CS:GO IEM Cologne 2022 Preview

The world’s best CS:GO teams will head to Germany to battle for glory at IEM Cologne this month. This prestigious tournament has a prize pool of US$1 million (A$1.45 million), making it one of the most lucrative esports events of the year.

The top eight teams in the world have secured automatic qualification, so fans can look forward to seeing the likes of FaZe, NaVi, Cloud9 and FURIA Esports in action. The remaining entrants will go into an intense play-in tournament in a bid to win a place in the group stage.


The teams left standing will then be divided into two groups of eight:


IEM Cologne Group A 

Group A features Natus Vincere, Ninjas in Pyjamas, G2 Esports and ENCE. That quartet will be joined by four teams that prevail in the play-in tournament.

The groups follow a double-elimination format. Teams will lock horns in best-of-three matches, and the top three teams in each group will advance to the playoffs. 

The group winner will head directly to the semi-finals. Runners-up will advance to the quarter-finals as high seeds, while the third-place teams will go through to the quarter-finals as low seeds.


IEM Cologne Group B

Group B includes FaZe Clan, Team Liquid, Cloud 9 and FURIA Esports. They will take on the four other teams that make it through the play-in tournament.

This group follows the same format – a double elimination bracket, with the top three teams advancing and the rest going home.


IEM Cologne 2022 Schedule 

The play-in tournament takes place on July 6-7 at Lanxess-Arena in Cologne. It begins with the Upper Bracket Round 1, which features eight matches:

    • Heroic vs. Sprout
    • MOUZ vs. paiN Gaming
    • Team Spirit vs. Complexity
    • GODSENT vs. Astralis
    • BIG vs. ORDER
    • Outsiders vs. Imperial Esports
    • MIBR vs. Movistar Raiders
    • TYLOO vs. Team Vitality


The winner of each match will go through to Round 2, while the losers will drop down to the Lower Bracket. There are three rounds in the upper bracket and two in the lower bracket, with four teams proceeding to the group stage from each.

The group stage will be held from 7-10 July. There will be just six teams remaining after the group stage. They will contest the playoffs from 15-17 July.

The Grand Final is a best-of-five match. The winner earns US$400,000 and 3,200 BLAST Premier Circuit Points.


CS:GO IEM Cologne Preview & Team Run Through

FaZe, NaVi, Cloud9, G2 Esports, Ninjas and Pyjamas and ENCE qualified as the top six teams in the European Road to Cologne Race. FURIA Esports and Team Liquid were first and second respectively in North America, which earned them automatic qualification.


Natus Vincere

Team Members: s1mple, electroNic, sdy, Perfecto, b1t

NaVi have emerged as the top team on the CS:GO scene over the past year. They won the PLG Major in Stockholm in November 2021, and they finished runners-up at the PGL Major Antwerp earlier this year. They are blessed with the world’s best player, s1mple, who has the ability to win any match with his individual brilliance, but the supporting cast has improved considerably this year – especially b1t, a very talented rifler. NaVi will also be popular with the neutral fans, as they are a Ukrainian team. They recently cut ties with their holding company, Russian esports conglomerate ESForce, after deciding that it “publicly denies the horror that is now happening in Ukraine.”


FaZe Clan

Team Members: karrigan, rain, Twistzz, ropz, broky

FaZe currently sit top of the world rankings after beating NaVi in the Grand Final of the PGL Major Antwerp. That was an impressive result, as they went into the match as underdogs. They beat Navi 19-16 on Inferno and 16-10 on Nuke to earn their first major triumph. FaZe have also won IEM Katowice and ESL Pro League Season 15 this year. Key players rain and broky have been with the team for many years, but karrigan, Twistzz and ropz are recent signings, who have transformed FaZe’s fortunes.



Team Members: Hobbit, inters, Ax1Le, sh1ro, nafany

Cloud9 are currently fourth in the HLTV world rankings. They finished third in the European race to Cologne, ahead of big teams such as ENCE, G2, NiP and Team Vitality. The CS:GO scene was disrupted during the pandemic, but Cloud9 returned to winning ways with a first-place finish at IEM Dallas in May. Cloud9 are an American team, but the players are Russian and Kazakh, and they compete on the European circuit. The real superstar in the team is sh1ro, who was sensational during the online era throughout the pandemic. His form has tailed off a little at LAN events, but he remains a prodigious talent.



