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Vitality stumbles against Schalke in first match of 2019

Two of the stronger teams of the Summer Split – Team Vitality and FC Schalke 04 Esports – faced off on the first day of LEC games , and after 30 very close minutes, one mistake was all Schalke needed to take the win.

Both teams had players known for early aggression, and it did not take too long for the first blood to come as Jonas "Memento" Elmarghichi’s Olaf took down Jakub "Jactroll" Skurzyński on Tahm Kench in his first bottom lane gank. Schalke continued to be proactive and find advantages, but in the mid-lane, Vitality’s Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro was doing work on Yasuo despite the difficult matchup and kept his team close. The first teamfights remained mostly even, with both teams having their chances to take a decisive win, but only taking one or two kills each. Eventually, Vitality was able to slowly inch ahead in the mid-game after several picks, but the players were unable to fully capitalize on the opportunities they found: each time they would use their temporary advantage to start the baron only for Schalke to drive them off. This repeated itself time after time in the mid-game, and while Vitality had the better scaling, they could not find a decisive fight.

30 minutes in, the shoe ended up on the other foot: Schalke saw that their opponents were scattered and went for a baron of their own. Vitality was unable to react in time, rushing to contest only to lose four in the chaotic fight. Now five to one, Schalke pushed down the mid-lane, and once they caught Amadeu "Attila" Carvalho’s Viktor, there was nothing to stop them from securing the nexus.

This is a welcome first game for Schalke, who showed great personal skill and decisive end to the game, but they had some hiccups which made them play from the back foot for much of the mid-game. For Vitality, this cannot but be a disappointment – after a World Championship where their style was defined by unorthodox mid-game aggression, now they had nothing to break down the Schalke defense with and eventually made a big positioning mistake that cost them the game.