CEFL: Kragujevac Wild Boars square off against the always dangerous Dacia Vienna Vikings in first round play

The Central European Football League, CEFL, kicks off the 2021 tournament this weekend in Vienna, Austria with a quarterfinal matchup between the defending Serbian champions, the Kragujevac Wild Boars and Austria’s Dacia Vienna Vikings.

The Wild Boars are no strangers to this tournament which has a history that stretches back to 2006. At that time, it was intended as a regional league in southeastern Europe, comprising teams from Serbia and Slovenia and it was originally named the Southeastern European League of American Football (SELAF).

The Kragujevac Wild Boars won that initial crown in 2006 with a 23 – 12 victory over arch Serbian rivals, the Vukovi Belgrade. Ever since, the Wild Boars have remained a familiar face in the tournament, through its transformation into today’s incarnation, the CEFL, which includes all the big time players in Europe. However, Kragujevac have as yet been unable to secure another championship since that 2006 victory. 

The Wild Boars enter the tournament with two games under their belt in Serbia’s top league which has had a quiet start. In fact, the 2021 Serbian season has remained somewhat of an afterthought this year as football has become less accessible due to COVID-19. A lack of live streams has shadowed an unusually pedestrian start to the typically dominant Wild Boars. The Serbian powerhouse claimed their first win in comfortable fashion, beating the Pozarevac Stallions 26 – 2, but the second game of the season resulted in a demoralizing defeat for Kragujevac. The Belgrade Vukovi, the team they had beaten to claim the SELAF title all those years ago, beat them in a 43 – 42 nail biter after the Boars went for the two-point conversion at the end of the game to win it all but fell short.

The team now stand at an uncomfortable 1 – 1. Quarterback Isiah Weed  and running back Ashton Heard are the keys to the Wild Boars offense. Weed is aware of the importance of the game and realizes that to have a chance against the unbeaten Dacia Vienna Vikings they will have to play better than they have so far.

Isaiah Weed on the game:

“How I see it each game is the most important of the season. We just have to take it week by week and improve at any opportunity we get.”

The Dacia Vienna Vikings were late to the CEFL, along with their Austrian rivals Swarco Raiders, but have been participating and dominating in European championships since the 80s in tournaments such as the BIG6 and the Eurobowl. Their first campaign into CEFL was set to begin in 2020 following a 42 – 34 loss to the Raiders in the Austrian Bowl the previous year, but was a nonstarter due to COVID. 

This season, with versatile new quarterback Eystin Salum behind center and running back Florian Wegan having a career season, the Vikings look formidable.

And ready to make their mark.

Although the last few Austrian seasons have been marred by a number of close defeats in the Austrian Bowl at the hands of Swarco, this year the Vikings are looking to change things. It started a couple of weeks ago with an overtime win over the Raiders, placing them number one in the league. A single score usually separates the two powerhouse teams so this is nothing new but the late arrival of another impact player on both offense and defense, dynamic Andrew Spencer, could be the difference maker.

This may be good news for Vikings fans but their team still has to get past a Wild Boars squad this weekend intent on throwing a wrench into the Vikings‘ plans.

Make sure to catch the game this Saturday, May 15 at 5 pm CET (17:00, 11:00 am ET) on AFI.tv.

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.