LIVE STREAM: German Quarterfinals – Marburg Mercenaries @ Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, Sat. Sept. 16 – 4p CEST (10a EDT)

The Kiel Baltic Hurricanes will welcome the Marburg Mercenaries to Kilia Stadion in Kiel Saturday, September 16 in the first of four German Football League quarterfinal matchups.

The Hurricanes finished the regular season with a 10-4 record in the GFL North division while Marburg enjoyed their best season since 2014 in the GFL South with an 8-6 mark.

This is the Hurricanes 10th straight trip to the quarterfinals while Marburg has not made the playoffs since 2014. Kiel reached the semifinals in 2016 after beating the Frankfurt Universe in the quarterfinals, but they were defeated by the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions who went on to win the German title.

The last time these two teams met in the quarterfinals was in 2013, when the Hurricanes thumped Marburg 47-9.

While Kiel’s offense scored an average of 37.9 points a game as compared to the Mercenaries 24.6, there is not much difference between the two defenses. Marburg allowed 22.9 points a game while Kiel surrendered 23.1.

Key position comparison

Quarterbacks

This is a tough one to call. Jared Stegman has led the Kiel offense for all but one game while Chad Jeffries came in part way through the season for Marburg. Stegman has the best running back in the league in his backfield which definitely takes the pressure off. Jeffries has been forced to take to the air more frequently as evidenced by his 274.6 passing yards per game. But he has thrown 12 interceptions against 26 TDs.

Running back

Kiel running back Chris McClendon has been a force of nature at times in 2017 and led the league in rushing from wire to wire. Behind arguably the best offensive line in Germany, McClendon has averaged 176 yards a game with a high of 352 yards against the Berlin Rebels a month ago. His counterpart for Marburg, Andrecus Lindley, has not been called upon much at all with only 89 carries on the year..

Receivers

This could be an interesting duel. Xavier Mitchell has been Germany’s leading receiver since entering the league in 2016 and enjoyed another banner year with a league-best 1,297 yards. However, Marburg’s Phil Lanieri also had an outstanding season, especially after the arrival of Chad Jeffries at quarterback for the Mercenaries. His 1,126 yards placed him 5th overall in Germany.

Linebackers

Marburg Mercenaries linebacker Michael Taylor set a high standard in 2017 and was one of the reasons for Marburg’s improvement this year. He led the league in tackling with 156 total tackles and anchored a defensive front seven that underwent a dramatic improvement over last season. The 2016 Mercenaries gave up 591 points on the season while this year the defense allowed 320, a 270 point swing. Kiel’s Thad Hansen has been a key cog in the Hurricanes true team defense.

Watch live. Kickoff: Saturday, September 16, 4p CEST (10a EDT)

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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