Germany: Dresden Monarchs in striking distance of the playoffs

One month ago, it looked like the Dresden Monarchs would become the first team since the 2009 Braunschweig Lions to miss the German Football League postseason after winning the German Bowl the year before.

The Monarchs opened the season 2-3, their worst start since 2012, and their two wins were against two winless teams. It looked, at that point, like Dresden was destined to be on the outside looking in come September.

Since then, they have won two of their last three to improve to 4-4 and now sit in fifth place with the same record as the Berlin Adler who are fourth in the GFL North but have beaten the Monarchs (48-42) in the only game so far between the two. Both teams trail the 5-3 Cologne Crocodiles who are third.

For the Monarchs to have a chance of grabbing that final playoff berth, they will need their running game. They have the fourth best rushing offense in the GFL this year with 151.4 yards per game, 1,211 total rushing yards and 11 touchdowns for the season. They are led by their veteran bell cow running back, David Baum who is the fourth leading rusher in the league rushing for 605 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 75.6 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry.

On the defensive side of the ball, their most impactful player has been Rayshard Ashby. Although he has not recorded a sack yet this season, he has been effective in every other area with a team-high 57 total tackles, averaging 7.1 per game.

After losing three of their first four games, including a tough 24-21 loss to the unbeaten Potsdam Royals, Dresden has won three of their last four although that loss was also to the Royals, this time 36-21.

They are coming off a huge 49-21 victory over the Berlin Rebels in a game which saw quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels return after being out since the first game of the year with an injury. He threw for 291 yards and five touchdowns in the win and, more importantly, gave his team a renewed sense of confidence going into the home stretch of the season.

This upcoming weekend will offer another challenge for Dresden as they will face the always tough Braunschweig New Yorker Lions who are coming off two straight losses and also need a win badly to be able to hang on to second place in the GFL North and home field advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs.

With the Adler as their opponent in the final game of the regular season in two weeks, this weekend’s matchup against Braunschweig takes on all that more importance.

A recent graduate of Hofstra University in New York. He is currently a sports freelance journalist and podcaster