RoboCup Eindhoven: Arrival

After nearly a year, it’s finally time again: RoboCup 2024 is here, this year in the Dutch city of Eindhoven! Teams from all over the world and various leagues are currently traveling and will all try to claim first place in their respective leagues!

Of course, our team is also ready to go, and this morning 14 students from our team boarded a train in Nuremberg heading to Essen. What they didn’t know at the time: The train in Düsseldorf that would take them to Venlo doesn’t exist. This brings back memories of a popular meme from last year:

So, our travel group will likely arrive at the hotel in Eindhoven with an estimated delay of one hour and begin to take over the hotel rooms and floors for us and our robots. Starting next week, our team will be allowed into the hall!

By the way: Besides us, this year’s Division A will also feature teams ZJUNlict (China), KIKS (Japan), RoboCîn (Brazil), luhbots (Germany), TIGERs Mannheim (reigning world champion, Germany), Immortals (Germany), RoboDragons (Japan), and RoboTeam Twente (Netherlands). From experience, TIGERs Mannheim, ZJUNlict, and Immortals are particularly strong teams that we need to surpass!

German Open: Review

Now that the German Open, the second April tournament, has come to an end, we would like to take a brief look back at the event.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t win a trophy at this tournament either, but we gained valuable insights into our system and were able to significantly improve it towards the end. We started the tournament on Wednesday with completely new motor drivers and the associated problems, but we gradually got a handle on them.

It’s a pity that our last game on Saturday against TIGERs Mannheim was just a friendly match: If we had performed the same way the day before against Immortals, the tournament might have ended quite differently. But no matter: With the experiences and measurement data we were able to collect from this tournament, we can now enter RoboCup 2024 stronger and hopefully win big prizes there.

But the tournament was not only valuable for us: TIGERs Mannheim, Immortals, and Tritons also surely gained valuable insights. It’s a shame that Tritons couldn’t play in the end. It seems there is still some work to be done before real games can be played. All the more helpful that they had many opportunities at the German Open to exchange ideas with our team members and those of TIGERs and gather helpful input on how to solve the upcoming problems.

And finally, the tournament also seemed to be well received by the spectators: On the final day, the field was surrounded by visitors during both our friendly match and the final, eagerly following the game’s progress. Time and again, some children started chanting “ER-Force” – to such an extent that we had to assure TIGERs that we had not paid any of the spectators to be our cheering squad.

So we leave Kassel with the firm hope of being able to visit again next year when it’s time for RoboCup German Open 2025!

German Open: Finale: Immortals vs. TIGERs Mannheim

Now it is finally time: The final match of the German Open between TIGERs Mannheim and Immortals will take place shortly.

The livestream can be found as always on the YouTube page of TIGERs Mannheim.

First Half

05:00 And the game begins. TIGERs will play in yellow, while Immortals is the blue team.
04:25 After the ball was briefly in the TIGERs’ half, the tide quickly turns, and TIGERs begin a counterattack. This ends in Immortals’ goal, putting TIGERs ahead by one goal.
Immortals 0 : 1 TIGERs Mannheim
04:14 Another shot at Immortals’ goal, but this time the team can save it.
03:51 The pressure on Immortals does not let up. One shot on goal follows another, and at first, the defense holds. But eventually, it’s time: Goal for Mannheim!
Immortals 0 : 2 TIGERs Mannheim
03:34 That was somewhat sketchy for Mannheim standards: The ball placement wasn’t quite pretty, then they disturbed the opponent a bit, couldn’t shoot the ball accurately, and finally even kicked the ball out of the field. This earned Mannheim a yellow card, meaning they will play with one less robot for the next 2 minutes.
02:49 A strong back-and-forth on the field: Sometimes the ball is in TIGERs’ half, sometimes in Immortals’. But eventually, it ends up with Immortals – in their goal!
Immortals 0 : 3 TIGERs Mannheim
02:26 After some sluggish corners that Immortals unfortunately couldn’t place, it’s back to the attack for TIGERs. But Immortals can clear at the last second by deflecting the ball out of bounds.
02:20 A little outburst from the Immortals robots: Some of them spin quite quickly in circles, making the Immortals members a bit uneasy, but the problem seems to fix itself.
02:17 And now it’s time again: Eventually, the TIGERs robot manages to get past the Immortals’ defense and shoot the ball into the goal.
Immortals 0 : 4 TIGERs Mannheim
02:06 And immediately another successful shot on goal by TIGERs Mannheim. They increase their lead to 5.
Immortals 0 : 5 TIGERs Mannheim
02:05 The first substitution of the game: An Immortals robot has to come off.
01:55 Another shot on goal by TIGERs, but this time the ball is too high, so the goal doesn’t count.
01:15 And another goal by TIGERs Mannheim. The AI referee reports again that the ball is too high, but we doubt that. And indeed, the human referee decides: Goal by Mannheim!
Immortals 0 : 6 TIGERs Mannheim
00:28 Again a very nice and fluid game by both teams. No interruptions disturb the flow of the game. The Immortals bots fight against the goal threat for a long time, but eventually, it’s time for another goal by Mannheim.
Immortals 0 : 7 TIGERs Mannheim
-00:05 And of course, TIGERs often finish the first half with another shot on goal, so we go into halftime with a score of 8:0.
Immortals 0 : 8 TIGERs Mannheim

