LIVESTREAM: German Semifinals – Frankfurt Universe @Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, Sept. 29, 6p (12 noon ET)

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, Europe #2 and the number two seed, take on the 13-2 Frankfurt Universe, Europe #5, the number three seed in the second semifinal game in the German Football League Saturday, September 29 in Braunschweig, Germany.

The 12-2-1 Lions  enter the second round of the playoffs as the number 2 seed overall but looked impressive in their trouncing of the Munich Cowboys.  Although Braunschweig stumbled somewhat down the stretch tying, winning and losing in the last three games they had no mercy for the Cowboys and looked like title contenders again. They dropped their second loss of the season to the Berlin Rebels and after beating the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes, played to a 28-28 tie with the Dresden Monarchs.

These two teams faced each other in the 2017 German Football League semifinals with Lions barely escaping with a 23-21 win.

Braunschweig has the second highest scoring offense in Germany averaging 38.3 points a game, while their defense allows just 11.5 points a game, good for second in the GFL.

Jadrian Clark of the Lions is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country having completed 257 of 413 passes for 3,515 yards and 43 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. His favorite target is Justus Holtz who has 714 yards receiving while big  Nicolai Schumann has 587 yards receiving.

The Lions have the highest rushing offense in Germany with 2,562 yards in total team rushing with one player in the top 10 in overall yardage, David McCants with 752 yards.  However, Chris McClendon returned from injury six games ago and has rushed for 589 yards in those six games.

The Braunschweig defense is anchored by linebackers Roni Salonen and Anthony Darkangelo as well as defensive backs Tim Unger, Tissi Robinson and Darius Robinson and team sack leader Jakob Schridde. They allow an average of 70.6 yards against the run and 138.8 against the pass, third best in the league.

The 13-2 Universe (GFL South #2had to rely on a last minute field goal in horrendous conditions to edge the Berlin Rebels 6-5 (!?) in their quarterfinal matchup. Still, Frankfurt could be the dark horse after losing only two games during the regular season, both to the Unicorns and both in close defensive games.

Frankfurt has also been on a roll for the past month winning six in a row. Quarterback Andrew Ellfers has been behind center now for nine wins including back-to-back wins against the Kirchdorf Wildcats and the gritty 26-19 win over the Marburg Mercenaries a month ago.  The week before, Ellfers and the Universe suffered a tough loss to the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns.  Ellfers has thrown for 2,205 yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 games. David Giron has returned after missing four of those games, and has 68 receptions for 797 yards. George Robinson has returned to form and had 51 yards receiving and 2 TDs in Frankfurt’s 55-14 pasting of the Allgau Comets. Running back Anreas Betza, the French national team running back, has rushed for 746 yards and 12 touchdowns so far in 2018. Joe Bergeron has also returned and has 461 yards on 78 carries and together with Justin Rodney gives Frankfurt a potent backfield.

With visions of how Frankfurt almost defeated the Lions two years ago in the semifinals, Braunschweig’s players and coaches are well aware of how dangerous their opponent is today.

The slight edge would have to go to the Lions with a big, and loud, – very loud – crowd at Eintracht Stadion.

Watch the game live here. Frankfurt Universe @Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, Sept. 29, 6p (12 noon ET)

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