The 0-11 Düsseldorf Panther will be trying to get their first win of the season when they take on the 11-0 Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, Europe #3, Sunday, August 25 at Eintracht Stadion in Braunschweig, Germany.
This is the first of two, back-to-back games between the two teams and is an unlikely venue for the Panther to pick up win #1. Braunschweig are unbeaten and sits in first place in the GFL North while Düsseldorf are dead last in the conference and the league and facing a relegation playoff game in their first year back since 2016 when they finished that season without a win,
The Lions have has won their 11 opening games and last week manhandled the second place Hildesheim Invaders 37-0 and the week before took care of the third place Dresden Monarchs 19-3. In other words, the Lions have found another gear and are leaving the rest of the GFL North behind.
The week before they had no trouble downing the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 49-21 and the week before that, the Berlin Rebels 34-9. They had a thrilling 35-28 win over the previously unbeaten Invaders just before the break. They had downed the Cologne Crocodiles in a back-to-back series, 23-6 and 45-7, and then took care of the Rebels, the only team that defeated them in the regular season last year. Early in June, the Lions won a thriller, beating the previously unbeaten Dresden Monarchs 34-31 and also walked all over the Potsdam Royals, 46-7.
The Lions offense has been effective with QB Brandon Connette throwing for just 1,647 yards in the 11 games. The backfield duo of Chris McClendon (1,049 yds) and David McCants (350 yds) along with Connette (596 yds) give the Lions by far the best rushing attack in the GFL averaging 202.6 yards a game. Last week against Hildesheim, McClendon rushed for 135 yards and and 1 TD. Wide receivers Nicolai Schumann (345 yds), Justus Hotz (247 yds) and Christian Bollmann with 386 yards receiving lead the team.
Braunschweig has one of the top three defenses in the GFL and has only allowed opponents an average of 222.9 yards of offense a game.
The winless Panther are in desperate straits, trying to avoid relegation in their first year back in the top league with only Braunschweig and Cologne remaining on the schedule.
The Panther have dropped 10 in a row after last week’s 38-7 pummeling at the hands of the Dresden Monarchs. This had come on the heels of a a 20-10 loss to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanesbefore the break. They lost back to back games to the Berlin Rebels, 55-20 and 55-13. The week before they suffered a 44-21 loss to the Cologne Crocodiles which followed a game in which they were beaten by the Hiidesheim Invaders 46-10. They had opened the season losing to the Monarchs 49-13, the Invaders 49-17 , Potsdam Royals, 34-17 and the Hurricanes 37-17.
Panther quarterback Christian Strong (Seton Hill) did not play last week in the loss to Potsdam with wide receiver Trevor Vasey stepping in as his replacement. Vasey threw for 165 yards and one touchdown. It is not known who will start today. Strong has thrown for 2,061 yards and 13 touchdowns, but tossed a league-worst 21 interceptions. Féli Manoka is the leading receiver with 807 yards. Sergej Kendus is the team’s leading rusher but he has only carried the ball 97 times for 418 yards in 11 games and with 137 of those yards in one game against Potsdam. The Panther remain the second worst rushing team in Germany averaging 53.9 yards a game.