Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen is an undoubtedly controversial figure. The coach, who has been talked about in recent months mainly because of, among other things, the scandals first with the coaching bug and then with Heroic and Astralis, has recently returned to work on his own. And now some of his mentees have been announced.

Who will HUNDEN lead?

As a reminder, HUNDEN spent the first half of the year at Astralis. However, he was not the first coach there, but an analyst. Nevertheless, his hiring caused a wave of negative comments anyway. Especially since it was AST Petersen who was alleged to have unfairly assisted while he was still formally employed by Heroic, as confirmed by ESL’s investigation.

Even before the verdict was made public, however, Astralis had already terminated its partnership with the 32-year-old, but he did not remain unemployed for long. After less than a month, his engagement was confirmed by the other Danish organisation, Sashi Esports. At the time, Sashi Esports was in a period of rebuilding, as almost all of its previous representatives were already on the bench.

And now it has finally been found out who Sashi will be fielding as a result. Thus, HUNDEN will have, among others, Philip “aizy” Aistrup, known from G2 Esports and FaZe Clan, at their disposal. This is because he was unexpectedly reinstated from the reserves. The other well-known name is Asger “AcilioN” Larsen, a former Heroic and MAD Lions player and most recently a Preasy Esport bench player.

The other seats, meanwhile, are occupied by Martin “nut nut” Holm Vestergaard, ex-Astralis academy member Benjamin “brzer” Jensen, as well as Mikkel “n1xen” Borlund, who retained his spot despite previous castling. “You can see the chemistry in the team, and the mix of knowledge from experienced players and innovative approaches from young talent is already a huge asset,” assured HUNDEN in an official announcement.

Cloud9 back in the line-up. Team confirms player return for IEM Cologne play-offs

For Cloud9, Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 was supposed to be the first tournament in which the team would present itself to us after the summer reinforcements. Then, however, an obstacle arose in the form of visa formalities.

Ax1Le now without visa problems

In Cloud9’s official announcement from a few days ago, the following could be read: “Despite our best efforts, Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov’s visa application process is delayed due to technical problems on the visa processing centre’s side. He is expected to join in Cologne before the knockout phase. For this reason, the team had to reach out to Timur “buster” Tulepov for help. It was a rather perplexing affair, as the Kazakh, who had been acquired a few months earlier, had only just been moved to the substitutes’ bench. And now he had to be temporarily reinstated to support the team during the group struggles on German soil.

The effects were as you would expect, as the buster clearly stood out from his colleagues. In four matches, he reached a rating of 0.85, while the second weakest in this respect Denis “electroNic” Sharipov (incidentally the leader) reached 1.06. But despite this, Cloud9 achieved its goal and advanced to the play-offs after a triumph over GamerLegion. And now the North American organisation has confirmed that Ax1Le has made it to Cologne, as previously announced. And this means that he will be the one to take part in the IEM Cologne quarter-final duel against world champions Team Vitality. This one will take place on 4 August at 15:30.

IEM Cologne returns. The knockout phase of the Counter-Strike Cathedral begins!

After a two-day break, Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2023 is back! The knockout phase starts today, during which the six remaining teams in the game will enter the decisive battle for the coveted title. And all in the legendary LANXESS arena, the Counter-Strike Cathedral.

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World Champions vs C9, followed by the Denmark derby

The knockout competition at IEM Cologne will kick off with a heavyweight duel. In one corner, after all, Team Vitality will be seen, the current reigning world champions. These ones travelled to Germany with high hopes, but they have already suffered one stumble in the past few days. After all, they had to suffer the defeat of G2 Esports. The Bees’ rival will be Cloud9, who proved to be weaker than Fnatic in the inaugural series of clashes.

For this reason, the team recently powered by Denis “electroNic” Sharipov and Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy had to fight for their lives the whole time. And it survived, triumphing three times with a knife at its throat and throwing Poles 9INE, among others, overboard. Now, however, he will be strengthened. Visa problems have already been dealt with by Sergey “Ax1Le” Rykhtorov, so he will support his club partners.

A few hours later, on the other hand, the Danish derby awaits us. A derby in which Astralis was undoubtedly the favourite just a few years ago. Now, however, the team that has four world championships under its belt is trying to return to its former glory. Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz, who after a completely unsuccessful adventure with Ninjas in Pyjamas, has clearly revived and is once again a threat.

But Heroic does not seem to be afraid of him. After all, the HLTV ranking leaders have their arguments, the biggest of which is chemistry and collectivity. Richard “Xizt” Landström’s charges are one of the few in the summer who did not make any changes, and that certainly plays in their favour. And it also makes any result other than their win today a big surprise.