Europe’s #1 team traveling to Berlin to face #7 AdlerThis Sunday, the Berlin Adler and the New Yorker Lions from Braunschweig will meet for the third time in 2014.
In mid-July the Adler defeated the Lions 20-17 in EuroBowl XXVIII on their home turf and celebrated their biggest title in the last four years. A week later in the GFL, Berlin was beaten 56-7 in Braunschweig, the highest team loss since 2001. This weekend, the undefeated GFL (German Football League) North Champion is visiting Berlin’s Jahn-Stadium again.
The Lions clinched the GFL North title with a 59-7 win against the Cologne Falcons, securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs, starting in mid-September. The Adler lost three games in a row and have to turn things around in the last four season games in order to grab the fourth and last playoff spot behind the Lions, Dresden Monarchs and Kiel Baltic Hurricanes.
To succeed once more against the reigning GFL champs from Braunschweig, the Adler must play a perfect game, not allow any turnovers and score from inside the red zone. This season the Lions are setting the standards in the German Football League on offense (scoring 46.3 pts/game) and defense (12.6 pts/game allowed). They are led by U.S. quarterback Casey Therriault, who’s one of the most effective playmakers with 23 touchdowns, only 2 interceptions and 68.7% pass efficiency. Playing at his side are seven German national team players, plus tight end Tommi Pinta from Team Finland.
On Sunday, every single yard and every single point will be huge for the Berlin offense with quarterback Darius Outlaw at the helm. Next to him in the backfield, running back Talib Wise leads the ground attack while German wide receiver Daniel Vöhringer plays a major role through the air. After losing U.S. receiver Conrad Meadows for the season due to a foot injury, the three German-born players – Vörhinger, Danilo Naranjo-Gonzalez and Max Zimmermann – have become Outlaw’s favorite targets.
The Berlin defense will really be under the gun in this game. Pass rusher “L’ Animal” Mamadou Sy has to put constant pressure on Therriault and maybe this will lead to another interception by Berlin’s secondary – as happened in the Euro Bowl, when defensive back Sebastian Karl made a one-handed interception in the end zone to secure the win.
One thing is certain, the linebackers in the black and yellow jerseys will have a hard day of work. In Michael Andrew and David McCants, the Lions can call on two top notch running backs of their own, who can easily wear down any defense.
After a three-week break, after a tough loss to Kiel, all Berlin’s players should be well rested and ready to roll. The next four weeks will be full of decisive games at Berlin’s Jahn-Stadium. The reigning GFL champion is visiting this week, last year’s finalist Dresden Monarchs the next, and a battle for the last playoff-spot against the Cologne Falcons in the second to last game, and finishing the season against the so-far win-less Düsseldorf Panther.