Around the Continent: Roger’s Corner

Championships and Playoff action around Europe!

American football action continued throughout Europe last weekend as many leagues are winding down to playoffs and championship finals.

No games were played in the Eurobowl tournament, EFAF Big6  or the IFAF Europe Champions League. One game remains in the round robin portion of Eurobowl as the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes take on the Dusseldorf Panther this Sunday June 29th to decide the winner of Division 2.

The EFAF Big6 championship game will be played July 19th between the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions (Europe # 1) and the Berlin Adler (Europe #2)

In the  IFAF Europe Champions League, the playoffs are already set with the semifinals slated for July 11 and the championship game July 13. The Thonon Black Panthers (Europe #11) from France will face the Serbian squad SBB Vukovi Belgrade (Europe #19) in one semi-final, while the Elancourt Templiers (also France) will play the Helsinki Roosters from Finland (Europe #13).

We had intended to provide a breakdown of the structure of American football in Europe but this has been delayed one week.

Here then is what happened around the continent last weekend.

Austria

With only one weekend left in the regular season in Austria and the playoff spots are already set, the two games on the weekend did nothing to change the standings.  In the two games, both the Swarco Raiders and Vienna Vikings were in action, after licking their wounds from their defeats against their German opponents in the previous week’s Big6 play. Swarco squared off against the last-place Graz Giants beating them 36-14. Meanwhile, the Vikings demolished the Danube Dragons 42-10.

Belgium

Belgian Bowl XXVII takes place Sunday June 29. The Brussels Tigers, winners of the last two championships take on the upstart Ghent Gators who are in the final for the first time in their history. The full story you can find at www.americanfootballinternational.com.

CEFL (Central European Football League)

The Ljubljana Silverhawks dealt the Wild Boars a cruel blow on the weekend cruising to a 30-9 victory and all but assuring themselves a spot in the championship final. Vukovi Belgrade beat the Docler Wolves 50-14 and with one game left in the season the championship game picture is still up in the air. In all likelihood, Ljubljana will defeat the winless Wolves leaving a three-way tie for first place. Then points scored for and against between the Wild Boars, Ljubljana and Vukovi will be the deciding factor. In that case, Vukovi finishes first with a berth in the final as they are +14. The Silverhawks will finish second with a -5 differential leaving the Wild Boars with their -9 difference out of the championship.

Boris Gorički - Silverhawks obramba

Czech Republic

Three games were played in the Czech league.  The Prague Black Panthers overwhelmed the Pardubice Stallions 42-0.  The second place Bobcats had no problems defeating the Prague Lions 44-22 while fourth place Trnava whipped Brno 43-3. As it stands, with one game remaining (Prague Black Panthers and the Bobcats) the playoffs are set. On July 5 the Prague Lions will face the second place Pnbram Bobcats while the Prague Black Panthers play the Trnava Bulldogs the following day. The Czech championship final is set for July 15.

Denmark

It was a busy weekend in Denmark as eight teams were in action. The league number one Copenhagen Towers (5-0) (Group 1) showed no mercy in downing the Triangle Razorbacks (4-1) (first place in Group 2) 32-6. The second place team in Group 1, the Aarhus Tigers (4-1), took on the Herlev Rebels (2-3), third in Group 2, and edged them 13-8 in a tough defensive battle. The Sollerod Gold Diggers (4-1), second in Group 2, had an easier time, defeating Amager (3-3) from Group 1, 33-18.  Finally, the two last place teams faced each other, Esbjerg (0-7) from Group 1 and the Holbaek Red Devils (1-4), last in Group 2. The Red Devils prevailed 33-18.

Towers v. Razorbacks

Finland

The Finnish Maple League took last weekend off, but three games are on tap this weekend as the Porvoo Butchers and the Helsinki Roosters (Europe #13) face off Friday, while the Turkuu Trojans face TAFT on Sunday while the Kouvola Indians play the Helsinki Wolverines.

France

The Thonon Black Panthers qualified for the championship final beating the Nice Dauphins handily 38-0. French national team running back Stephen Yepmo was a key along with the Black Panthers offensive and defensive lines who dominated the line of scrimmage.

With the win, the Black Panthers earn the right to defend their title this Saturday, June 28th at Stade  Charlety in Paris against the Molosses d’Asnieres-sur-seine. Molosses surprised the experts by upsetting the favored La Courneuve Flash 18-15 on a last second field goal.

Germany

North:  There were two games played in the Northern division in Germany. The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions (Europe #1) faced Kiel for the second weekend in a row and the outcome was similar with Kiel on the losing end of a 35-6 score. After starting the season impressively, the Hurricanes, suffering from a spate of injuries, have faded badly. Meanwhile the Lions demonstrated that they are a solid number one in Germany and Europe. In the other game, the Dresden Monarchs beat the Berlin Rebels 35-14. Braunschweig leads the North with Dresden, Kiel and Cologne in second, third and fourth. But the Berlin Adler who have only played three games and are in fifth, are a factor.

Dresden v. Berlin Rebels

South:  The Schwabisch Hall Unicorns are starting to find a rhythm as they rolled up 541 yards of offense (187 on the ground) in defeating the Comets 53-27.   The Munich Cowboys earned a much-needed win beating the Saarland Hurricanes 39-21, to hold on to fourth place in the standings. Finally, the Rhein-Neckar Bandits defeated the winless Franken Knights 39-34. Stuttgart (Europe # ) still leads the South with a 6-0 record, with the Unicorns moving up into second at 4-2. Marburg is third with Munich right behind in fourth.

