As the FIFA 21 season nears its end, we’ve reached the critical moment of the 2020/21 eChampions League, with 32 players set to battle in out in the knockout stages.
This is the third edition of the eChampions League (eCL for short), a PlayStation-only tournament that pits Europe’s best players against each other with the goal of claiming the ultimate trophy in club football. To compete, you had to have been an Ultimate Team (FUT) Verified Competitor based in Europe, with last year’s winner Fnatic Tekzz showing the level of players involved in the competition.
The 2020/21 eChampions League brings the biggest and best players from past and current years in FIFA, with the cash prize a staggering $280,000 shared across the 32 competitors who manage to qualify for the knockout stages. The winner will take home $75,000 and, of course, the eChampions League trophy.
But how exactly does the eChampions League work, how can you watch and who might you want to keep an eye on in the knockout stages? We asked Josh Buchanan, our FIFA eSports expert, for the lowdown on the competition.
Josh Buchanan – who you can find on Twitch here – is a FIFA Ultimate Team Verified Player on Xbox who has twice achieved a Top 200 finish on FIFA 21 Weekend League, regularly hitting Elite by recording 23 wins or more.
When is the 2020/21 eChampions League?
To qualify for the knockout stages, players had to get through rounds rounds of online qualifiers. However, competitors from FIFA 19 and FIFA 20 who finished in the Top 64 on the FIFA Global Series (FGS) leaderboards, and players ranked in the current Top 32 for FIFA 21, were automatically invited to the second online qualifying round.
2020/21 eChampions League qualifiers
This year’s tournament got underway with the first online qualifier being played on February 1, 2021. It was a single-elimination bracket, with competitors playing just one game of FIFA, and was open to all FUT Verified players (excluding those who received a bye to the next round).
2020/21 eChampions League Group stage
The second qualifying round was an online group stage, spread across two days on February 13-14, with the official involved players from FGS Leaderboards joining the Top 64 competitors from the first stage. The qualified players then competed in a Swiss group stage and double elimination bracket to whittle down to the Top 32, moving onto the eCL knockout stage.
2020/21 eChampions League knockout stages
The eCL knockout stage will take place this weekend, May 1-2 and sees the 32 qualifiers from the group stage playing again in a double elimination bracket (giving everyone two chances to advance). The ties will be played across two legs to mimic the official Champions League knockout stages, and the Top 8 will then qualify for the final, which will be played on May 28.
A 🔝 competitor roster for a 🔝 tournament.
Here are the #FGS21 pros who will compete in the eChampions League on May 1 & 2.
— EA FIFA esports (@EAFIFAesports) April 28, 2021
Five players to look out for in the 2020/21 eChampions League
We talk about him a lot, but it’s hard not to when you’re this good. Hashtag Tom is the favourite going into the tournament and won his first ever FUT Champions Cup last weekend. Tom is currently the number one player in Europe on PlayStation, 800 points clear of second place.
YESSSSSSSSSSS WE DID IT!!!!
EU FUT CHAMPS CUP 5 CHAMPION 🏆
— Tom Leese (@HashtagTom_) April 25, 2021
Mkers OliBoli is a man we know all too well, as the current eClub World Cup champion. We recently compared his playing style to Pep Guardiola as he has the winning mentality and patient play, and the Swede is current ranked fifth in Europe.
— Oliver Uttgren (@Oliboli_FIFA) April 23, 2021
Ethan Higgins is a UK-based player who was signed to Gareth Bale’s Ellevens eSports team last season and also represented MKERS. He represented Ellevens in the 2020 eClub World Cup and fell just short in the final in Milan, beating HashtagTom and Fnatic Tekzz along the way. Most recently, EthxnH represented Southampton in the ePremier League, reaching the PS4 quarter-finals, losing to Sheffield United’s RISE MHaywxrd, and he is ranked 61st in Europe.
Ready for the #eChampionsLeague.
Hopefully can turn my season on its head. Looking forward to it this weekend. pic.twitter.com/N7ljPqpSP3
— Ethan Higgins (@EthxnH_) April 26, 2021
DUX Adrimaan01 has proven himself time and time again this season, finishing in the Top 6 in four out of five FUT Champions Cups. Most recently, he won the eLaLiga Santander Cup, making him the best player in Spain to add to his number two spot in Europe.
¡Al cielo con ella! 🙌
— eLaLiga Santander (@esportslaliga) April 5, 2021
Tuga810 represents his national team Portugal and is one of, if not the best Portuguese player around, as he has been on the scene for three seasons now and is regularly at the top tournaments showing his consistency. He has achieved a Top 8 finish at the eWorld Cup in 2019 and is currently ranked 28th in Europe.
Agora sim estou pronto para a fase de grupos da eChampionsLeague dias 1/2 de maio!
Conto com o vosso apoio 👊 pic.twitter.com/6aZYmGZcTw
— Diogo Pombo (@tuga810_) April 24, 2021