As the first big Counter Strike: Global Offensive LAN event in more than twelve months, much was expected from the IEM XVI Cologne and it has delivered.
With play-ins and the group stage now complete, the tournament moves into the quarter-final stage this week with two sides having already booked their spots in the last four.
All Go in Cologne
Group A was competitive with one of the matches of the tournament between Team Liquid and mousesports seeing the third map – Inferno – go into quadruple overtime. Liquid eventually prevailed but both sides crashed out.
Gambit Esports, who were considered tournament favourites, made light work of mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas before losing 2-1 to G2 Esports and are into the quarter-finals.
G2 advanced straight to the semi-finals while Gambit will feature in the first stage of the playoffs along with Virtus.pro, who were knocked down to the lower bracket by BIG but recovered to win their three remaining fixtures.
Natus Vincere were the standout side in Group B, winning all three of their upper-bracket encounters against the Renegades, Team Vitality and Astralis and they are also through to the last four.
Heroic suffered a surprise exit in the third round of the lower bracket while FaZe Clan have been a dark horse in the LAN event, having carved a path to the quarter-finals with three successive victories in the lower bracket.
FaZe will now face Gambit while Virtus,pro take on Astralis in the tournament’s two quarter-finals with G2 and Natus Vincere already through to the next round. There is a prize of $400,000 and 1,800 ESL points up for grabs for the winner.
Virtus.pro Represent Last Eight Value
6/5 to beat Astralis in the IEM XVI Cologne quarter-finals and they could be worth a bet.
They may have had to progress to this stage through Group A’s lower bracket but they have got better as the tournament has gone on, beating the BIG side who knocked them out of the upper bracket in their latest assignment.
Virtus.pro’s AWPer Dzhami “Jame” Ali should also perform better than Astralis counterpart Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen, who only took up that role for the Danish outfit earlier this year.
Their battle could be key to this fixture and Astralis – who are
4/6 to win – are worth opposing.
FaZe May Fall Short Against Improving Gambit
FaZe Clan captain Finn “karrigan” Andersen is one of the best in-game leaders around but he could struggle to spearhead a victory for his side against improving Gambit Esports.
5/14 to win this contest but it is hard to go against them given how comfortably they beat both mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas before pushing G2 close in the upper-bracket final.
They also made it all the way to the Grand Final of season 13 of the ESL Pro League earlier this year and are shaping up to be one of the sharpest teams in CS:GO in 2021.
*All odds correct at time of writing