you’ll need to raise some more money. Let’s take a look at who we can sell in order to bring in some more cash.
We’ll have a bit of a clearout at Hamburg, starting with the goalkeeper Tom Mickel. He’s reached his 65 potential, and we can sell him for £325,000.
Next up, offload defenders Frank Ronstadt and Seo Young Jae for £170,000 and £275,000 respectively.
In midfield we can sell Mohamed Gouaida for £625,000. He’s only got 69 potential, so he won’t be essential going forward.
Finally, striker Sven Schipplock can bring in £1.6m if we sell him, which could be a very useful amount.
Those sales will get you just under £3m in total.
That’s it for this week’s article on good teams for career mode. Hamburg aren’t fancied for a title push, but with the right transfers and a bit of luck they can be an excellent team for career mode in FIFA 18. Can you take on Bayern and lift the title?
One more thing!
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