ELF Semifinals offer up two amazing matchups

This weekend, the European League of Football (ELF) semifinals will take place as the Stuttgart Surge travel to the Vienna Vikings and the Frankfurt Galaxy travel to the Rhein Fire.

Stuttgart Surge @ Vienna Vikings – Saturday 13:15 CET

Jordan Neuman took the wheel for the Surge in the offseason. They have since gone from one of the most losing teams in the ELF history to one of the winningest. They have played outstanding football for most of the year, but quarterbacking inconsistencies have led to an unnecessarily rocky season.

Last weekend, the Surge took care of business in Wroclaw and handed the Panthers a convincing 37–14 defeat. Quarterback Reilly Hennessey managed to rack up 393 yards and three touchdowns while the defense held the explosive aerial attack of the Panthers to just 100 yards. It will be their rush defense that is tested this weekend however as the Wegan brothers and Finnish running back Karri Pajarinen will look to run riot.

The Vikings started this year as they ended last, with utter dominance. The one hiccup was during their Week 13 encounter with the Enthroners, of all teams, who took them down to the wire in a thrilling 21–20 victory in favor of Vienna. Whether this showed a lack of respect for their opponent or just some poor game planning is still unclear. But for the majority of the season, they have proved to be a well oiled machine dominating most categories in the stats.

Frankfurt Galaxy @ Rhein Fire – Sunday 13:15 CET

The Sunday matchup will likely be the higher scoring of the two. Fire has shown that they can turn it on and off against anyone all year. Even when the scoreline has been close, the Fire has seemed in complete control. They have playmakers at every position and lean heavily on explosive plays which they seem to be able to produce at a moments notice in every phase of the game.

The Galaxy on the other hand, have been the league’s dark horse. They have sneakily gone 10–2, despite injuries at the quarterback position, and have managed to pull victories out of the bag when they mattered and in tight games. The Galaxy do not rank that highly in any category other than total points scored and turnovers. This shows an opportunistic team that will make you pay for your mistakes.

Last weekend the Galaxy hammered the Berlin Thunder 20–3 in what should have been a far closer game. The Galaxy shut down one of the best receiving corps in the league and Jakeb Sullivan proved highly proficient with 265 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 completions. 

These two teams met in Week 1: the Fire dominated the game, winning 33–9. They met again in the final week of the season: Galaxy put up a solid fight but were outdone in the second quarter with the Fire again taking the victory, but this time with a closer scoreline of 48–38. The third and final meeting for 2023 should be even closer, and with both sides outstanding fan bases, it could shape up to be one of the best playoff games in ELF history.

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.