Kai, you've now been playing for Bayer 04 for two weeks. What was the main reason for your move to Leverkusen?
"I looked for a club I felt attracted to – and that's the case here. I used to go to the BayArena a lot with my father so that's why I have a connection to Bayer 04. The negotiations with the club were on the level, honest and positive. That made it easy for me to decide to make the move."
Before that you spent one and a half years at the English ePremier League club Manchester City. How did it come to that unusual move and what was your time there like?
"I'm really grateful for that time and I was able to learn a lot at that big club. But there was a lot of stress and time taken up with the commitment due to the amount of travel – which in the end proved counter-productive in terms of the time I had for training. Sometimes it really got on top of me. Therefore, I'm really looking forward to my time at Bayer 04."
At the Black and Reds, you're now playing alongside Fabian ‘B04_DUBZJE’ de Cae. What's the cooperation like with your new team-mate on the virtual pitch? How much time is it take to learn somebody else's style of play?
"The important thing for me is to find the basis that we can build on. In addition to joint training, it's also about having regular contact on a personal level."
You two started the new VBL season with two wins, one draw and one defeat. What are your targets with Bayer 04?
"We've got attuned to each other incredibly quickly Our style of play is very similar. Who knows where it will lead to if we can train together regularly. We beat FC Köln last week and anybody who can do that can go a long way. Our target is the top six as then we qualify for the play-offs – that's what we're aiming for."
In the world of FIFA you are one of the older and more experienced players and you've twice been world champion and three times champion of Germany. Is that evident in certain match situations?
"Being older has its advantages and disadvantages: I know how to deal with certain situations from the past – and it can be an advantage mentally. On the other hand, the younger players have more energy particularly at long tournaments. Therefore it's very important to live a healthy life and be fit to maintain concentration."
What recreational sport you do in addition to FIFA training? Are there certain exercises for your hands or something along those lines?
"I like to go to the gym or go swimming and play football or tennis. I just do what I want to and what's fun. If I can keep my back in shape through exercises in the gym then that's really worth a lot."
In addition to a lot of FIFA pros, you recently criticised the conditions in FIFA eSports. What do you think are the biggest problems?
"There are a number things that could be improved. For example, in other eSports games you don't have to invest so much to be successful as you do with FIFA. With the money I received for reaching the top eight PlayStation players in the world, I've had to invest nearly all of it again to carry on being competitive. The income is too small to live from – that's completely different in other games in spite of a similar scope."
What's your assessment of FIFA 20? What's improved and what hasn't in comparison with the earlier versions?
"I didn't like FIFA 19 as there were too many errors in the game that you could exploit. FIFA 20 is a significant step in the right direction: You have to play football again, create chances and really do something to win – I really like that."
Finally, looking forward into the future: How long do you think you will carry on as a FIFA pro and compete in tournaments? Do eSports players have career plans?
"I've just signed for Bayer 04. I wouldn't have done that if I still wasn't hungry for success or didn't have a great passion for it. If I want to, I can play for a long time: With other eSports games, reaction time is very important. But with FIFA it's more about reading the game and sorting out a match plan. Now as before, I have fun playing the game – that's a basic requirement. Of course, I won't do it forever. I don't know what I'll do next. But with the growth of FIFA there are lots of job opportunities – so I'm keeping all my options open."
Monster Energy has been a partner in the Sponsors Club at Bayer 04 Leverkusen since the start of the 2023/24 season. Monster Energy has shown their products at Werkself home games on the LED advertising hoardings at the BayArena. Monster Energy activated the next stage of the partnership with the current Bundesliga league leaders for Bayer 04’s home game against Union Berlin in the middle of November. Monster Energy will continue to present themselves as a reliable and ambitious partner to Leverkusen fans through similar promotional events as at the game against Union Berlin.Show more
Bayer 04 involvement with the ‘Kältegang Leverkusen’ project continues this winter. The current Bundesliga league leaders and their fans again presented financial and in-kind donations to the homeless charity at home game against Borussia Dortmund (1-1).Show more
The Werkself remain unbeaten after the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 13. The one-sided game demanded a lot of strength of nerve and competitive spirit from Xabi Alonso's team. In the end, Victor Boniface rewarded the relentless attacking efforts of the league leaders against passive but efficient visitors. The Werkself review.Show more
Bayer 04 were held to a 1-1 draw by Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga. Julian Ryerson had put the visitors in front at a sold-out BayArena after only five minutes. Leverkusen would go on to dominate proceedings and finally get their deserved equaliser through Victor Boniface in the 79th minute. It’s a result that extends the Werkself’s unbeaten run in all competitions this season to 20 matches.Show more
For the 17th time, Bayer 04 Sportförderung gGmbH has awarded the Volunteers Award for outstanding commitment to football in Leverkusen and the surrounding region. The three outstanding clubs in 2023 are BSV Roleber 1919, TuS 05 Oberpleis and SV 1924 Glehn. They will each receive prize money of €5,000.Show more