ELF: Improved Tirol Raiders aiming to topple unbeaten Vienna Vikings

The top two teams in the Central Conference of the European Football League face off Sunday as the 4-2 Tirol Raiders take on their Austrian rivals in the undefeated Vienna Vikings

These are two of the hottest squads in the league.  Vienna is the only team that has yet to be beaten this year at 6-0, while the Raiders have won four games in a row after losing their first two matchups.  As such, this is definitely the game to watch this week.

These teams met back in the first week of the season, when the Vikings took down the Raiders 29-23 on the road.  That has been the closest margin of victory that Vienna has had all season, even including last week’s 27-20 win over the previously undefeated Barcelona Dragons.  The game was definitely a thriller. Vienna secured a 29-16 lead at the end of the third quarter, but Tirol struck back with a touchdown.  Later, the Raiders got the ball back around midfield with just over five minutes left and managed to drive down to the Vienna 18-yard line, where they had 1st and 10 with less than 30 seconds left.  However, the Vikings’ defense made the stop, forcing three straight incompletions to end the game. 

Photo: © Hannes Jirgal/Vienna Vikings

In that game, the Raiders actually dominated the Vikings in terms of offensive yards, with the total being 336-176.  However, it was a pair of turnovers that cost them the game.  After the Raiders got the ball out of halftime, Vienna defensive back Benjamin Straight intercepted a pass from Raiders quarterback Sean Shelton and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to extend the Vienna lead.  Later, when the Vikings had a 22-16 lead, Shelton was sacked by Dominic Siegel and fumbled the ball.  Luis Horvath scooped it up for the Vikings and returned it to the Tirol 12 yard line, setting up a short field for the Vienna offense, who punched it in for a touchdown shortly after.

After losing a puzzling game to the Cologne Centurions in week 2, the Raiders are on a major hot streak and are looking to avenge their week 1 defeat, while the Vikings are trying to keep their undefeated season alive.  With a lot on the line, this one should be a close, exciting game.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.