How Schalke 04 made a miracle run to the LEC summer playoffs

Christian Vejvad • August 10, 20:54

It didn’t look good for FC Schalke 04 after the first five weeks of the 2020 LEC Summer Split, but the team has miraculously turned things around and qualified for the upcoming playoffs. The question being asked now is simple: How did they do it?

The state of Schalke was already bad coming into the summer split after a poor performance in the spring. Schalke started the split as expected with some dire defeats and a placement at the bottom of the standings. While the team was expected to lose to some of the LEC’s top sides, SCchalke’s games against weaker opponents were also lacking. Their coordination and individual level were not living up to LEC standards, which got them punished by each and every opponent. 

It took four weeks before Schalke found their first win of the split against a Fnatic team that had also shown inconsistency. The win was not enough to start a winning streak, but after two more losses, something clicked for Schalke. The team went undefeated in the final three weeks of the regular split, resulting in seven more wins. Schalke looked like a completely different team in all of these games, showing that confidence and momentum can change a team entirely. 

The return of Gilius was huge for Schalke

One of the main reasons for Schalke’s impressive turnaround was the addition of Erberk “Gilius” Demir.

Gilius has had a shaky career to date, being replaced on teams such as Vitality after inconsistent performances. His time at Schalke has also been inconsistent, but the last few weeks have finally shown why the German jungler is an important asset. 

Schalke started the split with the young talent Lukas “Lurox” Thoma in the jungle, but the results simply weren’t there. Gilius played his first game against MAD Lions in week 4, and even though it took a few games to get him fully adjusted to the team, it was worth the wait. As soon as the winning streak started for Schalke, there was no looking back for Gilius. He played consistently great in the jungle with a lot of impact all over the map. It was clear that Gilius was the glue that the team had been waiting for, someone who could enable everyone else on the squad to perform at their best. 

After beating a list of teams including G2 Esports and Fnatic, it suddenly seemed possible that Schalke could make a miracle run to the playoffs. According to Lolesports stats, Schalke still only had a 4.16% chance to reach playoffs with four games left in the regular split. 

Even with their undefeated record, Schalke had to rely on other teams during the final week of games. Schalke started out by winning their last game against MAD Lions, after which they had to root for G2 in their game against Excel. Luckily, the defending MSI champions demolished Excel, which completed the Schalke miracle run. 

Schalke ended the regular split with a 8-10 record, placing sixth in the standings. Schalke has to grind their way through the lower bracket in the LEC playoffs, but their current form seems to be enough to make a run, starting with a best-of-five series against SK Gaming. Schalke has already written some new LoL history, and they might do so again if they manage to qualify for the 2020 World Championship. 

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