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VfL Bochum and the burden of discovering talent

In the summer; VfL Bochum lost the top players of the previous season; but replaced them a little later by three top players. eSport team leader Michael Fischer reveals how this was possible and how the club is looking to end the farewell streak.

VfL Bochum and the burden of discovering talent

Koray ‘KKoray’ Kücükgünar is one of the talented FIFA players that VfL managed to attract to Bochum ahead of the season.
VfL Bochum 1848 eSports

Germany’s best FIFA players step into VfL Bochum’s hand: Whether it’s Michael Bittner; Niklas Raseck or Kevin Assia; the Ruhrpott club’s roster has been made up of countless top eSportsmen in the past.

Last: Cihan ‘Cihan’ Yasarlar and Ali ‘Predator FIFA’ Oskoui Rad. Both came to Bochum with moderate expectations; surpassing them and arousing the wishes of other clubs. Now both are gone.

‘PredatorFIFA’ moved to SV Werder Bremen – an understandable move according to Michael Fischer. The two-time champion of the Virtual Bundesliga Club Championship is said to have a lot to offer in sporting and financial terms.

However; if ‘PredatorFIFA’ had made a decision later; VfL could also have made a sharp offer; Fischer believes: “Who knows; he might have made a different decision two or three months later.”

It looks like ‘Cihan’. Here too; VfL hoped for a contract extension; but Hertha BSC offered the FIFA veteran as a home club natural advantages that Bochum did not have.

The multiplication table for matchmaking

Fischer and VfL were faced with the challenge of filling their own top management team. The transfer manager shows how it usually works: “You look at the budget and what you can afford. Then you search the market; approach players early and try to find out who – also personally – fits the club.”

We see ourselves as the leading eFootball club in North Rhine-Westphalia and therefore strive to recruit top talent from the region.

After that there is contact with the office and the parents. Sometimes agencies also approach clubs to advertise their FIFA professionals. The clubs applaud that because they are not always aware of players who want to change.

Clubs in the spheres of VfL Bochum hardly look at the Weekend League in terms of skills. That was still the case two or three years ago. Meanwhile; Fischer is more focused on national and international results.

Regionality also plays a major role at VfL. This is especially evident in the employment of ex-Paderborn Justin “Godly” Kampmeier. “We were already dealing with him before we knew about his departure; because we see ourselves as the leading eFootball club in North Rhine-Westphalia and therefore have the right to contract the top talent from the region.”

In addition; there is the shorter travel distance on the VBL competition days and the associated easier training conditions.

The three new

In the end; VfL Bochum also chose newcomers in addition to ‘Godly’ Koray ‘KKoray’ Kücükgünar and Benedikt ‘BeneCR7x’ Bauer World Cup Qualifier. The high ambitions of the club; the good reputation and the strength of the team convinced the trio.

For ‘BeneCR7x’; the signing of coach Hakan Arslan was one of the reasons for his move from one VfL to another – he previously played in Wolfsburg. Fischer explains the appeal of Bochum with good training opportunities; professionalism and intensive supervision.

Bochum's eSport coach Hakan Arslan and team veteran Alexander Steinmetz

Also important members of the team: new trainer Hakan Arslan (left) and team veteran Alexander Steinmetz (right).
VfL Bochum 1848 eSports

‘Godly’; ‘KKoray’ and ‘BeneCR7x’ all stood out for their solid performances in the FIFA 21 season – the former in the VBL Club Championship; the latter mainly internationally. A few years ago; obligations of such top players would hardly have been financially possible for VfL Bochum.

Money rules the (FIFA) world

According to Fischer; the club has now been marketed well: “We have done a lot in the field of sponsorship. This allowed us to fall back on a considerable budget this season and finance this team.”

This circumstance is not intended to change the focus on regional players with high potential. Its own motto is still: “We are talent discoverers.”

That VfL can develop talent was recently demonstrated at ‘PredatorFIFA’. And as if to confirm this alignment; the young player David ‘Blackdave’ Technow received a professional contract for FIFA 22. He could be the future of the club if he is not poached.

Fischer is well aware of the problem: “Our goal should not only be to discover these talents; but also to retain them and celebrate successes with them.” The foundation stone has already been laid: a strong squad that can play for titles every year convinces many players to stay.

At least as important is the financial side: “It doesn’t depend on 300 or 400 euros; but if the difference gets bigger; most pros choose the club where they can earn more. But we are good there now and we can work with most clubs in Germany.”

Michael Fischer is therefore hopeful that VfL has not only found three new top players this season; but will also celebrate successes with them throughout the year.

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