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10 Non-English Lower League challenges to do on FM22


10 Non-English Lower League challenges to do on FM22

10 lower league teams to manage in FM22 that are not from England.

There are some great lower league new save ideas for FM 22 from England, however, in continental Europe, there are also some brilliant new save ideas that should be fun for all Football Manager 2022 players. So without further ado, here are 10 non-English Lower League challenges to do on FM22.

SC Bastia

FM22 Bastia

The first lower league challenge from overseas comes in the shape of SC Bastia in France. The Corsican club were founded in 1905 and after six decades playing in the lower echelons of French football finally reached Ligue 1 for the first time in the 1968/69 season. This was the first of twenty consecutive seasons Bastia would spend in Ligue 1.

I Turchini (Corsican for “The Blues”) recorded their highest-ever classification in the 1976/77 season, finishing 3rd thus qualifying them for the 1977/78 UEFA Cup. However, Bastia’s fairytale ride was not finished at that moment.

Not only did Bastia qualify for European competition in the shape of the UEFA Cup, they went all the way to the final in their debut season in Europe. After seeing off Sporting CP, Newcastle United, Torino FC, FC Carl Zeiss Jena and Grasshopper Zurich en-route, Bastia would then lose 3-0 over two legs in the final against Dutch heavyweights PSV Eindhoven.

Coupe de France winners in 1980/81, this remains the only major honour in the Corsican club’s history. Recent times have been hard, financial difficulties saw the club relegated to the fifth tier of French football (Championnat National 3) for 2017/18. However, three consecutive promotions between 2018/19 and 2020/21 see the club return to the third tier. How far can you now take Bastia? Back to Ligue 1, back to European football? A first Ligue 1 title for a Corsican club?

READ ALSO: 10 English Lower League Teams to Manage on FM22

CE Europa

FM22 CE Europa

The next lower league challenge from outside comes from Spain and from the city of Barcelona. Spain’s second-largest city behind Madrid is of course most famous footballing-wise for FC Barcelona, one half of the famous El Clasico duo. RCD Espanyol may not have the titles Blaugrana have, nonetheless, the two clubs share a fierce rivalry and both clubs were founding members of La Liga in 1929.

However, of La Liga’s 10 founding member clubs, there was a 3rd club from the city of Barcelona, CE Europa. Founded in 1907 and based in the Gracia district of the city, CE Europa had the best period in their history during the 1920s when they finished runners-up in the 1923 Copa del Rey final in addition to winning the 1922/23 Campionat de Catalunya (Catalan Championship).

Based on their impressive 1920’s performances the Spanish Football Federation invited them to be one of the founding 10 members of La Liga. CE Europa managed to stay in La Liga for its first three seasons before being relegated in 1930/31. They have never returned to the top flight of Spanish football since. Most of their history has been spent in the 4th and 5th tiers and for 2021/22 they will play in the newly reorganised fourth tier of Spanish football, the Segunda Division RFEF.

CE Europa have been placed into Group C of the five division regionalised Spanish fourth tier. With a 7,000 capacity Nou Sardenya stadium and a base in a huge city like Barcelona, can you lead CE Europa up the Spanish football ladder? If you really want a challenge in FM22, why not try and take them back to La Liga in time for the 2028/29 season, the 100th anniversary of the foundation of La Liga. This will require three promotions in eight seasons.

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SD Formentera

FM22 Formentera

The next challenge sees us stay in Group Three of the Segunda Division RFEF and head east from Barcelona to the Balearic Islands and SD Formentera. Founded in 1971, SD Formentera are based in the eponymous island of the same name and in the city of Sant Francesc Xavier, the largest settlement on the smallest of the populated Balearic Islands.

SD Fomentera’s highest-ever classification in their history came in the 2017/18 season when they played in the then-third tier of Spanish football, the Segunda Division B. They only lasted one season at this level, however, and returned to the fourth tier after just one season. However, they did have a fantastic run to the Round of Sixteen in that campaign’s Copa del Rey.

On the way to that Round of Sixteen defeat, the club arguably achieved the greatest result in their history, defeating La Liga’s Athletic Club de Bilbao in the Round of 32 by an aggregate score of 2-1. Their brilliant cup run ended with a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Alaves, another La Liga outfit.

This is the perfect definition of an underdog challenge as you will see. Sant Francesc Xavier has a population of just 2,790 inhabitants. The whole island of Formentera has a population of just 12,111 inhabitants. Your stadium has a capacity of just 500. It is an ultimate challenge of coaching as it's likely your budgets and capacity for growth will understandably be very restricted. How far up the Spanish calendar can you take SD Formentera? Can you make them the top club from the Balearics?

