LIVESTREAM Austrian Semifinal: Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants @ Dacia Vienna Vikings, July 18, 17:00 CET (5 pm, 11:00 am ET)

The Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants (4-4) head into hostile territory to face the Dacia Vienna Vikings (7-1) in this Austrian Football League semifinal.

The Vikings and Giants have produced exciting games against each other this season with the Vikings winning both, 42-35 and 43-14, but needing overtime to complete the regular-season sweep.

Graz enters Ravelin Football Zentrum in Vienna with the strongest passing attack in the country. Quarterback Conor Miller’s 2,170 yards and 23 touchdowns make him the league leader in both categories. A large part of the success of the passing game has come on the shoulders of 6‘2″ receiver Darrell Adams. The former Azusa Pacific (NCAA D2) pass catcher’s 823 yards and 11 touchdowns make him Austria’s top receiver. Fellow wideout Florian Bierbaumer and running back Rock Wenzel are two Austrian-born weapons that have also help this offense hum to the beat of 29 points a game. This week, the Giants will look to exploit a young Vikings secondary to pull off the upset in Vienna.

Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants @ Dacia Vienna Vikings, July 18, 17:00 CET (5 pm, 11:00 am ET)

Graz quarterback Connor Miller commented on the team’s playoff mentality:

“We are ready for playoff football. We’re familiar with their personnel and they’re familiar with ours. In the playoffs there’s no holding anything back, it’s going to be about executing for four quarters on Sunday. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Defensively, the Giants will have to match the Vikings‘ physicality as the league’s top running game awaits them. Graz defensive linemen must hold their gaps today in order to get the win. Giants fans hope linebacker Thomas Schnurrer can make some plays and slow down this offense, as Schnurrer was the league’s leading tackler for the second consecutive season. Defensive back Stefan Promitzer is also a player to watch in this Graz secondary. Promitzer’s league-leading five interceptions make him one of Austria’s top safeties.

The Vikings‘ potent rushing attack features the league’s leading rusher in Florian Wegan. Wegan and athletic quarterback Eystin Salum can give defensive coordinators headaches coming out of the backfield. Expect Andrew Spencer to get some carries as the reality tv star is a dynamic athlete with the ball in his hands. Salum’s passing has been efficient this year as he’s helped develop young Austrian receiver Daniel Schwam. Schwam’s 418 yards and four touchdowns show the potential that the young playmaker has. Look for Schwam to step up today and be Salum’s main target once more tonight.

Vikings offensive lineman Michael Haider commented on the matchup with the Giants defense:

“Offensively, we need to establish our running game against the good linebacker unit of the Giants with one of Austria’s top linebacker and leading tackler Schnurrer. This should help to open some space for the passing game, where we already had success in the Charity bowl against them. So that means we have to control the line of scrimmage and play hard and physical Vikings Football. I am really looking forward to that game, it is always special to play playoff football, and I am pretty sure we will help Florian Wegen to add more yards to his outstanding running performance this season.”

Pass rusher Leon Balogh goes into the postseason after racking up a league-leading 11 sacks in only eight games. The former defensive MVP of the league is determined to pressure the Giants quarterback and help disrupt Austria’s best passing game. Young defensive backs Benjamin Straight and Luis Horvath will also have to step up as they line up across from a talented group of Graz pass catchers.

Horvath discusses the keys to success against the Giants offense:

“Frankly, I have a very good and confident feeling going into this playoff game against the Giants. I think we are more than ready of repeating the dominating and effective performance we had in the last game against them in Vienna. It will be key for us to stop #89 (Florian Bierbaumer), #9 (Darrell Adams) and their run game in general. The Giants can be an explosive offensive team with a few play makers amongst them. So, we need to make sure that we don’t give them the opportunity to make big plays, to throw deep balls, to make long runs. That’s the recipe for winning this playoff game and advancing to the Austrian Bowl.”

Graz‘s modest record fails to show the team’s true talent. The Giants have a young roster filled with players improving every week. This week, however, they will be put to the test against an experienced Vikings team determined to return to the Austrian Bowl for the fourth straight season.

Watch the game live here. Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants @ Dacia Vienna Vikings, July 18, 17:00 CET (5 pm, 11:00 am ET)

Dacia Vienna Vikings roster (click to enlarge)

 

Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants roster (click to enlarge)

 

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football