G2 were the dominant force at the beginning of 2023, and while they may not have continued that form through the first half of the year, they’re back with a bang at IEM Cologne.
Now set to face ENCE in the Gran Final, we got to speak with Jan "Swani" Mueller about the team’s semi final against Astralis, Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen's calling, and ENCE banning Inferno.
Sam "AN1MO" McKenzie, BLIX: You're through to the final, how are you feeling?
Swani: I'm over the moon, it's a dream come true for me to be in front of the German crowd in a Grand Final. It's insane.
BLIX: Earlier on at the event, you spoke to us about second chances and how everyone deserves them. How good do you feel now you've given the players that chance and made the final?
Swani: We're really happy, we knew what we can do and when we show that we are insane. Today, again, we trusted everything that Rasmus [HooXi] was saying, and he outcalled them on both maps. It's a great feeling that everyone is trusting again and everyone is on the same page. I think we are back to our Katowice form.
BLIX: At the start of the year you guys were incredible, are you confident you're back to that or is there a chance you need to go a bit further to reach that level?
Swani: Honestly, I think we're even better than Katowice because our CT sides have improved a lot. In Katowice and World Final we relied on our T sides, but now our CT sides are crazy good as well.
BLIX: In terms of map one, Astralis have a really good record on Ancient. How did you and HooXi go about preparing for that?
Swani: We looked more at ourselves and what we were doing bad in the first game so we didn't repeat the same mistakes. We had a few little moves, especially for Ilya [m0NESY], as to how we could counter them, and I think we did a pretty good job in countering them, we should've won at least 12-3 on CT side if we didn't lose the eco rounds. Myself and Rasmus just had a really good plan on both CT and T, and also huNter- is helping us a lot in making the plans. On T, Rasmus just outcalled them very hard after it was 10-9 and we just called B rushes twice, then we did a fake B rush to take mid control. We were a lot better than them and Rasmus was always in control, it was really good.
BLIX: Your opponents tomorrow, ENCE, they're really good right now, how are you feeling about facing them?
Swani: It's going to be a really tough match because they don't play Inferno which is our best map, so the maps will be different and you'll see us play different maps. They're a crazy good team right now, SunPayus is popping off and they are very young, not scared of anything, it'll be very tough.
BLIX: Are you worried about ENCE not playing Inferno giving them an advantage?
Swani: No, not really. If we play together as a team, we can beat Vitality on Vertigo, who are one of the best teams; we can beat Astralis on Ancient, who are one of the best teams. I couldn't care less about the veto.