Kai Wollin is leaning back in a chair playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13, visibly relaxed for the first time at the Germany Territory Showdown. His face is flushed and breaks into a wide grin as he fails to stop a penalty. Kai’s goalkeeper has just been beaten by Borussia Dortmund No 15 Mats Hummels. The penalty-taker is an odd choice for his opponent to make, but then again, there’s nothing normal about this match in which his opponent just happens to be real life central defender Mats Hummels and the setting for their match is Signal Iduna Park.
“You can see Kai’s having an absolutely fantastic time," says former Bayern Munich striker and FIWC commentator Alan McInally while watching the exhibition game. “He's managed to win it [the showdown] pretty convincingly. He'll be representing Germany in Madrid in a couple of weeks time and he's getting to play one of his idols right now at BVB.”
“I feel so happy and relieved. The pressure as a favourite was really high. I’m so happy that I have won it!“ Kai told FIFA.com shortly after securing his second consecutive national title. “I ‘ve been a fan of Dortmund since childhood, specifically since watching my very first Bundesliga game.”
It’s been a charmed season for both the German club and the virtual footballer. Both will be looking to break past the semi-final stage and into the Final in their respective tournaments. “The last game I watched live was the Champions League match between Malaga and Dortmund. I never will forget that 3-2 win.”
Like Dortmund, Kai has been to a major semi-final before. At his first Grand Final appearance in 2012, he defeated 2008 champion Alfonso Ramos in the group stage, only to see the result reversed in a semi-final rematch against eventual champion Ramos.
McInally was joined by Hummels in the commentary box for the Germany Final, taking the opportunity to brush up on his German and quiz the defender on his upcoming semi-final against Real Madrid. “"It will be a key factor that we have ball possession against Real Madrid,” Mats says while watching Kai draw first blood against Marius with a Benzema volley. "Benzema is a very good striker. Not only in the interactive world here at the FIWC, but also on the real pitch. He is amazing."
Showdown finalist Marius Popp put his love of club above all else, opting to play with Fortuna Düsseldorf throughout the day, even when eventually faced with Kai Wollin’s Real Madrid in the Final. "What he has done with Dusseldorf is unbelievable," said Hummels of Marius’s performance on the day.
When not playing FIFA 13, Kai is finishing up his A levels, with plans to study business at University in the fall. The hard work is done for now, until Madrid that is. But what do his family and friends make of this virtual football business? “They are all really positive about me taking part in the FIWC. Everybody is supporting me and that is a great feeling,” says Kai.
Winning the Grand Final would send Kai to the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala where he would get to meet some of the world’s brightest football stars and potentially even take some of them on at FIFA 13. At the 2012 Gala, Alfonso Ramos was able to challenge 2010 FIFA World Cup™ winner Gerard Pique to a game of FIFA 13, watched intensely by Lionel Messi. “I would love to play against Cristiano Ronaldo,” says Kai “because I really would like to know how good the best player in the world is at playing FIFA.”
Savas Destan Oglo
Match 1: Marius Popp (Fortuna Düsseldorf) 1-1 Lukas Hoffmann (Borussia Dortmund)
Match 2: Lukas Hoffmann (Real Madrid) 2-4 Savas Destan Oglo (Real Madrid)
Match 3: Marius (Fortuna Düsseldorf) 3-1 Savas Destan Oglo (Galatasaray)
Final: Kai Wollin (Real Madrid) 3-0 Marius Popp (Fortuna Düsseldorf)
First half: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) 1-0 Kai Wollin (Mainz)
Second half: Mats (Borussia Dortmund) 0-0 Kai (Real Madrid)