The Dresden Monarchs will play host to German Football League North rivals the Berlin Rebels Saturday,August 19 at Heinz-Steyer Stadion in Dresden in a game that has playoff implications written all over it.
The Monarchs have won five of their last six games and in the last three averaged 52.6 points a game. With an 8-5 record Dresden’s third place is still is not safe though. The Rebels at 6-5 are actually not far behind and should they win this game would threaten the Monarchs. The last time these two teams met, Dresden came away with a 45-20 win on June 25.
Dresden has the leading offense in Germany scoring at a 44 points per game pace while the Rebels with a more conservative offense are averaging 31.9. Defensively, these two teams are closer with Berlin allowing fewer points per game (22) than the Monarchs who have give up an average of 23.9.
However, Berlin has struggled against the run as proven last week when they allowed Kiel Baltic Hurricanes running back Chris McClendon to rush for 352 yards. They are second worst in the German Football League in rushing yards allowed giving up 161.5 yards a game. They will need to find a way to stop Dresden running back Joe Bergeron who is now the fifth leading rusher in the league.
The Dresden aerial attack, normally the team’s bread and butter, will have to prove itself though against one of the league’s top pass defenses. Berlin is third best in Germany in passing yards allowed. However, the Rebels will have to become more disciplined. They are the most penalized team in the league giving up 83.5 yards a game.
Dresden quarterback Garrett Safron is averaging 244 yards passing a game but he is also one of the leading rushers with 721 yards and 13 touchdowns so far. Sebastien Sagne is his favorite target and has grabbed 44 passes for 803 yards and 11 touchdowns.
James Harris of the Rebels has thrown for 2,303 yards and 25 touchdowns and his top receiver, Alexander Tounkara is the third leading receiver in Germany with 879 yards in receptions.
So it would seem that the recipe for success for Dresden would be keep the ball on the ground but with a pass heavy offense that might not be as easy as it sounds. Both coaches, John Leijten of the Monarchs and Berlin’s Kim Kuci, know each other well. This could be a chess game.
Still, Dresden has never lost to the Rebels since Berlin entered the GFL in 2012. The closest Berlin has come was a 21-21 tie in 2016. That is a string of 10 games.