The Esports action continues on Tuesday, July 6th as our resident Esports guru Michael Lee takes a look at matches from the CS:GO IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In and provides some of his best bets of the night below.
IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
Evil Geniuses and FaZe will meet in the Play-In stage of IEM Cologne 2021, for the first time since November 2019, when FaZe Clan won with 2-1. Both teams have since made several roster changes and are no longer the same stack of players as two years back.
The changes were most notable at FaZe, who parted ways with their star player Nikola "NiKo" Kovač, who left for G2 Esports. On the other side, FaZe signed Russel "Twistzz« Van Dulken and re-signed one of the best in-game leaders in the world, Finn "karrigan" Andersen.
More roster changes followed last month when FaZe benched Marcelo "coldzera" David and reinstalled Olof "olofmeister" Kjabjer Gustafsson to their roister. At around the same time, Evil Geniuses mutually agreed to part ways with their head coach Wilton "zews" Prado. They replaced him with Damian "daps" Steele, previously a teammate of EG's core, while they were still contracted with NRG.
Suffice to say, EG and FaZe are no longer the same teams that faced off in November 2019.
Form-wise, there is not a lot to separate these two teams. FaZe and EG have both been struggling throughout the year, but that doesn't mean much since this tournament will be, unlike all other on the season, played on LAN.
This fixture can go both ways, and it's tough to call out a winner. It will all come down to which team will perform better on the day; however, if we had to pick a side, FaZe Clan seem slightly stronger, mainly because of karrigan, who should come up with a plan to defeat FaZe's regional rivals.
It will be a close one, but FaZe should bring it home.
IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
OG's most recent achievement was finishing second at IEM Summer 2021, where they lost only to the current number one team, Gambit Esports, who beat them in the finals. OG are a well-rounded team, capable of upsetting pretty much any roster on their day, but I feel like they still need to make one or two roster changes before they can become proper contenders.
TeamOne have successfully qualified for the ESL Pro League Season 14 by finishing first in the ESEA Premier Season 37 North America. There they beat Extra Salt in the BO5 finals.
Since arriving in Europe for IEM Cologne, TeamOne played only two matches against ENCE and Young Ninjas and lost both 0-2. However, we can contribute these two losses to jet lag and players adjusting to a new region.
I think this one will be way closer than what the current betting odds suggest. TeamOne have looked very competitive in the North American leagues. While we have yet to see any of that show in their play in the EU, competing at one of the most prestigious tournaments should serve as a morale boost and, hopefully, help them step it up.
These BO1 opening matches have been historically close and unpredictable encounters, so it is not impossible for TeamOne to steal a win here. Bet on TeamOne to keep it close!
IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
Renegades dominated the Australian CS:GO scene, where they won ESEA Premier Season 37 Australia and EPIC League Oceania 2021 without any real issues. They also averaged an incredible 88.9% win rate across the last three months.
Renegades' last tournament where they faced a proper European team happened back in March when they attended ESL Pro League Season 13. There, Renegades lost their first four matches against FunPlus Phoenix, OG, Complexity, and Heroic, but bounced back and won against BIG, so they clearly have a fighting spirit in them.
I am not sure what is going on with Vitality. They have one of the best CS:GO players in the game's history, but their results across the last few months are mediocre at best.
Vitality finished third-fourth at IEM Summer 2021, seventh at Flashpoint 3, and seventh-eighth at the DreamHack Masters Spring 2021. Across the last couple of months, we saw Vitality lose against some awful teams, such as DBL PONEY and 9z, so I would not be surprised if they get outperformed by Renegades as well.
The Aussies always get hyped for big events like IEM Cologne, and with Vitality's awful form, I have a reason to believe that there is a realistic possibility of Renegades to walk away with a W on Tuesday. But let's not tempt fate and take Renegades with a round handicap. Bet on Renegades +5.50 Rounds!
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