Berlin Thunder clinch playoffs with home win over Hamburg Sea Devils

The Berlin Thunder have clinched their first playoff spot in the European League of Football (ELF) with a 23–16 win over the Hamburg Sea Devils. They will play the Frankfurt Galaxy this coming weekend.

After a relatively slow start this season, the Thunder have quickly become the league’s dark horse due to their high-powered offense. Despite this, it was their defense that got on the board first with a pick six from Paul Seifert after an errand throw. This was quickly followed by a 45-yard touchdown reception by tight end Nicolai Schumann who shrugged off defenders on his way into the endzone.

But with all the momentum firmly in the hands of the Thunder, the Sea Devils turned the tides in the second quarter with a field goal and a pick six from backup quarterback Salieu Ceesay. The two swapped jabs for the remainder of the first half but saw no more scoring opportunities present themselves.

Hamburg opened the second half up with a 34-yard field goal after quarterback Moritz Maack got them deep into Berlin territory. But on the very next drive, Berlin quarterback, Slade ‘the blade’ Jarmann, and Max Zimmermann combined for 48 yards collectively allowing running back Albert Wiesigstrauch to punch it in from the one-yard line.

The game entered the fourth quarter with the Thunder up only 20–13, but despite this they looked in full control of the game. They were able to kick through another field goal midway through the fourth to bring the point gap to 10, and effectively end the game.

The Thunder’s offensive firepower is a given, but their defense’s ability to force four turnovers and sack Maack four times will be encouraging going into the playoffs. They have an extremely deep depth chart on both sides of the ball, but have rarely played a complete game against competitive opponents. If they can bring it all together next week, they should stand a chance of getting one over on the Frankfurt Galaxy.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.