The Swarco Raiders, Europe’s #4, will play host to Polish champions the Wroclaw Panthers, Europe’s #6. Saturday, April 28 at Innsbruck’s Tivoli Stadium in their second game in the Central European Football league.
The Raiders, who won the CEFL title in 2017, opened their CEFL season with a decisive 44-21 win over the Czech Republic’s Prague Black Panthers. Meanwhile, Wroclaw is playing their first CEFL game of the season.
The two teams met once in 2017 with the Raiders coming from behind to defeat Wroclaw 33-20.
Both teams have opened their domestic seasons impressively. The Panthers have rolled to a 4-0 start and look poised to defend their title in Poland. Swarco is 3-1 after losing a tough game to the defending Austrian champions the Dacia Vienna Vikings .
Panthers head coach Nick Johansen, in his fourth year with the club, has built a powerhouse of a team winning the last two Polish championships. He also led the Panthers to the Champions League crown in 2016.
Returning at quarterback for Wroclaw this season is Tim Morovick who was both the league MVP and championship finals MVP in 2017. Joining the club on the defensive side is defensive back Desmond Cooper who played for the Sollerod Gold Diggers in 2017 after spending time with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Raiders are led by Euro-veteran quarterback Sean Shelton who has been the starter for Swarco since 2015 leading them to back-to-back titles in Austria (2015, 2016). He also quarterbacked the Helsinki Roosters to the Finnish title in 2014. So far this season in Austria he has thrown for 1,117 yards and 15 TDs. Receivers Daniel Saurer (265 yards) and Adrian Platzgummer (180) are his two favorite targets while the backfield consists of running backs Tobias Bonatti (227 yards rushing) and Sandro Platzgummer (222).
The Raiders have been averaging 45 points a game in Austria while allowing a league-best 17 points.
Panthers head coach Nick Johansen:
“Very excited to start international play. We have a young and hungry team that has been very focused in the prep weeks and the entire early portion of the season. The Raiders will be tough. They bring about many challenges from personnel to home field advantage.”