ELF: Tirol Raiders take on Berlin Thunder in huge game in the Last Week of the Season

In the final week of the European League of Football regular season, there are four teams at 7-4 fighting for the last spot in the playoffs. 

Two of teams battling for the final playoff berth are playing each other this week in what is the most consequential game of the season.  The Tirol Raiders, who currently hold the last playoff spot via tiebreaker, will travel to Berlin to take on the Thunder with a postseason berth on the line on Sunday.

Despite losing their last week against the Frankfurt Galaxy which created this four-way-tie at 7-4, the Tirol Raiders are still in pretty good shape heading into their final regular season game.  The Raiders and Galaxy split their season series, with each team winning one game.  Because the Raiders’ margin of victory in their win was greater than the Galaxy’s (Raiders won 23-17 whereas Galaxy won 36-33), the Raiders hold the tiebreaker over the Galaxy.  Additionally, as it currently stands, the team from Innsbruck, Austria, also has the advantage over the Thunder and the Rhein Fire, who both sit at 7-4.  The reason for this is because the Raiders’ point differential is significantly greater than those teams.  To summarize, if the Raiders beat the Thunder on Sunday, they will be in the playoffs.  If they lose, their season will be over.

Though the Raiders and Thunder have identical records, it is hard to argue that the Raiders are not the better team.  They have a significantly greater points differential (+162 vs. +66) while facing a tougher schedule.  The Raiders also defeated the Thunder in their previous matchup by a score of 28-16 back on June 19.  As such, it is logical to say that the Raiders can be expected to win this game.  However, Berlin will be able to use their home field advantage and gain some energy from their crowd.  Unfortunately for them, even if they get the big win, their chances of making the playoffs are not great.  In order to get in, in addition to winning on Sunday, they will need the 7-4 Frankfurt Galaxy to lose against the 0-11 Stuttgart Surge, which is highly unlikely.  That will not stop Berlin from playing their hearts out, however.

This game carries huge repercussions for the four teams trying to clinch the last playoff spot.  Assuming the Galaxy will take care of business in their game, the team and their fans will be closely following this game.  All eyes around the league will be on this game and seeing if Berlin can pull off the upset.