Underdog Ulrich beats world champ en route to tournament win

There was a bit of a surprise at the museum’s second FIFA 17 tournament, as 23-year-old Julian Ulrich defeated reigning FIWC champion Mohamad Al-Bacha 3-2 (A.E.T.) on his way to winning the competition. The Final saw a repeat of the 3-2 scoreline but this time Julian was up against Christoph Strietzel, a 16-year-old from Berlin who had flown to Zurich for the competition.

In winning the tournament on Tuesday, 10 January 2017, Julian has secured his place in the museum’s final tournament – the winner of which will go home with a wildcard entry for the European qualifiers for the Grand Final of the 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup.

Making his victory even more remarkable is the fact that Julian says he only plays FIFA once a week - and usually just with his friends. He follows in the footsteps of fellow Swiss Bruno Bardelas, who won the museum’s first FIFA 17 tournament a month ago. There will be six more tournaments in the museum’s 1904 Sportsbar before the winners of these tournaments play one final tournament with a starting place at the European qualifying tournament for the Grand Final up for grabs.

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FIFA Museum to London: Your ticket to the Grand Final!

The first of eight live tournaments at Sportsbar 1904 in the FIFA World Football Museum takes place on Tuesday, 13 December 2016, at 18:00.
Spectators had expected the tournament to come down to a duel between two of the better-known players: world champion Al-Bacha, from Denmark, and current Swiss champion Luca Boller. But Bacha was beaten by Julian in the semis and Luca had to settle for a round of 16 finish. International guests from Vienna, Berlin and Stuttgart who were invited to play in the tournament gave a good account of themselves but the night belonged to Julian.

"I still haven’t realised what has just happened," explained the winner immediately after the final against Strietzel. "When I arrived, I thought to myself: 'Wow, this is an extremely strong field!' I tried to focus on not getting nervous and trying to just concentrate on my game. It was only the third tournament in my life and I didn’t really expect to win tonight! In the end, of course, I also had a bit of luck. But now, of course, it would be silly if I didn’t now start to dream of reaching the Grand Final!"