Christian Fuchs knows what victory feels like. The Austrian full-back was part of Leicester City’s odds-defying Premier League title win in 2016.
He is now looking back to that sacred year to help be victorious yet again, but this time it’s all about esports.
Prior to the FIFA 19 competitive season, Fuchs announced his plans to extend his lifestyle brand, No Fuchs Given, into the FIFA esports scene. He now has his chance at the FIFA eClub World Cup to become a title-winning owner, as well as a title-winning player.
But to help him achieve this he’s recruited the man who became a FIFA world champion just weeks before Leicester won that historic title.
Mohamad Al-Bacha, who was just 17 when he became champion of the world in March of 2016, is now part of the No Fuchs Given (NFG) team who will look to conquer the eClub World Cup.
“I’ve really been missing competing on the biggest stage,” Mohamad tells GiveMeSport. “I’ve been unlucky in the last couple of seasons not qualifying for events that I should have, but it’s good to be back. It felt nice to know that someone still believed in me and I’m grateful to Christian and everyone at NFG”.
The eClub World Cup, which this year is being hosted in London, is a 16 team tournament where one Xbox and one PS4 player compete as a collective through a group stage and a knockout phase to be crowned as the best eclub in the world.
The previous two titles have been won by the esports team of a top-flight football club in Mohamad’s home nation of Denmark, Brøndby.
So who is his team mate to help him challenge for the title? Only the man he beat in the final in 2016 to be crowned world champion: Englishman Sean “Dragon” Allen.
“We never bring it up,” Mohamad concedes light-heartedly. “I think we worked quite well together during the qualifiers for the eClub World Cup. We had good communication and were always keeping each other up to date with scores etcetera.”
Al-Bacha and Allen find themselves in a challenging Group B.
Imperial, an English esports organisation, have a strong duo of Englishman Kylem “Lyricz” Edwards and Maltese player Christian Spiteri.
One of the biggest names in global esports, FaZe Clan, will hope the experience of Tassal “Tass” Rushan and former Ajax man Lev Vinken will see them get out the group.
But it is the match up with Tricked that could tug on the heartstrings for Mohamad as he was signed to the Danish esports organisation for his world title-winning performance.
“I think FaZe will be our toughest match up,” Mohamad admits, “but we’re confident going into all the match ups. We’ve played a lot of these guys before online so we’re hoping for a good result.
“I’d say the favourites for the whole tournament are definitely KiNG Esports, they’re certainly the toughest to play against on paper.”
KiNG, who were drawn in Group D, have a frightening duo of Donovan “F2Tekkz” Hunt (Xbox) and Nicolas “nicolas99” Villalba (PS4) who are both currently the highest ranked players for Global Series points on their respective consoles.
However, Mohamad believes NFG have a real chance.
“We’re not scared of anyone, not even KiNG, but we know we have to be more careful around teams like this. I can see it being us and them in the final.”
It’ll be a tall order, but perhaps the spirit, and successes, of 2016 will all come together.
The eClub World Cup kicks off on February 9th to the 10th, with the likes of Ajax, Manchester City and Wolves all joining NFG in trying to stop Brondby from making it three consecutive titles.