Six Long-Term Challenges to Smash on FM21

With the nights drawing in, there are few better feelings than getting stuck into a long-term Football Manager save. Whether it’s ending an unwanted continental record or rising up the divisions, there are challenges out there for every manager. Here are six of our favourite long-term challenges for you to smash in FM21…

Six Long-Term Challenges to Smash on FM21

1.FC Kaiserslautern

Two decades is a long time in football. In 1998, 1.FC Kaiserslautern became the first-ever promoted side to win the Bundesliga in their debut season. 20 years later, they were relegated to the 3.Liga for the first time. 

In their two full seasons in Germany’s third tier, Die roten Teufel have finished 9th and 10th respectively but this season they find themselves precariously close to an unprecedented drop to Germany’s regional divisions. 

This is a challenge perfect for a manager who loves to restore a former powerhouse. Your first season in charge will call for stability and then it’s time to push on and take their passionate fanbase along with you every step of the way. Two promotions will take you back to the Bundesliga and then you can start dreaming of adding to that famous title win 22 years ago.

3 Liga


Over the last few years, Sassuolo have successfully established themselves as a mid-table side in Italy’s top-flight. Given that they only reached that level for the first time in 2013, that’s good going in anyone’s book. 

Last season the Emilio Romagna-based outfit finished eighth and they’ve continued that upward trajectory in their centenary campaign, with a highly impressively start to this season. The Neroverdi have a fun squad too, with experienced campaigners Pedro Obiang, Francesco Magnanelli and Vlad Chiriches sitting alongside prospects Nicolás Schiappacasse, Jeremie Boga and Kaan Ayhan.

Although it would be lovely (and exactly the sort of thing FM was built for), a fairytale title triumph this season might be a little out of reach. However, if you can get the most out of that squad, there’s no reason why you can’t pick up some silverware and continue to break new ground in the seasons to come.


FC Schalke 04

Based in Gelsenkirchen, formerly known as ‘The City of a Thousand Fires’, FC Schalke 04 are one of Germany’s most successful clubs, with seven league titles and five German cups to their credit. Their last DfB-Pokal win came nine years ago and, for the most part, the 2010s were a positive decade. However, the last couple of years haven’t gone well for The Royal Blues, with Schalke finishing 14th and 12th respectively and at the time of writing they were mired in the relegation picture. 

When you take the reins at the Veltins-Arena, deep in Germany’s industrial heartland, you’ll need to add steel to your backroom and backline. On paper, it’s a lovely squad and one we’ve had our eyes on for a while featuring Ahmed Kutucu, Rabbi Matondo, Malick Thiaw and Ozan Kabak. First order of business will be pushing clear of the drop and then it’s time to kick on up the table and secure a return to continental action. The narrative of pipping Dortmund to win a first league title since 1958 writes itself.


For the second time in six years, Hearts find themselves in the Scottish Championship. As Edinburgh’s oldest club and one of the most successful in Scottish football history, they’ll be hoping this stint in the second tier is as brief as the last one, when they won 27 out of 36 league games, scoring 96 goals in the process. 

You won’t have the chance to break that tally in your first season as Jambos boss, as there’s only 27 games this time round, but achieving promotion should, we repeat should, be relatively routine with the division’s best squad at your disposal. With that title under your belt in season one, it’s then time to right some of those wrongs and reestablish the club as a successful Scottish Premiership outfit.

Dominate the capital, and then dominate the Old Firm. In case you were wondering, the last time a team other than Celtic or Rangers won the Premiership title was in 1985. No pressure then… 


AJ Auxerre

AJ Auxerre are known as Les Diplomats but you'll need more than diplomacy if you're to turn around the club's fortunes.

The latter decades of the 20th century were a period of steady growth for AJ Auxerre as they established themselves as Ligue 1 Uber Eats regulars and won both the French Cup and league title in the mid-1990s. The new millennium hasn't been kind to the club though and they have gradually slid down the table and were relegated to Domino’s Ligue 2 in 2012.

Since then, they’ve rarely looked like returning to the promised land of the top division. Your first job at Stade de l'Abbé-Deschamps is shaping a squad capable of challenging for, and achieving, promotion. Staying in Uber Eats Ligue 1 won’t be straightforward but once you’re established again, your sights should be set on a European return and the ultimate goal of displacing Paris Saint-Germain and bringing some silverware home for Les Diplomats. 


The Terras were one of the most popular English non-league sides among our players in FM20 and we foresee that continuing in a big way in FM21.

The South Coast outfit have had their fair share of ups and downs in recent times but after back-to-back promotions they find themselves in the Vanarama National League for the first time since 2009. 

Although we’re sure some of you will be gunning for three straight seasons of promotion, your sole focus in your first campaign at the Bob Lucas Stadium is avoiding relegation. Then it’s time for this to become the perfect ‘started from the bottom’ save, as you rise up the English footballing pyramid, bring through generations of Wonderkids and establish your legacy. 

We hope you’ve got some inspiration from here for some long-term journeys in FM21. Let us know where your going via our social media channels.


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