The German playoffs get underway this weekend. Here’s a Breakdown.
When the GFL Playoffs quarter finals kick-off this Saturday, seven teams will be on a mission to dethrone the reigning German champion the New Yorker Lions. Missing from the playoff picture is Euro Bowl Champion the Berlin Adler. A last-minute-loss to the Cologne Falcons put an end to the Adler’s playoff dreams two weeks ago. The Falcons (7-5), who finished dead last in 2013 with a 2-12 record, hope this year’s Cinderella story isn’t over yet, when they’ll have to face the Stuttgart Scorpions (12-2) in the first playoff round. After stunning Kiel twice this season, plus the aforementioned Berlin team, Cologne has the biggest upset potential when the GFL’s North and South teams clash this weekend.
On Saturday both number one seeds will kick-off the playoffs at home. The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (12-2) will host the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (7-5) in a rematch of the classic German Bowls from 2011 and 2012. Both times the Unicorns left the gridiron victorious. Last season Schwäbisch Hall lost surprisingly in the first round to the Adler – a disgrace that won’t happen again, Unicorns head coach Siegfried Gehrke says. “First of all, now everyone knows, that a quarter final win is not a given. Second, compared to last year we improved so much in practice and team spirit.“ The Canes will be without their top-scoring wide receiver Garrett Andrews, who injured his knee ligaments. Kiel’s biggest strengths are their two US quarterbacks Nick Lamaison and Kyle Israel, that gives them many options, and their kickoff return team, which already scored four return touchdowns.
On Saturday evening the undefeated New Yorker Lions (12-0) want to celebrate their version of Oktoberfest at Eintracht stadium when the Munich Cowboys (8-6) are visiting. The Cowboys are hot right now, having won their final four games in securing the last playoff spot. Nevertheless, their chances are minimal, facing one of the deepest teams of the GFL led by last year’s league MVP Casey Therriault. Braunschweig is sporting Germany’s best defense, allowing only 10.5 points per game.
On Sunday the Dresden Monarchs (8-4) are a sure bet, to advance to the next round against the Marburg Mercenaries (9-5). The Hessians lost three of their last four games and have to deal with many injured players. A perfect game would be necessary to beat the Monarchs, last season’s vice champion. Dresden is once more one of the favorites to reach the German Bowl. Running back Trevar Deed is not their only option offensively. Quarterback Jeff Welsh, a former Kiel Baltic Hurricane, is a veteran playmaker, that can rely on a fantastic one-two-punch with wide receivers Guillaume Rioux and Jan Hilgenfeldt.
The GFL Playoffs First Round schedule:
Sat 9/20, 3 p.m. CET – Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (South #1) vs. Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (North #4)
Sat 9/20, 7 p.m. CET – New Yorker Lions (North #1) vs. Munich Cowboys (South #4)
Sun 9/21, 2:30 p.m. CET – Dresden Monarchs (North #2) vs Marburg Mercenaries (South #3)
Sun 9/21, 3 p.m. CET – Stuttgart Scorpions (South 2#) vs. Cologne Falcons (North #3)
German Bowl XXXVI will be played at Berlin’s Jahn Stadium on October 11th.
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