Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 | Schedule, Teams, and How to Watch

Today marks the opening of ESL One Cologne 2019, one of the premier Counter-Strike Tournaments in Europe, back for a sixth outing in the German city. 16 teams of ultimate CS: GO players from around the world are heading to the LANXESS Arena this week. With $300,000 up for grabs as the grand prize, we can expect serious competition. However, the cash pales in comparison to the true prize. A big win here will bring one of these teams closer to sweeping the Intel Grand Slam and the cash prize of $1,000,000. With all eyes on the prize, we are due a week of serious highs and lows. It’s good to know where to watch the matches play out, and who is playing to win in the Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 tournament.

Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 schedule

esl one cologne 2019

The entire Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 schedule starts today and finishes off on July 7 at 16:00 CEST. But it has different stages.

The Group Stage of this Counter-Strike tournament starts today and will last until July 4, 2019. ESL One has favored two double-elimination format groups. Each group is formed of eight teams, seeded on the basis of current ESL CS: GO World rankings.

Initial matches are played on a best-of-one basis, and all following matches are best-of-three. Three top teams from each group will advance to the Playoffs. From here, group stage winners advance to the semi-finals. Their runners-up will advance to the Quarterfinals as High Seeds. Teams that placed third in the group stages will advance to the Quarterfinals as the Low Seeds.

The meat of the tournament begins on Friday, July 5 with the Playoffs. While the Quarterfinals and Semifinals are both best-of-three, the Grand Final will be best-of-five because of the schedule changes.

In response to attendee feedback, the schedule for this event has been tweaked from previous iterations. Matches will be staggered into two Semi-Finals (best-of-three) on Saturday, and two Quarterfinals on Friday. The grand finale with be a best-of-five on Sunday. ESL One commented on its schedule that “the deciding factor is tournament integrity” but it made these changes to address the overly long days of yesteryear.

Here’s the full Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 schedule (all times are in CEST):

July 2:

  • FaZe Clan versus NRG Esports at 12:30 pm

July 3: 

  • ENCE eSports versus Team Vitality at 3:00 am
  • MIBR versus BIG at 3:00 am
  • Astralis versus Fnatic at 6:30 am
  • TBD versus mousesports at 6:30 am
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas versus Heroic GG.Bet at 10:00 am
  • NAVI.GG.BET versus Furia Esports at 10:00 am

July 4:

  • Team Liquid versus TBD at 6:30 am
  • The rest of the times are still TBD but run at 3:00 am, 6:30 am, and 10:00 am.

July 5:

  • 12:00: Doors open
  • 14:25: Pre show
  • 15:00: Quarter final #1 (best of three)
  • ~18:50 Quarter final #2 (best of three)

July 6: 

  • 11:00: Doors open
  • 12:00: Sprout versus Alternate Attax (best of two)
  • 14:25: Pre show
  • 15:00: Semi final #1 (best of three)
  • ~18:50: Semi final #2 (best of three)

July 7:

  • 11:00: Door opening
  • 12:45: Gods of Boom Cologne Final
  • 15:05: Paysafecard Hall of fame
  • 15:25: Pre show
  • 15:45: Warsteiner opening ceremony
  • 16:00: Grand Final (best of five)

Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 teams

The Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019 teams are made up of 16 different teams and all of them are household names in the Counter-Strike universe. Team Liquid is in pole position currently. Formed between the Netherlands and the USA, they have come to recent prominence. Starting out in 2000 as a Brood War team, they have dabbled in several fields, but launched their Counter-Strike division in 2015, and have steadily climbed the ranks since then. Team Liquid is talking a big game and trying to win its fourth major tournament in a row this year. If the squad manages to pull it off, its chances at the Intel Grand Slam will skyrocket.

Natus Vincere returns after a hard win in 2018. However, the confidence of the crown may be set to wane this week in the face of Team Liquid’s pure confidence. Na’Vi was the first team to win three major tournaments in one calendar year in 2010 (Intel Extreme Masters, Electronic Sports World Cup and World Cyber Games 2010), but it’s all to play for in 2019.

The other ESL One Cologne teams are FaZe Clan, mousesports, Renegades, Furia Esports, MVP PK, NRG Esports, Astralis, ENCE eSports, Heroic GG.Bet, Ninjas in Pyjamas, BIG, Fnatic, MIBR, and Team Vitality.

Where to watch Counter-Strike ESL One Cologne 2019

If you couldn’t make it to Cologne, fear not; your Counter-Strike fix is available on Twitch. Tune in to their main or secondary channel to keep up to date with the tournament as it plays out, and take in the dulcet tones of a range of top-notch CS: GO commentators on either stream. The future is now.

The main action of the tournament is taking place this weekend from June 5 to June 7. Group stages will take place backstage, with no arena access permitted. So even if you’ve hawked yourself to Cologne early, you’re still out in the cold til the weekend events kick off. ELS One has partnered with an ESports venue in the city, called Meltdown so that you can up the ante. If you’re early for the tournament, why not head along to share a brew, and indulge your need for Counter-Strike? It’s going to be quite a week.

Image Credit: Picture Alliance / Getty Images