FC Schalke 04 vs exceL
For our first match of the day we have rather interesting clash between Schalke 04 and SK Gaming. Now, on paper, there's not a whole lot to like overall. This, in many ways, is pretty much a fight between two mid-tier contenders, both of which are inherently flawed. Still, they're better than they look, and their best days are still ahead of them. This is especially true for Schalke 04, a veteran squad with numerous proven performers.
Still, if you didn't catch their unexpected (and quite historic) surge from last year and instead were tuning in for the first time yesterday, you'd probably think they were nothing more than a struggling (and rather talentless) bottom-tier dweller. Simply put, they played a dreadful game against Vitality. They were beaten on an individual level but also as a five-man unit. Now, they did keep things relatively close, but they were the weaker team from start to finish. They did not look good in any which way, and other than a short surge in the mid game, their play left a lot to be desired. Fortunately for Schalke, they were able to capitalize off of Vitality's inexperience (and lack of good judgement) and backdoor with ease. This, of course, makes things all the more confusing. They got the "W" which, at this point, is the only thing that matters; still, they failed to impress in any way, shape, or form. It certainly wasn't the kind of start they were hoping for, and that's especially true for Vitality who lost in such a foolish way.
SK Gaming, on the other hand, made quick work of Astralis which, to be fair, was expected. They were unexpectedly clean and cohesive, which is quite a promising sign. TynX was downright fantastic, and so was Jezu. Frankly, this five-man line-up didn't show its lack of experience at all. They opted for a slower, more cautious early game, they built their leads, rotated when they should've, and then starting upping the pace once the mid game came along. Astralis fought to the best of their ability, but it wasn't enough, and neither was the veteranship of their line-up. In the end, they failed to do much, despite facing a team without even a single proven veteran.
SK got the win and looked quite fantastic in the process but, then again, they faced Astralis -- hardly an insurmountable challenge. Schalke 04, in that sense, will be their first true test. But if they don't step up (and do it quickly), they probably won't be able to do much either. Experience and veterancy mean very little if they aren't harnessed and utilized appropriately.
In the end, we'll side with Schalke on this one but it could truly go either way, especially if SK comes out swinging. In any case, this'll be an important game as it'll set the tone going forward -- we'll finally be able to gauge the power level of both line-ups as we currently have quite a meager sample size to work with.
|FC Schalke 04||1.70||1||Loss|