How to watch IEM Cologne 2021

Welcome back to LAN, Counter-Strike.

Image via ESL

Twenty-four of the best CS:GO teams in the world will battle for their share of $1 million at IEM Cologne starting on Tuesday, July 6.

This will be the first premier CS:GO tournament to be played on LAN since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The last LAN event to be held offline was another ESL event, IEM Katowice, in March 2020, which had to continue its playoffs without a live audience after the local government prohibited crowds due to COVID-19.

Even though IEM Cologne won’t feature a live audience either, most of the players have been anxiously waiting for the return of the LAN environment after the CS:GO circuit switched to online play because of travel restrictions and health measures. The fact that the return to LAN is in Cologne is significant too since the city has held several important Counter-Strike tournaments in the past.

IEM Cologne will be one of the most stacked tournaments of the year. Great teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas, mousesports, BIG, Vitality, OG, and Complexity will go through the play-in stage, where just eight of the 16 teams will qualify for the main event. The main event will feaure some of the best teams in the world, like Gambit, Natus Vincere, G2, Heroic, and Virtus Pro.

Here’s everything you need to know about IEM Cologne 2021.

Stream

IEM Cologne will be broadcast on ESL’s three Twitch channels since the event will feature simultaneous matches during the play-in stage. You won’t want to miss any of the action on the main broadcastsecond channel, and third channel.

Format

The competition will last 13 days in total, with the grand finals set to be played on July 18. Sixteen teams will start the competition in the play-in stage, where just eight will advance to the main event. The play-in stage uses a double-elimination bracket and the opening round will be played as best-of-one, whereas the rest of the matches are all best-of-threes.

As for the main event, ESL will split the 16 teams in two groups of eight each that will also use a double-elimination system. The group winners will advance straight to the semifinals, while the second and third-place teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals. All of the IEM Cologne main event matches will be played as best-of-three series except the best-of-five grand finals.

The main event of IEM Cologne is offering a $972,000 prize pool. The winner will earn $400,000, while the runners-up will grab $180,000. The semifinalists will take home $80,000 each.

Teams

Play-in

Ninjas in Pyjamas

  • Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz
  • Nicolas “Plopski” Zamora
  • Hampus Poser
  • Fredrik “REZ” Sterner
  • Linus “LNZ” Holtäng
  • Coach: Björn “THREAT” Pers

mousesports

  • Robin “ropz” Kool
  • David “frozen” Čerňanský
  • Aurimas “Bymas” Pipiras
  • Frederik “acoR” Gyldstrand
  • Christopher “dexter” Nong
  • Coach: Torbjørn “mithR” Nyborg

BIG

  • Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz
  • İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş
  • Florian “syrsoN” Rische
  • Nils “k1to” Gruhne
  • Tizian Feldbusch
  • Coach: Dustin “DuDe” Großmann

Vitality

  • Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut
  • Dan “apEX” Madesclaire
  • Richard “shox” Papillon
  • Kévin “misutaaa” Rabier
  • Jayson “Kyojin” Nguyen Van
  • Coach: Rémy “XTQZZZ” Quoniam

OG

  • Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen
  • Valdemar “valde” Vangså
  • Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski
  • Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen
  • Shahar “flameZ” Shushan
  • Coach: Casper “ruggah” Due

Complexity

  • Benjamin “blameF” Bremer
  • Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke
  • Valentin “poizon” Vasilev
  • Justin “jks” Savage
  • William “RUSH” Wierzba
  • Coach: Jamie “keita” Hall

Team Spirit

  • Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov
  • Victor “somedieyoung” Orudzhev
  • Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov
  • Nikolay “mir” Bityukov
  • Boris “magixx” Vorobiev
  • Coach: Nikolay “Certus” Poluyanov

Evil Geniuses

  • Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte
  • Tsvetelin “CeRq” Dimitrov
  • Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz
  • Owen “oBo” Schlatter
  • Michał “MICHU” Müller
  • Coach: Damian “daps” Steele

FaZe Clan

  • Håvard “rain” Nygaard
  • Helvijs “broky” Saukants
  • Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken
  • Finn “karrigan” Andersen
  • Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer
  • Coach: Robert “RobbaN” Dahlström

LDLC

  • Christophe “SIXER” Xia
  • Ali “hAdji” Haïnouss
  • Lambert Prigent
  • Bryan “Maka” Canda
  • Nicolas “Keoz” Dgus
  • Coach: Steeve “Ozstrik3r” Flavigni

Sprout

  • Timo “Spiidi” Richter
  • Josef “faveN” Baumann
  • Denis Howell
  • Marko “kressy” Đorđević
  • Fritz “slaxz-” Dietrich
  • Coach: Niclas “enkay J” Krumhorn

Team oNe

  • Pedro “Maluk3” Campos
  • Matheus “prt” Scuvero
  • Matheus “pesadelo” Panisset
  • Mario “malbsMd” Samayoa
  • Enzo “xns” Almeida
  • Coach: João Righi

Renegades

  • Liam “malta” Schembri
  • Simon “Sico” Williams
  • Joshua “INS” Potter
  • Jordan “Hatz” Bajic
  • Alistair Johnston
  • Coach: David “Kingfisher” Kingsford

MIBR

  • Marcelo “chelo” Cespedes
  • Ricardo “boltz” Prass
  • Gustavo “yeL” Knittel
  • Bruno “shz” Martinelli
  • Raphael “exit” Lacerta
  • Sixth player: Daniel “danoco” Morgado
  • Coach: Alessandro “Apoka” Marcucci

Bad News Bears

  • Peter “ptr” Gurney
  • Jonathan “Jonji” Carey
  • Michael “Swisher” Schmid
  • Gabe “Spongey” Greiner
  • Alan “Shakezullah” Hardeman
  • Coach: Nathan “madcow” Retterath

