The main event of IEM Cologne is upon us. The eight teams from play-ins will match up against the eight directly invited teams on LAN for $1,000,000 in prizes.
CSGO teams from across the globe are under pressure at IEM Cologne 2021. The historic city is hosting the first offline CSGO event since early 2020. Only eight play-in teams have emerged into the group stage. They now face an even greater challenge from the directly invited teams. The opening round of the IEM Cologne group stage provides a ton of great CSGO matches for watching and betting.
The IEM Cologne group stage will determine which six teams advance to the playoffs. The top two CSGO squads from each group will advance to the winner’s bracket while the third-place teams start just one match from elimination. The prize pool of $1,000,000 provides plenty of motivation. These four CSGO matches are sure to be tense.
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Ninjas in Pyjamas vs Team Liquid
Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz has had four tournaments to get comfortable with Ninjas in Pyjamas, but he still isn’t performing to his old standard. The Danish AWP master has only put up 74.8 damage and .71 kills per round, significantly lower than his career average. Ninjas in Pyjamas could very well get upset at IEM Cologne. The Americans might be the ones to do it.
While American CSGO tournaments haven’t been quite as competitive as European events, Team Liquid still carries some championship momentum from cs_summit 8. Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo in particular has been putting up highlights with his AWP skills. Liquid over NiP is a very tempting bet when paired with 2.08 odds.
FaZe Clan vs Astralis
FaZe Clan entered IEM Cologne as underdogs, but a map over Evil Geniuses was followed by a very dominant 2-0 over Complexity. Astralis is known for its consistency, but the two squads haven’t played each other in 10 months. A $50 bet on FaZe would net a hefty $111 return at 2.22 odds.
While FaZe doesn’t have the tight coordination of some other top European teams, each player has a real chance of just taking over a game. Håvard “rain” Nygaard of FaZe Clan dropped 26 kills on Dust 2 against Complexity. Finn “karrigan” Andersen followed suit to seal the group stage slot. FaZe’s explosive playstyle makes it a good betting choice against Astralis.
Furia eSports vs Team Vitality
Another duel across the Atlantic rounds out our list of the best IEM Cologne group stage matches. Furia eSports have had a pretty good transition from the Americas to Europe with multiple podium finishes at stacked events. It’s difficult to bet against Team Vitality’s superstar rifler Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, but whoever set 2.26 odds on Furia definitely underestimates the Brazilian squad’s tenacity.
Just like Team Liquid, Furia eSports brings some momentum into Cologne with a solid victory at Elisa Invitational Summer. The entire squad performed well there, though some standout clutch performances from Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo makes him the Furia player to watch. While this matchup is close, the Brazilian squad’s recent form and high odds create a major opportunity for both Furia and avid CSGO bettors.