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How to watch IEM Cologne 2021: Schedule, teams, format, and prize pool

Welcome to the viewers' guide, including schedule, format and more for IEM Cologne 2021, the next stop in the Intel Grand Slam Season 3, where the best CS:GO teams in the world will battle for glory and a big prize pool.
One of the classic tournaments around the CS:GO competitive scene is about to be back with more emotions than ever, as the month of July will be packed with the IEM Cologne 2021, the next big stop in the race for the Intel Grand Slam.

The IEM Cologne 2021 will see 24 of the best teams in CS:GO competitive go face to face in a gruelling battle to be the ultimate champions. Not only this, but the action will come back to the live stage of the Cathedral of Counter-Strike for the first time since the start of the global pandemic.

Let’s take a look at some of the teams that will be part of this year’s IEM Cologne edition, as well as the matches' schedule, and what will be at stake for those who finish at the top, i.e. the prize pool.

IEM Cologne 2021 - Teams and format

As part of Cologne’s transition from being in the ESL One circuit to the Intel Extreme Masters championships, the road to qualify for this event suffered a big evolution, as teams from every continent will now get the chance to be part of it. The event is divided into two stages based on the EPT Rankings and ESL World Rankings.

Everything will start at the Play-Ins, where the top teams from Asia, Oceania and South America will join the mid-table teams from Europe and North America in a series of clashes through a double-elimination bracket with best-of-one matches at the opening round and best-of-threes for the remainder of the stage.

IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In Schedule, Teams and Format
IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In Stage Bracket (Picture: ESL)

The top eight from the Play-Ins will move forward into the Group Stage, joining the top six squads from Europe and the top two from NA, making a total of 16 teams that will be divided into two groups of eight teams each.

IEM Cologne 2021 Group Stage Schedule, Format, Teams (Picture: ESL)
IEM Cologne 2021 Group Stage (Picture: ESL)

The Group Stage will feature a double-elimination bracket for each group, with best-of-three matches through the entire round. The winners of the brackets will get a direct seed into the semifinals of the IEM Cologne, while the runners-up and third places will battle for their survival at the quarterfinals.

IEM Cologne 2021 Group Stage Schedule, Format, Teams (Picture: ESL)
IEM Cologne 2021 Group Stage (Picture: ESL)

Finally, the Playoffs will have a single-elimination format, with both the quarter-finals, semifinals featuring best-of-three matches and the Grand Final getting the ultimate clash with a more than anticipated best-of-five.

IEM Cologne 2021 - Prize Pool

As with every Intel Extreme Masters tournament, IEM Cologne 2021 will feature a prize pool of 1 million USD, one of the highest around any CS:GO event in the year, with every qualified team getting a share of the prize pool at stake.

In addition, the top teams from the tournament will have the chance to accumulate more Circuit Points for both the ESL Pro Tour and the BLAST Premier 2021 season, based on their final standings.

  • 1st Place: $ 400,000 USD, 1,800 ESL Points, and 3,200 BLAST Points
  • 2nd Place: $ 180,000 USD, 1,400 ESL Points, and 1,600 BLAST Points
  • 3rd-4th Place: $ 80,000 USD, 1,100 ESL Points, and 1,000 BLAST Points
  • 5th-6th Place: $ 40,000 USD, 825 ESL Points, and 400 BLAST Points
  • 7th-8th Place: $ 24,000 USD, 575 ESL Points, and 200 BLAST Points
  • 9th-12th Place: $ 16,000 USD, and 325 ESL Points
  • 13th-16th Place: $ 10,000 USD, and 125 ESL Points
  • 17th-20th Place: $ 4,500 USD, and 60 ESL Points
  • 21th-24th Place: $ 2,500 USD
IEM Cologne 2021 LANXESS Arena
LANXESS Arena (Picture: ESL)

The team that rises as the champions of IEM Cologne 2021 will also get the opportunity to increase their honours in the race for the million dollars of the Intel Grand Slam Season 3, where Astralis, Gambit, and NAVI are currently leading with two wins each, and with only four tournaments left in the season, everything will be at risk.

IEM Cologne 2021 - Schedule and How to watch

The Play-Ins will kick off the tournament on 6th July, with three different battles between squads from Europe and South America, and the Group Stage will be starting on 8th July, featuring four days full of action and dramatic plays.

Playoffs will begin on 16th July, and the Grand Final is scheduled for the 18th.

You can watch all the action of the IEM Cologne through its official channels on Twitch and YouTube. We have embedded its Twitch stream to make it easier for you to catch it live.

IEM Cologne 2021 will be held from 6th to 18th July, live from the LANXESS Arena, the Cathedral of Counter-Strike, in Germany.

Don’t forget to check out our CS:GO dedicated section, with news, guides, esports coverage, and more.