Germany – What’s happening with the defending champion Dresden Monarchs?

After upsetting the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns to capture their first ever German Bowl in 2021, one year later the Dresden Monarchs find themselves on the outside looking in.

They are out of the playoffs at this point, sitting fifth in the eight-team GFL North with a disappointing 2-3 record, their poorest season opening since going 2-3 to start the 2012 season.

On top of that, both of their victories were against winless teams -the Berlin Rebels and the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes – who are currently placed at sixth and seventh in the GFL North standings and share 0-1-3 records.

To be fair, the Monarchs have been competitive in every one of their matchups so far this season. All five of their games, regardless of the outcome, have been decided by single digits. This balance between their wins and losses is reflected in their point differential, which is -4, at 133 points for and 137 points against.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The Dresden offense is 11th in points scored and 12th in yards gained compared to last year when they were second overall in points scored and the number one in yards from scrimmage. Defensively, the story is not quite the same. In 2021, the championship Monarchs had the sixth best defense in points allowed and 10th in yards. Today, they have the seventh best defense in points given up and 12th in yards surrendered.

In other words, defensively they have slid a little but not much.

Dresden’s new QB Justin Agner has thrown for 533 yards and 9 TDs in 3 games Photo: Sonja Matysiak

One of the reasons behind their offensive struggles this year could be attributed to the loss of their quarterback – Austyn Carta-Samuels – the older brother of last year’s starting quarterback, KJ Carta-Samuels. Austyn suffered a season ending knee injury in the opening game loss to the Potsdam Royals and has been replaced by Justin Agner (Stetson University, NCAA Div. 1) for the past three games. Backup Marvin Schöne filled in for one game, a 15-6 victory over the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes.

So far, Agner has played decently, throwing for 533 yards and nine touchdowns in the three games he has played. But it takes time for a quarterback to learn a new offense and find chemistry with a new team. On defense, linebacker Andrew McElroy is among the league leaders in tackles per game with 9.2 while teammate Rayshard Ashby averages 6.4. However, the Monarchs are the next to worst team in the GFL against the pass giving up over 320 yards a game in the air. The situation was not much different last season but then Dresden boasted the top passing offense in the league.

In 2021, the Monarchs had an offense that could offset the weaknesses on defense by simply outscoring opponents. This year, with the offense struggling, and the defense at more or less the same level as last season, they are losing games that they would have won last year.

Will they be able to turn this around? Head coach Ulrich Däuber has not had a losing season since taking over the Monarchs in 2018. His regular season record in his three seasons at the helm before this year is 30-7-1. Expect Dresden to rebound and become serious contenders again for the title.

Their upcoming game will be a huge next step as they will be up against the first place and unbeaten Potsdam Royals again on Saturday July 2. They lost to the Royals 24-21 on opening day in Potsdam. However, this time the game will be in Dresden.

A win in this game would change things in a hurry and put the entire GFL on notice.

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