The 2018 IFAF European Championships kick off Sunday, July 29 in Vantaa, Finland as Team Denmark faces a formidable task as they take on Austria in the opening game.
These two teams faced each other in the opening round of the 2014 IFAF European Championships with Austria winning the game handily, beating the Danes 49-7.
Austria went on to reach the gold medal game in that tournament and were beaten in double overtime by Germany. With the Germans not participating in this tournament, Austria is picked as the slight favorites to win the title.
This is only the second time Denmark has competed in the European Championships. In 2014, the Danes finished in sixth place after losing to Sweden in the final game.
This is the first time the two head coaches, Lars Carlsen from Denmark and Austrian head coach Shuan Fatah, have faced each other in an international game.
Austria qualified for the tournament after finishing second in 2014 when they lost in double overtime to Germany. Denmark would have played a qualifying game against Italy but due to political issues the game never took place. The last time Team Denmark took the field was against the Polish national team in 2016. In that game, Denmark came away with a 37-35 win,
The Danes will be starting Jakob Karkov at quarterback with Lasse Lykke starting at running back. Both play for the Aarhus Tigers in Denmark’s top division. On defense, Jimi Smidt Laursen of the Sollerod Gold Diggers will start at middle linebacker with defensive linemen Michael Kayser (Copenhagen Towers) and Kristoffer Brun Hansen, also from the Towers, anchoring the front seven.
Team Austria has not played a game since the 2014 European Championships but will be well prepared. In all likelihood the Austrians will start Alexander Thury at quarterback. Thury from Vienna, Austria, is a product of the Vienna Vikings and has been the Austrian national team quarterback since 2014. He is currently playing for the Marburg Mercenaries in the German Football League. Ruben Seeber from the Swarco Raiders is the other quarterback for Austria.
At running back, the Austrians will likely use Tobias Bonatti and Sandro Platzgummer both from the Raiders and both of whom looked good in the post season in Austria.
The Austrian defense is anchored by the second leading tackler in the Austrian Football League in 2018, Raiders linebacker Fabian Seeber.
Denmark will face Team Sweden on Tuesday, July 31 while the Austrians take on Sweden Thursday, August 2.
Watch the game live here presented by American Football International in partnership with Mobile-TV and YareTV. The stream is geo-blocked in Austria and Germany, but available on-line to the rest of our worldwide audience.
Registration is free.
Enjoy the game!