Exciting football action as seasons approach crunch timeThis was a week that determined the champion of one of the finest American football leagues in Europe. Austrian Bowl XXX was a tribute to great coaching playing and organizing as the Raiffeissen Vienna Vikings (Europe# 1) won their third straight Austrian title beating arch rivals, the Swarco Raiders (Europe #5), 24 – 17 in a thrilling overtime battle. It truly was a game for the ages as the Raiders’ website declares.
In Ireland, the two teams in the championship game, the Shamrock Bowl (August 10th), were determined as last year’s finalists, the Belfast Trojans (defending champions) and Trinity College Dublin, will face each other again. Read further and watch for a recap of the semi-finals and a preview of the big game itself in AFI.
As mentioned last week, the Serbian team Vukovi Belgrade (Europe #11) completed a wonderfully successful 19 game season winning the Central European Football League title while also winning the Serbian league (www.saaf.rs). Read an article on that website about American Football International Review too. And look for an upcoming story on this remarkable team in AFI!
Here then is what happened around the rest of the continent last weekend.
The Austrian final, Austrian Bowl XXX was a thriller for the ages as the Vienna Vikings (Europe #1) and the Swarco Raiders (Europe #5) battled to a 17-17 tie in regulation time. Vienna scored the only touchdown in overtime to win its third straight Austrian title 24-17. Read the game recap here.
Belgian Bowl XXVII saw a new champion crowned earlier this month as the Ghent Gators made no mistake handing the defending champion the Brussels Tigers a 38-0 pummeling. This was the first ever title win for the Gators and they did it on their first try. Read the game recap HERE!
CEFL (Central European Football League)
Vukvoi Belgrade (Europe #11) capped a grueling yet highly successful season by beating the Ljubjana Silverhawks 27-17 to win their second title of the year. Vukovi reached three championship finals winning two of them. A remarkable achievement.
The Czech championship ended, as expected two weeks ago, with the Prague Black Panthers (Europe #10) taking the title beating the Pnbram Bobcats 40-0. With that, Prague finishes a great season with a record of 13-6. They played more games than any other team in Europe other than Vukovi.
No games were played as the Danish league is taking a break. Action returns on August 9. The Copenhagen Towers (Europe #17) lead the entire league and have scored 268 points in six games while allowing only 26 against. Phenomenal numbers. They are first in Group 1 and have defeated the Triangle Razorbacks and the Gold Diggers (two and three in Denmark) by a combined total of 58-6.
In Finland, the Helsinki Roosters (Europe #13) were back in action, and suffered their first defeat of the season. After losing quarterback Robert Johnson for the season, and not being able to play his replacement Sean Shelton yet, the team had a rough day and the defense losing 45-0, to the Senaijoki Crocodiles (Europe #20). The Butchers took a 20-12 lead at halftime against the Helsinki 69ers before exploding for 35 points in the second to win going away 55-20. TAFT kept the Kuovola Indians winless beating them handily 36-14. In the fourth contest of the weekend, and the most embarrassing for both teams, last year’s finalists, the Helsinki Wolverines were annihilated 90 (!!!) – 20 by the Turku Trojans. The Crocodiles overtook the Roosters with their win and now sit alone in first, and undefeated, at 5-0. The Roosters are second at 4-1, followed by the Trojans at 4-1 and in fourth the Butchers at 3-3.
The Thonon Black Panthers (Europe #14) won the French league in thrilling fashion a month ago. But they lost lost in the semi-finals of the inaugural IFAF Europe Champions League tournament to Vukovi Belgrade 19-7.
North: Fourteen teams were in action in the German North division. What looked like the feature game – the Berlin Adler (Europe #6) in a rematch of the previous weekend’s Big6 Final against the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions (Europe #2) was a bust. The Adler showed up for the game but that was about all as the Lions exacted revenge for the previous week’s loss pummeling Berlin 56-7. In fact, all three games in the North were embarrassing losses as Dresden (Europe #3) pounded Dusseldorf 47-6 and Cologne (Europe #9) hammered the Berlin Rebels 62-19. Not exactly a fun weekend for fans in the German North. Braunschweig still leads the North at 6-0, followed by , Dresden (5-2), Kiel (Europe #4) at 5-3 and the Cologne Falcons (Europe #9) who jumped up to fourth at 4-2.
