The 2019-20 VBL Club Championship will kick off on 4 November 2019 as part of the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL). The competition organised by the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and EA SPORTS FIFA for clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 was first held in the previous season – now the defending champions SV Werder Bremen and 21 other clubs from the top two German tiers are entering the second season. Compared with last year, 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 taking part for the first time. Also, the DFL and 7Sports (ProSiebenSat.1 Group) have extended their exclusive media partnership. Fans will be able to follow the VBL Club Championship 2019-20 live on ProSieben MAXX (Germany), eSports.com and virtual.bundesliga.com.
Andreas Heyden, EVP Digital Innovations DFL Group: „In the 2019-20 season, we will make the VBL Club Championship even more attractive. We are delighted to see a broad field of 22 clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 take part in the competition and are also pleased to have ProSiebenSat.1 as our live TV partner once again.”
Up until the end of the season in February 2020, the teams – eleven clubs from the Bundesliga; eleven from Bundesliga 2 – will play twenty-one matchdays of eleven fixtures each (no return fixtures, but a two-week winter break). Each fixture will be played with EA SPORTS FIFA 20 in the “Davis Cup” format. Two 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.
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. Two players from each of the clubs placed 7 to 16 will take part in the VBL Playoffs, another route to potentially qualify for the VBL Grand Final. As in the previous season, the VBL Club Championship will be played “leveled off” – in other words, all of the players and teams will have the same aggregated player rating of 85.
The VBL Club Championship games will be played as online matches. In addition, selected games will be broadcast as “Featured Matches” on free-to-air German TV channel ProSieben MAXX. All matches of the VBL Club Championship can also be streamed live via the VBL website. For the first time, there will be 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 take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
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. 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.
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