EXTREMUM vs Team Fiend
Spring Sweet Spring #1
EXTREMUM and Team Fiend will clash in the opening round of Spring Sweet Spring #1 Main Swiss Stage. Team Fiend made it to the second stage of the tournament with a fairly convincing 3-1 record from the Regional Swiss Stage.
There they lost only to SKADE (0-2), but had no real issues beating the likes of Ambush Esports (2-1), M1 EDEN (2-0), and MAD Lions (2-1). With those results, Fiend are now 6-4 across their last 10 outings.
EXTREMUM enter the tournament as one of eight directly-invited teams. They were last seen competing at Funspark ULTI 2021: Europe Season 1 two weeks ago, where they made it to the playoffs, but lost to K23 (0-2) and finished in fifth-eighth place.
Even before that, EXTREMUM haven't been playing too well. It may be weird to see a roster with so much talent struggle as much as they do, but there is a good explanation behind that.
As revealed by the players in some of the interviews, they lack the motivation to compete in these lesser tournaments, which makes scenes, since the core of this roster has been playing at the highest level not too long ago. That also explains their underwhelming performances against team that they should be beating with ease.
Whether EXTREMUM will find the motivation to perform here remains to be seen. But after what they have produced against teams of similar calibre as Fiend, you can't be too optimistic about them. Value bet on Fiend!
SKADE vs FunPlus Phoenix
IEM Summer European Qualifiers
SKADE and FunPlus Phoenix will meet in the Play-In stage of Intel Extreme Masters Season XVI - Summer: European Qualifier for the first time in history. Considering these two never met before, it will be interesting how they match up, but from the looks of it, one side should have an edge over the other.
SKADE have proven to be a very consistent and reliable team when faced with opponents weaker or equally as strong as them. FunPlus Phoenix, however, are much stronger team that what SKADE are used to playing against.
The only reason why you could doubt FunPlus Phoenix is that they haven't been playing too many games in April. In fact, they have played only one match this month, when they lost against FURIA (1-2) at the ESL pro League Season 13.
Regardless, FPX field a much better team than SKADE, which they have proven numerous times before. In March, FPX took down BIG (2-1) and OG (2-1), as well as Gambit (2-1) just a few weeks earlier.
SKADE might come off as a worthy opponent for FPX, considering they are on a 16-game winning streak. That said, most of the teams SKADE have faced during that stretch were either tier-2 or tier-3 squads, so I wouldn't overreact to their run. FPX to win!
Mousesports vs K23
IEM Summer European Qualifiers
Mousesports come off as a better team here, but that's largely because of the success this team has had over the years. The current mousesports, however, is no longer the same team from 2020.
Mousesports enter this match with a 4-6 record in their last five, which includes a 2-1 victory over the struggling Fnatic and a 2-0 fluke win against G2 Esports at ESL Pro League Season 13. Outside of that, mouz haven't produced anything of note for a very long time.
Even though I don't view mouz as a top-tier team anymore, they still field a fairly strong core. That should be enough for solid results in tournaments like this one - as long as they can show a bit more consistency and perhaps find a proper IGL to lead them.
K23 are clearly the weaker team here, but I wouldn't say the gap is as big as the betting odds might suggest. K23 have been performing extremely well of late and enter this match with a 12-2 record since the start of April.
While I don't believe K23's form will be enough for them to compensate for the lack of individual quality and defeat mouz, the Kazakhstani side should at least keep the series close. K23 should win at least one map against mouz, who are way too shaky for me to bet on.