ELF Wild Card: Berlin Thunder travel to Frankfurt to take on the Galaxy

The Wild Card Round of the European League of Football (ELF) will kick off today as the 8–4 Berlin Thunder travel to Frankfurt to take on the 10–2 Galaxy. The winner will likely move on to face the Rhein Fire in the semifinal next week.

Neither the Galaxy nor Thunder began the season how they would have liked but have gone from strength to strength and appear to be playing their best football just in time for the playoffs.

Galaxy quarterback Jakeb Sullivan has once again struggled to stay on the field and played just over half of the team’s games this season. In the games Sullivan has played, he has thrown for 16 touchdowns and five interceptions, a shadow of the Sullivan we saw in 2021.

Two things do bode well for the Galaxy however. One is that they have one of the best records in the league for a reason – defense. They boast one of the best defenses in the league and so the offense doesn’t need their star quarterback to succeed. The second is that Sullivan has been here before. He is a wily veteran of the ELF who will have confidence in his ability to remain calm and show up when his team needs him, like he did in 2021.

One player that will be licking his chops at the prospect of going against Sullivan will be two-time defensive MVP Kyle Kitchens. The main reason for this is that when the Frankfurt starting quarterback has been on the field, he’s been sacked a staggering 22 times. Considering he’s played nearly half the snaps of the other quarterbacks in the league, this is even more significant.

Offensively, the Thunder have found their groove with Slade ‘the blade’ Jarman at quarterback. His modest 21 touchdowns in seven games are dwarfed by the 2,017 yards he has been able to rack up through the air. Both Thunder wideouts Robin Wilzeck and Aaron Jackson rank in the top six receivers in the league and regularly torch secondaries on home run hitters.

The Galaxy have the better record and appear to be the more complete team, but Thunder have shown to be far more explosive in the back end of the season. Whatever the outcome, the game of the weekend is sure to produce a lot of points.

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.