Excitement, strong commitment and a healthy dose of passion contributed by countless users from all over the globe made for a thrilling second season in the FIFA World Leagues Predictor. Not unexpectedly, the race for the top prize went down to the final day, as German user kammer edged out Mexican tipster Saururrex in a neck-and-neck race to the line. ‘King kammer’, as he was hailed here at FIFA.com just a few days ago, won the grand prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to this year's FIFA World Player Gala, a unique chance to see the world’s greatest players in close up.
The European ace finished a mere 56 points ahead of his American rival, a wafer-thin margin after ten months and some 37 competitive matchdays. Interviewed by FIFA.com, kammer revealed that the top two had maintained sporting and friendly relations despite the fierce competition and high stakes: "I wished him the best of luck before the last round, and he wished me good luck in return. He was one of the first to congratulate me after I’d won. I think that’s very sportsmanlike and fair on his part, because he deserved it just as much as I did. If it had gone on one more matchday, I reckon he’d have won!"
Risky strategy pays dividends
Those not in the know may be unaware of "The Club", FIFA.com’s unique fan platform where a host of FIFA Predictor enthusiasts swap opinions every day. In what has developed into a bustling and lively community with a range of features and options, the interactive games are understandably popular. "Taking on enthusiastic players from all over the world has been terrific. The World Leagues Predictor is easy to understand and not particularly time consuming," kammer said.
Many users expressed astonishment and admiration for the German winner’s consistency as he held down a place in the top ten for the entire season. So what was the secret behind his success? "Strategy and a lot of luck! I practically never tipped if there were fewer than 40 points to win – except on the last matchday." Despite this, kammer admits he was surprised to end up the winner: "Basically, my target was to win a signed shirt," confessed the passionate Liverpool fan, who lists boxing alongside football as his favourite sports.
In its own way, the final World Leagues Predictor matchday involved the same kind of drama as a penalty shoot-out or a Round 15 slugfest, as kammer recalls: "Saururrex was really unlucky. He predicted a 1-1 final score in the first match, New England versus DC United – and in the actual match, it was 1-1 until the 90th minute. But it finished 2-1. If it had stayed at 1-1, he’d have been the overall winner."
That was only the start. "Amazingly enough, I’d also originally predicted a 1-1 scoreline. But the next day, I changed my bonus tip to a 1-0 win for Santos against Corinthians, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to follow the New England game live," kammer explained. "Another day later, I read there would be seriously bad weather in Brazil, and I was worried in case the game was called off. So I finally switched my bonus tip to a 2-1 win for Gijon against Recreativo Huelva." That prediction turned out to be correct – and it was decisive too. "It all goes to show how lucky I was that weekend."
It’s a fine line between winning and losing, and kammer ended up on the right side this time. A dream will now come true, he says: "I’m honoured and privileged to be invited to the FIFA World Player Gala 2009. I guess it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance," the likeable winner reasoned. For now, he intends to enjoy watching the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 on TV. Even though his favourite player Steven Gerrard is not taking part, he is thoroughly enjoying to the Festival of Champions: "I think Spain will win, hopefully in the final against Brazil. That would be a fantastic decider!"
kammer himself now knows how it feels to win a ‘fantastic final’ following his last-gasp victory over community rival and friend Saururrex. If you’d like a taste of the week-by-week excitement and the chance to win great prizes, don’t forget to sign up for next season’s FIFA World Leagues Predictor. And why not try your hand at our other games, the McDonald's FIFA World Cup Predictor and McDonald's FIFA World Cup Fantasy. It’s more than just a lot of fun, as you could end up with a magnificent prize. Just ask kammer...