4 things to look for in the 2023 ELF Championship Game

The ELF Championship Game is being played in Duisburg on the 24th of September at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena in front of potentially over 31,000 fans. The heavily favored Rhein Fire will be taking on the rebirthed Stuttgart Surge in what will be the newest championship in the league’s third season.

The game will have many storylines to follow during the action, and today we are looking into a couple of them that might be key in determining the outcome for either team.

Fire’s Unstoppable Offense

QB Jadrian Clark – @jderondeau_photography

The Fire has been the best offense in ELF history in nearly every statical single category. They average 45 points per game which speaks for itself. Clark broke more passing records than we have time for today, but the big one is the 53 passing touchdowns. The duo of European Stars Harlan Kwofie and Anthony Mahoungou, plus excellent newcomer William Patterson has been simply amazing to watch as a fan of the game and all of them deserve an incredible amount of praise for their performances. Adding in Glen Toonga running 7.23 yards every time he touched the ball, and you have a near-unstoppable offence. Their “worst” offensive performance was putting up 27 points in week two and since then they haven’t gone below 37 points. If the Surge has any chance at all, they will need to stop the Fire scoring. Perhaps Neumann will put in a Bill Belichick game plan where he chooses to focus on shutting down one part of the offence, whether the Passing game or the Running game should be of focus, is up to the Surge.

Scoring Defenses

The Rhein Fire score often on defense and that’s gone majorly under the radar this season. Four separate Fire players have scored on an interception in the regular season with Omari Williams of course as the leader on pick 6s. They ranked third in the league in scoring. Two Surge players contributed defensive touchdowns as well this season. If one of the defenses can punish the offense in this game, it’ll be a huge momentum swing in addition to the scoreline. If anyone is going to be able to, look out for Williams, Fernandez, Jelvani and Zec who all possess big play ability and will be looking to make their presence known. Neither team has any players that have had fumble problems this season, but both quarterbacks – Jadrian Clark and Reilly Hennessy – had some questionable throws in the semifinal that they’ll need to adjust before coming out to this game.

Surge WR Darrell Stewart Jr

Photo: Fabio Castelvetri

If there was a postseason MVP it would go to Surge WR Darrell Stewart Jr. Throughout two playoff games, he has combined for 366 yards and four touchdowns, he has looked unstoppable and to undertake the challenge of covering him is a problem. We saw what Reece Horn was able to do on the Fire secondary so it’s difficult to see who is going to step up and have Stewart Jr. on an island. The 165 yards Horn had in the last game is the most the Fire secondary has allowed one receiver all season; this could be perceived in many different ways. Either the secondary has taken a step down from their seasonal form or they’ve been fairly safe from these kinds of performances as they are 11th in the most receiving yards conceded in a single game while the Surge sit 12th. It is not expected that the Fire will run a lot of pure man-coverage on the standout American receiver. Expect a lot of high-intensity blitzes or cover-four and two looks. He can punish in all areas of the field with his developed route tree and elite-level speed so he will be featured heavily in all areas of the passing game.

Both Offensive and Defensive Lines


Both teams have been built around their excellent offensive line. The Fire has had a lot of clips go viral for the amount of time that Clark has had to throw, but the Surge have been equally as dominant. Hennessey, Weinreich and Allen have been sacked a total of 10 times in the regular season while Clark and Dagdelen have been sacked 14 times in total.

It could be argued that the Surge have the better offensive line in pass protection, for rushing the Fire have more total rushing yards but the Surge have more rushing touchdowns, so again surprisingly close. Once again, the Fire is third in team sacks while the Surge is fourth. These teams are incredibly close on the lines and whoever can establish dominance early will have a huge advantage.

My prediction…

I’m going to go bold on predictions, I predict a 40-21 victory for the Rhein Fire. If I am wrong feel free to tell me how wrong I was. It should be a very fun game that will hopefully be back and forth. It could end up being like the third Galaxy game where it’s competitive at half but then the Rhein offence is just too much to handle. I guess we will see! Until next time.