French Friday for ESL One Cologne's groups A and B

After a first day of breathtaking matches including Titan and Cloud 9’s overtime marathon watched by over 257,000 fans on GOTV alone, we’re heading into more CS:GO madness today. The matches did have some surprises, like some games being way closer or clearer than most fans expected, while we also saw Cobblestone and Overpass premier at a major CS:GO event. But what did the first part of day two have in store?

Group A: HellRaisers to doom the loser?

Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Epsilon had the honor of opening the first day on the big stage. While both teams did win their matches yesterday, NiP didn’t demolish Wolf quite as soundly as many expected, while Epsilon showed how well they had prepared for Cologne by only letting HellRaisers win one single round. Cobblestone made its appearance in Cologne for the third time, and saw Epsilon starting as Terrorists and winning the pistol round as well as scoring the two follow-ups. In their first equipped round, NiP took the advantage and scored their first round only to force Epsilon to do an eco round and pick up another safe one. Epsilon surged forward once again to take another three rounds and extend their lead to 6-2, led by fxy0’s well-used AWP on the wide fields of Cobblestone.

Both teams gave each other a run for their money, and the swelling crowd saw rounds going in both directions. 9-6 to Epsilon was the halftime score, giving them a solid lead and putting NiP a bit under pressure. Winning the second pistol round gave Epsilon the chance to once again extend their lead, but NiP was able to put those eco rounds to good use. Despite not winning the rounds, they made them very expensive for Epsilon due to a lot weapons lost as well as planting the bomb in the 18th round. However, Epsilon, demonstrating some good team play as well as one knife kill by fxy0, were extending the lead round by round. At 14-6 to the French, NiP took a timeout to adjust their play for the crucial rounds ahead, but both of the follow-up rounds went to Epsilon, sending NiP down to the decider match against HellRaisers with a final score of 16-6.

HellRaisers vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas was to see the first top EU team go home. With the two-time runner-up of the CS:GO major tournament on the brink of dropping, this match got pretty tense as a lot of big-name players clashed to survive Cologne’s group stage. Overpass was the stage the random generator selected for the two legends of Katowice to send one of them home. HellRaisers had the better start as they took the third pistol round of the day from Ninjas in Pyjamas. Making the third round an expensive one for HellRaisiers by having all players dead by the end of it put NiP in a position to not only take their first round but also break the money flow for HR to bring the score to an even 3-3. NiP managed to put their defense up, using a combination of good map knowledge and individual skill to give HR a hard time and taking and extending the lead to 8-3. Friberg especially gave a very impressive performance, pushing his team towards the playoffs. However, a very close round brought HR back to take another before NiP rediscovered their strength to bring the score to 10-5 for halftime.

Another big round by friberg allowed NiP to pick up their first pistol round of the day. When the score went to 13-5, HellRaisers had to put their first equipped round on the CT side to good use. However, NiP brought the bomb down quickly, putting HR in a bad situation that made them save their remaining weapons. One more round was picked up by HR before NiP pushed hard into the match point position with a score of 15-6 as they saw the CIS players with only two rifles and an AWP in hand. Instead of backing off, HR took their chance to score another round as well as the follow-up, forcing NiP into an eco round that saw NiP bring down three players and mess with the eco management of HR once more. However, with three rounds in a row, markeloff and his team came into a position reminiscent of the way C9 pushed into overtime against Titan just one day ago. Despite this, at 15-11 NiP made the final step, taking down one player after another to advance to the playoffs.

HellRaisers gave a big game, but in the end were not able to take down all-time favorites NiP. Dosia and his team did put on a good show, however, and have earned some more fans to back them up. This definitely won’t be the last we’ve heard from them.

Group B: How to dodge the Wolves?

Team vs. Natus Vincere was the winners match of the group. On Inferno, the challenger Na’Vi took on Legend of Katowice LDLC, who gave an impressive performance against Copenhagen Wolves yesterday. Starting as Terrorists, Na’Vi had a big challenge coming, but was able to take the pistol round, although LDLC and Maniac were able to use a pistol/ kevlar combo to win the eco as well as the follow-up. However, after that Na’Vi once again turned 20 seconds left on the clock into a won round. While LDLC was able to score four rounds, Na’Vi picked up the pace and pushed the French back round after round up to a count of seven before Maniac and his mates were able to make the Ukranians take a bait and score their fifth round. With some further back and forthing, the first half closed with a scoreline of 8-7 in favor of the Frenchmen.

Another pistol round going to LDLC secured them not only the usual two additional rounds but even four, with Na’Vi buying early but failing to make a profit out of it. When the score hit 13-7 for LDLC, Na’Vi had to step it up to keep their chance of going to the playoffs alive, and the Ukrainians made it happen by interrupting LDLC’s flow (but also lost two men in the process). Both teams were on the verge of losing the money advantage and getting pushed into another eco round. Na’Vi seized the opportunity to bring the score up to 13-10, bringing them back into the game. However, LDLC pushed them back once more, making the 25th round a crucial one for both teams as the loser would once again need to save for another equipped round. Na’Vi picked up this important round but LDLC saved one weapon, decided to buy two more AKs to take the round despite only being half equipped and bringing the score to 15-11. One more round went to Na’Vi before LDLC took the final round, ending the game 16-12 and sending Na’Vi to face the Copenhagen Wolves in the decider match.

Copenhagen Wolves vs. Natus Vincere was the next deciding match in order to find out who was to advance to the playoffs and who had to leave the stage for this event. The pistol round saw Karrigan take a 1on3 as well as a defuse to bring the first CT round to his team’s account. However, Na’Vi once again made a big play to take the eco home, only to lose the anti-eco to bring the scoreline to 2-1 in favor of the Wolves and both teams somewhat equipped. Na’Vi came out on top, taking the next three rounds before CPHW were able to have a full buy round again. On the following rounds, they were able to take one round before Na’Vi took the score to 7-3 and left the Wolves broke once more. Na’Vi then kicked off a streak to bring the score up to 10-3, but the Wolves fought back to make the halftime score look a bit more open at 10-5 in favor of Na’Vi. 

With the pistol round going to CPH Wolves again, two more rounds were won by the Danes before they went on to equalize the score, even taking the lead 12-10. However, when the Wolves looked the strongest, Na’Vi came back after a timeout to equalize the score once more and ultimately take over the lead. The big fight for the final rounds began, with both teams failing to pick up momentum for more than a couple of rounds and resulting in the score going 14-14 in preparation for a hell of a final pair of rounds for the decider. The Wolves were able to pick up their 15th round, putting Na’Vi into a semi-equipped final round to save themselves by taking the game into overtime. GuardiaN seized the opportunity to give his team one last chance, bringing the game into an additional six rounds.

One round went to each side before Na’Vi managed to come back as the leading team at 17-16. The Wolves struck back with a very offensive opening, taking down two of Na’Vis players and eventually the rest of the team. However, once again GuardiaN pushed his team to the limit, taking the match 19-17.

Thus Copenhagen Wolves were stopped on their way to being one of the top contenders at a major, but left a big impression by not only taking Natus Vincere into overtime but also being a hard nut for them to crack. If they keep this level up, they are very likely to be among the best teams in the world very soon!

All wrap-ups so far:

Catch all the upcoming action on our stream on the ESL One homepage as well as our ongoing wrap-ups and more. What do you expect to see in groups C and D? Tell us in the comments below!


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