ESL One Cologne 2019 has come to an end with a new Champion and an Intel Grand Slam on the line. 16 teams battled it out over the past week and today Vitality and Team Liquid went head to head in the grand final. Despite not being classed as a Major, this was one of the best events so far in 2019.
There weren’t too many surprises during the group stage process at Cologne. Over in Group A Team Liquid and NRG found themselves battling for the #1 seed in the group. Liquid took that series 2-0 and booked a place in the semi-final. NRG and Natus Vincere were the other two teams to make it out of the group.
Meanwhile, Group B had a slight upset. ENCE who started 2019 with many strong performances, struggled greatly. They lost their opening game to Heroic and then lost 2-1 to Vitality to be eliminated. Astralis breezed through groups and looked like they were making a claim to take #1 spot in the World back. Astralis, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Vitality made it through to playoffs from Group B.
Two team got byes through to the semi-finals; Team Liquid and Astralis. The quarter-final matchups would see NiP vs. NaVi and NRG vs. Vitality. NiP’s fantastic run at the tournament came to an end in a 2-0 defeat. There were some emotional scenes at the venue as it was GeT_RiGhT’s last time representing NiP after a 7-year stint with the organisation. He is well and truly a CS:GO legend.
The new faced NRG roster stumbled against Vitality and lost both games 16-7. Despite the poor performance here, the roster showed great potential considering their time frame after the roster change. This meant we got to see a rematch between Liquid and NaVi in the semi-final and Vitality would face former giants Astralis.
NaVi once again had close games against Liquid but weren’t able to topple them. Meanwhile, Vitality found success against Astralis in what turned out to be a very convincing series. The fans in Germany would be treated to a grand-final between Liquid and Vitality.
There is more of a storyline behind this final than some may think. Liquid were fighting to complete the Intel Grand Slam and secure an extra $1,000,000 in winnings. If Vitality could upset them and prevent the Grand Slam, then they would win an extra $100,000.
The final was a great watch, however, Liquid looked like they had a firm grasp on the series the entire time. The took the series 3-1 to win the event and secure the Intel Gram Slam.