NiKo on gunning for IEM Cologne title: "I think now is the time to take the next step"

Ahead of their campaign in the IEM Cologne playoffs, G2 commented on their historic win over Gambit and their chances of breaking their streak of top-four finishes.

G2 enter the playoffs at IEM Cologne on the back of an impressive run in the group stage, one that puts the French-Balkan side in the conversation of which teams can go all the way at the staple event. With convincing wins over Complexity and BIG and their first-ever triumph against the world's No.1 team, Gambit, after a closely-contested battle, G2 await in Saturday's semi-finals with possibly their best chance yet to grab a big title since they went international almost two years ago.

NiKo sees the prospect of facing NAVI in the final as G2's biggest test

The team has been ramping up in recent times but has yet to get over the hump and become a real title contender, however, having been eliminated in third-fourth place at four consecutive tournaments. Now, sitting in the exact same spot again in the top-four stage, G2 look to break the curse in Cologne. But why would this time be any different to the previous four tournaments where the European team faltered before they could reach the grand final?

Nemanja "⁠nexa⁠" Isaković had a very simple explanation in a press conference that took place a few days ahead of the IEM Cologne playoffs:

"LAN. Just us going to LAN," the Serbian said when asked about the key to the team's first win over Gambit after four straight losses against the CIS side. "I think we're a different team on LAN, we have way more confidence, and just the energy and the mood that we have differs from the one that we show online. Coming here, I think we're definitely showing that we can be a championship contender team."

That is not to say that the level Gambit have shown in Cologne is any lower than before, according to nexa. "No doubt they are still the best team in the world in my opinion, and they have proven themselves in this LAN environment," he clarified. "I don't think Gambit have played any worse particularly than they do online, I think they did a really great job. I think it was just us. It was always us, we were our own worst enemy even in the online games we were playing against them."

The stars seem to be aligning for G2, who find themselves on what is widely considered to be the easier side of the bracket following Sunday's victory, with Virtus.pro or Astralis as their next opponent. The preferences seem to be split in the G2 camp. Damien "⁠maLeK⁠" Marcel stated he would have an easier time preparing for Astralis and knowing what to expect from the Danish powerhouse, while Nemanja "⁠huNter-⁠" Kovač did not seem to be on the same page, saying, "Let's go, VP!"

As for NiKo, he didn't seem to care too much about which opponent it'll be in the end.

"We're pretty confident whoever we get. I think we're going to be favorites going into that matchup, regardless of who we face," NiKo said. "From what we have shown on LAN so far, I think we're going to remain consistent and a very dangerous team. And if we manage to do it, we shouldn't be having too many issues in that semi-final game."

The Bosnian superstar was more concerned about the prospect of facing Natus Vincere, who reside on the other side of the bracket and could end up being G2's opponent in the title decider should the two teams retain their impressive form from the group stage. "I still feel like NAVI will be the real test for us on LAN because I think they will also be much, much stronger on LAN than they were online," NiKo said. "I think they're going to be the real test if we're going to win this tournament. But it is about time for us to make the next step and not finish top-three, top-four. I think now is the time to take the next step."

We will find out whether the time was right for G2 to take the next step on Saturday, when the French-Balkan team face the winner of Virtus.pro and Astralis in the first semi-final at 16:00 .