ViCi Gaming

  • Liang “advent” Zhuo
  • Zhong “zhokiNg” Weijie
  • Andrew “kaze” Khong
  • Liu “aumaN” Zhihong
  • Yang “JamYoung” Yi
  • Sixth player: QianHao “Moseyuh” Chen
  • Coach: XieLin “k4Mi” Zhu

Main event

Group A

Gambit

  • Dmitry “sh1ro” Sokolov
  • Abay “Hobbit” Khassenov
  • Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov
  • Vladislav “nafany” Gorshkov
  • Timofey “interz” Yakushin
  • Coach: Konstantin “groove” Pikiner

G2

  • Nikola “NiKo” Kovač
  • Nemanja “huNter-” Kovač
  • Nemanja “nexa” Isaković
  • Audric “JaCkz” Jug
  • François “AmaNEk” Delaunay
  • Coach: Damien “maLeK” Marcel

Virtus.pro

  • Dzhami “Jame” Ali
  • Alexey “qikert” Golubev
  • Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis
  • Timur “buster” Tulepov
  • Sanjar “SANJI” Kuliev
  • Coach: Dastan Akbayev

Team Liquid

  • Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski
  • Keith “NAF” Markovic
  • Jake “Stewie2K” Yip
  • Michael “Grim” Wince
  • Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo
  • Coach: Eric “adreN” Hoag

Group B

Natus Vincere

  • Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev
  • Denis “electronic” Sharipov
  • Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov
  • Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy
  • Valerii “B1T” Vakhovskyi
  • Sixth player: Egor “flamie” Vasilev
  • Coach: Andrii “B1ad3” Gorodenskyi

Heroic

  • Casper “cadiaN” Møller
  • Martin “stavn” Lund
  • Ismail “refrezh” Ali
  • René “TeSeS” Madsen
  • Rasmus “sjuush” Beck
  • Coach: Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen

Astralis

  • Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander
  • Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen
  • Andreas “Xyp9x” Højsleth
  • Emil “Magisk” Reif
  • Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen
  • Coach: Danny “zonic” Sørensen

FURIA

  • Yuri “yuurih” Gomes
  • Andrei “arT” Piovezan
  • Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo
  • Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato
  • Lucas “honda” Cano
  • Coach: Nicholas “guerri” Nogueira

Schedule

Tuesday, July 6

  • 5am CT: NiP vs. LDLC
  • 5am CT: mousesports vs. Bad News Bears
  • 5am CT: Team Spirit vs. MIBR
  • 6:30am CT: Vitality vs. Renegades
  • 6:40am CT: OG vs. Team oNe
  • 6:40am CT: BIG vs. Sprout
  • 8:00am CT: Evil Geniuses vs. FaZe
  • 8:20am CT: Complexity vs. ViCi
  • 9:30am CT: Upper bracket quarterfinal match one
  • 10am CT: Upper bracket quarterfinal match two
  • 10am CT: Lower bracket round one first match
  • 12:45pm CT: Lower bracket round one second match
  • 1:25pm CT: Upper bracket quarterfinal match three
  • 1:25pm CT: Upper bracket quarterfinal match four

Wednesday, July 7

  • 6:30am CT: Lower bracket round one third match
  • 6:30am CT: Lower bracket round one fourth match
  • 9:45am CT: Lower bracket quarterfinal match one
  • 9:45am CT: Kiwer bracket quarterfinal match two
  • 1pm CT: Lower bracket quarterfinal match three
  • 1pm CT: Lower bracket quarterfinal match four

Key storylines

The biggest storyline here is the return to LAN. The CS:GO professional scene started playing all tournaments online when the coronavirus pandemic began and the schedule has been busier than even, with many organizers trying to run as many events as they can to try to mitigate the financial losses during this period. It’s not easy to run a tournament with 24 teams, 120 players in total from 20 different countries, as well as coaches and managers, but ESL is trying its best to ensure the safety of the teams and the event will be played in a bubble environment. The tournament will take place inside a five-star hotel in Cologne and players aren’t allowed to leave the hotel unless they’re eliminated. If a team is unable to enter the country, a squad from the play-in stage will replace them since ESL won’t allow anyone to play from home.

Some of the best CS:GO teams in the world, such as Gambit and Heroic, particularly thrived during the online era. Some pundits and people in the community doubt that they’ll be able to reproduce their aggressive playstyle on LAN because there’s additional pressure since you’re not playing comfortably at your own home or in your team’s office. Given that these two teams, especially Gambit, are playing so well lately, anything but a playoff appearance would be considered a disaster for them. Gambit will arrive in IEM Cologne with a streak of championship wins and Heroic most notably won ESL Pro League season 13 earlier this year.

Even though IEM Cologne is one of the most stacked tournaments of 2021, there’s pressure for results in the G2 camp. The team is yet to win an event since the Bosnian star NiKo was added in October 2020. G2 fell in the semifinals of their last four tournaments, which isn’t bad, but they’ll have to reach a grand final at some point, especially with all the investments the organization is making.

Many fans think that dev1ce’s arrival in NiP is a turning point for the Swedish team, who took many years to rebuild around young stars instead of veteran players. The Danish superstar was signed in April but, surprisingly enough, NiP continues playing with at least one player from its academy team. First, it was Erik “ztr” Gustafsson, but he got swapped out for LNZ after their runners-up finish at Flashpoint Three in May, which was NiP’s best result since BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen in 2019. There are questions surrounding the organization’s strategy and whether it’s worth betting on academy players to fill the lineup once you’ve acquired a talent like dev1ce. If things don’t go well at IEM Cologne, we might see NiP shift its strategy or try another player from the Young Ninjas roster.