Update (March 16th):
This report has since been confirmed by Vitality as Hungry has been dropped, while Fabian and Goga are both benched.
Since the announcement, Goga has released a Twitlonger:
I'm happy now,stress-free and with more free time to do stuff I like. I don't know myself if this will be a goodbye forever from competitive, or if I will return at some point (which I highly doubt). I don't even want to think about it, I'm not a person who plans stuff, but lives the day-to-day.
Fabian, too, released a Twitlonger, where he stated that his buyout was too large for almost any organisation to match, "most likely leading to [him] retiring" when the Vitality contract lapses.
Initial article (March 15th):
Today, Hunter Cooke writing for Dot Esports reported that Team Vitality would be making a blockbuster roster move: cutting longtime veterans Fabian, Goga, and Hungry and replacing them with a young French trio of players.
SiegeGG has reviewed and independently corroborated these reports, and believes that this change will be announced in the coming days prior to the beginning of the EUL.
If reports are true, it would mean the end of a largely unsuccessful nine months with former G2 Esports captain Fabian "Fabian" Hällsten and half a year longer with Daniel "Goga" Mazorra Romero and Lucas "Hungry" Reich.
Reported as replacements are Nicolas "P4" Rimbaud and Axel "Shiinka" Freisberg, both of Tempra Esports, and Medhi "Kaktus" Marty from the former Challenger League squad of PENTA.
Team Vitality has had a string of failures to live up to its billing following the assembly of its own 'super-team' in the wake of G2 Esports and Rogue, the latter of which saw even worse results in the form of near-relegation.
With Goga and Hungry on board prior to Season 11 of the ESL Pro League, Vitality had only managed a joint-seventh finish in the Six Invitational 2020 qualifiers for Europe, before finishing a disappointing seventh in the Pro League.
Then adding G2 Esports' title-winning In-Game Leader (IGL) Fabian, as well as Rogue captain Valentin "risze" Liradelfo, many had hoped that the new era of 'super-teams' would usher in new highs for the European region after a disappointing Six Invitational.
Unfortunately, Team Vitality could not live up to its expectations and its potential, finishing sixth in Stage 1 of the European League (EUL) and a mere ninth in Stage 2 for an overall placement of eighth.
The French domestic circuit did not treat the team much better, as Challenger League side PENTA pipped them to second place in the 6 French League Season 2, behind BDS Esport in first. And, despite improvements, Vitality only finished joint-third in the Six Invitational 2021 European qualifier.
Reported to join from now-defunct from Tempra Esports are P4, Siinkha, and Kaktus - the former two having won Season 11 of the ESL Challenger League as Izidream with the rest of the Tempra roster.
Making the step up to Pro play initially proved somewhat difficult, as Stage 1 of the EUL saw Tempra only finish in seventh place -- one place behind Team Vitality -- but the Frenchmen turned on the style in Stage 2 to finish third there, and sixth overall.
Although consigned to fourth place in the 6 French League Season 2 by none other than Team Vitality, the P4 and Shiinka had helped Tempra to the Six November 2020 Major in Europe -- though could not secure a win there. Most recently, though, the non-league side of Mkers had stunned the EUL favourites by winning qualification to the Six Invitational 2021, leaving Tempra in distant second.
For his part, Kaktus had beaten the former Tempra roster, then IziDream, in the 6 Open Cup 2020 before narrowly missing out on promotion to the EUL for 2020 after a third-place finish in Season 11 of the Challenger League.
He had also helped PENTA to a second place finish in the 6 French League Season 2, but his team was unable to push beyond joint-third in the 2020 FACEIT Challenger League. Following this failure, the French PENTA roster had then been released, with Kaktus headed to lower-tier pastures.
Of their Tempra counterparts, though, Shiinka and P4 were not standout performers in the EUL, rated fourth and fifth at 0.99 and 0.96, respectively. Shiinka largely played Thermite and Smoke, while P4 had mainly stuck to Sledge and Melusi. Kaktus finished with a 1.06 rating in the Challenger League, playing mostly Ace and Mira.
For comparison, Fabian had finished Stage 2 with a 1.05 rating on Ace and Maestro, while Goga had managed 0.91 while playing Ace and Kaid the most. Hungry, for his part, had a decent season as well, finishing with a 1.08 rating on Sledge and Mute.
These changes would mean that Team Vitality is once again a majority-French team, with all five of its players and both coaches able to converse together in French.
While this version of the roster remains officially unconfirmed, you can tune into the first playday of the EUL on March 18th to find out what moves Team Vitality makes. If the reports are true, the team would be as follows:
Bastien "BiBoo" Dulac
Valentin "risze" Liradelfo
Nicolas "P4" Rimbaud
Axel "Shiinka" Freisberg
Medhi "Kaktus" Marty
Laurie "Lyloun" Lagier (Head Coach)
Louis "Helbee" Bureau (Assistant Coach)