READ ALSO: Hardest Teams to Manage on Football Manager 2022

FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin

FM22 FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin

The next non-English lower league new save idea comes from Germany and in the shape of FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin. This club is a newly created club formed in the summer of 2013 courtesy of an agreed merger between BFC Viktoria 1889 and Lichterfelder FC.

BFC Viktoria were one of Germany’s more successful clubs pre-World War One. BFC Viktoria was a founding member of the German Football Association (DFB) in 1900. With the exception of 1910, between 1907 and 1911, BFC Viktoria appeared in the German championship finals winning two (1908 and 1911) and finishing as runners-up (1907 and 1909). In addition, the club also won 13 Berlin/Brandenburg regional championships between 1893 and 1919.

The newly-merged FC Viktoria 1889 Berlin won the fourth-tier Regionalliga Nordost in 2020/21 thus winning promotion to professional and fully-national football in the 3. Bundesliga for 2021/22. Playing out of the 10,000 capacity Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, the idea behind the merger of BFC Viktoria and Lichterfelder was to create the third largest Berlin football club behind Hertha BSC and 1 FC Union Berlin. Could you take this team a step further and rank them best club in Berlin?

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Olbia Calcio 1905

FM22 Olbia

Next, we head to Italy and the third tier Italian Serie C Group B for our next club. When one thinks of football on the island of Sardinia, one instantly mentions Cagliari Calcio, Serie A champions in 1969/70 and near ever-presents in Italy’s top flight since the new millennium. The next lowest-ranked Sardinian club in the Italian football pyramid is Olbia Calcio 1905.

Originally founded in 1905 but then re-founded as a phoenix club in 2010 after the original incarnation hit financial troubles, Olbia spent three seasons in the regionalised Sardinian leagues between 2010/11 and 2012/13 before winning promotion to Serie D for 2013/14. Three seasons were once again all it took I Bianchi (The Whites) to win promotion to Serie C Group B, which they did for season 2016/17 and have remained there ever since.

Can you create a challenger to Cagliari’s dominance on the island of Sardinia? Cagliari is the largest city by population on the island, whereas Olbia is the 4th largest by population. Overhauling Cagliari as the top Sardinian club has to be the overall objective of this new save if you choose to do it.

READ ALSO: Teams With the Worst Finances in FM 2022  

ACR Messina

FM22 Messina

Staying in Italy for our next club we head South East of Sardinia to Italy’s other famous heavily populated and large island, Sicily. When one thinks of Sicilian clubs both Palermo and Catania come to mind, two clubs who until the mid-2010s were both frequent Serie A participants. It is easy to therefore overlook another Sicilian club who have had spells in Italy’s top flight, ACR Messina.

Founded in 1900, ACR Messina hail from the eponymous city, which behind Palermo and Catania is the third-largest in Sicily and is located in the North East of the island near the Strait of Messina, which separates Sicily from the Italian mainland and the city of Reggio Calabria. The club have played in Serie A for a total of five seasons, the three most recent being consecutive seasons (2004/05 to 2006/07). However, since being relegated to Serie B for 2007/08, the club have yet to return to Serie A.

Worst still, ACR Messina have endured two bankruptcies and reformations (2009 and 2017) since their last spell in the Italian top flight. The club’s last season in Serie A (2006/07) was actually the only time in history that all three of Messina, Palermo and Catania were in Serie A.

Fast-forward to 2021/22 and all three of Messina, Palermo and Catania are in Serie C Group C. This adds a fascinating extra incentive to this challenge. Not only should you be looking to get Messina up to Serie A once more, but can you beat both Palermo and Catania and reach Italy’s top flight before both your Sicilian rivals?

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Kelty Hearts FC

FM22 Kelty Hearts

The next challenge is a Scottish one and comes from the newest club in the Scottish Football League pyramid in the shape of Kelty Hearts FC. Founded in 1975 and based in the village of Kelty in the county of Fife, Kelty Hearts only became a full member of the Scottish Football Association in 2017, a membership which allowed the club to enter the Scottish footballing pyramid and look to eventually one day enter professional football.

That date of entry into professional football came in May 2021. For the 2020/21 season, Kelty Hearts were playing in the Lowland Football League, alongside the Highland Football League, the highest level of non-league football in Scotland and the country’s fifth tier. In March 2021, the Lowland Football League season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic and due to Kelty Hearts leading the table at the time, the club were declared the winners of the division.

This classification advanced the club to the Scottish Football League promotion play-offs. Here Kelty Hearts defeated Highland Football League winners Brora Rangers FC 6-1 on aggregate over two legs. Due to this, Kelty Hearts then advanced to a two-legged promotion-relegation play-off against Brechin City who finished bottom of Scotland’s fourth tier League Two. Once again, Kelty proved their playoff worth, defeating Brechin 3-1 on aggregate over two legs to win promotion to the Scottish Football League for the first time.