Great Britain

Premiership North: The division leading Tamworth Phoenix beat Sheffield 59-12. Second place East Kilbride rolled up an 81-7 score over Nottingham. The Coventry Jets walloped Doncaster 52-0, while Yorkshire defeated the Gateshead Senators 38-24.  Tamworth remains undefeated at 6-0 but East Kilbride is close behind at 5-0. Coventry is still in third (4-1) followed by Birmingham at 3-2.

Premiership South: In a weekend of lopsided games, the worst was the London Blitz’s total annihilation of Colchester 126-0. This is an embarrassing result and does the league no good. The London Warriors were also merciless in beating up on the London Olympians 61-0. Then the Bristol Aztecs overwhelmed East Kent 55-14. The Warriors lead the South with a 5-0 record with Bristol in second at 4-0 and the Blitz third also at 4-0. The Warriors have only allowed six points in five games.

Holland

The Dutch semi-finals took place this past weekend and there were no surprises. The Alphen Eagles had no problem with the Arnhem Falcons, beating them 37-13. In the other semi-final the Amsterdam Crusaders made short work of the Nijmegen Pirates thumping them 51-7. Thus, for the third time in three years, the Eagles and the Crusaders will play each other in the Dutch championship game, Tulip Bowl XXX. The only game the Crusaders lost this season was to Alphen by a 13-0 score. The Alphen Eagles are the defending champions having won the past two Tulip Bowls. Their opponent in both games was the Crusaders. In fact, since 2004 the Amsterdam Crusaders have appeared in the Tulip Bowl nine times and won six titles.

Alpen Eagles

Ireland

The Belfast Trojans, who lead the IAFL North, were idle as only two games were played in Ireland. The Carrickfergus Knights (3-3) defeated the Craigavon Cowboys (1-6) 26-12. In the other game, the University of Limerick Vikings (5-2) beat the North Kildare Reapers (3-4) 18-0. With two weeks left in the regular season, the Belfast Trojans still lead the North with 12 points with the Rebels second with 10. Trinity College has a solid grip on first in the South with 14 points and they are followed by the University of Limerick Vikings with 10 points.

Italy

The Parma Panthers won their fifth consecutive Italian semi-final, punching their ticket to the Italian Super Bowl this weekend. The Panthers advanced by defeating the Bergamo Lions 55-7 in Parma. It was a great win for the Panthers, who have been dominant in the last decade of American football in Italy. In the other semi-final, the Milano Seamen recorded their 10th consecutive victory of the season, (club record) defeating the Bolzano Giants 31-7. The Panthers and the Seamen have been battling all season long so it is only fitting they meet in the Italian championship game, Super Bowl XXXIV, on July 6th. Parma has won the past four Italian Super Bowls and is heavily favored to win the 2014 title.

Norway

Only two games were played this past weekend. The Eidsvoll 1814s (Europe #20) dominated the Oslo Vikings 56-27 to remain undefeated and in first place. Then, the Kristiansand Gladiators continued their rise in Norway beating the Lura Bulls 33-14. With two games left in the season, the 1814s remain solidly in first at 6-0. Lura has now dropped three games in a row, and has fallen to third as with the win, Kristiansand advanced past them into second. One of the Norwegian semi-finals is set as Kristiansand will host Lura on July 6. The 1814s must wait to find out who their opponent will be until after this weekend’s action.

Eidsvoll v. Oslo

Poland

In a hard-fought battle, the second-place Wroclaw Panthers ended the Seahawks winning streak by beating them 23-14. The Panthers were down 14-10 at the half but stormed back in the second to score two unanswered touchdowns to seal the game. Only one other game was played as Kozły beat the Steelers 28-0. With three games left in the Polish Toppliga season, the top three spots are still up in the air.

Serbia

With the semi-finals this weekend the lineup is as follows: First place Vukovi (Europe #19) will play fourth place Imperatorinis  and second place Novi Sad will play the Wild Boars who finished third. Both semi-final games will be played on June 28. The Serbian championship is scheduled for July 5.

Spain

The season has ended with the Badalona Dracs as the LFNA Elite champions.

Sweden

The Swedish Super Series saw three games played. On June 18, the Carlstad Crusaders made a statement decisively beating their 2013 Swedish final opponent the Orebro Black Knights 42-9. The Tyreso Royal Crowns manhandled the STU Northside Bulls 43-0 to extend their unbeaten streak to three games. Finally, the Stockholm Mean Machines grabbed their first win of the year beating the Arlanda Jets 40-0. The Royal Crowns lead the league with a 3-0 record, followed by Carlstad  (2-0) and Uppsala (2-0). Kristianstad sits in fourth at 1-1.

Switzerland

In the final three games of the regular season nothing much changed. The Basel Gladiators whipped the team they will play in the first round of the playoffs this weekend, the Zurich Renegades, 70-20.  Then, the Calanda Broncos did the same to the Winterthur Warriors demolishing them 48-0. Finally, the Bern Grizzlies handed Lausanne a 41-6 pasting. In the second semi-final this weekend, the Calanda Broncos will host the Bern Grizzlies.

PLEASE LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

We do our utmost to keep up with all the American football being played throughout Europe. In fact, nowhere else can you find more comprehensive information. But we are bound to miss something. Please let us know if we do and also give us ideas and comments on how to improve. We also are looking for contributions, whether you are a coach or player or a fan.  Send your articles and we will print them. Send you articles or comments to:  [email protected]  or [email protected]

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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