Stockholm Mean Machines head coach Fredrik Pilbäck is leading his team into their second straight Swedish championship final this weekend when they face the Carlstad Crusaders.
This will be the first time the Mean Machines play the title game in Sweden as the defending champions, and favorites, since 2009. After Stockholm won the title that year, Carlstad went on to win eight straight, a streak broken by the Mean Machines in 2018. In fact, these two teams have won 19 of the last 29 Swedish titles.
Pilbäck shares his thoughts with American Football International on the game and how his team is preparing for it.
American Football International: You are going into your second straight Swedish title game, but first as the favorite. Do you approach this game any different than a year ago?
Fredrik Pilbäck: Not really. We need to be on top of things to play CC. A championship is something you dream about and then you want to prepare as good as you can.
AFI: Your team has beaten the Carlstad Crusaders twice this season. Do you make any changes in your game plan for this game?
FP: You always try to develop but there is a thin line between install extra stuff and over do it and bring to much to the players
AFI: You have been behind the amazing resurgence of the Mean Machines. How much confidence does that give you going into this game?
FP: There is a great group of coaches and Staff behind this team. We will travel with 27persons around this weekend. When you add up all that time and effort that people put in great things will happened. That brings a lot of confidence.
AFI: Is everyone healthy?
FP: Besides WR Michael Sanders (broken leg) everyone else is able to dress. DB Victor Carlsson (collarbone) is back on the practice field. We have minimized contact to stay as healthy as possible this season and it seems to work out just fine.
AFI: You will be facing the Crusaders with two quarterbacks who know share almost equal time. They seem to have gotten into even better sync since playing you. What will you do to combat this?
FP: A dual QB-situation demands special things of an offense. They have two different setups and we will prepare for both.
AFI: Did you see anything in the Crusader’s semifinal win that gave you cause for concern?
FP: I am really impressed by Uppsala. They played a great game and their young QB did give the Crusaders a tough one. Carlstad has a great program and I am impressed that they continue year after year.