LIVESTREAM: German Quarterfinals – Berlin Rebels @Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, Sat. Sept. 21, 5p CEDT (11a EDT)

The GFL South #1 Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (14-0)  play host to the GFL North #4 Berlin Rebels (9-5) Saturday, September 21 as the German Football League quarterfinals get underway at Optima Sportpark in Schwäbisch Hall.

Although Berlin has been one of the most improved teams down the stretch winning four of the last five, they are facing a team which has not lost a game since October 10, 2016. The Unicorns look as formidable as they have at any time during their 48 game winning streak.

The last time these two teams faced each other was in the 2017 quarterfinals when the Unicorns downed Berlin 31-24 in overtime.

Unicorns quarterback, “veteran” Jadrian Clark, in his second season in the GFL (he spent the 2018 season with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions), and his second trip to the playoffs, comes into this quarterfinal matchup with impressive numbers. He threw for 3,272 yards and 42 touchdowns  with a QB rating of 194.6. His counterpart with the Rebels, Kurt Palandech, is a “rookie” in Europe and took over as the starter five games into the season after signing in May. In 10 games he threw for 2,095 yards and only 22 touchdowns but was picked off eight times. By comparison, although Clark also had eight interceptions, he threw 42 touchdown passes. Also, Clark’s average pass length was much higher as his average completion length was 16.9 compared to 10.7 for Palandech. That’s a big difference.

In terms of rushing, the two finished with an almost equal amount of yards, 377 for Clark compared to 341 for Palandech.

The two quarterbacks were provided almost equal protection by their offensive lines with Clark being sacked 22 times while Palandech was brought down 14 times in 10 games although eight of those were in two games, with five against Potsdam alone.

Palandech will be facing the toughest defense in Germany in terms of points allowed (12.6/game), third best in terms of yards allowed (246.1) and fourth best in terms of passing yards given up (185). Berlin finished in the middle of the pack in overall defense (9th, 313.2) and passing defense (7th, 206.8).

Clark’s top receivers so far have been Nate Robitaille who has 1.90 yards receiving and 15 TDs and Tyler Rutenbeck with 47 catches for 1,123 yards and 20 TDs. As a team, the Unicorns are averaging 160.6 yards rushing a game, second best in the country with RB Maurice Schuele the top rusher with 598 yards.

As a team, the Unicorns averaged 156.9 yards rushing a game, second best in the country with RB Maurice Schuele the top rusher with 540 yards.

Offensively and defensively, the Unicorns lead the GFL  scoring 48.6 points a game while giving up just 12.6 points a game.

The Rebels are on a roll having won their last four games including the victory over Dresden. They are playing with confidence. Palandech’s chief targets are TJ Esekielu (716 yds), Jason Harris (465 yds) and Naji El-Ali (539 yds) are the leading receivers. Running back Andreas Betza is always dangerous, both in the backfield and catching the ball. He rushed for 779 yards and 12 touchdowns while gaining 1,035 all purpose yards.

On paper, this one looks like a comfortable win for Schwäbisch Hall, but the situation was the same two years ago when Berlin almost pulled out the upset.

Watch the game live here. Berlin Rebels @Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, Sat. Sept. 21, 5p CEDT (11a EDT)

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