Wolfsburg became the first football club in the world to sign an e-sport player in May 2015, and an increasing number of Bundesliga outfits are now following in the Wolves' footsteps.

Schalke, Stuttgart and RB Leipzig are the latest teams looking to spread the German top flight’s dominance on the pitch to the interactive world by recruiting talented FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer players.

Last year, the Royal Blues went a step further by becoming only the second professional sports club in history to enter a team in the League of Legends, an online multiplayer game which attracts over 70 million players per month.

"We're convinced that e-sports will establish itself as an official sport in the coming years," said Alexander Jobst, Chief of Sales and Marketing at Schalke. "We're hoping to reach new target audiences as quickly as possible and by digital means."

Die Knappen's Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart and Leipzig, meanwhile, are also hoping to "bridge the gap between tradition and innovation" by strengthening in a rapidly growing area. Last season's Bundesliga runners-up have secured the services of Cihan Yasarlar, the current TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga champion who represented Schalke in last summer's EA Sports FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Grand-Final in Berlin.

Cihan Yasarlar is the current TAG Heuer Virtual Bundesliga champion.

Yasarlar's opponent in the PlayStation4 category was Benedikt Saltzer - one of the three e-gamers on the books at Wolfsburg, who also have Timo Siep and England's David Bytheway in their ranks.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent appearance at Gamescom in Cologne emphasises the growing popularity of e-sports in Germany in particular. It is surely only a matter of time before other Bundesliga clubs follow suit and join the current quartet on the professional gaming bandwagon.

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