France Damien 'maLeK' Marcel
Damien 'maLeK' Marcel
Age:
35
Team:
Serbia Nemanja 'nexa' Isaković
Nemanja 'nexa' Isaković
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1135
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.63
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Nemanja 'huNter-' Kovač
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
1311
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.67
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
1474
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.67
Time is adjusted to your selected timezone
so much better than s1mple
2021-07-14 19:52
36 replies
No 😎😎
2021-07-14 19:54
1 reply
Plzz dont win NiKo otherwise AntEater wont give us the sticker
2021-07-15 06:59
0/8 shiro>ch0ko
2021-07-14 19:59
6 replies
Niko > hobbit > axile > nafany > shiro
2021-07-15 08:27
4 replies
+1
2021-07-15 10:31
0/8 american 0 brain
2021-07-15 14:40
1 reply
Better than south african brain. 🤷 cry
2021-07-15 22:03
interz didn't make it in the list. xD.
2021-07-15 21:37
Lmao comparing that sewage mouse looking shito to a real chad like Niko 😁
2021-07-15 15:13
objectively s1mple is 5 times better.
2021-07-14 20:09
0/8 s1mple > ALL
2021-07-14 20:16
0/8
2021-07-14 20:22
Although I'm a Nikotard but S1mple is a bit better than Niko rn and any1 who think these two are not top 2 rn are the exact people who thinks John Cena is better than The Rock.
2021-07-14 20:43
7 replies
Weak comparison
2021-07-14 21:27
#92
rain | 
France agea
The Rock isnt even the best, your comparison is strange
2021-07-15 00:33
3 replies
Expected from 2k's kids
2021-07-15 18:24
2 replies
#128
rain | 
France agea
lol i am from the 90's actually. don't gfet me wrong, i never said the rock was bad, i just think some are/were better
2021-07-15 21:23
1 reply
In the 90's the comparison would be Morgan Freeman and Samuel L Jackson
2021-07-18 05:10
Weak comparison but I agree
2021-07-15 08:28
Hulk Hogan GOAT
2021-07-15 11:16
#69
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina lousooo
0/8
2021-07-14 21:55
#74
 | 
Mongolia t3ngrist
+1 somple only bait
2021-07-14 21:57
#77
 | 
Brazil arunino
S1mple is better than 5 NiKos combined
2021-07-14 22:00
1 reply
nope
2021-07-16 14:15
+1
2021-07-15 04:49
+1
2021-07-15 09:50
#113
 | 
Spain capta1n
S1mple is the best, no one is even close to his level, even Zywoo doesnt match 2021 s1mple on eyetest... but NiKo is skillwise probably third or fourth tied with Device
2021-07-15 09:57
6 replies
xD , his skilles are so much better than device dude . be an objective fan plz
2021-07-16 01:28
1 reply
#139
 | 
Spain capta1n
It is hard to say, I can't judge on NiKo's performance as a teamplayer, Device has proven himself a perfect teammate in the most team-oriented squad ever. And besides... Device is an awper and not to mention also an insane rifler, NiKo is mainly an insane rifler and can play with the awp to a decent level so thats why id tie them on third place
2021-07-16 17:09
I don't think for 2021 NiKo is tied with Dev1ce. Dev1ce has been underwhelming ever since he left Astralis given the fact that he still needs to get used to to the NIP system. I think one could argue that Dev1ce was a system type player and he only could play well under Gla1ve's system although he can prove us wrong in the second half of this year, but we'll have to wait and see.
2021-07-18 05:12
3 replies
#153
 | 
Spain capta1n
Agreed, it's really hard to dissect performance in the now and potential performance based on previous times. Based on Device from previous times we can surely say that he is better than NiKo... but based on current performance its NiKo on third place.
2021-07-18 22:43
2 replies
Yes, absolutely. I think the main difference between the likes of NiKo and s1mple is that the moment they switch rosters they still can perform in an insane level. If you look at NiKo after he left FaZe he was able to play really well. Yes, he was put in the star role but he was still able to perform something Dev1ce has been unable to do consistently ever since he joined NIP.
2021-07-19 05:30
1 reply
#156
 | 
Spain capta1n
Youre right, and it always sucks to see a player of Devices caliber to underperform so maybe its wishful thinking that I want to see him on the third place
2021-07-19 12:37
+1
2021-07-15 11:11
no way , s1mple g.o.a.t
2021-07-16 01:28
+1
2021-07-16 19:05
#2
i am | 
Finland iBait
