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5 Eastern European Clubs To Bring Back To Continental Success In FM20

5 Eastern European Clubs To Bring Back To Continental Success In FM20In recent years clubs from Eastern Europe are finding continental success more difficult to come by. With their Western counterparts splashing big money on the best players out there, clubs from the ex-communist block, or from South-Eastern Europe, have become restricted to the early phases of the Champions League and the Europa League.

Clubs from only 5 nations (Spain, England, Germany, Italy and Portugal) have won European trophies in the past 10 years, while clubs from the Eastern half of the continent have only played one final of the Europa League (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 2014-2015). In the Champions League the situation is even worse, with no Eastern European club getting past the quarter-finals since the 1998-1999 season. More than that, last year, no Eastern European club has made it out of the group stages of UCL.

So, if you’re looking for a challenge, here are 5 Eastern European clubs that have tasted continental glory in the past, but have since failed to challenge the status quo of the West.

1. Red Star Belgrade – Serbian First League


Marko Marin FM20
Former wonderkid Marko Marin will be your key player at Red Star.

The last, and just second, Eastern European club to win the European Cup/UEFA Champions League. That was way back in 1991 when they were representing Yugoslavia. Since then, Crvena Zvezda, as it’s called in Serbian, have remained a national football powerhouse, winning 11 domestic titles, but failed to make any impact on the European stage, only reaching the group stages of the Champions League and the round of 32 in the Europa League in recent years.

With very limited finances and playing in a less reputable league, attracting foreign talent will be hard, but they can produce great talent in their academy, the challenge is to keep those players at the club and fend off scouts, agents and fellow managers from the top clubs in the West. This should be your main focus if you want to make the Red Star shine over Europe again.

2. FCSB (Steaua Bucharest) – Romanian First League


FCSB (Steaua Bucharest)
FCSB was the first Eastern European club to win the European Champions Cup.

Back in 1986, Steaua (which just like Zvezda, also means “star”) was the first Eastern European club to win the European Cup, after legendary goalkeeper Helmuth Duckadam saved 4 penalty kicks in a row, in the shootout against Barcelona.

Like Red Star, Steaua remains on high horses domestically and have reached the European Cup final once more in 1989, but after the fall of communism, they haven’t managed to get past the group stages in the Champions League, but their best European performance was reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in the 2005-2006 season. With a young and talented squad, and the capability of producing good regens and also attracting the best domestic players, FCSB can be a fun challenge for the experienced FMers.

3. Galatasaray – Turkish First League


Radamel "El Tigre" Falcao FM20
Radamel "El Tigre" Falcao during his prime was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.

The Turkish giant has won the UEFA Cup back in 1999-2000 and since then has mounted a few inspiring European campaigns, but never managed to reach a final once more, only getting to the quarter finals on a couple of occasions.

An easier challenge, compared to Red Star or Steaua, it will still be a tough nut to crack, perhaps the Europa League being a more manageable target for Galatasaray. Turkish football has been on a descending trend in recent years, but the big Istanbul clubs, which Galatasaray is a part of, can produce tremendous young players and also can still attract some foreign stars to help you mount your challenge.
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4. Shakhtar Donetsk - Ukrainian First League


Eugene Konoplyanka FM20
Eugene Konoplyanka will be your key man with the Ukrainian club.

Shakhtar triumphed in the last outing the UEFA Cup in its old format, the 2008-2009 edition. Masterminded by Romanian manager Mircea Lucescu, who envisioned a combined Ukraine-Brazil squad, Shakhtar have continued this trend with no less than 10 Brazilians players in their ranks. Since winning the UEFA Cup 10 years ago, the Miners have managed to get to the semis of the new Europa League once, and the quarter finals of the Champions League twice.

With a great squad at your disposal and some money to spare, you should continue the Shakhtar policy of avoiding big name signings and concentrate on Ukrainian talent, spiced up by the flamboyant Brazilians. For a good FM'er, the Europa League should be easy pickings, but the real challenge would be the Champions League. Do you have what it takes?

5. Zenit St. Petersburg – Russian First League


Malcolm FM20
Can you get the most out of Malcolm, one of the most signed wonderkids in last few FM's.

Zenit got their European stripes in 2007-2008, when they became the second Russian club to win the UEFA Cup (after CSKA Moscow in 2004-2005). Since then, Zenit only got to the round of 16 in the Champions League and the quarter finals of the Europa League, but ambitions are high in the former imperial capital of Russia. With tons of cash provided by the gas giant Gazprom, playing in the most reputable league on this list and with you at their helm, Zenit should become a force to be reckoned with by the Western clubs.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but all the pieces are in place for you to bring the first Champions League trophy in Russia: a good squad, good club reputation, good league reputation, great finances and a good youth setup.

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FM BLOG: 5 Eastern European Clubs To Bring Back To Continental Success In FM20
5 Eastern European Clubs To Bring Back To Continental Success In FM20
List of top five Eastern European clubs that would be a great challenge to mange in FM20. Can you bring this former European greats to continental success in FM2020?
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