Before the start of the ESL One: Cologne, SK Gaming were absolutely the biggest favorites because of their performances that they displayed in the last four or five months. During this season, they managed to win four CS:GO titles. This made them one of the most successful Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams in history.
Because of that, many believed that ESL Cologne will be an easy job for them. This was especially the case after the organizers announced that Astralis would not be participating in this event. However, after day one of the competition, all those predictions have fallen apart. SK Gaming was defeated by complete underdogs of this tournament, Space Soldiers from Turkey.
Upset for the History
When the schedule for this competition was revealed, it seemed that this will be an easy job for the Brazilian powerhouse. However, things turned out quite differently in the actual game. Space Soldiers were a team that has failed on many occasions to even win their spot in the Minor tournaments. This includes the European Minor not that long ago. In several of those minor tournaments, they did not make it past the qualifiers. But against all odds, they have taken down possibly the best CS:GO team that the world has seen in the last couple of years.
What became obvious after the first game was the fact that Space Soldiers have prepared amazing tactics against SK because when pushed to the wall at the result 15-14, Space Soldiers pulled out amazing tactical solutions. These tactics enabled them to win the first game. The fact that SK Gaming lost even a single game against Space Soldiers was a huge surprise. Once the match finished with SK Gaming on their knees, the audience were left in utter shock.
Despite their defeat in this match, SK Gaming should not have a lot of problems reaching three wins in the group stage. After this performance, their claims for the title at this event have become slightly questionable.
Other matches of the Day one did not feature any major surprises. Some of the biggest favorites for the title, including FaZe Clan, did not have any problems in their match of the first round against Heroic. In that game, FaZe Clan confirmed their status of a big favorite and NiKo once again proved that he is one of the best players in the world.
Besides FaZe, G2 eSports made easy work of the Chinesse side TyLoo. This made them another team in the 1-0 club. The first day of the competition also featured the match between Immortals and Virtus.pro. The final match if the day was the one between Mousesports and Fnatic.
Immortals defeated Virtus.pro but that would be a huge surprise a year ago because Virtus.pro has been performing very bad during the last year and it does not seem that they will be able to solve their problems. In the match against Mousesports and Fnatic, Fnatic was the favorite mostly because of their previous achievements. Their recent results have been very bad, and for many, their defeat in that match was not surprising at all.