Step right out of the tournament in 3-4th place yes
2021-07-14 19:55
6 replies
#11
 | 
Austria Ostmark
4th place doesn't exist
2021-07-14 19:55
5 replies
#22
i am | 
Finland iBait
At this point it should really just be called "G2 place"
2021-07-14 20:00
4 replies
#28
 | 
Austria Ostmark
constant playoffs give a good opportunity of winning a major
2021-07-14 20:03
3 replies
#35
i am | 
Finland iBait
Absolutely, a magical Major that's being hosted in Happyland
2021-07-14 20:11
2 replies
#51
 | 
Austria Ostmark
why are you mad, it's only a game
2021-07-14 20:26
1 reply
#52
i am | 
Finland iBait
hey im just sayin
2021-07-14 20:27
good player
2021-07-14 19:53
best of luck but sadly g2 wont be winning
2021-07-14 19:53
NaVi 3-0
2021-07-14 19:53
#6
 | 
Denmark pebblez
no more 3-4th It's time for 2nd place! 😎
2021-07-14 19:53
6 replies
EZ Clap
2021-07-14 19:56
G2-1 NaVi I said it first
2021-07-14 19:59
2 replies
Grandfinal: G3 - 0 Gamb0t
2021-07-14 20:11
1 reply
gambit is probably can't even make to the grand final: 1.LAN presure 2.FaZe to face in quarter finals 3 (if they win against faze). Face off with Navi If NaVi wins there, that will be like katowice 2020: G0-3 NaVi
2021-07-15 11:05
Hahahaha +1
2021-07-14 20:11
Yo le noob, This aged like fine wine.
2021-07-18 23:54
kekw choko jinxing himself
2021-07-14 19:54
ok
2021-07-14 19:54
Nothing about Faze smh
2021-07-14 19:56
🐍 snakeooo Gonna lose to VP .... it's Jame time
2021-07-14 19:57
1 reply
+1 VP IN FINAL
2021-07-14 22:01
nice
2021-07-14 19:57
Nice words, but navi will take this tournament, they are just on another level
2021-07-14 19:57
2 replies
+1
2021-07-14 20:12
#53
 | 
United States sen0r_vac
I hope so
2021-07-14 20:31
#17
 | 
Germany ChRiZOwow
Deserved for Niko
2021-07-14 19:57
NiKo aka not-an-AWP-abuser
2021-07-14 19:57
G2 won't even meet Navi in the final, cos they will get beaten 2-1 by VP.
2021-07-14 19:58
3 replies
#26
 | 
Luxembourg sendeNC
nt , im coming from future
2021-07-14 20:01
They can lose to astralis but if it's VP, g2 most likely takes it.
2021-07-14 20:18
+1 smart user
2021-07-14 20:32
Don't hype up g2 because its all gonna end in heartache for their fans when they dont win IEM Cologne :)
2021-07-14 20:00
2 replies
Sure, it'snot like g2 fans are usually pessimistic about their terms results...
2021-07-14 21:59
Well, as a G2 fan, I just want them to go to the final. I have no hope for them winning the title but at least I'd like them to get one map off of Navi
2021-07-15 06:49
Living Choke ah Joke
2021-07-14 20:00
Good luck Nikola
2021-07-14 20:00
s1mple laughing rn
2021-07-14 20:02
2 replies
+1
2021-07-14 20:12
#70
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina lousooo
+1
2021-07-14 21:55
#29
 | 
Russia hatake42
GF NAVI - G2 ofc
2021-07-14 20:03
...step into the sh*t...
2021-07-14 20:06
#31
 | 
Russia ToughGuy
Man imagine they won't even get to the final with all that hype, also "historic victory over gambit" striker i know u g2 fanboy but pls stop speaking nonsense
2021-07-14 20:09
6 replies
#39
DAD | 
Russia synok
for real, that would be funny af doe
2021-07-14 20:12
1 reply
+1
2021-07-14 20:13
I don't see how their first win in five series couldn't be described as historic - for them it certainly is.
2021-07-14 20:12
3 replies
Hahahaahaha xD EDIT: true to historic win cuz they were trash in last 2 yrs
2021-07-14 20:14
+1
2021-07-14 21:59
bro 5 series, not 20
2021-07-15 15:00
NiKo thinks Navi is stronger than Gambit :)
2021-07-14 20:10
4 replies
Its true tho
2021-07-14 20:13
On LAN, they are 100%.
2021-07-14 20:19
#71
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina lousooo
and he is right
2021-07-14 21:56
1 reply
And even on online most of the times in playoffs navi >>>>> gambit.
2021-07-15 07:46
Who?
2021-07-14 20:10
ez for godniko!
2021-07-14 20:22
#50
valde | 
Finland Juvi
good read.
2021-07-14 20:25
Sh1ro = sh1to
2021-07-14 20:32
1 reply
NO IT'S K1TO WHO IS SH1TO LUL
2021-07-14 22:04
ChokoPie&Co has no chance against my boys VP.
2021-07-14 20:33
8 replies
+1 THE ONLY TRUTH!
2021-07-14 22:05
#90
 | 
Australia z3ro_
Like they had no chance against gambit?
2021-07-14 23:49
1 reply
They had 0.003% chances against gambit and it worked so G2 won with titanic copium thanks to 0.003 second of bomb defusion.
2021-07-15 17:49
ChokoPie xD I used to love those man
2021-07-15 06:56
Vp is probably the weakest team in top 6 lmaoo. Not even a competition for any team except faze maybe.
