The 2018 edition of the ESL One Cologne is just about to begin
One of the highlights of a busy CS:GO summer jam-packed with exciting events is the ESL One Cologne 2018. This tournament, which is starting tomorrow and running until the 8th of July, is taking place in Germany and will feature 16 teams that will battle it out for their fair share of a $300 thousand prize pool.
The tournament will first feature a group stage and then turn into a single match elimination format competition. There are two groups and each of those is comprised of 8 teams. The first matches in the groups will be played in a best out of one format, while the other group matches will be played in a best out of three.
The two teams that finish the two groups in first position will go straight into the semi-finals in the playoff stage, while the second and third placed teams will have to play an elimination match to get there as they will progress into the quarter-final stage of the tournament.
Both groups are evenly matched in terms of favorites and underdogs. In Group A, Astralis and Natus Vincere are the ones expected to compete for the semi-final spot, while sides such as Cloud9, mousesports, G2, NiP, Gambit and ENCE will try to fight it out for the remaining places that can take them through.
Group B’s favorite is no other than the IEM Sydney winning FaZe Clan and their biggest competitors will probably be the Swedish fnatic, the Danes in North and the high performing Team Liquid who will fight hard for their spots in the semi- and quarter-finals. B.O.O.T-d[S], MIBR, Renegades and BIG are also Group B teams that will be hoping to progress into the elimination stage.
Predictions about which teams will go into the final four have already started pouring in and with the first match-ups already announced, punters and CS:GO enthusiasts have declared their favorites as the three in-form teams Astralis, NaVi and FaZe Clan.
Predictions have also been done for the opening matches of the groups as some of the match-ups will most likely only go one way. One of these match-ups is the duel between the Danish Astralis and the Finnish ENCE in Group A, in which the Danes are clear favorites to take home the spoils.
Other opening matches in Group A include a duel between NiP and Cloud9. This is a close call which can go both ways, but NiP are the ones expected to nick it. You will also find mousesports facing Gambit in a match which on current form should be won by mousesports and G2 battling it out against the recent Asia Championship winners NaVi who are expected to comfortably come on top in this encounter.
In Group B, the schedule for the opening matches include a battle between FaZe Clan and B.O.O.T-d[S] -, which is a match that the first mentioned team should win easily. Renegades are taking on the Brazilian MIBR in a match that has the potential to turn into an excellent shoot out which is expected to be won by the Australians.
You will also find fnatic in an encounter against North – a Scandinavian duel which is also going to be a close one, but with the Swedish fnatic expected to prevail over the Danes. Last but not least, the Germans in BIG are battling Team Liquid in a match where the North American team usually would have the edge, but as BIG will be playing in front of their home crowd we might very well see the Germans triumphing here.