Who to Manage in FM18 | Eastern Europe | Football Manager 2018

In this Football Manager 2018 series the aim is to provide some inspiration for you to decide which club you will manage in game. We will hopefully put forward a larger selection of teams from some of the more popular regions and countries in the game.

We will be focussing on clubs with an interesting challenge (based on my own personal football knowledge) and therefore may not use a team from every country. The series will be split into several posts, each with a focus on a region. In this post, we will look at clubs to manage in eastern Europe.

Who to Manage in FM18 | Eastern Europe

Zenit Saint Petersburg | Russian Premier League


Zenit St Petersburg play in the Russian Premier League and are well known as one of the strongest Russian teams in recent years. In the 2007-08 season Zenit won the UEFA Cup and even went on to beat Manchester United to win next years UEFA Super Cup. Formed back in 1925, Zenit have won 4 Russian PL’s and 1 Soviet league title. What makes them an interesting challenge this year on FM is their recent acquisition of several Argentine players.

With the likes of Emanuel Mammana and Leandro Paredes in your ranks, Zenit could well be a fun little save as you chase European glory.

Trabzonspor | Turkish Super Lig


Trabzonspor are a Turkish Super Lig side with six Championship titles under their belt. Yet in recent times they have fallen below the likes of Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce in terms of their presence in Europe. Back in the late 70s Trabzonspor won 5 out of six titles between 75-81 and cemented their place in Turkish history. But they haven’t won a title since 1984, over 30 years ago.

Can you take Trabzonspor back to the top of Turkish football?

Hajduk Split | Croatian First League

HNK Hajduk

Hajduk Split, formed in 1911, play in the Croatian First League, the top tier of football in Croatia. Their recent history is littered with financial troubles. As recently as 2012, the club declared themselves in debt of 100 million Kunas which equates to around £12 Million. The club were to be declared bankrupt before fans intervened and helped secure a loan for their side. Hajduk consider themselves to be under continuous financial and managerial recovery.

For a financial challenge, give Hajduk a go. I even wrote a guide on them for the previous FM and so many of the details will remain the same. Check that out below.

Denav Ruse | Bulgarian First Professional League

Dunav Ruse

Denav Ruse are a current Bulgarian top tier club who were formed back in 1949 as a result of a merger between two local football clubs in Ruse. The club present themselves as a very interesting challenge on FM18 due to the fact that they have yet to win the top division in Bulgaria. Denav will also be competing in the 2017-18 Europa League qualifiers after finishing 4th last season (their equal highest finish in the top tier).

Are you the manager able to give Denav Ruse their first ever Bulgarian First League title?

Sandecja Nowy Sacz | Polish Ekstraklasa

Sandecja Nowy Sacz

Polish club Sandecja Nowy Sacz may well be a relatively unknown name to a large majority of people. However they are a considerably old footballing side who have competed in Polish football since their formation in 1910. Sandecja won promotion from the second tier of Poland to reach the Polish Ekstraklasa for the FIRST TIME IN THEIR HISTORY. This makes for a very fun challenge as you will face a difficult challenge in remaining in the Polish top tier.

Can you build up Sandecja to become a regular in the Ekstraklasa? Will you be able to fight off the challenge of Legia Warsaw to be crowned Poland’s best?

Cukaricki | Serbian SuperLiga


FK Cukaricki are a Serbian SuperLiga club that provide a fun challenge for this years FM18. The club are based in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, and were formed in 1926. Cukaricki have competed in the last three editions of the Europa League, falling in the 2nd Qualifying Round on all three occasions. This shows that, although not good enough for European football, the potential is there to turn this club into a top European team.

You’ll have to wait at least another season for European football as Cukaricki only finished in 9th place last season. Can you be the person to lead them to success in Serbia?

Zalaegerszeg TE | Hungarian Nemzeti Bajnoksag II

Zalaegerszeg TE.png

Zalaegerszeg Torna Egylet are a Hungarian club who currently play in the second tier of Hungarian football. Though never a real force domestically, ZTE have won the top tier Championships on one occasion. In 2001-02 ZTE secured their first, and only, Nemzeti Bajnoksag I title. Since then they have fallen back down to the second tier and, apart from a historic 1-0 win over Manchester United in the Champions League playoff (they went on to lose the two-legged match 5-1) and a Hungarian Cup final appearance, they have had little to celebrate.

Can you help Zalaegerszeg return to former glory and give their fans the success they crave?

