EnVyUs, TSM top Cologne groups
EnVyUs and Team SoloMid have booked place in the ESL Pro League semi-finals after topping their respective groups.
The opening day of the ESL Pro League finals, taking place inside ESL TV's studio, in Cologne, kicked off with a mouth-watering rematch of the Copenhagen Games final, between Team SoloMid and Virtus.pro, the two favourites to go through from Group A.
With Casper "cadiaN" Møller acting as a stand-in for Nicolai "device" Reedtz, many believed that Virtus.pro had this one in the bag, but Team SoloMid proved their doubters wrong and exacted revenge for the double defeat in Copenhagen thanks to stellar performances from René "cajunb" Borg and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen.
Meanwhile, Natus Vincere, fresh off unveiling at last Egor "flamie" Vasilyev as a permanent addition to their team, and dignitas also played out a three-map thriller, with victory going the Danish team's way.
TSM topped their group despite fielding a stand-in
The first round of Group B matches were, on the other hand, a much simpler story as EnVyUs breezed past Copenhagen Wolves 2-0, the same scoreline by which Titan beat 3DMAX.
This meant that the Upper Bracket finals turned out to be showdowns between teams from the same country, with all that they entail.
With Finn "karrigan" Andersen leading the way, Team SoloMid were able to move past a stern dignitas by a 2-1 scoreline, which reflects just how far the former Deponeret side have gone in less than a month under the leadership of Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen.
In the all-French clash, Titan gave a great response on de_inferno after losing the first map of the series, de_mirage, but Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans's men crumbled on de_cache, which was just what EnVyUs needed to seal passage to the last-four stage of the tournament.
The ESL Pro League finals will resume on Saturday morning, at 10:00, with the first of two Lower Bracket finals, featuring Virtus.pro and Natus Vincere.