IEM Katowice has finally begun! We're currently in the Play-In Stage, where 16 teams are competing for the right to move onto the Group Stage - which is due to begin on February 4th.
IEM Katowice 2023: Upper Bracket round two schedule and betting odds
The Play-In Stage meanwhile is running from February 1-3. The action has kicked off with the upper bracket round one matches, in which the 16 teams will be separated into the upper and lower brackets - with the winners heading to the upper bracket round two matches on February 1.
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The upper bracket round two matches will all take place on February 1, the winners of which will earn an invitation to the Group Stage.
Upper Bracket Round Two: 15:00 GMT matches
Round two of the upper bracket will begin at 15:00 GMT on February 1, when we'll see Cloud9 going up against ENCE.
Cloud9 are fresh off their victory against IHC Esports, taking Mirage with an incredible score of 16-5. It was something of a one-sided affair, though this was hardly surprising, given that the odds heavily favoured Cloud9 going into their 2023 season debut. Russian player Sergey 'Ax1Le' Rykhtorov more than did his part to help carry his team to victory here, with a kill/death ratio of 24-11 and a rating of 1.83, according to HLTV.
ENCE meanwhile are heading into round two after their victory over paiN Gaming, with the best of one match being decided through a 16-7 win on Vertigo. It was a decisive win for ENCE, with Polish player Paweł "dycha" Dycha pulling his weight for his team with a 1.39 rating, according to HLTV.
The odds are in Cloud9's favour here, at 1.48 vs ENCE's 2.50.
That's not the only match taking place at 15:00 GMT either. While ENCE is going toe-to-toe with Cloud9, we'll also have the chance to see Team Spirit competing against Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Team Spirit (1.68) vs Ninjas in Pyjamas (2.05)
Team Spirit claimed their first win of the 2023 season early on February 1, when they breezed to victory over Grayhound Gaming, winning the best-of-one match with a score of 16-6 on Nuke. While they had been heavily favoured to win going into the match, it was nonetheless a great start to the 2023 season - With Leonid 'chopper' Vishnyakov absolutely dominating the match with a kill/death ratio of 21-8, with a rating of 1.74, according to HLTV.
Ninjas in Pyjamas meanwhile have just emerged from a much closer match against MIBR, but ultimately claimed victory over the Brazilian team with a score of 16-13 on Nuke. This match similarly went as expected, though MIBR did well to keep the score as close as it was. Ninjas in Pyjamas might be sitting safely in the upper bracket, but they'll need to pull out all the stops if they're hoping to make it to the Group Stage.
The odds are slightly in Team Spirit's favour here, at 1.68 vs Ninjas in Pyjamas' 2.05.
Upper Bracket Round Two: 18:30 GMT matches
And that brings us to the second pair of upper bracket round two matches, taking place at 18:30 GMT on February 1 - when Fnatic will be going up against OG.
Fnatic are heading into round two of the upper bracket after a decisive win over Evil Geniuses, after they took Inferno with a score of 16-8. There's been little in the way of upset wins so far this tournament, and Fnatic vs Evil Geniuses was no exception. The team had been favoured to win heading into their 2023 debut, and they certainly did not disappoint - with Fredrik 'roeJ' Jørgensen in particular performing well for his team, with a kill/death ratio of 27-12.
OG meanwhile emerged the victors after a nail-biting match against Sprout - Which was forced into overtime after both teams ended the match with a score of 15-15 on Inferno. Sprout put up a good defence in overtime, but OG refused to back down - taking four out of the five overtime rounds, for a score of 19-16. Shahar 'flameZ' Shushan was the standout player of this closely-fought match, boasting a kill/death ratio of 31-18.
The odds are close here - but ever so slightly favour Fnatic, at 1.78 vs OG's 1.92.
And finally, the second match taking place at 18:30 GMT on February 1 will see BIG going up against FURIA Esports for the right to compete in the Group Stage.
BIG (2.70) vs FURIA Esports (1.42)
BIG meanwhile found themselves in an unexpectedly close match against Complexity Gaming. While they managed to get off to a good start, Complexity Gaming rallied with an impressive comeback - prompting many to wonder if they had the first upset win on their hands. Bad sadly for Complexity, it was not to be - with BIG taking Anubis with a score of 16-12.
FURIA Esports had an excellent, though perhaps not unexpected start to this year's IEM Katowice. The Brazilian team absolutely dominated in their debut match, defeating Permitta Esports through a score of 16-4 on Mirage. The team stormed to victory with some fantastic performances, with Yuri 'yuurih' Santos in particular achieving an incredible kill/death ratio of 23-7 and a rating of 1.99 according to HLTV.
Who are you supporting at IEM Katowice 2023? Whoever has your backing, make sure you've claimed your free 100% bonus before jumping into the action!