Team Liquid are through to the grand final of ESL One Cologne after defeating fnatic 2-0 (16-13 on Cobblestone and on Cache).
The opening map of the series was Cobblestone, where fnatic got out to an early lead after winning the pistol round and the following anti-eco rounds. Liquid then picked themselves up and won the first gun round despite losing a player early on, and they also added the next two rounds to equalise the score. The two teams then traded rounds, but the rest of the half was a one-sided affair as Liquid won seven of the next eight rounds to take a convincing 10-5 lead. Dennis “dennis” Edman gave fnatic a huge morale boost in the second half with an ace in the pistol round, with fnatic following that up with both anti-ecos. A 1vs2 clutch by Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski halted the momentum that fnatic had built, but the Swedes hit back right after, leaving their opponents strapped for cash.
EliGE was the clutch man on Cobblestone fnatic would go on to take a two-round lead, but then Liquid’s determination and individual talent shone through as they won five rounds in a row to seal a 16-13 victory, with the final round coming straight off the back of a quad kill by Nick “nitr0” Cannella. Map two, Cache, began with Edman being the executioner for fnatic once again, delivering three key frags to help his team to overturn a 2vs4 situation with the bomb planted. After losing both eco rounds, Liquid acquitted themselves really well in the first gun round, keeping all five players alive, with Spencer “Hiko” Martin following that up with a trio of kills in a B hold. Liquid continued to grind out one great round after another, forcing fnatic to call a tactical pause when they were down 3-7. Soon after, the Swedes would get a much-needed round, but Liquid remained in the driving seat and closed out the half with an 11-4 lead, powered by a fantastic performance from Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.
s1mple was on fire throughout the series fnatic got off to a dream start on the CT side and won nine rounds straight thanks to some great individual actions from Jesper “JW” Wecksell and Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson. Down 11-13, Liquid finally managed to get a round on the board following a mid-A split, and then Jablonowski came up huge, powering his team to hit 14 rounds with key entry frags. With no money to work with, fnatic let Liquid hit match point. The North Americans then executed another mid-A split to perfection, forcing fnatic to wonder what went wrong after they had won all four pistol rounds throughout the series.