RB Leipzig midfielder Diego Demme has been a Bundesliga stalwart for some time now. Recently, though, he’s taken his passion for FIFA to the next level by representing his club professionally in the eSport. COPA90 caught up with him to chat about his new gaming career.
Hi Diego, nice to meet you! So how long have you been playing FIFA for? Has it always been a big part of your life?
I started playing when I was young, I guess like almost every child that plays football. I wouldn’t say it’s always been a big part of my life. However, FIFA has always been a great part of my spare time.
At what point did you and/or Leipzig realise you were good enough to represent the club in the Virtual Bundesliga?
I’m among the best FIFA players in the team, together with Timo Werner and Marcel Halstenberg. The club had one spot open for the Virtual Bundesliga squad and asked me if I was willing to become part of the eSports team.
I was thrilled to be asked and wanted to see how good I really was compared to professional gamers. The first game I had against a top-notch Xbox player was versus FC Köln’s team. I wasn’t too bad I would say, haha.
Can you compare competing on the eSports stage to real life Bundesliga matches? Are there any similarities?
Well, on the real pitch I have ten teammates that can correct my mistakes. On the virtual pitch, I am on my own so the pressure that I put on myself is higher, I would say.
Emotions are a part of eSports as well as in real football, but it feels more real in football stadiums because you are directly influenced by the audience, your teammates, and your opponents.
What has your manager, Julian Nagelsmann, made of you competing in eSports?
He was there for my first game, that was cool. He is fine with me competing virtually as long as I take care of my main job out on the training field and in games.
That’s where my priority lies – I’m a footballer for RB Leipzig first and foremost. If the schedule allows it, I’ll also compete in FIFA a few times.
What have you made of FIFA20? What are your favourite aspects of the game?
Definitely the graphics are fantastic. The players look pretty real, even though I have to say that I look better in real life, haha. Gameplay-wise, I think it’s tough for offensive players because it seems FIFA20 is in favour of more defensive players – which suits me, I guess.
Do you like to play as RB Leipzig on FIFA? Are there any other teams you enjoy playing as?
Usually I play with Leipzig, but of course there are other teams I play with sometimes, to see how different players are. If I play against a teammate and he chooses Liverpool or Barcelona, I have to choose some other team than RB Leipzig at the moment.
I hope that will change in the future – that would mean that we as a team have developed in the right direction and are becoming even more successful on the real pitch.
Can you see more professional footballers taking up eSports in the future?
Maybe. There are quite a few professional footballers that are really good at FIFA. The problem is for sure the schedule, as I said before.
If you play internationally in real football, there’s not much time to commit to FIFA. That’s why I will only be able to play a few games in the Virtual Bundesliga.
What would you say to people looking to get into eSports? Do you have any advice for budding FIFA players?
Just have fun with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I definitely had a blast when I played my first game in the Virtual Bundesliga, and I’m looking forward to more!