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Teams approach the halfway point of the ESL Pro League Season 5 as we enter the fifth playing week

Peter Stewart
Contributing Editor
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After edge-of-your-seat action transcended throughout last week, the ESL Pro League Season 5 continues as we approach the halfway mark, and get closer to finding out which of the 28 teams will be attending the LAN finals in Dallas, Texas later this year. This week, a number of matches will be taking place between the teams that are in, and around, the qualification zone so we can be rest assured that we will be witnessing a lot of exciting matches.

Here is everything you need to know for the fifth week of Season 5!

Europe

Standings

As Week 4 of the ESL Pro League concluded, mousesports still found themselves at the top of the European standings with a total of 24 points after 10 matches played, providing the side with an 8-2 win/loss record. It’s great to see this side still sitting at number one without the services of Nikola “NiKo” Kovač who had previously helped the German side in taking big strides of overall improvement.

Below mouz, we have Astralis and North battling it out for a firm hold on second place with 21 points apiece, but it really starts to get interesting when looking at 4th-11th place with there only being three points between 9th-11th and 4th-8th.

Looking at the very bottom of the table, we have Ninjas in Pyjamas, and G2 Esports who are battling it out for their survival in the Pro League division with the team that finishes in last place, instantly dropping down to the Premier division. With a positive 2-0 start for NiP with new recruit William “draken” Sundin, it seems like G2 will be the side that drops down into the Premier unless they start picking up some consistent 2-0 wins over their competitors. Only time will tell the fate of the sides at the bottom of the leaderboard.

Below, you can find the updated version of the European ESL Pro League Season 5 standings at the end of week four:

Hot Match of the Week - Astralis versus FaZe

This week’s Hot Match of the Week for the European region features a top tier battle between major champions Astralis, and FaZe, who currently sit in fourth place for the ESL Pro League Season 5.

After the unfortunate absence of Nicolai “device” Reedtz in Week 3 due to a stomach illness, Astralis were forced to play against Virtus.pro with their coach. This situation put themselves in a very disappointing position, considering their offline performance, with only 12 points from the eight matches that they had played. However, this was completely turned around in Week 4 by the Danes with wins over fellow countrymen North, and Heroic, putting them back into second place with a win/loss record of 7-5, accompanying their 21 points.

As we land on the halfway point at the end of the week, the Danish side will have hoped to extend their lead over the rest of the competition with a win over FaZe. Although this is slightly unlikely with how FaZe is currently playing, I wouldn’t be worried at all as for one; this is the best team in the world we are talking about, and secondly, if you look at their future fixtures against Team Kinguin, and HellRaisers, those should both be quick 2-0 wins.

Since the acquisition of Kovač, Faze, Astralis’s opposition, have become one of the best teams in the world, entering the top 5, after a number of solid tournament finishes, including a second place at IEM Katowice, falling short to Astralis. Alongside those finishes, the mixed European side currently sit in fourth place in the ESL Pro League, but will look to cement their position in the qualification zone as they are among the five sides with 15 points.

If FaZe continue to play the way they have been throughout the online league this week, I see no reason as to why they can’t solidify their position in the qualification zone with 18 points up to grabs with matches against Natus Vincere, Team LDLC, and of course, Astralis. The match against Na`Vi will certainly be a tough task, but they have the skill and tactics to do so, it just comes down to the execution on the day.

Tune into the YouTube exclusive livestream at 21:20 CET on Thursday, March 23 to watch the European heavyweights battle it out.

North America

Standings

After another great week in the ESL Pro League, taking down Selfless Gaming 16-6 on de_cbble and 16-9 on de_cache, SK Gaming continues to lead the North American standings going into Week 5 with 30 points, and a flawless 10-0 win/loss record. The majority of the other other participating teams could have only dreamed of a start like this, and now, it will be interesting to see which team takes down the Brazilians, if any. Could they really go through the whole of online qualification without a single map lost?

Similar to that of the European region, other than SK Gaming and Team Liquid, no team has properly solidified their qualification for the offline finals with seven teams being within a maximum range of six points, or two map wins. It’s an interesting time in the fifth installment of the ESL Pro League.

As mentioned in our previous preview article, it’s about time we say goodbye to compLexity Gaming, Selfless Gaming, Winterfox, and their chances of qualification for the finals in Texas. However, that certainly does not mean that these teams will be giving up on their matches as those three lineups will want to ensure they do not instantly drop down to the Premier division with a last place finish.

Below, you can find an updated look at the North American ESL Pro League Season 5 standings at the end of week four:

Hot Match of the Week - SK Gaming versus Misfits

This week’s Hot Match of the Week for the North American region features Brazilian side, SK Gaming, who currently sit in first place, and Misfits, a side that has continued to develop as a team, whilst also progressing through the ESL Pro League to fifth place.

Considering their current online performance in the Pro League, an expectation of SK Gaming has been created to have similar results in an offline environment, but as of recent times, that has not been the case. Whether that is due to the SK players not being fully comfortable with their new recruit Joao “felps” Vasconcellos in an offline setting, or another issue entirely, I’m not sure, but at IEM Katowice, the Brazilian side finished 11th-12th.

Regardless of their offline result, I still see SK Gaming taking this series 2-0 without too many problems from the Misfits side considering their experience. However, if Misfits continues to play well, they could be the side that takes a map off of the Brazilians for the first time this season. If SK are to lose one of the maps to Misfits, then with their current position in the NA standings, there won’t be any worries, but it would be nice to see if they could retain this record throughout the online qualification process.

Looking at their generally inexperienced roster, you would not expect Misfits to be in this type of position, ahead of a number of top teams, including Counter Logic Gaming, and OpTic Gaming. It’s unfortunate to witness some of these top teams struggling, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. After defeating some good sides this season, the Misfits lineup have placed themselves into fifth place after 12 matches played, acquiring a total of 21 points.

Last week, Misfits featured in our Hot Match of the Week where they haced off against Cloud9, and with one of their core players, Tyler “skadoodle” Latham down, Misfits took full advantage of that by winning both maps. That win could play a key role in the upcoming match as it could provide them with the confidence that they require to take at least one map off SK Gaming. Either way, it’s going to be a very tough match, and they’ll have to have something up their sleeve if they want to surprise the Brazilian lineup, and obtain some more points.

Tune into the YouTube exclusive livestream at 17:00 PT on Thursday, March 23 to watch the two sides go head-to-head on the CS:GO servers.

Week 5 of the ESL Pro League is here!

Tune into ESL CS:GO YouTube channel to watch the best teams in CS:GO battle for their spot at offline finals in Dallas, Texas from June 3-4. If you want to watch the season finals live, you can purchase tickets here whilst they are still available.

For live coverage, and all of the latest updates on the ESL Pro League, be sure to follow ESL Counter-Strike on Twitter and Facebook.