The Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) is back, with the new 2022/23 season starting in November with all games to be played on EA SPORTS FIFA 23.
The new campaign will initially be played in two different competition segments: the VBL Open, which is open to all interested players from 1 November 2022 until the end of March 2023, and the VBL Club Championship, in which eSports teams from clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will compete against each other between 15 November and 26 March.
Players from both segments of the competition can qualify for the VBL Open Playoffs and the VBL Grand Final.
VBL Club Championship: 95-match mode and new format for match schedules
The first matchday of the VBL Club Championship will take place on 15 and 16 November. A total of 29 clubs from the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 - more than ever before - will compete to crown the German eFootball Club Champion.
RB Leipzig are the defending champions, and they boast reigning FIFA 22 world champion, Umut "RBLZ_Umut" Gültekin, in their ranks.
One key difference from last season is that team ratings in 'leveled-off mode' will increase from 90 to 95. In addition, the VBL Club Championship matches will now be played exclusively on PlayStation 5.
The procedure and match format will also change. In future, a match-up will consist of up to three individual games in what is essentially a best-of-three approach. There will be a minimum of two and a maximum of three individual games. The club that emerges victorious after two or three individual games will be awarded three points in the division table; the losing club will receive no points. In the event of a draw after three individual games, both clubs will receive one point each.
As was the case last season, prize money will be awarded in the VBL Club Championship, with the overall pool increasing from €65,000 to €72,500. All matchdays, schedules new kick-off times, the two divisions North-West and South-East as well as the corresponding tables can be found on the VBL website.
Watch: The top 5 goals from the 2021/22 VBL season
VBL Grand Final on 10 and 11 June 2023
The VBL Club Championship will continue to be broadcast on #dabeiTV. The channel operated by the Cologne-based company sporttotal.tv GmbH will televise VBL Club Championship games on all matchdays and can be received on MagentaTV in Germany. Furthermore, all matches can be followed via a live stream on virtual.bundesliga.com and on the official VBL Twitch account.
VBL Open: from the home console to the VBL stage, participants in the VBL Open starting on 1 November can make it to the VBL Open Playoffs and then to the VBL Grand Final. This was the path taken by Dylan "DullenMIKE" Neuhausen last season, en route to becoming German eFootball Champion at the end of the campaign. Participants can access the VBL Open mode in EA SPORTS FIFA 23 under the menu item "Virtual Bundesliga" and play up to 60 matches in a calendar month with the Bundesliga club of their choice.
For the first time, players can also compete across platforms via cross-play (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X). Each month, the 16 best players on the combined leaderboard qualify for the VBL Open Playoffs. Here, too, the games will be played levelled-off in a 95-player mode. In addition, it will be possible to secure further places for the VBL Open Playoffs via a total of 17 wildcard tournaments organised by Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs as well as selected community tournaments.
The VBL Open and the VBL Club Championship will be combined in the VBL Grand Final. There, on 10 and 11 June 2023, the German champion will be crowned from the individual players. In addition to the championship trophy, a prize money pool of €100,000 will again be at stake. Two places for the EA SPORTS FIFA Global Series Playoffs and two further places for the EA SPORTS FIFA Global Series Play-Ins will also be awarded among the most successful participants.
Player Council and DFL Commission eFootball staffed
The Player Council, which was established last year, has an advisory function and serves to promote dialogue between the league organisation and VBL participants. The recently elected Player Council for the 2022/23 season includes the following people: Deniel Mutic, VfB Stuttgart (spokesperson of the Player Council); Cihan Yasarlar, Hertha Berlin (deputy spokesperson); Ditmir Alimi, 1. FSV Mainz 05; Richard Hormes, RB Leipzig; Timo Siep, VfL Bochum 1848.
The "eFootball Commission" has been complete since mid-October. DFL Commissions meet regularly and play an advisory role to the DFL Executive Committee in strategically relevant fields.
Virtual Bundesliga enters its 11th season
To date, the VBL, founded in 2012 in cooperation between the DFL and EA SPORTS, is the only competition of a professional football league directly integrated into the EA SPORTS FIFA game. Since 2020, the DFL has also been working alongside the ESL FACEIT Group to further develop and professionalise the VBL.
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