LIVESTREAM: Austrian Bowl XXXV – Swarco Raiders v. Dacia Vienna Vikings, Sat. July 27, 7p CEDT (1p EDT)

The Swarco Raiders, Europe #2, will be trying to defend their title and also finish the season with a remarkable unbeaten record when they take on the Dacia Vienna Vikings, Europe #8, in Austrian Bowl XXXV, Saturday, July 27 at  NV Arena Sankt Pölten in St. Pölten, Austria.

The storylines in this game are almost too many to list.

These two teams have played each other for the Austrian title seven times since 2011 with Vienna holding a 4-3 edge. They split the last two with the Vikings winning in 2017 and Swarco in 2018 on a last minute field goal.

Vikings head coach Chris Calaycay has returned his team to the Austrian Bowl for the 13th time since taking over the head coaching reins in 2004 and he has won the title seven times. Shuan Fatah, head coach of the Raiders, is getting his team ready for their ninth straight Austrian Bowl

Vienna used an outstanding second half of football against the Prague Black Panthers in the semifinals to defeat them 28-21 and advance to the championship game. In the other semifinal, the Raiders won a shootout against the Danube Dragons, beating them 49-43.

They have played each other three times this season with Swarco winning all three. This included a 35-10 win over Vienna in the ECTC championship final in late June.  Swarco downed the Dacia Vienna Vikings 34-13 in the Charity Bowl and also handed Vienna a 48-28 loss in the second game of the year.

For Vienna, QB Austin Herink has been outstanding this season and has thrown for 2,556 yards and 23 touchdowns. Although he is playing in his first Austrian Bowl, he showed off his leadership abilities in the comeback win over Prague. Raiders QB Sean Shelton has been his usual excellent self and has thrown for 2,478 yards and 33 touchdowns. Shelton is the wily veteran in this game. He has been here before. He has led Swarco to wins in three of the last four Austrian championship games, two of those against Vienna.

Swarco’s backfield duo of Sandro Platzgummer and Tobias Bonatti is a two-pronged monster for opposing defenses. In the semifinal win over Danube, Platzgummer rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns and Bonatti 46 and one score. Add to this Shelton who picks his spots well (he had 38 yards and 2 TDs in the semifinal win) and they are tough to defend. However, Vienna’s ground game has truly improved with the addition of Andrew Spencer, converted from defensive back. In the semifinal win over Prague, Spencer rushed for 11 yards and a touchdown. In fact, in the last two games of the regular season he rushed for a total of 426 yards and seven touchdowns.

Both teams have excellent receivers Vienna’s wide receivers, Bernhard Seikovits (864 yds), Maurice Wappl (518 yds) and Yannick Mayr (457 yds) are among the top 15 in Austria. Add Spencer to the group and the Raiders secondary will be faced with a dilemma. Swarco’s receiving corps is led by Patrick Donahue (442 yds), Fabian Abfaleter (375) and Adrian Platzgummer (322). Donahue can break a game wide open with his explosive speed.

Defensively, Vienna was second in Austria allowing just 273.5 yards a game with young LB Lucky Ogbevoen topping the team in tackles with 46.5. Patrick Pilger led the Raiders in tackles (43.5) and interceptions with three. LB Julian Perfler also had 43.5 tackles.  Although the Danube Dragons proved in the semifinals that the Raiders can be scored on, they have a bend don’t break ability. They will make stops at critical junctures.

This one, as is usual between these two teams, as a toss up. As both coaches, Chris Calaycay for the Vikings and Swarco’s Shua Fatah, have stated, past records mean nothing.

Watch the game live here. Austrian Bowl XXXV – Swarco Raiders v. Dacia Vienna Vikings, Sat. July 27, 7p CEDT (1p EDT)

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