Kelty Hearts will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former non-league Scottish clubs Edinburgh City and Cove Rangers who won promotion to the Scottish Football League and who since promotion have avoided dropping back into non-league and have stabilised in the pyramid. How much further can you take Kelty Hearts, already at their highest point in history?

READ ALSO: The best Fallen Giants to restore in FM 22  

RFC Liege

FM22 RFC Liege

Club number eight on this list comes from Belgium and all the way down in the country’s third tier Belgian First Amateur Division. This club despite this lowly standing are instantly recognisable for actions on and off the pitch in Belgian sport. This club is RFC Liege.

Founded in 1895, the club is the fourth oldest in Belgium and was formed under the name FC Liegeois and only changed to its current name in 1920. RFC Liege won the first-ever Belgian championship in 1895/96 and have won five titles in total (1895/96, 1897/98, 1898/99, 1951/52 and 1952/53). In fact, RFC Liege won all of their five league titles before their city rivals, ten-time Belgian champions Standard Liege won their first Belgian title in 1957/58.

On the back of winning the only Belgian Cup in their history in 1989/90, RFC Liege then hit controversy off the pitch. The club demanded a transfer fee for out of contract player Jean-MarcBosman and refused to let him leave to join USL Dunkerque in the French second tier. Bosman then began legal proceedings against the Belgian Football Association, RFC Liege and UEFA in the European Court of Justice. In 1995, the court ruled in Bosman’s favour and thus the Bosman ruling came into being.

Worse was to come for RFC Liege when they lost their home stadium since 1919, the Stade Velodrome de Rocourt. The stadium was sold to property developers and demolished in 1995. The club also tumbled down the Belgian football pyramid, even at one stage playing in the regionalised fourth tier.

After a turbulent last three decades, can you now provide this famous club with some stability and start to bring them back up the pyramid once more? Reaching the top tier Belgian Pro League 1A and reviving the Liege derby with Standard is an absolute must objective to aim for.

Baltika Kaliningrad

FM22 Baltika Kaliningrad

We next head to Russia and the second tier Football National League (FNL) where you are tasked with taking charge of Russian football’s most westerly club, Baltika Kaliningrad. Founded in 1954, Baltika only ever got as high as the third tier Soviet Second League during the USSR era.

Upon the first season of professional football in Russia in 1992, Baltika still found themselves at the third tier, however, two promotions in the space of four seasons saw them reach the Russian Premier League for the 1996 season, their debut season in the top flight. Three seasons were spent at this level, the highest finish being 7th place in 1996 before Baltika were relegated to the second tier at the end of the 1998 season. A level which with the exception of two seasons (2002 and 2005) they have remained ever since.

The city of Kaliningrad is the largest city of the eponymous oblast sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland and was a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. With a brand-new stadium built for Baltika post-tournament at your disposal, this is a club which has potential to establish itself in Russia’s top flight. Can you achieve this with Baltika? Winning promotion from the second tier FNL and experiencing the twice annual infamous match against fellow second tier side SKA Khabarovsk, a side based out in the Russian Far East is a unique introduction to any save with Baltika.

Associacao Academica de Coimbra

FM22 Academica Coimbra

Our final lower league challenge from outside England comes from Portugal and its second tier Liga Portugal 2 in the shape of Associacao Academica de Coimbra or just Academica for short. Founded in 1887, the club is the oldest association football club in Portugal and a member of the Club of Pioneers group.

The club’s foundation has its links with the Student association with the University of Coimbra, one of the world’s oldest universities. Because of this, one of Academica’s nicknames is Os Estudantes (The Students). Academica has spent a total of 63 seasons in the top tier of Portuguese football, were founding members of the first-ever Portuguese national league in 1934/35 and their highest finish came in the 1966/67 season when they finished runners-up to SL Benfica by just three points.

Academica were relegated out of the Portuguese top flight at the end of the 2015/16 season and have stayed in the second tier in Portugal ever since. This is a fun save for a variety of reasons. Academica have won two Portuguese Cups in 1938/39 and 2011/12 but never the league title, so it’s a club which falls into the category of FM challenges where one can win a first league title.

With a 30,210 capacity stadium in the shape of the Estadio Cidade de Coimbra at your disposal, this is a club which should be back in Portugal’s top flight. Can you take them back there and then once there take the fight to the Big Three of Portuguese football and challenge them for trophies?


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FM Blog: 10 Non-English Lower League challenges to do on FM22
10 Non-English Lower League challenges to do on FM22
Here are 10 non-English Lower League challenges to do on FM22 from the continental Europe. Saves ideas for all Football Manager 2022 players.
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