In a rematch of last year’s EU LCS Summer Split final, FC Schalke 04 and Fnatic met on the big stage once again in Athens, Greece, but history did not repeat itself… Fnatic didn’t drop a game this time.
Europe’s most decorated teams, G2 Esports and Fnatic, will now clash in the Summer Final – and the latter look more than ready to contend the Mid-Season Invitational champions for the LEC title.
Meanwhile, it was a worrying performance for Schalke 04 who will have to regroup and prepare for the regional qualifiers to keep their hopes of a Worlds campaign alive.
FC Schalke 04: Aatrox, Olaf, LeBlanc, Kai’Sa, Alistar
Fnatic: Gangplank, Gragas, Karma, Xayah, Morgana
It was a tentative start to the series as both teams took some time to settle on stage and feel out their opponents, but the deadlock was broken after eight minutes. Fnatic were switched on, and Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen was able to capitalise on the inexperience of Felix "Abbedagge" Braun to hand over First Blood to Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek.
A few minutes later, Martin “Rekkles” Larrsen teleported into the middle of a teamfight and picked up a double kill before somehow surviving Elias “Upset” Lipp’s surprise attack – and picking up yet another kill. Kim “Trick” Gang-un did eventually manage to pick up his bounty, but with so much gold on Rekkles, it already felt like Schalke had little chance of finding a way back.
Trick was finding kills but he was not the player Schalke wanted their gold on. Fnatic patiently pushed their advantage and waited until the perfect moment to secure Baron and close out the perfect start to the series.
Fnatic: Karma, Lee Sin, Akali, Ezreal, Pyke
FC Schalke 04: Rumble, Sejuani, Aatrox, Xayah, Thresh
Schalke desperately needed the restart and a fresh start, yet they had a disastrous start to Game 2. Just three minutes into the game, a teamfight broke out in Schalke’s own jungle, and Broxah picked up a double kill on his signature Lee Sin pick.
Before the series, Schalke coach Dylan Falco mentioned how frightening Fnatic were on their comfort picks, yet as well as Broxah’s Lee Sin, Zdravets "Hylissang" Galabov also managed to get his Pyke through the draft.
Yet, Schalke dug in and held their own in teamfights as the game stayed even for the majority of the game. Unlike the scenic stroll up to the Acropolis of Athens, some mountains are simply insurmountable. Fnatic in this kind of form, with comfort picks, five dragons and Baron buff, left Schalke with no chance as their Nexus succumbed to defeat.
Fnatic: Renekton, Lee Sin, Akali, Karma, Pyke
Schalke: Aatrox, Sejuani, Corki, Xayah, Alistar
With another best-of-five to play the next day, Fnatic were in no mood to waste time. A clever level one invade gave Broxah First Blood on his Lee Sin once again, putting even more pressure on Schalke.
It was a nightmare game for Schalke’s star-man Upset who couldn’t impose himself on the series. The German carry was rendered helpless as a sensational hook by Hylissang pulled him over the wall for the first of his few deaths.
Last week, Fnatic had thrown away a 2-0 lead when G2 secured Baron in game three and managed to reverse sweep the series. There was a similar glimpse of hope when Schalke found a pick and secured the buff for themselves, but Broxah was simply too good. The movement and creativity of his Lee Sin was beautiful to watch and another double kill ended Schalke’s split push attempt.
Fnatic had learnt their lesson, a ruthless performance in game three ended with a triple kill and the arena erupted knowing that they would be treated to a special final the next day.
Moving into the final
Athens will be treated to an exciting rematch of last week’s five-game thriller between Fnatic and G2. However, this time the trophy will be on the line.
Last year’s Worlds finalists against this year’s MSI champions; the two biggest teams in European history will collide in an extraordinary series. With both teams in incredible form, this will be a match talked about for years to come.