IEM Cologne 2023: BIG Academy Makes It, BIG Main Roster Doesn’t

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IEM Cologne 2023: BIG Academy Makes It, BIG Main Roster Doesn’t

BIG could not qualify for IEM Cologne, but BIG Academy, their youth side, will participate in the IEM Cologne Play-in stage

ESL has released the lineup for IEM Cologne, where 24 teams will fight it out for a larger slice of the $1 million USD prize pool between July 25-August 6. While 17 of the top 20 teams will be flying to the City of Carnivals to take part in the showpiece event, German side BIG will be one of the three teams in the global top 20 that will be missing the competition. 

Why Is BIG Not Playing In IEM Cologne 2023?

The top eight teams in the HLTV global rankings directly qualify for the group stages. The remaining 16 teams participate in the play-in stage, where they compete in a double-elimination bracket for a chance to advance to the group stages. Teams had two ways to qualify for the tournament: by achieving notable results in significant tournaments or by earning a spot through the ESL rankings. Unfortunately, BIG was unable to attain a high enough ranking for a direct invitation, nor were they able to win a prestigious tournament in recent times to secure qualification for IEM Cologne.

IEM Cologne 2023: BIG Academy Makes It, BIG Main Roster Doesn’t

Credit: BIG

Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz’s men have been struggling in S-tier competitions ever since winning the Roobet Cup 2022 in June 2022. They followed up their Roobet Cup success with a 17th-20th place Intel Extreme Masters XVII – Cologne finish. More recently, they failed to qualify for the Paris Major 2023 and finished 5th-6th at IEM Rio 2023, which is their best performance in an S-tier event since winning the Roobet Cup. It, however, was not enough to break into the IEM Cologne invite list. 

How Is BIG Academy Playing In IEM Cologne 2023? 

Even though BIG’s main roster will not be playing in Cologne, their academy side will be there. The ESL Meisterschaft Spring 2023 Grand Final witnessed BIG Academy triumph over ALTERNATE aTTaX. The match concluded with BIG Academy sweeping the series 2-0, emerging victorious on Inferno (16:13) and Vertigo (16:12). Elias “s1n” Stein's leadership propelled his team to not only secure a commendable prize of approximately $11.5 thousand but also secure a valuable slot at IEM Cologne 2023. BIG Academy made history as the first academy team in CSGO history to qualify for an S-tier event. 

Can BIG Main Roster Players Play For BIG Academy In IEM Cologne 2023?

BIG’s IEM Cologne 2023 roster must retain at least three players from their ESL Meisterschaft Spring 2023 roster. Karim “Krimbo” Musa and Marcel “hyped” Köhn, who are members of the senior BIG quintet, played in the grand final against ALTERNATE aTTaX. The duo, therefore, will be considered core players and BIG Academy will have the option to call upon two more senior team players. According to reports, Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz and Nils “k1to” Gruhn will don BIG Academy shirts in Cologne, leaving Elias “s1n” Stein as the only regular BIG Academy player on the roster. 

IEM Cologne 2023: BIG Academy Makes It, BIG Main Roster Doesn’t
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