FC Schalke 04 vs Fnatic
Our first Best of 5 of the week is by no means a monumental one, but it's still bound to deliver in all the right ways: Fnatic vs. Schalke 04! Now, let's not build any unnecessary suspense: Fnatic are heavily favored and there's a very good reason why that's the case.
They're batter and more capable in every which way and should, by all means, be able to emerge victorious without breaking much of a sweat. Well, that's what we're hoping for, at least. The potential is certainly there, and Fnatic -- if they've prepared well and manage to execute -- should definitely be able to outclass Schalke in 3:1 fashion, if not even a clean sweep. Then again, they haven't been the epitome of consistency and have had more than just a couple of surprising dips in performance. Some of them were justified. Others, however, were pretty darn egregious and inexcusable. But that's Fnatic in 2021, basically. You take the good with the bad and hope for the best. At the very least they've shown a ton of long-term potential, so we're definitely interesting in finding out how high they'll eventually be able to soar.
They will, however, face a stiff test -- they're no longer a shoo-in for Top 3 and the World Championship. MAD Lions and Rogue have looked a lot better recently and the boys in black and orange will have to deliver if they intend on representing Europe at the biggest of stages come October.
Before all of that, however, they'll need to go through Schalke 04. Now, that isn't exactly the toughest test or challenge one can imagine, but it's not an easy one either — this Schalke bunch is surprisingly feisty, and they're fighting their hearts out whenever they step foot on stage to compete. They are, however, fairly flawed, and most of their weaknesses can easily be exploited, given the right preparation. A team as experienced as Fnatic shouldn't have that much trouble in capitalizing once those windows of opportunity present themselves, but they're no strangers to fumbling and failing either. They will need to be on their best behavior, and they'll have to deliver, both on an individual level and also as a five-man unit.
Betting against the former "Kings of Europe" simply doesn't make any sense at this point. They are by no means a competitive top-tier behemoth, but they're not far off either, and a couple of kinks in their armor (no matter how glaring or exploitable) should by no means be enough to sway us in our prediction. We'll give them our benefit of the doubt as they've always performed best when their backs were against the wall, but it surely won't be an easy win — Schalke never go down without a fight.