On Sunday, April 5, Austria’s Swarco Raiders take the field in the first game of the ‘BATTLE4TIROL’ series which will pit them against four top international American football clubs throughout the season.
This weekend marks the first of the four meetings, when the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League (GFL) visit Innsbruck, the home of the Raiders. The game takes place on Easter Sunday at 6pm CET (12p EST) at Tivoli Stadium, Innsbruck, Austria.
The game will be broadcast live presented by raidersTV starting at 5:45p at www.raidersTV.at.
Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah on the game;
“The whole team is fired up for this first meeting of the BATTLE4TIROL. We’re have been looking forward to this for months. In the BATTLE4TIROL we will get to see some of the oldest and most famous teams in Europe. This is wonderful for us and for our loyal fans.”
Stuttgart aiming high
The Stuttgart Scorpions are in preparation mode for the 2015 GFL season and head coach Jemil Hamiko intends to build on the success of last season, when they finished second in the German South conference behind German Bowl runner’s up and Big6 participants the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.
Before their first duel against the Raiders, Hamiko is confident:
“Our goal is to return to the top echelon of teams in Germany – and later in Europe. To do this and prove we belong, we need to play against one of Europe’s current top teams.”
Two days, two games
The Raiders take on the Scorpions the day after playing the Danube Dragons in the Austrian Football League (AFL). By American football standards this is truly amazing.
Expect the Raiders to find some fresh players for this second match-up in less then 48 hours. The Austrian league allows only one import per game, but for the BATTLE4TIROL exhibition games this restriction is lifted and so all imports will be available. Swarco fans can look for the return of defensive back Talib Wise and the debuts of running back David Oku and linebacker Wendell Brown in addition to quarterback Sean Shelton and wide receiver Kyle Callahan.
Players in Focus:
# 25 David Oku (RB): David Oku played at Arkansas State University from from 2011 to 2013 . In two seasons he rushed 385 times for 1,572 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown. Before ASU, Oku played at the University of Tennesee from 2009-2010 and rushed 65 times for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns and caught 9 balls for 92 yards. He also excelled as a returner with 49 kickoff returns for 1,175 yards.
# 4 Talib Wise (DB): Between 2011 and 2013, was Wise was a regular member of the Raiders. He spent 2014 with the Berlin Adler, where he had played in 2010. In Berlin, Wise with threw 33 passes for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns in 9 games. He caught 35 passes for 356 yards and 4 touchdowns, had 5 punt returns for 46 yards, 6 kickoff returns for 118 yards and 4 tackles (1 solo) with a tackle for loss of space).
# 83 Christian Willi (WR): In the first game of the season in the AFL Christian Willi led the SWARCO RAIDERS with 5 Catches for 70 yards. He caught a touchdown. Last season, he had 16 receptions for 164 yards.
# 9 Thomas Schneider (QB): The name sounds German, but Thomas Schneider is an American. Schneider came to Stuttgart in 2012, and last season served as offensive coordinator. This season he is handling both duties.
# 17 Daniel Balažovič (WR): In Daniel Balažovič Stuttgart has recruited a veteran receiver from the Czech Republic to the team. And the name should be familiar to the fans of the Raiders. Last season Balažovič was catching passes for the Prague Black Panthers. Against Swarco, he had 13 catches for 258 yards and four touchdowns. Throughout the AFL season, he recorded 23 receptions for 440 yards and 7 touchdowns.
# 13 Simon Beuttler (DB): With 5 interceptions, which he returned and turned into two touchdowns, Simon Beuttler was one of the most dangerous defensive players in the GFL. He also had 44 tackles (32 solo) and knocked down 12 passes.