23 June 2020 – The Virtual Bundesliga season is entering its final stages: The group phase of the VBL Grand Final by ING, hosted as an online tournament this year, starts tomorrow, Wednesday. The new German eFootball Champion will be crowned on Sunday.
All the key details about the Grand Final at a glance:
Which mode will be played?
The finals tournament, organised by DFL and EA SPORTS together with Grand Final partner ING, will be spread over several days. The competition will begin at 6:00 p.m. on 24 June with the group phase. The 24 participants who have qualified will compete in two groups of six per console, with the four best players in a group securing their place in the next round.
The round-of-sixteen matches will get the knockout phase of the tournament under way at 6:00 p.m. on 25 June. The participants who qualify from a group will cross over and play against the qualifiers from the other group on their respective console. After the first and second legs, the quarter-final matches will take place that same evening in order to determine the participants in the respective semi-finals – which simultaneously represent the console finals.
The matches will be played in ‘85 mode’, whereby all teams have the same player rating of 85 and therefore have essentially the same chances. In addition to the title of German eFootball Champion, there is total prize money of €45,000 at stake this year.
How can the finals tournament be watched?
This Sunday (28 June), one day after the last match day of the current 2019-20 Bundesliga season and before the last matches in Bundesliga 2, ProSieben MAXX will broadcast the finals on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One as well as the subsequent cross-console final live on German TV and on a live stream from 12:00 noon.
What was the route to the VBL Grand Final by ING?
Twelve of the total of 24 participants qualified back in February via the VBL Club Championship, a competition between clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. SV Werder Bremen not only celebrated its defence of the title, but also has the reigning German eFootball Champion in its ranks in the shape of Michael ‘MegaBit’ Bittner.
His team colleague Erhan ‘DrErhano’ Kayman qualified for the VBL Grand Final alongside him. The remaining qualifiers come from the teams representing SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, VfL Wolfsburg and VfL Bochum 1848. These teams occupied the first six places in the final table of the VBL Club Championship and are therefore entitled to put forward one player per console for the final.
The other half of the starting field for the VBL Grand Final by ING was decided on 8 March. Beforehand, 128 players had battled for a place in the individual final in the VBL Playoffs. These included two players from each of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs that had finished the VBL Club Championship in 7th to 16th place. Between November 2019 and January 2020, the other 108 players had qualified for the play-offs via the VBL Open mode in FIFA 20, including last year’s finalist and reigning world champion Mohammed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous.
What are the groups for the tournament?
The draw for the finals tournament resulted in the following groups:
What does the trophy look like?
The new trophy was designed as an update to the previous Virtual Bundesliga Trophy and in the style of the Bundesliga Trophy. The V-shaped notches are a nod to the cursor that marks the player currently being controlled in the game. The trophy is made of aluminium on the inside and will mainly have an anthracite finish on the outside.
About the Virtual Bundesliga:
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 with the clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 in addition to the VBL Open competition for individual players was taken in response to the increasing popularity of the VBL, the growing relevance of eSport in general and the DFL’s focus on football simulation games. The two competitions are brought together, first in the VBL Playoffs and then in the VBL Grand Final.