Ninjas in Pyjamas will advance to the ESL One Cologne Europe semifinals after beating Astralis 2-0 today.
The Swedes have eliminated three CS:GO giants so far at ESL One Cologne Europe—BIG, Natus Vincere, and Astralis. NiP are playing much better than they were before the player break in July and may reach a grand final for the first time with this lineup led by Hampus Poser, who replaced Lekr0 and took over in-game leadership duties in May.
NiP had the edge on Astralis in both maps, first on Train (16-10) and later on Inferno (16-13). They had strong T-sides and scored eight points on both maps—and we’re finally seeing the team play how hampus and head coach Björn “THREAT” Pers want them to.
Nicolas “Plopski” Zamora has statistically been NiP’s best player at ESL One Cologne Europe, according to HLTV’s statistics. Today, however, it was REZ who shined with 47 kills and just 35 deaths. The 22-year-old hasn’t lived up to the full potential he showed at IEM Oakland in November 2017 with an MVP performance in what was NiP’s last championship title.
As for Astralis, today’s loss is nothing to be ashamed of. The Danes played their first event with es3tag and Bubzkji, who joined the team in July. They have the tough task of trying to replace Xyp9x and gla1ve, who are both out on medical leave. Es3tag did a superb job today and was the best fragger of the entire series with 51 kills on his own. Astralis defeated Fnatic and Vitality at ESL One Cologne Europe and showed that this lineup can also lift trophies.
The ESL One Cologne Europe semifinals will be played tomorrow. Heroic and G2 will play the first series at 8am CT, while NiP will face Vitality at 11:30am CT.