ESL One Cologne 2020 Europe is now halfway through with the Group Stages concluding 26th August 2020. The event has had a long group sage, with two groups going through a losers bracket round for 16 teams. With the dust settled, only eight teams remain heading into the playoffs. Let’s take a look at the story so far.
Group A Upper Bracket
Despite ESL One Cologne 2020 Europe being online, the magic of the event still exists. In a twist of fate, Sprout was surprisingly the first team to make it out of Group A. They beat teams like BIG, and OG to make it out of the group in the Upper Bracket. In both situations, Sprout was definitely the underdog in those scenarios. They somehow manage to compete against the world number 1 in BIG really close, winning 16-12 on Mirage then 19-16 on Nuke. The OG series was much closer, beating OG 16-9 on Train, then losing 16-13 on Mirage before winning 16-3 on Nuke. This is exactly the magic events like these can bring out in teams.
On the other hand, Complexity had a great showing. This is a team that has been growing ever more slowly throughout the year, and this Group is a sign of their success. They began the event with a swift 2-0 over MAD Lions winning Overpass 16-3 then going 22-20 on Nuke. Then the surprise came against Natus Vincere, were they won 16-9 on Dust II and 16-8 on Nuke.
Group A Lower Bracket
Moving into the Lower Bracket, Ninjas in Pyjamas had a storyline to follow. They too managed to beat BIG in the first round of the Lower Bracket and Na’Vi in the second round of the Lower Bracket. The big series finished 2-1, and NiP had to play catch up for most of the series. BIG won the first map on Vertigo 16-5, so NiP gave it their all on Nuke to win 28-26. Finally, NiP won Mirage 16-7. But the real surprise came from Na’Vi. NiP beat Na’Vi on Overpass 16-9 followed by a thrashing on Train 16-3. Both of these results are quite surprising, considering the talent in Na’Vi. Either way, congrats to NiP for making it through a difficult Lower Bracket.
OG had a relatively short run in the Lower Bracket after only fighting through one round against MAD Lions. As expected, OG mad quick work of MAD Lions with 16-10 victory on Nuke and 16-9 on Dust II.
Group B Upper Bracket
Astralis has come into ESL Once Cologne 2020 Europe with an almost brand-new team. The roster has two stand-ins with Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen and Patrick “es3tag” Hansen temporarily standing in for sickness and leave. Considering the previous stand-in results for Astralis, these two players have put in work so far. Astralis dismantled Fnatic 16-5 on Nuke and 19-17 on Train. Moving on, they trashed Vitality 16-8 on Nuke and 16-7 on Dust II. Astralis has new life with their upcoming stars on their roster.
In the closest Upper Bracket Round yet, G2 Esports pulled through. G2 Esports warmup was against MiBR who they put to bed instantly. G2 won Vertigo 16-2 and Inferno 16-4. Their real challenge was against Heroic, which brought them to the edge. Heroic won Nuke 16-7, with G2 Esports winning Vertigo 16-7 and Mirage 19-17. Heroic was in the lead for the most part of Mirage but G2 pulled through (we think KennyS really wanted to watch the PSG Champions League Final match).
Group B Lower Bracket
The Group B Lower Bracket has the same level of excitement and disappointment as Group A. Heroic popped a NiP here by taking down Fnatic 2-0. Both Vertigo and Overpass went to Heroic 16-11. This is rather disappointing, especially with Fnatic being as good as they were at the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Vitality and FaZe had yet another amazing series against each other. Vitality managed to pull through 2-0 in the series, but the results were super close. Vitality won Dust II 19-16, and won Nuke 16-14. This is exactly the high stakes action we want from ESL Once Cologne 2020 Europe
With the Group Stages done, ESL One Cologne 2020 Europe continues with the playoffs. The remaining teams are competing in the playoffs from Thursday 27th August to championship Sunday on 30th August.