Second Half

05:00 And so the second half begins. The teams have switched sides, which is actually rather unusual in modern SSL games.
04:30 Still a fairly quiet game in the second half so far. Eventually, TIGERs start an attack, but Immortals simply shoot the ball out of the field.
04:13 Again, strong pressing by TIGERs Mannheim, but the ball just misses the goal.
03:55 And the pressing continues, but this time it doesn’t end well for Immortals: The ninth goal for Mannheim!
Immortals 0 : 9 TIGERs Mannheim
03:18 Although the ball lands in Immortals’ goal, it was obviously a chip shot. Therefore, the goal doesn’t count.
03:08 Indeed, a rare moment where TIGERs have to substitute a robot.
02:50 Strong defense by Immortals, but the pressure on them is still immense. Let’s see how long they can withstand the pressure.
02:40 Well, it didn’t last long. After a nice attack, it’s ironically the Immortals goalkeeper who deflects the ball into the goal. Thus, the game ends early at 10:0, and TIGERs Mannheim can now officially call themselves the German SSL champions!
Immortals 0 : 10 TIGERs Mannheim

German Open: ER-Force vs. Immortals

After we unfortunately lost our last group match against TIGERs Mannheim this morning at 11:30 AM with a score of 10:00, we now move on to the first semifinal match of the tournament against Immortals at 4:00 PM. The winner of this match will play in the Grand Final tomorrow at 2:00 PM against the winner of the second semifinal match today at 5:30 PM. The losers will play in the small final tomorrow at 12:30 PM.

Since yesterday’s match against Immortals ended with only a one-goal lead for them, we have a realistic chance of taking the win in this game. If we lose, there is also the possibility that we won’t play in this tournament anymore, as Tritons have not yet played a game and the small final tomorrow may be canceled as a result.

First Half

05:00 Both Immortals and our team are getting ready for the match. It will probably start in a few minutes. ER-Force is playing in yellow, Immortals in blue.
05:00 With a four-minute delay, the game starts with a kickoff by us. Once again, our robot doesn’t shoot, so after five minutes, the ball is released for all players. The ball ends up out of bounds.
04:40 The corner is actually dangerous for us, but our goalkeeper can defuse the situation.
04:05 Another dangerous throw-in by Immortals, but the pass goes past its receiver and directly out of bounds.
03:57 But now it happens: Immortals play the ball across our penalty area to a teammate on the other side, who doesn’t hesitate and shoots past our goalkeeper into the goal!
ER-Force 0 : 1 Immortals
03:50 This time it’s a chip goal by Immortals, but it doesn’t count, as the ball must not exceed 15 cm in height when shooting at goal.
03:15 The game continues to take place only in our half. A dangerous ball towards our penalty area is cleared by one of our robots, although out of bounds, which is a foul.
02:30 After some skirmishing, the ball is shot at our goal again, but so weakly that it poses no real threat to our goalkeeper.
01:47 Finally, an attack by us. But with only 3 robots in play, the attack fizzles out. It’s hard to mount a successful attack with just one striker.
01:39 And here comes the counter: During a nice attack by Immortals, their robot manages to shoot past our goalkeeper into the goal.
ER-Force 0 : 2 Immortals
00:41 There are several attacks on our goal, but our goalkeeper successfully defends multiple times.
00:37 What looks like a goal against us is fortunately a double touch by Immortals. Lucky for us, the score remains unchanged.
00:00 With two goals for Immortals, we go into halftime.

Second Half

05:00 With four robots for us and five for Immortals, the second half begins. At least this time we managed the kickoff successfully.
04:51 And already we are down to three robots. Our new motor drivers tend to get very hot and often need a short cooldown.
04:02 Actually, some really nice moments for our team. But unfortunately, our attacker lacks the passing options for his attacks, so the attack fizzles out into a sideline out.
03:30 With a fourth robot in play, our attacks and their dangers slowly increase, but unfortunately, no goal has been scored yet. The game is now visibly taking place in Immortals’ half.
02:51 The first time we seriously had a shot on goal. Unfortunately, it was a bit too obvious, so it didn’t go in.
02:38 A quick timeout by us to test a robot. After the test results are acceptable, it is promptly put in, giving us five robots again.
01:54 That was lucky! Immortals score a goal against us, but they also commit a foul by having a robot in our penalty area. Thus, the goal doesn’t count.
01:11 We have to substitute a robot again. Since this is now the sixth time this half, we receive a yellow card as only five substitutions per half are allowed.
01:02 The ball looked dangerous right from the kick-off, and it proved to be: Another goal by Immortals against us!
ER-Force 0 : 3 Immortals
00:00 Thus, the game ends with Immortals winning 3:0.

German Open 2024

Less than two weeks after our last tournament in Crailsheim, our team heads straight to Kassel for the GermanOpen 2024. This is the first time in years that the tournament is being held with major leagues like ours, after having been exclusively for the junior leagues in the past. Our last participation in the German Open in 2016 was also the last time this tournament was offered for our SSL league.

The tournament itself runs from this Thursday through Sunday, with the group stage taking place on Thursday and Friday, followed by the knockout games and finals on Saturday. The schedule can be viewed at this link. A permanent livestream can be found on the YouTube page of the TIGERs Mannheim.

Participants in this tournament, besides us, include the TIGERs Mannheim, who are again favorites for the title as they were at the Crailsheim tournament, the German team Immortals, and the young American team Tritons. We are particularly curious about the latter team’s performance, as their qualification video for the RoboCup did not give the impression that their robots could even drive.