LIVESTREAM GERMANY: Braunschweig New Yorker Lions @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, September 18, 16:15 CET (4:15 pm, 10:15 am ET)

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns will host the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in this first-round German Football League playoff matchup.

The last time these two teams met fans were treated to an epic defensive duel as the Lions defeated the Unicorns 10-7 for the 2019 German Bowl championship. These two teams typically wait to play in October as these rivals have met in the German Bowl five out of the last six years. This year, however, an uncharacteristically fourth-seeded Lions team travels south to take on an undefeated Unicorns team on their home turf.

The Unicorns have looked like a team of destiny all season. Not only did Schwäbisch Hall finish the German Football League regular season undefeated, but the Unicorns also won the CEFL championship, defeating Swiss and Austrian powerhouses on their way to the tournament’s championship. Now, coach Jordan Neuman and his team set their sights on the German Bowl and a familiar opponent in the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

Braunschweig New Yorker Lions @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, September 18, 16:15 CET (4:15 pm, 10:15 am ET) The game is being shown on Sport1 and is available only to viewers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Offensively, Schwäbisch Hall is led by German quarterback Alexander Haupert. The homegrown signal-caller has been able to conduct a powerful Unicorns offense that ranks number one in scoring. Haupert has spread the ball around finding Austrian receiver Yannick Mayr and Unicorn’s veteran Tyler Rutenbeck all season. Former NFL tight end Moritz Böhringer has also been one of the Unicorn’s most clutch weapons, seeming to flip a switch and step up whenever they need a big play in a tight game. On the ground former XFL running back John Santiago will look to move the chains against a physical Lions defense. The former Seattle Dragon (XFL) averaged a staggering 10.1 yards a carry during the regular season.

As good as the Unicorns offense has been every offensive coordinator in the GFL knows their defense is the strength of the team. Schwäbisch Hall ranks first in pass defense and second in run defense, allowing only nine points per game. One of the keys to their success has been turnovers. The athletic Unicorns secondary has picked off a league-leading 20 passes this season. Cornerback Monteze Latimore leads the pack with seven interceptions to go along with three return touchdowns. Expect Latimore and veteran Cody Pastorino to help take away big plays from this Lions offense and take advantage of any mistakes. In the run game, linebacker Nick Alfieri will aim to contain a dangerous duo of New Yorker running backs.

The Lions’ running game is the key to their offensive success. Late addition CJ Okpalobi Jr. has paired well with Exavier Edwards giving coach Troy Tomlin two versatile running backs to work with. Expect Okpalobi Jr. to play with some extra juice today as he faces his former team. Quarterback Jake Kennedy will need to avoid turnovers to pull off the upset today as the Lions passing game has been inconsistent this season. The athletic Wittenberg University (NCAA D3) product will look to target Italian receiver Jordan Bouah along with German talent Justus Holtz and Paul Bogdann. Expect Kennedy to tuck and run if he needs to as he has pulled off some impressive improvisational plays this season. If Kennedy can get in rhythm against a talented Unicorn’s secondary this game could be one to remember.

Defensively, the Lions have improved mightily since the beginning of the season. Today, defensive backs Darrian Winston, Eric Jackson, and Marcel Gaal aim to shut down a talented group of Unicorns receivers.  At the line of scrimmage, the Lions will need to get a pass rush from defensive end Sam Kargel and Polish import Eryk Paszkiewicz. Linebackers David Mueller and Fillipo Fort have the tough task of matching up against the Unicorn running backs and former Minnesota Vikings tight end Moritz Böhringer.

In a 2019 German Bowl rematch, the league’s previous two champions meet again. The Unicorns would like nothing more than to beat the Lions, avenge their 2019 championship loss, and continue their magical 2021 season. On the opposite sideline, the Lions have been through a gauntlet of talented teams and today doesn’t get any easier. However, this experienced squad knows they can beat the Unicorns and are eager to pull off the upset and shock the nation.

Watch the game here. New Yorker Lions @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, September 18, 16:15 CET (4:15 pm, 10:15 am ET). The game is being shown on Sport1 and is available only to viewers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns roster

Braunschweig New Yorker Lions roster

 

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football