The 6-6 Stuttgart Scorpions will be in a battle to avoid a playoff-eliminating game when they take on the 10-2 Frankfurt Universe Saturday, August 31 in Stuttgart.
Stuttgart has two games left in the regular season and sit in fourth place in the GFL South with both the Allgau Comets and Ingolstadt Dukes hot on their heels for the final playoff berth. A loss today to Frankfurt would pit the Scorpions against the Dukes next week in a fight for the last playoff spot. Ingolstadt must first beat the Munich Cowboys while the Comets have back to back games against Europe’s number one team, the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns.
The slumping Scorpions have lost three in a row and six of their last eight including a 52-12 drubbing at the hands of the Universe last week and two straight losses to the Comets.They had rebounded from an embarrassing 52-14 loss to the surging Marburg Mercenaries just before the break, beating the Munich Cowboys 31-24 six weeks ago. They had narrowly defeated the Cowboys 21-19 earlier. However, they had lost badly to the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns 63-21 the week before that. The Scorpions had celebrated their fourth win of the year in early June, defeating the Kirchdorf Wildcats 31-29. The season had opened with promise with the Scorpions getting a 30-21 win over the Marburg Mercenaries, followed by a 34-7 victory over Kirchdorf and then a 37-30 win over Ingolstadt.
Stuttgart QB Michael Eubank has thrown for 2,893 yards in 12 games with an average of 241 yards a game, good for seventh in the league. Last week against the Universe, he threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns. However the ground game was again Stuttgart’s weak spot in the loss. Frankfurt outrushed the Scorpions 183 yards to 38.
Running back Giacomo De Pauli has rushed for 654 yards and also caught 53 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Explosive wide receive Tyler Cooperwood had 10 catches for 97 yards against Frankfurt upping his totals to 59 receptions for 937 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will be needed in this game.
Frankfurt enters the game without pressure. They have clinched second place so the game has no bearing on the standings. Head coach Thomas Kösling will likely rest some starters for part of the game including quarterback Steve Cluley.
Frankfurt whipped the Kirchdorf Wildcats last week 55-28 after coming off a 51-12 shellacking of the Stuttgart Scorpions. They had suffered a 42-34 loss to the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns the week before. Four weeks ago, Frankfurt blanked the Munich Cowboys 46-0 and the week before that downed the Wildcats 38-17 in their first game after the four week break. Just before the break they had whipped the Comets 34-7 and the Ingolstadt 63-13, rebounding from an embarrassing 31-0 defeat at the hands of the Unicorns in mid June. Frankfurt had opened the 2019 season with four wins, beating Ingolstadt 37-13, after getting by the Munich Cowboys the week before 24-17. They had downed the Comets 20-0 in their opening game and then defeated the Marburg Mercenaries 20-14.
For Frankfurt, Steve Cluley has thrown for 3,117 yards and 30 touchdowns with Antony Brooks (893 yds), Sebastian Sagne (744 yds, 12 TDs) and George Robinson (576 yds), as his leading targets. The latest signing is defensive back Jamarii Milliken from Furman who will no doubt get plenty of playing time. Another recent signing, former Purdue Boilermaker/Philadelphia Eagle Anthony Mahoungou from France, has 20 catches for 361 yards and 6 TDs in four games. Running back Justin Rodney now has 771 yards rushing while Oscar Nevermann from Sweden has been ruled out of this game with an undisclosed injury.
The Universe boast the top defense in the GFL in yards allowed per game giving up 214 yards a game and are fourth in points per game allowed with 16.2.
A big crowd is expected at Stuttgart’s GAZI Stadion and with the Scorpions playing for their playoff lives, this game could get interesting.