Credit: Stephanie Lindgren, BLAST
It was an all-or-nothing matchup when BIG faced Astralis in the IEM Cologne play-in. After three maps, BIG was unfortunately denied the chance to play in front of the home crowd
From the first whistle, the recently-struggling k0nfig was popping off on Astralis' map pick of Nuke. Unfortunately, it did not translate to many T-side rounds as 'k1to', and especially 'Krimbo', were both showing up magnificently on the defense, and secured eleven rounds for their team before the break.
Down by seven rounds, Astralis looked done and dusted, but as 'Farlig' stepped up to 'k0nfig's level, the Danes started winning a lot of rounds. In fact, they dominated so hard on the defense that they made the miracle comeback happen, and snatched away the victory right in front of the noses of BIG.
The challenge now for Astralis was to overcome BIG on their favorite map of Dust2. The Danes started the map decently with a 9-6 half on the defense where 'gla1ve' and 'blameF', who were both having a somewhat off-game on Nuke, both had a massive impact in the fragging department.
Astralis found themselves in a nice position at 13-9 halfway through the second half. It was at this point that BIG, determined to not get knocked out of the tournament, showed why they are so feared on Dust2. 'syrsoN' who had not had much impact on the map finally showed up and fueled his team to a phenomenal seven-round streak that saw the Germans secure their map.
On the third and final map of Overpass, it was Astralis that were happiest after fifteen rounds. The Danes had delivered a promising 9-6 offensive half, and 'blameF' was once again looking like the Top10 player that he has been so far this year.
After the great first half from the Danes, they started the second one a bit wonky. It looked like BIG was going to take over the map as they tied the score at 11-11, but from here on out the Danes denied everything the Germans through at them and took the victory at 16-11.
With the win, Astralis qualify for the main stage of IEM Cologne and deny BIG the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd.
Highlight of the Bo3-series:
BIG - Astralis 1-2 | IEM Cologne Play-in
14-16 (Nuke) | k0nfig - 1.42 Rating / 29-22 K-D / 112.5 ADR
16-13 (Dust2) | k1to - 1.18 Rating / 22-20 K-D / 77.6 ADR
11-16 (Overpass) | blameF - 1.50 Rating / 24-18 K-D / 106.2 ADR
MVP: Kristian 'k0nfig' Wienecke - 1.25 Rating / 74-59 K-D / 88.1 ADR