German Bowl XLI features, as it should, two of the best defenses in the German Football League when the defending champion Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns and Braunschweig New Yorker Lions clash Saturday, October 12 in Frankfurt.
The Lions allowed the fewest points in the league giving up 12.5 points a game while Schwäbisch Hall surrendered 13.6, good for second. Braunschweig also led the league in fewest yards allowed with 228.6. The Unicorns were third in the GFL surrendering 260.8.
No team defended against the run better than the Lions who gave up just 52.4 yards a game. Schwäbisch Hall were fourth best in Germany at 71.4 yards allowed per game.The Unicorns defense got to the quarterback 36 times for the second best sack record in the league while Braunschweig recorded 19. The Unicorns led the GFL in interceptions as their ball hawking secondary picked off opposition quarterbacks 25 times compared to Braunschweig’s 19.
The Lions defense is anchored by veteran linebacker/defensive end Roni Salonen who was second on his team with 81 tackles. He also had 9 tackles for loss. Defensive back Jamaal White snagged four interceptions on the year along with making 46 tackles and breaking up 8. Basil Jackson led his team with 84 tackles.
For Schwäbisch Hall, safety Goran Zec has been superb this season with a team-leading 86 tackles to go along with his 3 interceptions. Linebacker Devin Benton, who blocked what probably would have been the game-winning field goal in 2017 against the Lions giving his team its first ever win over Braunschweig and the title, had another outstanding year. His 60 tackles combined with 24 tackles for loss and nine sacks were huge. Another defensive standout was his linebacking teammate Nikolas Knoblauch with his 71 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.
This one is tough to call. These two defenses have different strengths and basically cancel each other out. This probably will not be a high scoring game.