German Football League: Dresden Monarchs new giants of the north?

This weekend the Dresden Monarchs will play in one of the German Football League semifinals against the Saarland Hurricanes.

They are the favorites and haven’t lost a game since the season opener when the Cologne Crocodiles downed them. If they win this game, they will be playing in only their second-ever German Bowl – the first coming in 2013 when they suffered a heartbreaking 35-34 defeat to the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

It’s hard to believe that a team that has had as much success as Dresden has had in the past 10 years, has only reached the German Bowl once. The Monarchs have not had a losing season in the last decade and have consistently placed in the top two in their conference. But year after year, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns have served them defeat after defeat in the playoffs, beating them in five of the last six semifinals, preventing them from making it to the GFL championship game. This year, their playoff opponents have not been as formidable so far. They faced the GFL South’s fourth-place team, the Allgäu Comets in the first round, and they will now take on the second place Saarland Hurricanes in the semis. No Unicorns team in sight. Yet.

However, it’s not just the lack of seemingly tough-to-beat opposition. Sure, the decline of the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in 2021 has helped, but Dresden may well be peaking at just the right time. Quarterback Kyle Carta-Samuels Jr. has led the offense to average an outstanding 428 yards per game, more than any other Monarchs offense in recent history – outside of the team’s record-breaking 2016 season. With pinpoint precision and timing, Carta-Samuels has shredded his way to 50 passing touchdowns and only six picks in just 11 games. The only team to have neutralized their explosive offense (in just one game), the Cologne Crocodiles, have already been knocked out by their upcoming opponent. The path to the title game appears clear.

Something has to be said though for their opponents this week, the Saarland Hurricanes, the team that beat the Crocodiles this past weekend. Cologne bested the Monarchs in the first week of the season with an absolutely relentless air game, going toe-to-toe with them every step of the way. Saarland held that same Crocodiles squad, the team that scored 48 points on Dresden, to just one touchdown in last week’s playoff game. They have an extremely talented secondary with shutdown defensive backs that can turn any quarterback’s day into a nightmare. A fact that isn’t lost on Monarchs head coach Ulz Daeuber:

“We have to continue to do our thing this Saturday. Saarland is a very good team. They present some unique problems. We’ll have to make sure we win our matchups and don’t make mistakes.”

The Monarchs will score, but how many points they score is another question. A question that will be answered by the play of an impressive Hurricane defense. If they can hold the Monarchs to under 20 then they have a great chance of winning. If not, they will go the same way as every other Dresden opponent this year.

The game is being shown this Saturday, Sept. 15 at 15:00 CET (3 pm, 09:00 am ET) on Sport1 TV in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.


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.