fnatic march on to Cologne final
fnatic are the second finalist at ESL One Cologne after beating Virtus.pro 2-1 (6-16 on de_mirage, 16-14 on de_inferno and 16-7 on de_cobblestone).
The opening map of this best-of-three series was de_mirage, where fnatic came out of the gate looking scary, locking down the B site with ease during the pistol round. The Swedish team then perhaps underestimated the threat posed by their opponents and pushed too hard, which resulted in them getting picked off one by one.
After a double eco, fnatic then brought the scoreline to 3-3 following some great defensive work in the B site, where Robin "flusha" Rönnquist and Markus "pronax" Wallsten looked flawless. The teams then traded a couple of rounds, but when fnatic were about to run away with the lead, Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski made sure to remind them with a quad kill that Virtus.pro were still very much in the race.
Filip "NEO" Kubski then took up the AWP and powered his team to overcome the deficit thanks to some crucial shots across the map, and a quad kill from Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas in the A site in the final round as CT gave Virtus.pro an impressive 9-6 lead at the break.
The Polish team, who were given rousing ovations every time they won a round, grew the lead by winning the pistol round as Terrorist and the following anti-eco. fnatic's third-round buy backfired horribly, which left Virtus.pro with the economic control. With Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer and Jesper "JW" Wecksell looking way off the pace, the Swedes simply had no way to stop Virtus.pro from taking the lead in the series.
pasha carried Virtus.pro on de_mirage
Next up was de_inferno, and here Virtus.pro picked up where they had left off as they rescued the pistol round as CT following a series of confrontations inside the apartment area, with TaZ picking up three kills to his name. The two anti-eco rounds also went Virtus.pro's way, but then Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson picked up a triple kill in the first gun round to prevent the game from spiralling out of control.
fnatic, were, however, unable to build on that round win, which hurt their economy, but they made up for that by successfully executing a B rush, leaving Virtus.pro with no money to work with. The Swedish team won the next six rounds, bringing the scoreline to 8-4, but then Virtus.pro finally put their foot down and held back their opponents, winning three consecutive rounds, the second of which thanks to an incredible four-man spraydown by pashaBiceps.
Virtus.pro got off to a blazzing start in the second half, winning six rounds in succession to make it 13-8 in their favour and force a timeout out of fnatic. The Swedish team came right back and regained control of the proceedings, which made Virtus.pro call a timeout of their own at 13-13. The move paid off as the Polish team won the following round, but fnatic refused to throw in the towel and overcame the deficit, sending the game to de_cobblestone.
KRIMZ led the comeback for fnatic
It all came down to de_cobblestone, where Virtus.pro came out the livelier of the two, picking up the opening three rounds of the map. fnatic then tightened up their defense and brought the scoreline to 3-3, but Virtus.pro regained control of the proceedings and won four rounds in a row.
Before the game got out of hand, fnatic managed to pick themselves up, and they dominated the pace during the latter stages of the half to take an 8-7 halftime lead.
Virtus.pro's aggressive push in the pistol round as CT failed to produce any effect as fnatic won the round without too much trouble. With a comfortable lead and the economic control, fnatic's pushes were effective every time, which allowed them to close out the map without giving up a single round.
K - D
Wiktor 'TaZ' WojtasTaZ
57 - 51
Jarosław 'pashaBiceps' JarząbkowskipashaBiceps
51 - 53
Paweł 'byali' Bielińskibyali
48 - 53
Filip 'NEO' KubskiNEO
43 - 51
Janusz 'Snax' PogorzelskiSnax
42 - 54