Yannick Reiners has recently joined the eSports team of Borussia Mönchengladbach. In a DW interview, the 23-year-old FIFA gamer talks about the newly created virtual Bundesliga “VBL” and his goals with Borussia.

Borussia’s eSports FIFA Team: Stefan Beer, Michael Gherman, Yannick Reiners, Georgios Papatolis (from left to right)

DW: This Wednesday starts the Virtual League (VBL). You are with three colleagues for Borussia Mönchengladbach at the start. Are you excited or rather cool?

Yannick Reiners: A mix of both. 

Is there a goal of the club for the season?

No, at least no concrete specification, which placement we should reach in the end.  

Did you personally set a goal?

Realistically, this is a place among the top ten for our team. I am sure that we can achieve that.

13 Bundesliga clubs and nine second division teams will start with their own team in the VBL. Who do you count as favorites?

Stuttgart, Bremen and Leipzig. They have experienced international players who have been there for many years. This is an advantage.  

The home team can choose which console to play the double after the two duels – how important is the console choice in game three?

I think that can be crucial in some two-on-two games, because some players simply play much better on the X-Box than on PlayStation or the other way around. That’s why I already see it as a decisive factor. 

You’re a PlayStation player, one of three in your team, plus an X-Box player. How likely is it to play three PlayStation games?

This will be more common, as there are significantly more PlayStation players than X-Box players.

Germany e-sports in Hamburg (picture-alliance / dpa / A. Heimken)
FIFA tournament of the Hamburg Football Association

There have also been FIFA championships before. What changes with the new VBL?

Almost every club in the first and second Bundesliga now has FIFA club players. That has become a real trend. Especially in recent times, many clubs have joined. 

Do you think that the merger of a league under the DFL will give the topic eSports and especially the eSports title FIFA a decisive boost?

I think so. We will definitely get more attention. And the fact that the games are broadcast on free TV every Thursday will definitely give the scene a boost.

Do you think the new league will make eSports more than sport?

I hope people will accept in the long run that eSports does not mean lazy sitting on the couch at home and gambling a round, but that it also requires talent, training and preparation. This message has already arrived with the younger generation. I hope that many older people will open more for the new format.  

A few months ago, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) also downplayed eSports. 

Critics will always exist. But there will also be a huge mass of people who enjoy looking at it and supporting eSports. That will outweigh the end. 

Are you personally interested in other eSports disciplines, such as League of Legends or Counterstrike?

I only play FIFA professionally. And by the way for a change only from time to Fortnite. 

 FIFA eSports professional Yannick Reiners, copyright notice: (c) DFL (DFL / A., Scheuber)
Yannick Reiners: “Talent, Training and Preparation”

Of the Gladbach professional footballers also play some FIFA. Are there any points of contact between you as eSports team and the kickers?

I have only been under contract with Borussia for two weeks. Since there were no points of contact, the football professionals were so recently in training camp in Spain. But we’ll meet soon and we’ll have a look at the console. I’m looking forward to it. Christoph Kramer, for example, is known to be a fan of FIFA.

Do you think that the future belongs to you as an e-sportsman?

I hope to be with Borussia for many more years. I think the trend is definitely in the direction that eSports is getting more and more professional, there are more and more tournaments. That’s why I see a positive future.

Yannick Reiners, known in the scene as “Jeff95,” is an eSports professional. The 23-year-old recently joined the FIFA eSports team of Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The interview was conducted by David Vorholt.


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