Like this post? Find more teams to manage around Europe

Viitorul Constanta | Romanian Liga I

Viitoral Constanta.png

Here is your chance to create a legacy in Romania. Viitorul Constanta are a relatively new club as they were formed as recently as 2009. Last season the club won the Romanian Liga I, the top tier in Romania, for the first time in their history. Sure, it will be an incredibly difficult task to ever become the most successful club in Romania. Steaua Bucuresti claim that title with 26 Liga I’s to their name. But you could still dominate Romania for the years to come, and even make a charge towards European success.

Take on Viitorul on FM18! Are you able to build up the Romanian champions and breed success for the decades to come?

Naftan Novopolotsk | Belarusian Premier League

Naftan Novopolotsk

If you look at the Belarusian league table, you might think that Naftan Novopolotsk is an odd choice for a team to manage. Since their formation in 1963, the club has only two honours to their name, these being the Belarusian Cup. These were won in 2009 and 2012. It was on FM12 that I grew fond of the Navapolatsk based side as I took them to Europa League glory within 10 years. I built up my squad by scouting all over the world for exciting young players before selling them on for profit.

It was a save in which I also took charge of the Belarusian national side, often playing the foreign youngsters who had gained our nationality. Is this your type of save? Can you transform a luckless Naftan into Belarusian champions?

Maribor | Slovenian PrvaLiga


NK Maribor play in the Slovenian PrvaLiga, the top tier in the footballing pyramid. The club are the most successful in Slovenian football, having won 14 league titles and nine Slovenian Cups. Your job will be to grow the side to become one of Europe’s giants. Maribor have played close to 150 matches across all of the various European competitions and will be present in the 2017-2018 Champions League.

Can you win the Champions League with the team from Slovenia? Maribor have reached no further than the group stages in the CL, can you take them further?

Hapoel Tel Aviv | Israeli Liga Leumit

Hapoel Tel Aviv

Hapoel Tel Aviv, known across Europe for some startling European performances (beating teams such as Chelsea, AC Milan, PSG and Celtic; all since 1995), were relegated to the second tier of Israeli football last season. They were deducted nine points as a result of financial troubles and were unable to survive the drop. As one of Israel’s most successful teams, they need to find a way to return to Europe.

Can you lead a downtrodden Israeli club back to their former European glory days? Will you repeat the feats of Hapoel heroes of the past and beat teams like PSG on a regular basis?

Panathinaikos | Greek Superleague


Panathinaikos are the oldest active club currently playing football in Greece. Founded in 1908, Panathinaikos play in the top tier of Greek football and are one of three teams never to have been relegated to the tier below. As with the majority of our top domestic sides, Europe is something you will aim to conquer. Panathinaikos have a rich history when it comes to Europe. They were the unlucky side that lost the 1971 European Cup final to Ajax, the side which contained the 1971 Ballon d’Or winner Johan Cruyff.

Are you the manager capable of taking Panathinaikos one step further? Linked below is an FM17 club guide to the Greek giants. Go and check it out if you are interested in this challenge!

Shakhtar Donetsk | Ukrainian Premier League

Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk are arguably the greatest Ukrainian side of the century. They have won all ten of their Premier League titles in the 21st century, as well as 9 Ukrainian Cups. To add to this impressive stats the club also became only the second club from Ukraine to win a European competition by winning the UEFA Cup in 2009. Shakhtar are only 5 titles behind Dynamo Kiev and will be determined to overtake their rivals.

Would you be able to manage Shakhtar for long enough to become the greatest side in the Ukrainian Premier League history? Or will Dynamo Kiev make a resurgence?

Not enough choices? Here are some more Who to Manage guides!

Inter Bratislava | Slovak 2. Liga

Inter Bratislava

Our fourteenth and final club of this rather long Who to Manage post sees us travel to Slovakia. Here we find possibly my favourite challenge of this post: Inter Bratislava. FK Inter won the Slovak Super Liga two years in a row back in the 1999-2001 seasons. But a rather sad fall from grace, largely due to financial reasons, saw them demoted to the 6th tier of Slovak football. Amazingly, Inter have earned 4 promotions in 7 seasons to see them rise back to the second tier.

Wouldn’t it be great to see the club win the Slovak Super Liga again? From riches to rags to riches. Can you take them there?

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Thank you very much for reading our ‘Eastern Europe’ post in this Football Manager 2018 series ‘Who to Manage in FM18’. Let me know your thoughts on the clubs mentioned by leaving a comment!

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