Astralis will take on G2 in the semis of IEM Cologne on Saturday following a 2-1 victory over Virtus.pro. The Danish team was transparent about their issues going into the event and hinted at upcoming changes, but put up an impressive display in the quarters nonetheless.
“I felt we should’ve closed them earlier,” the ‘Clutch Minister’ said about the overtime affairs on Overpass and Dust2, but Inferno was a straightforward victory which saw them eliminate Virtus.pro and take on G2 next.
Lucas “Bubzkji” Andersen was hot to trot as Overpass kicked off, Virtus.pro not getting off to a strong start on their map pick. The Danes were up 6-0 on the defense before Virtus.pro started to come back, winning five out of six round, shaking off an eco loss. However, Astralis dealt with the CIS side’s late-round pushes well to close out the half 10-5 up, moving closer to the victory after a Bubzkji Glock ace.
The map wasn’t going to end that fast, though, as Timur “buster” Tulepov stepped up in key moments and his team scraped into overtime. In the added rounds, Virtus.pro looked deflated, though, and Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander‘s team closed out map 1.
Despite Virtus.pro main opener Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis starting Dust2 quietly, his team went blow for blow with Astralis on the second map. The rifler came alive in round 10 with a triple to break the Danes’ money, but they fought back on a save round to seize control of the half.
Astralis‘ 9-6 lead melted away following a clean pistol win for Virtus.pro, and the momentum swung. Four rounds away from taking Dust2, Virtus.pro lost two advantageous rounds, with Xyp9x bringing his team back into it. The momentum was now on Astralis‘ side, the Danes again got to map point first, but overtime was needed to decide the victor. Early on struggling, YEKINDAR was better and better as the map progressed, finishing with 40 frags after OT2 and closing out Dust2 in his team’s favor with a quad-kill hold on B.
Inferno followed the same script early on, Astralis taking the lead but Virtus.pro staying alive, courtesy of great entry play from Alexey “Qikert” Golubev. The half ended 9-6 in favor of the Danes, but this time around, they powered on to a massive lead with a great T-side start. Emil “Magisk” Reif fired up and joined an in-form Xyp9x at the top of the scoreboard, pushing Astralis to a convincing victory on the decider, 16-8.