Austrian Football League Championship Series Game 2 head to head matchups

The Austrian Football League’s Best of Five Championship Series continues this weekend with the two teams, the Dacia Vienna Vikings and the Projekt  Spielberg Graz Giants headed to Vienna for Game 2.

The Vikings took a key 31-19 Game 1 victory last weekend in Graz giving them some breathing room heading back home.

The two teams faced each other once in 2019 with Graz coming out on top, beating Vienna 36-14 at home in Graz. The last time the Giants defeated Vienna in Vienna was in 2016 when they squeaked by the Vikings 14-13. Vienna won four straight in 2017 and 2018 before succumbing last year.

Let’s take a look at the key players in each team in three offensive categories, throwing, running and catching.

Quarterbacks

Hunter McEachern is in his first year with the Graz Giants and first year playing in Europe and impressed throwing for 317 yards and 2 TDs. He also scored one touchdown on the ground. Meanwhile, Jadrian Clark is in his third year playing in Europe and that perhaps was an advantage. He completed 65.5% of his passes, 19 of 29, for 198 yards and 3 TDs. Clark is no stranger to playoff pressure from the German Football League having reached the German Bowl last year with the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns and the GFL semifinals the year before with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions. Clark spread his passes around more with no one receiver getting more than seven catches while McEachern keyed on Florian Bierbaumer who he threw 11 completions to. That could be a factor in a longer series as neither quarterback rushed much with McEachern rushing for 34 yards compared to Clark’s 23.

Edge: Vikings

Running backs

Last week’s game was definitely a defensive battle, as least in the trenches, as neither team could establish a consistent ground game. Christoph Kohler was the second leading rusher on the Giants after McEachern but only gained 25 yards total. Meanwhile, Anton Wegan was marginally better for Vienna with his 52 yards on 10 carries.  The Vikings as a team had roughly double the rushing yardage.

Edge: Vikings

Receivers

The Giants leading receiver last week by a wide margin was Florian Bierbaumer and the 6’6″, 230 pound wideout had an outstanding game hauling in 11 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. For Vienna, the 23 year old Bernhard Seikovits, who also is a lanky 6’6″, 230 pounds, had 7 receptions for 70 yards. He averaged 10 yards a catch compared to Bierbaumers’s 19.5. Both receivers are the go-to targets for their respective quarterbacks with Bierbaumer having the edge due to his ability to earn good yardage after the catch.

Still, Seikovits had less pressure on him with perhaps a better collection of receivers around him.

Edge: Giants

Watch Game 2 live on AFI.tv

Graphics: Igor Lazarevic

Photos: Kunzfeld and Kunzfeld Photography, David Bitzan, GEPA.

AFI
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