South: The Stuttgart Scorpions (Europe #7) are still undefeated now at 9-0 after squeaking by the Allgaeu Comets 31-28. the Scorpions had to come from behind twice in this game as the Comets gave them all they could handle. Second place Schwabisch Hall (Europe #8) put on another offensive clinic in overpowering the Munich Cowboys 56-27. Unicorn quarterback Markus Ehrenfried threw for 254 yards and six touchdowns. The Marburg Mercenaries (Europe #18) had to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to stave off a stubborn Rhein-Neckar Bandits squad 34-25, while the Saarland Hurricanes dispatched the lowly Franken Knights 45-12. Stuttgart still leads the South at 9-0, with the Unicorns second at 8-2. The Marburg Mercenaries remain third at 6-2 while Saarland leapfrogged Munich into fourth at 4-5.
Premiership North: The East Kilbride Pirates jumped up into first place in beating the Coventry Jets 28-3. The Tamworth Phoenix were 52-0 winners over Gateshead. The Sheffield Predators had a tough time of it but prevailed over the Birmingham Bulls 36-29. Finally the Lancashire Wolverines were big winners over Nottingham 41-0. So the East Kilbride Pirates have taken over first in the standings at 8-0, followed closely by Tamworth at 7-0. Coventry is third with a 5-3 record and Yorkshire fourth.
Premiership South: The London Warriors made a strong statement in beating cross-town rival the London Blitz 33-13 in a much anticipated contest. The London Olympians still cling to fourth after edging Cambridgeshire 29-24. The London Warriors lead the South with an 8-0 record with the Blitz in second at 6-1. The idle Bristol Aztecs remain solidly in third at 5-1 while the London Olympians climbed back up into a playoff spot to occupy fourth at 3-3.
Earlier this month, the Alphen Eagles won Tulip Bowl XXX in a nail biter, beating arch rival the Amsterdam Crusaders 14-12. This was the third Tulip Bowl victory in a row for the Eagles.
The Irish semi-finals did not provide the excitement many wanted. Last year’s finalists for the Shamrock Bowl will return to battle for the Irish title. The Belfast Trojans will defend their crown after handily beating the University of Limerick Vikings 28-6, although at times during the game, the Vikings threatened. Meanwhile Trinity College Dublin made short work of the crosstown Dublin Rebels overwhelming them 47-8. Having lost only one game between them this season, we have the makings of an exciting final. In the past 14 months, Belfast and Trinity have faced each other twice in competitive games, winning one each. Both teams were also finalists in the EFAF Atlantic Cup in 2013. The Irish championship game, the Shamrock Bowl takes place August 10. This is the first appearance in the Irish championship game for Trinity while the Trojans have won the last two.
The Milano Seamen (Europe #15) won their first-ever Italian championship – Super Bowl XXXIV earlier this month beating four-time champion the Parma Panthers handily 33-3.
The Norwegian championship was decided two weeks ago as the Kristiansand Gladiators beat heavy favorite the Eidsvoll 1814s 22-21 on the last second hail mary pass.
The Polish Super Final is finally here as the Wroclaw Panthers take on the Gdynia Seahawks. Look for a complete preview of the Polish Super Final game next week on AFI.
Earlier this month, Vukovi Belgrade (Europe #11) made no mistake in the Serbian championship game beating rivals the Kragujevac Wild Boars 27-17, to cap a highly successful season. The Serbian squad also reached the finals of the the IFAF Europe Champions League tournament losing in a close one to Helsinki 36-27.
The season has ended with the Badalona Dracs as new champions.
The Carlstad Crusaders (Europe #12) rolled over the Limhamn Griffins 69-7 to take over sole possession of first place. The Orebro Black Knights upended the Uppsala 86ers 30-20 in what was a tight game. The STU Northside Bulls, with quarterback Barney O’Donnell back in the lineup, have now won three in a row after easily beating the Stockholm Mean Machines 42-7. Finally, Kristianstad beat the Arlanda Jets 41-13. Carlstad has now created a gap at the top with a 6-0 record. The Royal Crowns are second at 6-1, Orebro moved up into third at 4-2 while Uppsala slipped down to fourth at 4-3.
The Basel Gladiators (Europe #15) won the Swiss Bowl two weeks ago for the first time in their history.
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