The Play-In Stage of this year's IEM Katowice is almost over - With just four more matches to go before we're heading off to the Group Stage, which will take place from February 4-7.
IEM Katowice 2023: Lower Bracket round two schedule and betting odds
We've already closed out the upper bracket matches, which resulted in BIG, OG, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Cloud9 all qualifying for the group stage. That leaves just four spots left for the Group Stage, which the lower bracket teams fighting it out on February 3 for their right to remain in the tournament.
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Once the Play-In Stage is over, the eight qualified teams will move on to the Group Stage, where some of the biggest teams on the CS:GO scene are already waiting for them - including the likes of FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere (NAVI) and Team Vitality.
15:00 PM GMT matches
But before that, we need to find out who's coming out on top in round two of the lower bracket matches - beginning at 15:00 PM GMT on February 3, when we'll see FURIA Esports and IHC Esports going head to head.
FURIA Esports (1.10) vs IHC Esports (7.24)
FURIA were sent into the lower bracket following their 1-2 loss on February 2, when BIG claimed an upset 2-1 victory over the Brazilian team. It was a disappointing result for FURIA, who had stormed to victory in their debut match against Permitta Esports, with an incredible score of 16-4 in the best-of-one match - though admittedly few had expected FURIA to lose to the significantly less experienced team.
IHC Esports meanwhile have been in the lower bracket ever since their IEM Katowice 2023 debut match, which they lost to Cloud9 with a bruising final score of 16-5. Still, they made up for that loss in their February 2 match against paiN Gaming, where they lived to fight on for another day through a decisive 2-0 win. It was a remarkable upset win, with paiN having been strongly favoured coming into the match.
The odds are heavily in FURIA's favour here, at 1.10 against IHC's 7.24. While IHC has proven their capacity to pull off an upset win, they're going to have their work cut out for them as they work to repeat that success.
That's not the only action to be had at 15:00 PM GMT either - As we'll also have the chance to see Fnatic facing off against Made in Brazil (MIBR).
Fnatic found themselves in the lower bracket following their 2-1 loss to OG in round two of the upper bracket, with OG securing their invitation to the Group Stage. That disappointing result came just hours after the team secured a decisive win over Evil Geniuses in their debut match, taking the best-of-one round with a score of 16-8 on Inferno. Fnatic will be keen to come out on top again today against MIBR, to ensure they improve on their IEM Katowice 2022 results when they ranked in 9th - 12th place.
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MIBR meanwhile were sent to the lower bracket in their debut match against Ninjas in Pyjamas, where they fought a surprisingly close battle against Ninjas in Pyjamas, who ultimately claimed a 16-13 victory. Once in the lower bracket, MIBR claimed victory against Grayhound Gaming, beating the team 2-1 to make it to today's match. MIBR will similarly be keen to improve on their last performance in Katowice, having ranked in 21st - 24th place.
The odds are strongly in Fnatic's favour here, at 1.26 vs MIBR's 3.92.
18:30 PM GMT matches
The next pair of matches, and the final matches of the Play-In Stage, will take place at 18:30 PM GMT - when we'll see a match between ENCE and Complexity Gaming.
ENCE (1.40) vs Complexity Gaming (3.00)
ENCE found themselves in the lower bracket after facing off against Cloud9 on February 2, who claimed a 2-1 victory over the team. ENCE's 2023 Katowice run had started on a strong footing, as the team claimed a fantastic 16-7 win over paiN Gaming in their debut best-of-one match. Still, beating Cloud9 may have been a tall order for ENCE, who still stand a real chance of making it through to the Group Stage on February 4.
Complexity Gaming have been in the lower bracket since their loss against BIG in their debut match, who took the best-of-one round with a score of 16-12. It was a respectable showing for the team, given that BIG had been favoured to win from the start. Besides, Complexity quickly made up for their loss through a decisive win against Permitta Esports in the lower bracket, knocking the Polish team out of the tournament with a score of 2-0.
Complexity's Katowice run may soon be over, however, as the odds favour ENCE here - at 1.40 vs 3.00.
And finally, that brings us to the second match at 18:30 PM GMT. While ENCE faces off against Complexity Gaming, we'll also have the chance to see Team Spirit and Sprout fighting it out for an invitation to the Group Stage.
Team Spirit (1.57) vs Sprout (2.42)
Team Spirit had a strong start at this year's tournament, having claimed a decisive 16-6 victory over Grayhound Gaming in their debut match. However, that success was short-lived, with the team going on to face a bruising 0-2 loss to Ninjas in Pyjamas. They're not out of the running yet though - Team Spirit haven't attended IEM Katowice since 2019, and they'll not be sent home without a fight.
They'll need to overcome Sprout to stay in the competition, however. Sprout came painfully close to an upset win in their debut match against OG, as they outperformed expectations by forcing the game into overtime - for a final score of 19-16. They may have just narrowly been denied victory against OG, but they made up for that loss on February 2 with a 2-0 win against Evil Geniuses, earning their right to fight another day.
The odds are in Team Spirit's favour here, at 1.57 vs Sprout's 2.42. Still, we've seen a fair few upset wins already in Katowice - so it could still be all to play for here.
The Play-In Stage is about to come to an end - so who has your support? Whoever you choose to back, make sure you've claimed your free 100% bonus! And if you're looking to get the most out of this year's IEM Katowice, why not take advantage of our Kato Bet Boost for a chance of doubling your winnings?