2021-07-15 08:30
2 replies
You are delusional af but it's ok I cannot blame you for wanting to believe in such a miracle as VP lose.
2021-07-15 17:51
1 reply
Nice bait 4/8
2021-07-15 22:04
"ChokoPie" lmfao
2021-07-15 09:54
#58
 | 
Netherlands dabadpad
gambit will 2-1 navi if they could beat faze.. dam faze look scary..
2021-07-14 20:46
5 replies
No chance Gambit wins against this good looking Navi
2021-07-14 23:09
4 replies
#88
 | 
United States 3manu3l
if electronic, and boombl4 don't show up Navi may be in danger
2021-07-14 23:19
3 replies
True bit showing up isnt enough.
2021-07-15 08:31
Nah s1mple 80 kills on one map
2021-07-15 10:22
1 reply
#126
 | 
United States 3manu3l
I have my doubts, but sure this IS s1mple we are talking about
2021-07-15 18:55
#59
 | 
Germany Ryuzth
>G2 >Winning a tournament I aren't think that
2021-07-14 20:49
5 replies
#65
 | 
Sri Lanka arsigod
-> bug -> showing some results No no no baby 👶
2021-07-14 21:23
4 replies
#66
 | 
Germany Ryuzth
Low effort bait. But yeah, at least we already won a tournament this year. :)
2021-07-14 21:29
3 replies
HAPPY JERMAN OMEGALUL
2021-07-14 22:05
1 reply
#84
 | 
Germany Ryuzth
Indeed, what's the problem with that?
2021-07-14 22:11
2* If you include GWB
2021-07-15 00:34
#60
 | 
Norway TheDEA
Good luck, not going to happen.
2021-07-14 20:56
"I think we're going to be favorites going into that matchup, regardless of who we face." this is some next lvl bait or something ? favorites againts NAVI or even Gambit ? i don t think so
2021-07-14 21:07
2 replies
#91
 | 
Australia z3ro_
He means in the semifinals. So whether they face astralis or vp, they will be the favourites.
2021-07-14 23:50
1 reply
#95
 | 
Romania aliN_s
yes
2021-07-15 01:14
Good luck g2
2021-07-14 21:16
G2 0 trophies since 2017 LUL
2021-07-14 21:19
#64
 | 
Sri Lanka arsigod
When someone saying words like this -> automatically lose in next matches xD Idk why
2021-07-14 21:22
God rifler > god awper in my book but I respect Both although my heart will Beat for Niko kovac
2021-07-14 21:28
#72
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina lousooo
ChoKo
2021-07-14 21:56
VP will trash this bots.Na'vi-VP final, Na'vi 3-1.
2021-07-14 21:57
1 reply
+1
2021-07-14 22:06
Trust the choke process-YNK
2021-07-14 22:11
Imagine thinking you have a chance against eZaF for FaZe
2021-07-14 22:17
Blah-blah-blah. So many words after one close game vs Gambit.
2021-07-14 22:41
at the next possibility he will kick malek for Ynk and Amanek for Cold
2021-07-14 23:37
2 replies
1. He cannot kick malek coz malek is a coach 2. Why would he kick really good and consistent player like amanek for washed up botzero ? 3. botzera isnt even in top 50 riflers right now. 4. When FaZe kicked botzera they started playin sht
2021-07-15 18:53
NiKo isnt even in good relationship with cold lmao
2021-07-15 21:56
LMAO Niko thinks he is going to the finals. :D And that Gambit will lose to Navi :D
2021-07-15 00:45
#96
 | 
Japan JadzStar
3-4th place incoming... again... after the 100th time
2021-07-15 03:37
#98
 | 
Ireland Niko10
s1mple and niko cant be compare head to head bcuz of their roles but when it comes to impact every match they are the same monster. no one will deny that.
2021-07-15 05:46
3 replies
+1
2021-07-15 07:35
+1
2021-07-15 07:46
+1
2021-07-15 08:32
I wanna see the salty interview when they lose against VP, cause he seems to be already lifting the trophy in his mind! Oh Niko, you jinxed it…
2021-07-15 09:24
navi and s1mple are garbage overrated niko way better goat
2021-07-15 20:35
1 reply
checks out
2021-07-16 20:55
LETS GO G2-FAZE GRAND FINAL :DDD
2021-07-15 21:55
4 replies
#136
 | 
Netherlands dabadpad
over gambit s dead body
2021-07-16 04:31
2 replies
Over gambits dead body
2021-07-17 02:09
1 reply
#146
 | 
Netherlands dabadpad
ok am dead.. FazeUp!!
2021-07-17 08:32
#138
 | 
Canada DeFeCtO_
I really wish to see that, I’m sure that the viewership of G2 vs FaZe is gonna EXPLODE
2021-07-16 15:19
all i want as a FaZe and NiKo fan is to see G2 vs FaZe in the final. is that too much to ask for?
2021-07-16 17:55
wtf
2021-07-16 19:07
go hobbit
2021-07-16 19:08
Goodbye chokokoko
2021-07-18 19:55
lol niko
2021-07-18 20:09
NiKo did it
2021-07-18 20:46
#152
 | 
Europe JUNlOR
Unfortunate that they had to face Na'Vi in the final.
2021-07-18 21:17
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