Five things we learned from FUT Champions Cup January: DullenMike becomes youngest champion ever

The first major FIFA 19 tournament of 2019 has come to an end and was full of surprises with a few fresh faces making up most of the latter stages.

The first major FIFA 19 esports tournament of the year has ended after a thrilling weekend of action in Bucharest, Romania with the FUT Champions Cup January. Previous FIFA 19 FUT Champions winners Donovan ‘F2Tekkz’ Hunt and Mossad ‘MSdossary’ Aldossary were both in attendance but weren’t able to add to their expansive trophy collections.

Instead, there were two fresh faces in the final Hasan ‘Hasoo’ Eker and SK Gaming’s Dylan ‘DullenMike’ Neuhausen. The young Germans proved you can’t predict these tournaments, anybody can compete in the FIFA Global Series. There were was plenty of surprise and drama during the tournament but here are the five biggest takeaways.

DullenMike went on a sensational run in Romania to lift the FUT Champions Cup and the 16-year-old replaced Tekkz as the youngest FIFA champion ever. The young German defeated Hasoo convincingly 4-1 over the two legs to take home $50,000 as well as 1,500 Global Series points, taking him towards the top of the Xbox rankings.

After the final whistle, DullenMike’s shake of the head said it all – he couldn’t believe what he had accomplished. The SK Gaming man overcame a host of veterans on his way to the final including former FIFA Interactive World Cup champion Spencer ‘Gorilla’ Ealing and Ajax’s Dani Hagebeuk before taking down Rogue’s Niklas ‘NRasek’ Rasek in the Xbox final. With more competitions than ever before, the opportunities are rife for young gamers like DullenMike to make their mark this season.

With most of PlayStation’s top players failing to qualify, including Joksan Redona and Gfinity FIFA Series champion Nicolas ‘Nicolas99fc’ Villalba – PSV’s Stefano ‘Pinna97’ Pinna had an amazing opportunity to finally earn himself a major trophy. The Belgian came runner-up in last year’s FIFA eWorld Cup and also finished second in the PGL Cup earlier this season. Pinna97 will be desperate for another PlayStation trophy at a major tournament but, once again, he fell at the final hurdle.

The PSV player made it through to the PlayStation final and was the dead favourite against Hasoo but fell to a shock defeat. Pinna97 said he was simply lost for words, for a player of his calibre this was a major failure. In his next tournament, he won’t have such an easy path into the final but he is at least still racking up points for the Global Series rankings. You will want to keep an eye on the Belgian to see if he can hold his nerve and find the big career win he is so desperate for.

Tekkz is still the top player in the world according to the Global Series rankings but for the third tournament in a row, the young Englishman has been eliminated by a Rogue player. He lost in the FUT Champions Cup December Xbox final against reigning FIFA eWorld Cup champion MSdossary before being knocked out in the Xbox semis by North American pro Nawid ‘GoalMachine’ Noorzai in the Gfinity FIFA Series earlier this month.

And the F2 man lost in the semis again, but this time at the hands of Rogue’s NRasek – an experienced pro player who has been competing in FIFA tournaments since 2013. The German was actually the man who lost to Tekkz in the grand final of the FUT Champions Cup in Barcelona – the tournament that introduced Tekkz to the world. Tekkz has become an even stronger player since then, making NRasek’s revenge that much sweeter. 

MSdossary is potentially the most decorated FIFA player of all time. The Saudi Arabian won the inaugural FIFA eWorld Cup last year and became the first ever player to win a major FIFA tournament three seasons in a row back in December by winning that month’s FUT Champions Cup. He was able to tame Tekkz’s immense form and it appeared that nobody was near to his level.

However, the tournament favourite faced a shock exit from the January cup early into the Xbox knockout rounds at the hands of Ajax’s Dani. The Dutchman took down the champion in the round of 16 which saw many big names exit from the tournament including Gorilla and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas ‘DaXe’ Cullerier. As shown by DullenMike in this tournament, you can never count any player out.

As mentioned earlier, most of the big names from the PlayStation division were missing from the tournament in Bucharest and it was Hasoo who took his chance. The German crushed the PlayStation semi-final, thrashing Diogo ‘Tuga 810’ Pombo 6-0 – making him the only undefeated player left in the tournament. It also means Hasoo is the first-ever player to reach a PlayStation final undefeated.

The German was 148th in the PlayStation Global Series rankings but his incredible performance will see him rise to the top 10. This PlayStation final win against Pinna97 could be a huge turning point in Hasoo’s career but he will have to prove himself against the likes of Nicolas99fc and Mohammed ‘MoAuba’ Harkous to establish himself at the top of the scene.

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