GFL: High hopes for Dresden Monarchs while Cologne Crocodiles look for stability

After a two year hiatus comes a highly anticipated opening weekend of GFL football.

One of the two GFL North bouts will see an absolutely loaded Dresden Monarchs side take on a Cologne Crocodiles looking for stability.

It’s hard to believe that a franchise as consistent and talented as the Dresden Monarchs have only made the German Bowl once, – and lost it by one point – but it’s true. The team has not had a losing season since 2011 and boasts some of the best imports in Europe making them arguably the most successful unsuccessful team in GFL. But the Monarchs will surely be licking their chops as 2021 may finally be their year to make it to the German Bowl following a huge cash shortage for the New Yorker Lions

Dresden have as usual been hot when it comes to recruiting, securing some of the biggest names in European football. Some of those key additions include QB KJ Carta-Samuels (USA, Colorado State NCAA D1), formerly of the B.C Lions in the CFLDB Charles Oliver (USA Texas A&M NCAA D1), who earned himself a tryout with the Buffalo Bills; WR Darrell Stewart (USA, Michigan State NCAA D1), who spent most of the 2020 NFL preseason with the Green Bay Packers before being picked up and then dropped by the Caroline Panthers in September; LB Kaulana Apelu (USA Oregon University NCAA D1); two former NFL IPP athletes in Polish WR Antek Podgorski and French DL Yoann Miangue and DB Jason Selormy (London Blitz, UK).

They will be joining a strong cast of German talent led by head coach Ulrich Dauber who enters his third season with the team. Dauber spent an impressive 18 years with the Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers (NCAA Div. III) State-side before returning to Dresden in 2017 and taking his team to the playoffs every year since.

The Cologne Crocodiles will come into the season with on-lookers expecting slightly less than Dresden. But the team will remain quietly confident as a 2019 500. record and a host of returning players, as well as those new additions having substantial European experience, will put them in good stead to compete with anyone in the league. 

Fifth-year head coach Patrick Köpper has brought in 2019 Dusseldorf Panther Christian Strong (Canadian, Seton Hill NCAA D2); DB Dejvion Stewart (USA, Tiffin University NCAA D2), who has experience in both the Finnish Maple League as well as the Italian First Division and WR Markell Castle (USA, Newberry University NCAA D2) who played for the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes in 2019.

They will be joining returning WR Aaron Jackson (USA, Benedictine College NAIA); DB Emory Polley (USA Brown University NCAA D1 FCS); OL Sven Breidenbach (German CFL combine) and stand-out LB Leon Littfinski (German) to plug the holes from 2019 and take the win column above the loss in 2021. 

The Crocodiles have sought stability after a year of instability with a wealth of European experience to make what they already do well that little bit better. The team will however have a tough day ahead of them as they may still not be able to overcome the sheer power that lies within the Dresden roster.

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.