The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (GFL South #1) take on the Cologne Crocodiles (GFL North #4) in the German Football League quarterfinals September 22 at Optima Sportpark in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany.
The 14-0 Unicorns enter the playoffs as the favorites after another undefeated season. In fact, this team has not lost a game since German Bowl XXXVIII in 2016 when they were beaten by the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions
Schwäbisch Hall will face a 7-6-1 Cologne team that needed a win over Potsdam in the second last game of the year to make the playoffs. Cologne opened the season with promise and after six games were undefeated. But a string of six losses brought them down to earth. They salvaged the season with the two late season wins but face a daunting task against the Unicorns
Schwäbisch Hall has been a machine this season and in their final regular season game blanked the Kirchdorf Wildcats 40-0. They had some trouble against a desperate Marburg Mercenaries team late in the season finally downing Marburg 34-31 after trailing in the fourth quarter. A month ago, they overpowered the Allgau Comets 65-23 and the week before also displayed their firepower in handing the Ingolstadt Dukes a 44-13 thrashing. They notched a gritty 12-9 come-from-behind win over the Frankfurt Universe in August.
The Unicorns have the top offense in the German Football League averaging almost 40 points a game, and the second best defense giving up just 11.5.
Schwäbisch Hall quarterback Marco Ehrenfried is the 5th leading passer in the GFL having thrown for 3,090 yards . He has a corps of excellent receivers including Tyler Rutenbeck with 691 yards in receptions and six touchdowns. He is averaging almost 77 yards a game. Nathanial Robitaille has returned to the lineup and had four catches for 104 yards and a touchdown last week pushing his final total for the year to 686 yards and 10 TDs. Running back Maurice Schüle leads the Unicorns with 564 yards rushing
The Crocodiles returned to the win column in the nick of time, winning their final two games of the year after losing six in a row. The victory over the Potsdam Royals secured a playoff berth for Cologne when the season looked lost.
In the final game of the season against the Hamburg Huskies, starting Cologne quarterback Bradley Strauss was replaced by Jan Weinreich. However, for this game, expect Strauss back in the lineup. He threw for 2,424 yards this year. However, the Crocodiles offense is powered by the run game led by running back Shayeen Edwards who finished as the third leading rusher in the GFL with 1,097 yards and 10 TDs.
Cologne will be facing the stingiest defense against the run today so Edwards will need to find a way to get loose.
This game could get out of hand early unless the Crocodiles can bottle up the Unicorns receivers and create holes for the shifty Edwards to take advantage of.