Arguably the most consistent team in Europe this year, G2 have found themselves as one of the few teams seemingly unaffected by the transition from LAN to Online Counter-Strike. Having come into 2020 placed all the way down in 11th in the HLTV world rankings, a standout performance at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships in Katowice earlier this year saw them finish the event as runners up and hoisted to third. They might not have any S-Tier tournaments to their name this year, however two more runners up finishes at the ESL Road to Rio and DreamHack Spring Masters has kept G2 in the top five longer than any other side at the time of writing.
And it’s this consistency on both LAN and Online servers that will be key to winning this tournament. They might slight dark horses in the CSGO odds for the tournament, but the reality is that the scene has fluctuated so wildly this year that consistency is one of the most important factors to deciding how far a team can go at a major event now.
The likes of Team Vitality, BIG and Natus Vincere, all ranked higher in the world rankings than G2 and with more tournament wins than the EU org, might be the more attractive prospect in Esports predictions and betting markets, but they’ve also been prone to some seriously drops in form and periods of noticeable losses in confidence.
Prediction: Evil Geniuses
2019’s ESL One Cologne was the tournament that crowned Team Liquid’s first ever Intel Grand Slam win last year, a feat that took only 63 days, but the former world number one come into this event as a very different animal. Their dismal drop in form following their failure at the last StarLadder Berlin Major led to them dropping out of the conversation as dynasty-building org, and they really began tanking during the first Online era playing against only NA sides.
Evil Geniuses, on the other hand, have had pretty much the opposite trajectory following the transition from LAN to Online. The conflict between star players such as Tarik and Stanislaw with their coach ImAPet saw a shuffling with the experienced figure of Zews coming in and taking the reigns of the side. Gradually the side rose from 7th-8th finishes, to 3rd-4th and then crowned off their season with wins at CS_Summit 6 and BLAST Summer Finals.
Gen.G and Furia will undoubtedly provide some tough challenges, but EG come into Cologne as the highest ranked side in the region, and the one with the most form behind them.
Asia / Oceania
Prediction: TYLOO and Renegades
The ESL Cologne tournaments for the Asia and Oceania regions are only ranked as B-Tier and both only have four teams competing in it. TYLOO and Renegades are the only sides in their regions currently ranked in the top thirty-five (TYLOO are ranked 32nd and Renegades are 16th), and they really shouldn’t have too much competition from their three respective rivals here.