FC Schalke 04 kept its playoff hopes alive with a much-needed win over Giants Gaming on Friday in the European League of Legends Championship Series.
With Schalke (6-9) picking up just one victory in the last six games, this was a must-win if it wanted any shot at sneaking into the playoffs. Mid laner Erlend "Nukeduck" Vatevik Holm and AD carry Elias "Upset" Lipp seemed to understand the importance, as the two carries stepped up in a major way. Giants (6-9) allowing Schalke to give the pair Azir and Caitlyn, two of the highest damage champions in the game, certainly didn't hurt, either.
Throughout the first 25 minutes, however, this game was dead even with both teams sitting at three towers, five kills and 43,000 gold. The only problem was that at that point, Schalke had just picked up a massive 3-for-1 teamfight win on the backs of Nukeduck and Upset that led right into a Baron, giving Schalke full control over the game. In the very next teamfight just a few minutes later, Upset tore right through the entirety of Giants, picking up four kills and doling out 5,238 damage in the single fight alone. That one confrontation proved to be the final one needed to get Schalke over the hump, as it closed out the game soon after.
While Giants didn't get the win, it wasn't without effort from its own carries, mid laner Felix "Betsy" Edling and AD carry Pierre "Steeelback" Medjaldi. Behind Nukeduck and Upset, the duo from Giants had the most kills and damage in the game. They were simply outmatched in terms of drafting, as Schalke had the more powerful champions. Giants' loss also sets up an exciting finish to the season, as the bottom five teams in the standings are now all within one game of one another.
Giants will hope to bounce back with a match against Misfits Gaming at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, while Schalke will try and make it two straight when it takes on G2 Esports at 3 p.m. ET to close out Week 7.