FIFAe Club World Cup: How S04 Esports made it into the top 4 in Europe

At the official Club World Cup in FIFA 21, our FIFA pros Joe and Juli made a sensational advance to the semi-finals. S04 Esports only had to admit defeat against the champion mkers from Italy. We look back on the huge success of the Royal Blues in a tournament that couldn't be beat in terms of tension and drama.

Tournament format: Online event and division in country zones

In FIFAe Club World Cup, the best FIFA esports teams from all over the world participate and it was clear, that the competition for the blue-whites is huge. In the top-class field of participants, which also included teams from Manchester City, RB Leipzig, PSV Eindhoven and Olympique Lyon, Schalke 04 Esports with its FIFA talents Joe (17) and Juli (19) were among the underdogs.

Due to the corona pandemic, the FIFAe Club World Cup took place entirely online for once. The participants contested the qualification phase as well as the playoffs and the final tournament from their home country. The game mode remained unchanged. Two players at a time competed for a club, one on the PlayStation 4 and one on the Xbox One. The overall result of a match was calculated from the individual results of the two players.

In order to ensure smooth duels and prevent connection problems, the organizer EA divided the participants into six country zones. A FIFAe Club World Cup Champion was then determined in each country zone. Schalke started in zone 4 and met the best FIFA teams in Europe.

Qualification phase: S04 moves confidently into the playoffs

The FIFAe Club World Cup started with a qualifying phase lasting several weeks. Divided into 14 conferences, hundreds of professional FIFA teams from country zone 4 had one goal: to reach the playoffs. But that was anything but easy. Only the best four teams from each conference (24 teams each) qualified for the playoffs.

One of the four teams in Conference 12 were the Royal Blues. Joe and Juli consistently demonstrated in all four qualifying weeks that they don’t have to hide from anyone. As the second best team, the Schalke FIFA talents advanced confidently into the next round of the FIFAe Club World Cup and thus laid the foundation for the later sensational top 4 placement in the final tournament.

Playoffs: Schalke underlines the performances in the qualification

In the playoffs, S04 Esports was now fighting for a spot in the final. Only the best of the four play-off qualifiers from each conference made it to the final stage of the FIFAe Club World Cup. The Royal Blues picked up exactly where they left off in the qualifying phase. First, Joe and July defeated the Spanish club CA Osasuna. Then Schalke also forced the Swedish players from AIK eFotboll to their knees, who had previously eliminated the German FOKUS clan with the reigning FIFA individual world champion MoAuba.

At this point it was already clear: As one of a total of 14 finalists in the country zone, S04 Esports is one of the best 14 FIFA teams in Europe. The only other German final qualifier was RB Leipzig. Teams like Werder Bremen, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen missed participation in the final tournament.

Final: Dramatic end against the champion

At the grand final of the FIFAe Club World Cup, Schalke now had the chance to create something historic and to become the official FIFA club world champion for the first time. First of all, a group stage was about making it to the quarter-finals. The 14 qualifiers were divided into two groups of 7. S04 Esports competed in Group 1 and had to finish at least fourth to reach the quarter-finals.

And so did Joe and Juli. Our FIFA professionals confirmed their performances from the qualification and the playoffs and secured a spot for the knockout phase with fourth place in their group. Joe in particular outgrew himself in the group stage, won four of his six games and scored twelve of the 18 points that went to the S04 account. Among other things, Joe defeated Ustun, FeCWC champion from 2018, from the Danish team Astralis. The former European champion Prinsipe from mkers (Italy) also lost out against our talent.

In the quarter-finals was Team Gullit, one of the big favorites, waiting. Group 2 finished with the Dutch as the front runners. But that didn’t impress Joe and Juli. Both of them won their games without conceding a goal and made it to the semi-finals. There S04 met the Italian representative mkers again, who was able to prevail in his quarter-finals against Zeta Gaming from Spain.

The semifinals were tough. Both the first match between July and OliBoli, currently third in the Europe-wide single player ranking on PlayStation 4, as well as the following game between Joe and the former European champion Prinsipe went to penalties after exciting and dramatic games. Because July lost and Joe retained the upper hand despite a 2-0 deficit in the meantime, there was a third, decisive match for a spot in the final. Again July met OliBoli – and again a penalty shoot-out had to bring the decision. Our FIFA talent had the favorite mkers professional on the verge of defeat for the second time. But OliBoli kept his nerve and took another win on penalties.

It was an unbelievable tournament in which we must have surprised a lot of people. With a little more luck on our side, we would even have played for the club world title. That’s madness.

Joe

Sensational success for the Schalke talent factory

While mkers made it to the final and was crowned champion in a close duel with Astralis, the Schalke trip to the FIFAe Club World Cup was over after the semifinals. It was a dramatic end to a competition that was extremely successful for the Royal Blues. Even if it wasn’t enough for the big coup in the end, the blue-whites set an exclamation point in international FIFA esports. Our talented young players have proven that they can compete with the best players in the world and have what it takes to achieve great things.

Despite the dramatic elimination in the semi-finals, Joe also looks back positively on the FIFAe Club World Cup: „We can be very satisfied. It was an unbelievable tournament in which we must have surprised a lot of people. With a little more luck on our side, we would even have played for the club world title. That’s madness. We realized that anything is possible and that we can take on any team. With the additional self-confidence, we will now give everything to establish ourselves at the top.“

Tim Reichert, Managing Director of Schalke 04 Esports: “Reaching the semi-finals at the FIFA Club World Cup is also confirmation of the sustainable work and promotion of young talents at Schalke 04 Esports. It shows that you don’t necessarily need the big stars of the scene in a team to be successful. We made a conscious decision for talented boys with potential. Thanks to an unprecedented solidarity and a personal connection to the club, they have surpassed themselves. That makes us proud.”

FIFAe Club World Cup

The FIFAe Club World Cup is the official Club World Cup in FIFA 21. Further information on the FIFAe Club World Cup is available at https://www.fifa.gg/fifae-club-world-cup.

Results of the knockout stage

  • Quarter finals

1: AC Monza Esports (Italy) vs. RB Leipzig (Germany): 6-3

2: Genoa Esports (Italy) vs. Astralis (Denmark): 3-6

3: Team Gullit (Netherlands) vs. Schalke 04 Esports: 0-6

4: mkers (Italy) vs. Zeta Gaming (Spain): 6-3

  • Semifinals

1: AC Monza Esports vs. Astralis: 0-6

2: Schalke 04 Esports vs. mkers: 3-6

  • Final

Astralis vs. mkers: 6-9

Prize money

  • Quarter-finalists: $ 5,000
  • Semi-finalists: $ 7,500
  • Finalist: $ 12,500
  • Winner: $ 27,500