The Vienna Vikings face the Graz Giants for the first time in 2016 in a game which will no doubt determine home field advantage in the opening round of the playoffs in Austria.
Both teams enter the game with 7-1 records each having suffered a loss to the Swarco Raiders. The difference is that Graz has beaten the Raiders once while Vienna will face Swarco in the final game of the regular season next weekend. That makes this game all the more important.
Vienna head coach Chris Calaycay will look to quarterback Alexander Thury to run an offense which has been averaging 35 points a game and leads the league in Austria in rushing averaging 152 yards on the ground per game. Running back Islaam Amadu has carried the ball 106 times for 664 yards and nine touchdowns in eight games, good for third in the league. Tutanch Stevenson Anthony Law backs him up at running back and has added another 287 yards on the ground.
The Graz Giants have one of the top rushing defenses in Austria giving up just 93 yards a game. In fact, the Giants defense is ranked third allowing only 16 points a game.
Giants quarterback Christoph Gubisch runs an efficient offense. While not spectacular, and averaging only 23 points a game, the Graz offense keeps finding ways to win. Running back Matthias Kiegeri has gained 461 yards and scored three touchdowns in eight games.
Head coach Martin Kocian took over a team which had suffered through back to back 1-7 seasons, turning them into a contender for the Austrian title. The Giants have played within their limitations and with the win over the Swarco Raiders have positioned themselves well as the playoffs loom.
The last time Graz appeared in the Austrian Bowl was 2009 when they lost to Vienna. Since then, the Vikings have made five appearances in the title game winning it three times, most recently in 2014.
This is a crucial matchup for both teams.