Dabbur & Co. on quest for virtual success

TSG Hoffenheim have put together a heavyweight eSports team for the new FIFA 21 season. Included in the line-up is Bundesliga first-team star Munas Dabbur. In addition to the Virtual Bundesliga (VBL), which will kick off on 11 November with 26 teams participating, TSG will also compete in international tournaments as part of the Global Series.

In recent times, the Coronavirus crisis has shown that virtual football can offer an exciting and entertaining alternative to the real thing. TSG are now stepping up their engagement in eSports by entering a squad into the new FIFA 21 season for the first time. TSG striker Munas Dabbur is set to juggle his first-team commitments with a place on the eSports team. The Israel international will be joined on the PlayStation by Lukas 'Lukas_1004' Seiler, Jan-Luca 'Bassinho' Bass, Marcel 'plaplup' Schwarz and Jonas 'Bit0911' Bederke.

Dabbur scores goals for TSG on the pitch of the PreZero Arena, but he can also more than hold his own on FIFA. The 28-year-old regularly reaches the elite rank in the Weekend League and often notches up between 25 and 30 wins in a week. Most recently, Dabbur caused a stir with his gaming exploits in the Bundesliga Home Challenge. The TSG striker won all four of his individual games, scoring a total of 15 goals and conceding just six. 

Number 13 in the world rankings

In the Bundesliga Home Challenge, Dabur linked up with 'plaplup' to form a dynamic duo for TSG. With his 16 goals, Marcel 'plaplup' Schwarz was even more prolific than his partner; together, they formed the most potent offensive team in the tournament. The 26-year-old 'plapulp's' biggest achievements to date are his victory in the TSG-Fan eCup and his two-time qualification for the play-offs of the VBL. Inclusion in the squad is ''a dream come true'' for the Bielefeld native, who has been a TSG supporter for a number of years now. 

There will be no derbies against VfB Stuttgart in the coming VBL season, as the Swabians have discontinued their eSports activities. After being left without a club, former VfB star Lukas Seiler - 'Lukas_1004' - has now found his new virtual footballing home in the Kraichgau. The 18-year-old made a name for himself last season after climbing up to 13th place in the FIFA 20 world rankings on PlayStation 4. 'Lukas_1004' even managed to make it all the way to the console final of the fifth FUT Champions Cup held in Paris in February. 

Like Seiler, 'Bassinho' also played in the 2019/20 VBL Club Championship, representing VfL Bochum. A strong ranking position and a good run of form in the second half of the season meant that Jan-Luca was able to qualify directly for the Grand Final of the German Individual Championship, where he was ultimately knocked out in the group phase. The 22-year-old is hoping to build on this individual success in the coming season. For the time being, however, the focus is very much being placed on the team: "I am very happy to be part of this new TSG project from the beginning and I look forward to using my experience to help the team achieve its goals.''

The surname Bederke has been well-known in the FIFA scene ever since Augsburg player Yannic 'yannic0109' Bederke's victory in the VBL. Jonas 'Bit0911' Bederke - the older brother of the German champion - is yet to achieve the same success. After witnessing the accomplishments of his brothers (Philipp 'phlip_1989' Bederke is also an eSports player), the 24-year-old is now determined to write his own story in a TSG jersey - perhaps one which will end in success. ''It's a great honour to play for my favourite team,'' says 'Bit0911'. 

TSG Hoffenheim have set up new social media channels dedicated to eSports. These channels will feature news on the club's expanded eSports activities - including the TSG-Fan eCup - as well as information on the players and the competitions. 

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