For 25 years, the football simulation game FIFA has been an integral part of the world of virtual sports. Game producer, Electronic Arts, released what would be the start of a phenomenon back in 1993, with the series’ first title, “FIFA International Soccer”. Two professional players represent the Royal Blues on the FIFA esports scene: Tim “Tim Latka” Schwartmann and Lukas “Idealz” Schmandt.

FIFA esports

The professional Schalke esports FIFA players hone their skills for up to six hours a day by playing the game. And the pair have both experienced success, as they regularly qualify for the biggest tournaments in the FIFA esports scene.

What is FIFA?

FIFA is a football simulation game produced by Canada-based video game company EA SPORTS. The game involves two players competing head-to-head against each other in what can be thrilling, end-to-end encounters. Regular changes and updates to the game require professional esports players to be incredibly adaptable. Alongside getting the tactics right, the most decisive skills an esports player needs are quick reactions, good coordination and the ability to read the game.

What is the Weekend League?

In the Weekend League, players compete online against rivals from all over the world. A particular attraction of the Weekend League is that players are matched against each other randomly. The esport professionals therefore have to be capable of adapting to whichever opponent they face. The Weekend League begins on a Friday and ends the following Monday. In that time period, players can contest up to 40 games. Success in the Weekend League grants players worthwhile rewards and qualification for future tournaments.

One such tournament, the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 FUT Champions Cup, took place in Barcelona earlier this year. Qualification for the major live event preceded exceptional performances from Tim „Tim Latka“ Schwartmann and Lukas „Idealz“ Schmandt in the Weekend League. Game developer EA SPORTS inaugurated a brand new format at the event with the introduction of the FUT Champions Cup, which will raise the quality and quantity of the players and ensure that only the best players in the world advance to the coveted Grand Final.

Germany is the strongest FIFA nation in the world.

Tim 'Tim Latka' Schwartmann

What is the S04 Knappencup?

The S04 Knappencup is an esports youth tournament, aimed at ambitious, non-professional players from the Gelsenkirchen region. In front of 100,000 visitors to the big Schalke Day in 2016, Tim „Tim Latka“ Schwartman came out on top in the first ever S04 Knappencup. Schwartmann has since then turned professional. Staying true to FC Schalke’s mission statement, the club’s esports division aims to maintain for a strong relationship with the region and fans. In the sporting scene, it strives for a sustainable and long-lasting concept. For this reason, FC Schalke 04 esports also promotes the development of young talents.

Where are the games broadcasted?

Big events like the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 FUT Champions Cup in Barcelona are broadcasted live on TV and online on the streaming platform Twitch. Matches involving S04’s professional esport players are followed by, on average, around 80,000 people from all over Europe, and the players proudly represent the Royal Blue of Schalke – a club from the heart of the Ruhr Valley.