Matthias Luttenberger: The unique role of the eSports coach

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FC Bayern formed their own eSports team at the end of 2019 and now they compete with numerous other football clubs in the video game eFootball PES. As the only club in the League, FCB has appointed a coach in addition to their three players: Matthias Luttenberger. introduces the eSports coach in greater detail…

Matthias Luttenberger is very much in demand at the moment. Due to the widespread shutdown of the sport, its virtual counterpart has moved centre stage including the FC Bayern eFootball PES team. "We're getting more interview, podcast or talk-show requests and you can see the interest in eSports has grown significantly during this period," said the Austrian Bayern coach Luttenberger, who is a World Cup runner-up and European champion from his days as a PES player. The gamers league fixtures are currently suspended but fans continue to be entertained with online events.

From analysis to organisation 

The FC Bayern eSports team: Coach Matthias Luttenberger, Miguel Mestre,José Sánchez and Alex Alguacil (l. to r.)

The main role for the 32-year-old FCB coach is normally preparing the three Bayern players José Sánchez, Miguel Mestre and Alex Alguacil for the next game. But Luttenberger also has many other duties as coach. "Above all, I'm the interface between the players and the club." The organisation of training sessions and friendlies is also the responsibility of the Austrian: "I try to find opponents we can take on. On top of that, there's the video analysis of the next opponents. There's not so much of that moment but we continue to work hard processing the video material from the league. When it gets going again, we'll have done our homework." 

Three Spaniards and an Austrian 

Luttenberger always keeps an eye on the team including during matches.

The composition of the team of three Spanish players and the German-speaking coach has led to English being the 'official' team language. "Of course, the lads speak Spanish during the games. I only get involved briefly during breaks or any important situations where I have to say something," explained Luttenberger who minimises his input during games: "It's obviously stressful for the lads to switch between languages during a game. It's an advantage that they can communicate with each other in their mother tongue because milliseconds can often be crucial in matches." Intervening during games is extremely rare because the team is always discussed in detail the match plan for all possible eventualities.

The love of tactics 

Luttenberger often used to have the controller in his hands and over the years he made a name for himself in the eFootball PES scene. "PES was my favourite football game from the start in my youth and back then it was called International Soccer Stars." Over the years, Luttenberger swapped between different football video games before ending up being loyal to Pro Evolution Soccer. "The biggest difference is the tactical depth. I always like the way you can make tactical changes on the pitch straightaway. As I was also always very much interested in tactics and liked to tinker around, PES was also more fun because of that."

From player to coach

When he took up his post, the long-standing Bayern fan Luttenberger was greeted by striker legend Giovane Élber.

Due to his CV revealing his silver medals at the PES European Championships and World Cup, it was also talked about him being a player in the FC Bayern eSports team. "I was the first outsider involved at the start of the project. I was able to make good use of my experience. For example, how the community works and which players would fit the bill for FC Bayern. That quickly secured my place as coach," explained Luttenberger. He does not join in when his coaching his team as they concentrate on a three versus three mode. "I watch it all from the sidelines. I played a lot of individual matches in the autumn to better understand the mechanics of the game." To date, Luttenberger's role as coach in the League is unique but that could soon change. "The PES eSports is increasingly becoming more professional. You can see how that's changing step-by-step. It will definitely be an issue for many other teams in the future and there will definitely be more coaches next season."

Getting stuck in at home 

In addition to his job at FC Bayern, Luttenberger is still involved in the family company. In his home town community of Paldau, near to Graz, his father's company sells coffee and snack machines. "I do everything really. As we're a small company with three employees, my duties include servicing machines, social media through to accounting." Now eSports is coming more and more into focus: "PES is now my main job but also my passion. It's a dream come true. I couldn't say no when the chance came up at FC Bayern. Opportunities like that only happen once. At the moment, it's incredibly intensive but I'm very happy to do it."

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