AFI’s First European Top 20 Of 2016

We have waited to issue our first Top 20 of 2016 until all the leagues in Europe were in full swing.

And yet, not much has changed since last year. The top three teams remain the same.

The #1 Braunschweig New Yorker Lions are continuing their march seemingly unchanged. The Lions finished the German Football League in 2015 winning the German Bowl beating the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in the process and have now won four German League games and two Big6 games four of these games in dominant fashion. They had a close 21-14 win over the Vienna Vikings and they were also hard pressed to defeat the Dresden Monarchs last week. Nevertheless, they remain the number one team in Europe.

Austria’s Swarco Raiders come in at #2 although they have looked very impressive both in Austrian league play as well as Big6 and Battle4Tirol play despite their own setback against the Graz Giants a couple of weeks ago. They turned heads in defeating the Elmhurst Bluejays, a Div. III college last week  and looked good downing arch rivals the Vienna Vikings in regular season play. The only hiccup was that close loss to Graz in Austrian league action.

The field gets tougher after this.

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns enter at the #3 spot after going 4-0 in German league play and 1-1 in the Big6, losing to Swarco in the process. Meanwhile, the surprising Berlin Rebels who have won four and tied one come in at #4.

Austria’s Vienna Vikings enter at #5. Their schedule has included both Braunschweig and Swarco and although they lost both they deserve this spot.

At #6 we have slotted in the Frankfurt Universe. Frankfurt beat the Allgäu Comets by a shocking 10-0 score displaying a defense that shut down one of the finest offenses in Germany. The Universe lost a tough one to the Unicorns to open the season but have easily won both their EFL games and won their other German league contests.

The Allgäu Comets, who were soaring until their disappointing loss to Frankfurt last weekend still enter at #7. The #8 slot we give to the Graz Giants who have been playing impressively in the Austrian league and defeated the Swarco Raiders a few weeks ago.

The Dresden Monarchs seem to be finding their stride and after a resounding win over the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes last week come in at #9.

The surprising Amsterdam Crusaders move into our #10 spot after they have dominated the Dutch league and defeated both the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and Hamburg Huskies from the German league in EFL action.

Another German team, the Stuttgart Scorpions open the rankings at #11 although they have a 2-2 record. Both losses were close at the hands of the Allgäu Comets and Frankfurt Universe.

The #12 spot goes to the Milano Rhinos who finished the Italian regular season undefeated with Chris Ault as head coach. They are followed at #13 by Poland’s Gdynia Seahawks who are also undefeated in Poland and playing well. At #14 is the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes who have been steadily improving. Although they were shocked by Dresden last week, they are playing solid football.

Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers have earned the #15 spot with their only loss being to the Seahawks by three points. The Panthers have beaten both the Danish titleholders the Triangle Razorbacks and the Prague Lions from the Czech Republic in IFAF Europe Champions League action.

Turkey’s Koc Rams are at #16 after they traveled to Sweden and downed the defending Champions League champions the Carlstad Crusaders surprising all the experts. They also finished the season undefeated in the Turkish league after winning the Turkish championship last weekend.

The Carlstad Crusaders have dominated the Swedish league so far this season but after dropping that loss to the Koc Rams come in at #17.

Switzerland’s Calanda Broncos are dominating the Swiss league and deserve the #18 spot. The London Warriors are continuing where they left off in 2015 and have so far run the table in Great Britain and get the #19 berth.

Finland’s Helsinki Roosters have opened the Finnish season with two straight wins and look poised to challenge for the Maple League title again and sit at #20.

Honorable mentions: Ancona Dolphins (Italy), Parma Panthers (Italy), Milano Seamen (Italy), Saarland Hurricanes (Germany), London Blitz (Great Britain), Les Cougars de Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône (France), Vukovi Belgrade (Serbia), Badalona Dracs (Spain), Örebro Black Knights (Sweden), Białystok Lowlanders (Poland), Seinäjoki Crocodiles (Finland).


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