LIVESTREAM German Semifinals: Cologne Crocodiles @ Potsdam Royals, Sept. 24, 14:00 CET, (2 pm, 8 am ET)

The Potsdam Royals (11-0) will be looking to conquer division rivals, the Cologne Crocodiles (8-3) in their quest to complete a perfect season as the German Football League semifinals kick off, Saturday, September 24 in Potsdam.

The Royals defeated Cologne 50-34 in the only meeting between the two teams this season.

Potsdam finished their regular season with an unblemished record and are aiming to keep it that way in the playoffs as well. History has been kind to undefeated teams who reach the semifinals. Every team since 2000 that went unbeaten in the regular season, with the exception of the 2000 and 2001 Munich Cowboys, has made it to the German Bowl. The Royals definitely showcased their dominance in the quarterfinals, when they battered an injury-hobbled Straubing Spiders team, 66-25.

Although some may have been surprised that the Crocodiles would reach this stage, they were not surprised themselves. After finishing third in the GFL North, they knocked off the Munich Cowboys, who finished second in the GFL South, in the first round of the playoffs. And on the road.  In fact, the win was the club’s first playoff victory since their 2000 German Bowl championship.

Cologne was able to get here because of their offense. The Crocodiles scored 386 points, fourth highest in the league and also had the third best point differential with +143. This was primarily because they had one of the best offenses in the league led by quarterback Christian Strong. The Brampton, Ontario native had an amazing season throwing for 3,001 yards and 35 touchdowns.

He was assisted by the best receiving duo in the league, with wide receivers Aaron Jackson (83 receptions, 1,371 yards, 16 touchdowns, 16.5 yards per catch 137.1 yards per game and 8.3 yards per catch) and Jarvis McClam (73 receptions, 876 yards, 15 touchdowns, 12 yards per catch, 79.6 yards per game and 6.6 yards per catch) there to assist him on the field along the way.

On defense, their biggest game changer has been defensive back Fardan Allen who had a defensive player of the year type season with 11 passes broken up, seven interceptions and 78 total tackles for the year.

As for the Royals, quarterback, Chris Helbig has had an MVP-caliber season with a league high passing yards with 3,358 for the season. He was also near the top in the league in other categories too such as touchdown passes (35), yards per game (305.3) and completions 225).

His top two targets were wide receivers Jared Wolfe (88 receptions, 1,403 yards, 15 touchdowns, 15.9 yards per catch, 127.5 and eight receptions per game) and Brandon Polk (65 receptions, 1,223, 13 touchdowns, 18.8 yards per catch, 111.2 yards per game and 5.9 receptions per game) who with Helbig’s assistance had great seasons as well. The Royals ground game was also dominant with leading ball carrier Kari Parjarinen rushing for 1,114 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 123.8 yards per carry, second best in the league.

Although the defense did not quite match the performance of the offense, it was still solid. Their most impactful players have been linebacker Maciej Jaroszewsk who was fourth in the GFL with nine sacks and third in tackles for loss with 17, defensive back Cody Cranston who had five interceptions and 13 passes defended, and defensive back Manase Time, who led the team with 73 tackles.

Although the high powered Royals defeated the Crocodiles on July 30, 50-34, the playoffs are a brand new season.

This one is up for grabs.

Cologne Crocodiles @ Potsdam Royals, Sept. 24, 14:00 CET, (2 pm, 8 am ET)

A recent graduate of Hofstra University in New York. He is currently a sports freelance journalist and podcaster