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
Ingolstadt (tier 3)
Tier 3 sides start in a low division but have a great chance of working their way up the leagues – perfect for ‘journey’ career modes or returning a team to former glory.
Starting transfer budget: £4,369,094
Starting wage budget: £53,754
Default formation: 4-2-3-1
• Domestic success: Critical
• Continental success: Very low
• Brand exposure: Very low
• Financial success: Medium
• Youth development: Very low
Key player: Christian Träsch
Best young prospect: Max Christiansen
Why choose Ingolstadt?
Against all the grand old clubs in high-level German professional football, Ingolstadt stands out as something of an anomaly. The new kid on the block, Ingolstadt is only 14 years old, having been formed in 2004. With such a young club, you have plenty of room to shape them in your image and determine their future successes.
The team starts mid-table in the 2. Bundesliga, giving you plenty of time to build up into a force to be reckoned with. The board expectations are reasonable, with three ‘Very low’ targets out of five, and you start with just enough budget to make some deals without making transfers too easy.
Ingolstadt’s key player is Christian Träsch. He’s exactly the kind of midfield dynamo every time needs, with plenty of stamina, pace and strength. His defensive technical stats are excellent, but he can also play as a full back thanks to his good crossing and passing. That flexibility will be very useful as the season drags on and the fixtures mount up.
The squad’s best young prospect is Max Christiansen. He’s a rock-solid defensive midfielder with the strength and stamina to consistently win back possession, while also having the technical ability to play across both central midfield and central defence. He’s not far off first-team level, so he should reach – and exceed – his 78 potential quickly and step into Träsch’s shoes as he declines.
Tactics to use
Ingolstadt’s starting lineup is already pretty good for the division. Here’s their strongest 11:
We’ll keep the formation the same and stick with 4-2-3-1 in order to best utilise the players at our disposal.
Just looking at this lineup, defence seems to be the main problem area. Gaus, Wahl and Levels are all weak points in the team, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when it comes to transfers.
Next, let’s take a look at Ingolstadt’s highest-potential starting lineup:
When we look at the highest-potential players in the squad, however, there’s some positive news: the team has a very promising right back on its hands.
Still, you’ll want to get a new centre back and left back going forward. There’s also a real lack of quality depth up front – Darío Lezcano is decent, but won’t grow any more, and there are no high-potential strikers lined up to replace him.
Here’s a look at those players’ potentials:
Key signings required: centre back, left back, striker
While there are three positions we really need to strengthen, we have to be careful to balance our budget between those three areas. We only start with £4.3m which, while decent for the division, won’t allow us to spend huge amounts on a single player.
Still, it’s definitely possible to buy players with high potential who are at or near first-team level already. That will really help their development, as they’ll be getting plenty of game time.
I’ve aimed to keep all the transfers realistic, signing players from nearby countries like Austria and Switzerland rather than the likes of Brazil or England. I find that keeping things realistic really helps with the immersion of any career mode – a key aspect for the enjoyment and longevity of any save!
Before we get started, adjust the budget ratio to 82:18. That will give us £5,946,378 in transfer funds and £23,421 in wages. Now let’s see who we can buy with that.
Dario Maresic: potential 83
Club: SK Sturm Graz
Probably the most obvious problem area in Ingolstadt’s squad is centre back. Both starting and future players are somewhat lacking. Marvin Matip is decent but will soon start declining, while the 75 and 74 potential of Hauke Wahl and Frederic Ananou are not hugely inspiring. We need a new player who can shake things up, both right now and in the future.
That player is Dario Maresic of SK Sturm Graz in Austria. His starting OVR of 69 puts him right on the cusp of the starting eleven, and his 83 potential will make him a defensive stalwart for years to come.
He’s a good all-rounder but particularly excels in the air, where his 80 jumping will make him a threat going forward and a giant at the back. Expect him to pop up with plenty of goals from set pieces throughout your career.
He’s surprisingly cheap given his OVR, potential and age. He’ll cost you £2m, with £7,500 in wages. Not bad for a potential future club captain!
Blas Riveros: potential 84
Club: FC Basel
Now to solve the other big defensive problem: left back. Marcel Gaus has reached his 70 potential, while Paulo Otávio only has 74 potential, and is some way off reaching that. We want someone who can slot straight into the first team and stay there for years.
My suggestion is Blas Riveros of FC Basel in Switzerland. If you like to play attacking football, he’s the perfect wing back: pace, stamina and attacking prowess galore. That’s not to forget his amazing 84 potential, which will make him the most promising player at the club.
He does need to work on his defensive attributes, so give him a few training sessions here and there to get him up to speed. But once that’s sorted and he’s started growing towards his potential, he’ll be an incredible player for you.
He’ll cost £2.15m and his wages are £8,900.
Dylan Vente: potential 83
In Ingolstadt’s current squad, Darío Lezcano is fast and excellent in the air. However, he’s 27 and has reached his potential, so you’ll need to think about a replacement.
If you want a player in a similar vein, Dylan Vente of Feyenoord in Holland is perfect. The similarities are striking: Vente’s main strength lies in his combination of pace and aerial ability, just like Lezcano. You’ll be able to start off with the latter, getting used to his style of play, then slowly work in Vente as he develops until he’s ready to take over. And once he’s there, his 83 potential will have him develop into a goal-scoring machine.
Vente will cost you just £1,400,000, and his wages are £5,900.
Those transfers add up to £5,550,000, with £22,300 going towards wages. That means you’ll have £396,378 left in your transfer budget, and £1,121 left in wages. That’ll be enough to bring in a half-decent scout, but it’s always best to have more than that so you can invest in a high-quality scout or more players if you need to.
Fabijan Buntić isn’t hugely promising in goal with 71 potential; you can sell him for £170,000.
It’s the same story with Lukas Gerlspeck in defence. He can be sold for £200,000.
Finally, sell Moritz Hartmann and Stefan Lex for £1.4m and £975,000 respectively.
Those sales will get you just over £2.7m in total.
That’s it for this week’s article on good teams for career mode. A young club that’s less than 15 years old, Ingolstadt is the perfect team to create a legacy at. Can you turn them into a German powerhouse in a few short years?
One more thing!
If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining my Patreon community! You get early access to all my guides, extra career mode content, personalised video advice for your career, and loads more. Plus you help support the creation of more guides like this one. Any support is hugely appreciated!
Join the club!