Preparations for ESL One Cologne are in full swing as we are just 24 hours away from the start of the Major. Still riding the wave from an impressive title-winning campaign at the ECS Finals, our team has a very tough task ahead, having been grouped with SK Gaming (formerly known as Luminosity), fnatic and FaZe Clan.
With three of the top four teams in the world, according to the latest HLTV.org ranking, all pitted together, it is no surprise that Group D has been labelled the ‘Group of Death’, but Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom is confident that the team can reach the playoffs — and cites recent results to back that assertion up.
“This is definitely the biggest group of death I have seen in years,” ScreaM said. “We will just take it game by game, starting with SK. We have already defeated those teams, and I am sure we can do it again. I am very excited to face these teams already in the group stage! Each match will be like a grand final.”
As the event approaches, one of the biggest talking points is whether the team will be able to go through the group stage — something that has not happened at a Major since DreamHack Winter 2013. ScreaM, who has been in stunning form of late, just like Richard “shox” Papillon, believes that the time has come to break another curse after ending a long title drought in London.
“I think we have all gained a lot of confidence by winning ECS,” he argued. “For some of us it had been years since we had last won an international title, and the feeling of winning something after struggling was just amazing. Personally, I will not have pressure to go through the groups. I know what we are capable of. I just want us to play at our best and, if that happens, we will go through.”
At the end of the day, however, the Belgian player knows that there is a long road ahead. The team has had high highs recently, but the recent performances at the offline qualifier for ESL One Cologne should come as a lesson that nothing can be taken for granted.
“We just need to keep practicing, stay motivated and continue reminding ourselves of how lucky we are to be here,” he said. “We cannot underestimate any team or just play “ok”. Any team can surprise you nowadays. We are still a young team, experience-wise. But we keep improving, and that is the most important thing.”