ESL One Cologne 2019 Preview & Favorites

By: EsportsOnly.Com
May 05, 2019

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ESL One Cologne 2019 is an upcoming CS:GO event of tremendous importance, thanks to the historical significance of its location. Cologne has been one of the capitals of CS:GO and esports in general throughout the years. So every season, we see at least one CS:GO or Dota 2 tournament being organized there.

ESL One Cologne 2019 offers a prize pool of $300.000 and is scheduled to take place between July 2nd – 7th.  As the name suggests, the location for this event will be Cologne, Germany.

The First 10 Participants of ESL One Cologne 2019

The first 10 participants have already been announced and they’re almost 100% the ones that you might expect at an event like this. Also, keep in mind that two more teams are yet to be revealed as direct invites and four others will come to the competition via qualifiers.

These are the first 10 teams of ESL One Cologne 2019.

  • Astralis
  • FaZe Clan
  • BIG
  • mousesports
  • ENCE
  • Fnatic
  • MIBR
  • Natus Vincere
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Renegades

There’s only one top team that’s missing from this list, and that is Team Liquid. We do expect them though to be among the final two directly invited teams that are yet to be announced.

Just by looking at this list, you can tell what ESL One Cologne means. It may not have a prize pool or format worthy of a Major, but in terms of its list of participants, it is nothing short of one. Everyone that counts is here and as a result, ESL One Cologne 2019 will likely turn out to be one of the best CS:GO tournaments of the year.

Main Favorites for Winning the ESL One Cologne 2019 Title

Based on what we’ve seen over the last few months, the big favorites to win the title at ESL One Cologne 2019 are Astralis, Fnatic, Natus Vincere and Team Liquid (if they get invited). So in total, we have at least four competitors out of 16 that could easily win the event. Some may argue that there are actually more than four and that the likes of ENCE, FaZe Clan, mousesports, and MIBR should also be on the list. And while that may be true, based on what we’ve seen it’s unlikely that these teams will survive the elimination matches against the four competitors that we’ve mentioned.

Nevertheless, we each have our favorites going into the tournament and it’s perfectly fine to hope that Renegades or BIG will win the event. We simply wouldn’t bet on them to achieve that performance. The performance charts and statistics simply favor other teams.

ESL One Cologne 2019 Format

ESL One Cologne 2019 takes place in two stages. For the Group Stage, the teams are divided into two groups of eight. Each group consists of a double-elimination format. The winners of the groups advance to the Semifinals. The 2nd and 3rd placed teams advance to the Quarterfinals. The initial matches will be Bo1. Every other match is a Bo3, except the Grand Final (Bo5).

ESL One Cologne 2019 Team Analysis

These are the most important teams that you should follow if you have an interest in betting on ESL One Cologne 2019. But even if CS:GO betting is not your thing, these are still the key teams to watch throughout the event, as one of them is likely to win the title.


Astralis is at a crossroads right now. Or at least, that’s what their most recent results indicate. The team has dominated the CS:GO scene for over a year but their period of dominance is slowly coming to an end. Their rivals have finally caught up to them and have thoroughly studied their tactics and strategies, even on their best maps.

At BLAST Pro Series Miami, Astralis got beaten by no less than three teams. And in two of those cases, the defeats were spectacularly bad: 2 – 16 against MIBR and 5 – 16 against FaZe Clan. And for the first time in quite some time, Astralis finished an event close to the bottom of the results table: 5th out of six teams. Only Cloud9 did worse.

Immediately after this tournament, Astralis went on to win several matches against much weaker teams, such as ex-3DMAX, HellRaisers, and BIG. However, in BIG’s case, they needed three maps to end the dispute and lost for the first time in many weeks on their best map, Inferno.

The End Of An Era?

Cumulated, these results show some warning signs of weakness. We’ve grown accustomed to Astralis the winners or at least Grand Finalists of every event. But it turns out that they too can bleed. The gods of Counter-Strike are no longer feared the way they used to be, although, judging by MIBR’s reaction after their 16 – 2 win on Overpass, we can tell how amazed they were themselves by this result.

Going into ESL One Cologne 2019, we expect Astralis to make a statement and get at least a top-four result. Anything less would mark the end of their era of dominance in CS:GO. The recent weaknesses they showed in their game clearly indicate something, but it’s also possible that BPS Miami was an isolated failure. We’ll find out at ESL One Cologne.

Natus Vincere

Na’Vi tends to thrive at events like ESL One Cologne 2019. The format really favors them. If you give Na’Vi enough chances, they will succeed. Because on average, they win more than they lose and they almost always defeat the lesser opponents. So a group with eight teams, Bo3 matches and a double-elimination format is almost guaranteed to allow them to qualify for the Playoffs. And at that stage, they are very likely to qualify for the Semifinals.

In 2019, s1mple and his teammates managed to score a few important results: 3rd – 4th place at the IEM Katowice Major and 1st place at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7. At their most recent tournament, BPS Miami, Na’Vi finished 4th. It wasn’t the greatest event for the CIS squad, but the conditions did not favor them at all: Bo1 matches against the world’s best teams. They simply weren’t able to use their map pool to their advantage under those circumstances.

Going into ESL One Cologne 2019, we expect Na’Vi to do well and prove that they’re still at the top of their game. Anything between the 3rd and the 6th place would be sufficient at this level.


Something happened with Fnatic over the last two months. After their complete failure at the IEM Katowice Major, where they finished 20 – 22nd, Fnatic upgraded their training regimen and their playstyle and started to rise again. They finished 4th at WESG 2018-2019, 2nd at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 7 and at the time of this writing, they are waiting to play in the Grand Final of IEM Sydney.

Overall, Fnatic looks like a fantastic team again, even though they’re clearly below Na’Vi, Team Liquid, Astralis, MIBR, and a few others in terms of skill. This is a team that could potentially deliver huge performance at ESL One Cologne 2019 and obtain a top-four result.