On 16 January 2019, the VBL Club Championship – newly founded by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and EA SPORTS – will kick off as part of the TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga (VBL). Twenty-two clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will compete to be the first ever German club champions in eFootball.
Up until the end of the season in March 2019, the participating teams, thirteen from the Bundesliga and nine from Bundesliga 2, will play 21 matches (no return matches). Each match will be played in the “Davis Cup” format. Two 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. The same number of points will be awarded for each win, meaning that the final number of points will be the sum of the results of all three matches. At the latest 48 hours before each match day, the participating clubs will be required to name the appointed players from their VBL Club Championship squad. These players then have to be assigned to the three fixtures taking place on a match day. The VBL Club Championship will be “levelled off” – in other words, all players and teams will have the same aggregated player rating of 85. This means the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs can be represented by their own virtual, authentic Bundesliga team without any competitive advantage or disadvantage.
The players from the first six clubs in the final VBL Club Championship table qualify directly for the VBL Grand Final in May 2019, which will bestow the title of “VBL Champion” on the victorious player. Players from the clubs placed 7 to 16 will take part in the VBL play-offs, another route to potentially qualify for the VBL Grand Final.
In 2012, the DFL became the first professional football league to have its own eFootball competition when it launched the VBL in partnership with EA SPORTS. The VBL was also the first competition of a professional league to be integrated directly in the EA SPORTS FIFA game series. Since its launch, the VBL has enjoyed steadily growing popularity and now has more than 150,000 participants.
Overview of participants of the 2018-19 VBL Club Championship:
Bundesliga: FC Augsburg, Hertha BSC, SV Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hannover 96, RB Leipzig, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1. FSV Mainz 05, Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1. FC Nürnberg, FC Schalke 04, VfB Stuttgart, VfL Wolfsburg.
2. Bundesliga: DSC Arminia Bielefeld, VfL Bochum 1848, SV Darmstadt 98, SpVgg Greuther Fürth,Hamburger SV, FC Ingolstadt 04, Holstein Kiel, 1. FC Köln, SV Sandhausen.