31 October 2019 – New Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) season: The 2019-20 VBL Club Championship will kick off next Monday. For the second time, clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will determine who will be the German club champion in eFootball. Here is the key information about the competition, which DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and EA SPORTS launched in 2018:
The VBL Club Championship is entering its second season with defending champions SV Werder Bremen and 21 other clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. Compared with the previous season, SV Sandhausen and, due to the club’s relegation to 3. Liga, FC Ingolstadt 04 will no longer take part in the competition. FC St. Pauli and SV Wehen Wiesbaden are competing for the first time.
Overview of participants in the 2019-20 VBL Club Championship:
Bundesliga: FC Augsburg, Hertha Berlin, SV Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, 1. FC Köln, RB Leipzig, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1. FSV Mainz 05, Borussia Mönchengladbach, FC Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg
Bundesliga 2: DSC Arminia Bielefeld, VfL Bochum 1848, SV Darmstadt 98, SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Hamburger SV, Hannover 96, Holstein Kiel, 1. FC Nürnberg, FC St. Pauli, VfB Stuttgart, SV Wehen Wiesbaden
Format and rules
Until it ends in February 2020, the VBL Club Championship season will comprise a total of twenty-one matchdays of eleven fixtures each. These fixtures will be played with EA SPORTS FIFA 20, once again in “Davis Cup” format. This means that each match between two clubs will consist of three games. Two of these games will be played in one-on-one mode: one on the PlayStation 4 and one on the Xbox One; the third game will be played in two-on-two mode on the console of the home club’s choice. All participating clubs appoint a squad of between two and four players for the VBL Club Championship. EA SPORTS FIFA 20 again allows all clubs and players from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 to be played with. As in the previous season, the VBL Club Championship will be played “levelled off” – in other words, all of the players and teams will have the same aggregated player rating of 85.
For the first time, there is a fixed schedule for the matchdays and times of the VBL Club Championship: Until Christmas, the matches will be played on Mondays and Thursdays. After the winter break, the VBL Club Championship will be played on Wednesdays and Thursdays. “Featured matches” (see topic below) will be played on Thursdays. The complete calendar is available on the VBL website at virtual.bundesliga.com.
“Featured matches” and highlights
The VBL Club Championship games will be played as online matches, which can be streamed live via virtual.bundesliga.com. In addition, fans can watch the VBL Club Championship live at eSports.com. One highlight is the “featured matches” that take place once a week in a professional TV studio. These matches are broadcast exclusively on German free TV every Thursday – live, and as in the previous season – on ProSieben MAXX. The weekly live show will again be presented by Max Zielke alongside a rotating cast of commentators, experts and influencers from the eSport scene. As a new feature in the 2019-20 season, ProSieben MAXX will show two matches in simultaneous coverage. The broadcast will be followed by a highlights show with a 45-minute summary of further matches. VBL fans might then be able to see a German international in eFootball action: Diego Demme, midfielder at RB Leipzig, is part of the Bundesliga club’s VBL Club Championship squad.
Two players from each of the first six clubs in the final VBL Club Championship table will qualify directly for the VBL Grand Final in March 2020, which will bestow the title of “German eFootball Champion” on the victorious German player. This was won last year by Michael “MegaBit” Bittner from SV Werder Bremen, who thus secured the “double” and is playing for the North German club again this year. Two players from each of the clubs placed 7 to 16 in the VBL Club Championship – as well as the best players in the VBL Open, which is open to all individual players in Germany and will begin tomorrow, Friday – will take part in the VBL Playoffs, another route to potentially qualify for the VBL Grand Final.
A new trophy has been created for the second season of the VBL Club Championship. The design of the trophy is based on the Bundesliga’s Meisterschale. The V-shaped notches are a nod to the cursor that marks the player currently being controlled in EA SPORTS FIFA 20 and is also part of the VBL logo. The silver-coloured trophy, which has a diameter of around 50 centimetres, will be used as a travelling trophy, with the names of the victorious clubs engraved each time.
The new trophy was designed by the Hamburg agency MUTABOR. It will be awarded for the first time on 27 February 2020 as part of the broadcast of the final “featured match” of the VBL Club Championship on ProSieben MAXX. The winner of the single-player competition will be awarded an anthracite-coloured trophy at the VBL Grand Final in March 2020.
In 2012, the DFL became the first professional football league to have its own eSport competition when it launched the VBL in partnership with EA SPORTS. The VBL is still the only eSport competition of a professional football league to be directly integrated into the EA SPORTS FIFA game series. The VBL has enjoyed steadily growing popularity since its launch with around 130,000 participants taking part last season. In 2018, the decision to launch the VBL Club Championship was based on the increasing popularity of the VBL, the growing relevance of eSport in general and the DFL’s focus on football simulation games. Since then, the VBL Club Championship has continued to evolve.