Everyone is talking about how Schalke 04 almost beat G2 last weekend and how strong this team should be considering they managed to take two maps off the reigning LEC champions. Narratives in the LEC are quite a funny thing sometimes and Schalke 04 are no stranger to being in the center of the attention when such storylines pop up, but is there any truth behind them or is it all smoke and mirrors?
Fnatic vs Schalke 04
Sunday, April 2 at 18:00 CET
LEC Studio, Berlin, Germany (LAN)
Schalke (seem) ready for their next opponent
Schalke 04 lost their opening LEC Spring Playoffs match against G2 Esports, but they did not go down easily. After being 0-2 down, the German squad came very close to securing an upset win but were, unfortunately, able to put together only two maps before admitting defeat to G2.
Regardless of their loss, Schalke 04 made quite a statement by forcing G2 to five maps (2-3), however, I wouldn’t overreact to that result too much. Although I must admit S04 played well, it was more G2 throwing the game rather than S04 outplaying them. In a post-game interview, G2’s jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski said they did not take games 3-4 too seriously, and while I’m not buying their “I don’t care” mentality, it’s definitely safe to say that G2 haven’t played as good as perhaps they should have.
A good read on the meta
One thing I like about Schalke is that they have a good read on the meta. Unlike Rogue, G2 and Fnatic, who like to play tanks in the top lane – perhaps less so Fnatic – Schalke like to play with “triple threat” compositions by putting Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik on carry champions.
Much of that is due to Schalke fielding a very capable coaching staff. On that note, S04’s head coach is no other than Fnatic’s ex-coach Dylan “Dylan Falco” Falco, who has earned his right to be viewed as one of the best in the scene, and should bring his team some advantages in this match-up.
Fielding triple-threat compositions and working around getting solo lane advantages has earned S04 a couple of wins this season and has helped them look competitive against G2 last time out, but we have a reason to believe that approach won’t be as successful against Fnatic. That is largely because Fnatic are the type of team that won’t allow to get outdrafted, and let’s not forget who will BrokenBlade face off in the top lane.
Many people wondered what will happen with Fnatic with the departure of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and whether Fnatic will be able to succeed internationally without the best Western ADC in history. Although we won’t know the answer to the latter question for a while longer, we got to see the first effects Rekkles’ – and to some degree Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek’s – departure has had on this team.
Since Rekkles’s departure, there is seemingly no one on the team to hold Fnatic back, the result of which is one of the craziest teams in the LEC and perhaps in the world. Fnatic are a team that will take any fight, anywhere and it often doesn’t even matter whether they’re ahead of behind.
This style of play is not necessarily good in the long run since it is very loose and unpredictable, however, if Fnatic manage to polish it to perfection, they just might become one of the most fun teams to watch. That said, they’re currently hardly more than a crazy, reckless, and shaky-looking team.
Is it Upsetissang or Hyllupset?
Fnatic boast with very talented players, who can compete with any team in the LEC and arguably most of the teams in the LCK, LPL, but if there is one thing they’re known and feared for it’s their bottom lane. Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov and Elias “Upset” Lipp are statistically the deadliest bottom lane duo in the league, who aren’t afraid to fight and gain significant lane advantages.
The same way we were afraid about SK Gaming’s chances to win due to having to face Fnatic’s bottom lane, we are not too excited about Schalke and their bottom lane duo’s ability to survive the lane either, and perhaps even more so. We would even go so far as to say that S04’s bottom lane is one of the weakest in the league, but that often goes overlooked because of how much S04 like to play around the top side.
Betting Tips for Fnatic vs Schalke 04
Fnatic are a team I generally don’t like betting on since they’re way too crazy and volatile, so it may make more sense for us to take Schalke at 2.81 for this match. That said, even though Fnatic are priced at only 1.44, they still come off as a better pick for many reasons.
There is an argument to be made that Schalke 04 have solid enough individual players to be competitive and defeat Fnatic, but would you really believe that narrative had they lost 0-3 against G2? Probably not. And since I’ve explained before how Schalke winning two maps against G2 wasn’t really an indication of their strength rather than G2’s sloppiness, we might as well value that match as a clean sweep win for G2.
In some weird way, Schalke 04’s chances to steal two maps against Fnatic are much lower than against G2, even though G2 are clearly the better team of the two. That is large because Schalke rely on counter picking and their top laner, whereas Fnatic very rarely let their opponents get draft edges and have a fairly reliable top laner, with a very deep champion pool.
This effectively means Fnatic nullify Schalke 04’s win conditions and what’s more, Fnatic’s strongest lane is also S04’s weakest. The way I see this match playing out is Fnatic winning with 3-0 or 3-1 – that is unless they go a little too crazy, which is definitely something that can happen.
Prediction: Fnatic -1.5 maps – 2.02 Pinnacle
Prediction: Fnatic -2.5 maps – 4.02 Pinnacle (0.5 units)
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