To give all your players a chance to train in the right position, practice games are always an option if you're not playing in the cup. Often they are used to let the reserves play and train, but they can also be a good way to test and train new formations and orders. Or why not challenge your best friend for bragging rights.
Getting a friendly
The easiest way to get a friendly is to add your team to the friendly pool on the challenge page. Choose what kind of match and opponent you would like, and then the pool will automatically match your team against another team and book a friendly (as soon as you meet the criteria set by a team that matches your criteria).
As long as you are out of the cup, and have not already booked a friendly, you can challenge any opponents that are also without a game. Some teams may be unavailable for challenges due to their preferences or Manager License status.
All of your challenges (including ones from teams who have challenged you) are shown on the "Challenges" page. Once a friendly has been arranged, it will appear on the fixtures page, and you can select your team in the normal fashion.
Season break friendlies
During weeks 15 and 16 of the season you will also be able to play friendlies during the weekend as long as they do not clash with a qualification match.
During this period, challenging someone for a friendly will work a little differently. When making the challenge, a drop down will appear where you can select if the challenge is for a mid-week or weekend friendly.
The challenge window for weekend matches, no matter if they are international or domestic, will be from Monday at 06:00 to Friday at 23:59. It is not possible to arrange those matches through the friendly pool and they will have to be arranged manually.
Friendly match types
There are two types of friendly games: normal and cup rules. With cup rules the match is decided after extra time (and perhaps penalties) if there's a tie after full time.
You can choose to play abroad, or invite a team from another country to your stadium. If you are playing abroad, the game will be played at the stadium local match time. For example, if you are playing in Portugal, the game will be played at the regular Portuguese Wednesday match time (i.e. 9:45pm Central European Time CET).
Regardless of where you'll be traveling your team will be leaving at 6:00pm (CET) on Tuesday and return by 8:00am (CET) on Thursday. International friendlies must be booked by Tuesday at the latest, and you can't book a new friendly at all until your team has returned home on Thursday. If your team didn't play an international friendly, you can start booking an international friendly for the next week at 6:00am on Thursday.
Each travel abroad will cost you 6 000 US$, but international friendlies tend to attract more fans.
The crowd turnout for a friendly is considerably less than for a competitive game. Friendlies with cup rules attract more than normal friendlies, and international friendlies attract even more.
Confidence and team spirit are not affected, nor are fans or their mood. However, the injury risk isn't reduced just because it's a friendly.
Playing on neutral ground
If you want to play a friendly without either team getting the home team advantage, you can choose to play on neutral ground. But if you play in an stadium in your own region, you will still get the home team advantage (even if you are listed as the away team). The stadium owner will not earn any money from these friendlies.
No matter where you choose to play, any match played against a foreign team is considered to be an international friendly.