An Austrian football player headed to a northern German fjord.
Andreas Hofbauer, top running back for the Swarco Raiders has switched to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes of the German Football League.
Could this be the biggest swipe in European football history? Well, it could well be and has gifted the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes one of Europe’s top running backs, and has left the Swarco Tirol Raiders scratching their heads. With the GFL season fast approaching, the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes are preparing to unleash Andreas Hofbauer.
Twenty one year old Austrian, Andreas Hofbauer’s, career began with the Raiders in 2007 and his talent was soon spotted, when he was signed to the Austrian Junior National Team. In 2011 he collected the MVP award following the European championships and also led the team to the semi-finals of the World Youth Championships. His international experience did not finish their as he was named in the World XI team that played in the International Bowl against the American All-Stars.
Following on from his youth career, his top flight career has also been full of success. In his first season in the Raiders senior squad he was named “youngster of the year”. Growing success with the Raiders was capped off with a standout 2014 campaign, where he was awarded the Austrian offensive MVP award following 922 yards rushing, 162 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns. His 456 total yards in three games during the 2014 European championships proved he was the best running back in the finals, and is probably one of the best home grown European players still on the continent.
So why leave the Raiders? The exact circumstances were not released by ether of the teams, or the player himself, but it’s fair to say (unless this writer is just cynical) something is amiss. The player has always shown a passionate affection for his former club, and the news that was announced late last year did raise eyebrows. Whatever happened it is also clear Kiel was his first point of call as he previously stated he,“wanted to get to know the culture of north Germany”, even so other clubs in the GFL may wonder how Andreas snuck into Germany almost unnoticed.
Speaking in December, Peter Gunnar, the Hurricanes managing director commented
“We are excited and proud to welcome an exceptional player like Andreas Hofbauer to Kiel. Andreas has not only led the entire Austrian League in offensive yards this year, but was also at the heart of the Austrian national team.”
After putting pen to paper Andreas commented
“I have found a very a strong team and an excellent organization. The fan base speaks for itself; I’m looking forward to playing in the GFL and certainly hope that we will come out on top.”
Kiel fans have other reasons to be optimistic this year. Firstly Cologne Falcons lineman Heinz Riemer, has packed his bags and headed North. Riemer’s experience, that includes the 2006 NFL Europe training camps, will anchor the defensive line. He will join linebacker Jaquez Huke, who made the decision to remain in Kiel, Huke’s decision was made easier thanks to the earlier signing of Munich Cowboys linebacker Ryan Newel. The Former Arena football player with the Iowa Barnstormers, is regarded as one of the top linebackers in Europe and was named 2013 “GFL player of the year” by the AFVD. Newel’s 190 solo tackles in 2014 made him a top target in 2015 for most GFL clubs, but ultimately he decided to head to the Baltic.
The signings made by Kiel over the last few months will continue to make the GFL North the most dominating division in European football. With the Berlin Adler looking to bounce back, the Lions continuing their long standing dynasty and the Falcons continuing to build, the one thing that is certain is that this season will be exciting.