posted by SmittyW.,
Shortly after the conclusion of the group stage, the match-ups of the playoffs were revealed. Interestingly enough, most of the teams that compete in the Upper Bracket did so at The International 2018 as well. We even get to see some rematches from TI8. Is history bound to repeat itself? The International 2019 is going to be an event of curiosities. Five out of eight organisations that played in last year's Upper Bracket have qualified for the more comfortable part of the playoffs. We'll see two and a half rematches of last TI which is going to be incredibly exciting. Let's have a look at the match-ups.

Rematch 1: vs PSG.LGD

The first game of the Upper Bracket is going to be a rematch between and PSG.LGD. Back then, the Chinese organisation send the Russians to the Lower Bracket 2-0. LGD would eventually become the runner-up of TI8 and could only be beaten by OG.

At TI9, LGD don't look to bad either. They topped their group, even defeating Team Secret. on the other hand had a mediocre group stage. While playing solidly against weaker teams, the squad surrounding star carry Roman 'RAMZEs' Kushnarev couldn't overcome favourite teams such as OG and Vici Gaming. In this case chances are that history is going to repeat itself (actually in any case as VP won against LGD in 2017).

Rematch 2: Team Secret vs Evil Geniuses

The second rematch of last year's TI will be Team Seceret vs Evil Geniuses. Last time, EG got the better of Secret but circumstances are different this time. Team Secret looked damn good on the first two days of TI and eventually took second place in Group A. Although Clement 'Puppey' Ivanov and his team-mates were not that dominant thereafter, they are still one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Evil Geniuses conceded two losses, played three ties and won three times. This result is not too bad but it doesn't indicate a form that can truly challenge the best team of the last DPC season. We can expect the series to be fairly entertaining, however, Secret are certainly the favourite of this match-up and chances are high that they will advance in the end. This time, we'll get to see the alternate storyline.

Rematch 2.5: OG vs Newbee

One year ago, Newbee participated at TI as well, but with their Chinese squad. After the American organisation Forward Gaming ceased to exist last month, the Newbee picked the players up, as their own players failed to qualify. Three of the mercenary players now playing under Newbee's flag, namely Arif 'MSS' Anwar, Yawar 'YawaR' Hassan and JingJun 'Sneyking' Wu competed for VGJ.Storm at TI8 and guess what: they faced OG in the Upper Bracket.

The American Newbee line-up also features Quinn 'CCnC' Callahan who played in the Upper Bracket for OpTic Gaming to add more 2018 nostalgia to this match-up. Of course it was OG who would prevail last time, and considering how awesome they were in the group stage of TI9 they are again the favourite to win. If they do, and EG surprise against Secret, we even get to see another rematch in UB round 2.

Ruining the rematch storyline: Vici Gaming vs TNC Predator

Vici Gaming and TNC Predator are the two teams that didn't play in the UB in 2018. However, both teams earned their spots very deservedly. VG have been a really strong force in 2019, placed second in Group B only after OG. In this match-up they are certainly favoured if we take recent results into account.

Yet, TNC Predator have been a dark horse for quite a while now and know how to beat even strong teams. To be fair, their victory against Team Liquid can be attributed to Liquid playing poorly at TI9, but if you look closer it was not just them playing bad. Timothy 'Tims' Randrup reads his opponents like a book and we might expect TNC's form to increase during the tournament. The stack is surely among those with the most upset potential.

El classico unlikely

Prior to TI9, many people speculated whether we'll get to see another duel of Alliance and Natus Vincere in 2019. Taking a look at the Lower Bracket almost eliminates any hope for this to occur. The teams are set in the opposite parts of the bracket – an el classico would be only possible in the semi-finals of the Lower Bracket. It is very unlikely that both teams stage such a run, especially when the powerhouses from the Upper Bracket join the fray.

Also, one of the tournament favourites could be eliminated tomorrow: Liquid take on Fnatic in their first Lower Bracket match. The series consists of just one game, so one mistake can be lethal to any team that wants to stay in the tournament.

Who do you think will advance and who is going to leave us next?

Photo credit: Valve