G2 Esports crowned IEM Cologne 2023 winners, become back-to-back IEM champs as tournament breaks several records

G2 are IEM Cologne 2023 winners

Esports News UK’s IEM Cologne 2023 and Counter-Strike coverage is powered by Predator Gaming; photo credit to Helena Kristiansson, ESL Faceit Group

The Intel Extreme Masters IEM Cologne 2023 winners have been named, with G2 Esports emerging victorious after an intense battle between 24 of the best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) teams from around the world.

The well-known Intel Extreme Masters competition was held from July 26th to August 6th, and the final three days took place in front of more than 37,000 fans at the iconic Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany. 

ESL’s flagship event in Lanxess Arena also broke a few records, with the tournament selling out faster than any other ESL event in Cologne previously, filling the most seats ever as well as capturing the highest average viewership for any other esports event hosted in the German city.

IEM Cologne 2023 saw a peak viewership of more than 727,000, according to the IEM Cologne 2023 escharts.com page. Moreover, the live part of the event attracted more than 37,000 fans from 70 different countries over three days.

The Play-in Stage began on July 26th July, with 16 teams battling it out for one of the top eight spots. From July 29th, the Group Stage saw the top eight teams from the Play-in Stage and eight squads that directly qualified, be split into two groups of eight and go head-to-head.

UK-based organisation Into the Breach exited IEM Cologne 2023 early, with London-based Fnatic following soon after.

GGBET MPU blast gif - June July 2024

What happened in the IEM Cologne 2023 playoffs

The six best teams – Astralis, Cloud9, Ence, G2 Esports, Heroic and Team Vitality –  proceeded to the live playoffs on August 4th to 6th, during which they faced off against each other in front of the sold-out Lanxess Arena. 

The Playoffs had a sensational start with Team Vitality dominating the first Quarter-Final, beating Cloud9 2-0. The second Quarter-Final saw Danish squads Heroic and Astralis face each other, with the latter emerging victorious in another 2-0 win.

The Semi-Finals first saw Finnish and French esports organisations, Ence and Team Vitality, battle it out for three intense rounds, with Ence becoming the first team to secure a spot in the Grand Final following a 2-1 win. The second Semi-Final saw G2 Esports dominate, defeating Astralis 2-0 and advancing to the final game of the competition. 

The electrifying best-of-5 Grand Final saw G2 Esports control the first two rounds against Ence, going 2-0 up. Ence started off strong in map 3, and despite catching up, G2 Esports were unable to secure the win, leading the Grand Final to go into the fourth map. 

After a hard-fought and exciting match, G2 Esports beat Ence by a score of 3-1 winning the coveted and renowned IEM Cologne trophy, taking home $400,000 of the $1m total prize pool, being crowned IEM Cologne 2023 winners, and joining Team Vitality and Ence in the race to securing Intel Grand Slam V.

It’s the last IEM Cologne focused on CSGO, before the series transitions to CS2.

G2 claim two EPT titles back-to-back after being crowned IEM Cologne 2023 winners

By becoming the IEM Cologne 2023 winners, the German organisation claim two ESL Pro Tour (EPT) Championship competitions back-to-back in the same year, having secured the IEM Katowice trophy earlier this year as well.

G2 are also the first team to secure a spot in the Group Stage of the first EPT Championship event in 2024. 

G2 Esports Rifler Nikola “NiKo” Kovač also secured his very first EPT DHL MVP award which is judged on a combination of player performance, fan voting and broadcast talent voting. 

Following the win, G2 player Nikola ‘NiKo’ Kovač commented: “This is the biggest trophy of my career – I’m super happy right now! It’s been a long journey to finally get this trophy but it wouldn’t be possible without this team and I’m so happy to have them by my side.

“I’m really proud of everyone, we kept it cool and calm throughout the whole series and it doesn’t feel real that we managed to win both [EPT Championship] tournaments in the same year. The experience and playing in the Lanxess Arena was amazing!” 

Furthermore, G2 Esports’ Justin ‘jks’ Savage once more showed he is a force to be reckoned with, winning his third EPT Championship title in two years’ time.

After G2 being named IEM Cologne 2023 winners, next up in the ESL Pro Tour is the ESL Pro Tour Season 18, kicking off on August 31st to October 1st. 

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