There is only one way for my Official Fantasy Bundesliga team right now, and that is up! With 2,510 points, I've worked my way up to 13th in the overall standings. My declared aim over the final nine match days is to edge into the top ten of the final classification, and I'm confident I will succeed.
What makes me so optimistic? Well, I've developed three golden rules over the course of the first 25 match days which everybody should adhere to, and then you can also aspire to make up plenty of ground heading down the final straight of the season.
Rule number one: be patient with transfers
When the transfer window opens each Monday, I first take a look at all my alternatives. Which players do I need to sell due to injuries or suspension? Who's been letting me down of late, or who has a tough fixture ahead? Those become my candidates to be sold. After this, I consider which three players would fit in my team well for the coming match day. This selection process can last a whole week, and undergo many changes – but this is not a problem because you do not need to confirm the transfers until the deadline! You should leave that until as late as possible.
For me, it has become something of a ritual to wait until 19:30CEST/17:30GMT on a Friday evening when the line-ups for the first fixture of the weekend are announced, and then I finalise my squad planning. That way, I can react to any last-minute injuries or surprises in the line-ups for the first game of the weekend. Believe me, it is worth it!
Rule number two: cover all the kick-off times
Picking your captain is one of the most important decisions you will make and to get the most you possibly can out of the double points on offer for your captain, you should bear in mind all the different kick-off times for the fixtures. Ideally, you will have alternatives for each and every kick-off time!
That way, you can name a captain for the Friday night game and if their performance is not up to scratch, you can change it for Saturday and so on. That gives you a total of five different chances to boost your captain's bonus. This is an option you really need to use because even Robert Lewandowski has an off-day once in a while, and this way you have other candidates up your sleeve.
Rule number three: give everybody a chance
Most teams in the Bundesliga have a degree of tactical flexibility which enables them to mutate during matches, and your Fantasy team must be equally adaptable. This is important as it allows you to give all of your players a chance each match day to pick up as many points as possible. So, for example, if you are playing a 4-3-3 system and four of your five midfielders are in action at 15:30CEST/13:30GMT on a Saturday, it means you have to leave one of your midfielders on the bench – and what if he goes and plays the game of his life?
This is a scenario you really need to avoid so when you are making your transfers, always bear in mind when each player will be in action and what system you want to play. If all four of your midfielders do play at the same time, then it is not a problem playing with a 3-4-3, for example, because then you still have three players you can sub in for other games, allowing you to replace your worst-performing player from Saturday afternoon. The same applies, of course, to all the positions in your team. It may make your transfer dealings a little bit more complicated, but it is definitely worth it – I promise you!
So I have a little challenge for you: go away and employ my three golden rules and see if you can get at least an additional 800 points between now and the end of the season. Good luck!