Team Members: Snappi, Maden, dycha, hades, Spinx

ENCE have been remarkably consistent over the past year. They reached the semi-finals of PGL Major Antwerp earlier this year, and they finished runners-up to Cloud9 in Dallas in May. Snappi, Spinx and dycha joined the team in January 2021, followed by hades in June and maden at the start of 2022, so they may lack the chemistry of some of their rivals, but they are starting to form a very effective unit.


G2 Esports

Team Members: JACZ, NiKo, hunter-, Aleksib, m0NESY

G2 boast arguably two of the world’s top-five players in NiKo and m0NESY. Some viewers wrote NiKo off as a spent force when he left FaZe, but he has made a mockery of those claims. He dragged G2 to the final of the PGL Major in Stockholm last year through his sheer individual brilliance, and G2 also finished runners-up at IEM Katowice in February. The up-and-coming m0NESY has also caught the eye with his game sense and skill.



Team Members: arT, yuurih, KSCERATO, saffee, drop

FURIA Esports is a Brazilian esports organisation based in the United States. They have climbed up to seventh in the world rankings, sandwiched in between G2 and NiP, after earning $296,000 last year. In January, they acquired saffee from paiN Gaming, rounding out a talented, all-Brazilian roster. FURIA are considered dark horses for this tournament.


Ninjas in Pyjamas

Team Members: es3tag, REZ, hampus, Brollan, Plopski

NiP are one of the most famous teams on the CS:GO circuit. They reached the Grand Final of the first five Majors, but they only won one – ESL One: Cologne, back in 2014. Now they will head back to the scene of their most famous triumph, seeking to return to the summit of the CS:GO scene. The roster has been completely overhauled since the early days, but they still boast some of Scandinavia’s brightest talents. Their first big win of 2022 came in June, when they claimed first place in the Global Esports Tour Dubai, beating MOUZ 2-1 in the Grand Final.


Team Liquid

Team Members: nitr0, NAF, EliGE, oSee, YEKINDAR (on loan from Virtus.pro)

TL are one of the most successful teams in CS:GO history. Only two organisations – Astralis and NaVi – have earned more prize money than them over the years. However, they have never won a major. The closest they came was 2016, when they lost to SK at ESL One: Cologne. TL have suffered some damaging departures in recent years: Twistzz moved to FaZe, Stewie 2K went to Evil Geniuses and FalleN joined Last Dance. They retain a strong core, but this team is still finding its feet.


The Rest

Team Vitality and Astralis are worth keeping an eye on during the play-in tournament. Vitality are fifth in the world rankings, and they are blessed with three of the world’s most talented players – ZywOo, dupreeh and Magisk. Astralis, once the most dominant team in CS:GO, have struggled after losing dev1ce, dupreeh and Magisk, but they still have gla1ve and Xyp9x, and they could be dangerous at IEM Cologne.


Betting on CS:GO IEM Cologne

TopSport will offer esports betting odds on all the action at IEM Cologne. Just visit TopSport.com.au, select the “Sport” option and choose “Esports” on the main menu. IEM Cologne will be one of the events listed. Click on that, browse your betting options on the various matches and get involved in the action.


CS:GO IEM Cologne Predictions and Best Bets 

Vitality should be far too strong for their rivals in the play-in tournament. Betting on them to cover the handicap line against a limited Tyloo team looks like an appealing option. Vitality, Astralis, Heroic, MOUZ, Outsiders and Spirit should all make it through to the group stage.

It is hard to look past NaVi winning the tournament. If s1mple gets on a roll, he can be unstoppable, while b1t will give opposing teams something else to think about. FaZe’s form has tailed off a little in recent weeks, so NaVi look more likely to prevail.

However, there are some interesting longer shots. G2 can beat anyone on their day, as NiKo, hunter- and m0NESY are all terrific players. Vitality are another intriguing option. They have to go through the rigours of the play-in tournament, but they dupreeh and Magisk know how to get the job done at big LAN events, and ZywOo may just remind everyone of his brilliance.