LIVESTREAM: Germany – Marburg Mercenaries @Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, Sat. April 27, 5p CEDT (11a EDT)

The back-to-back and defending champion Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns will open the German Football League season Saturday, April 27 playing host to longtime division rivals, the Marburg Mercenaries at Optima Sportpark in Schwabisch Hall.

The Unicorns defeated Marburg both times they met in 2019, 38-19 and 34-31 en route to second straight unbeaten season. In fact, the last time Schwabisch Hall lost to the Mercenaries was May 24, 2014.

The reigning title holders have undergone a couple of key changes in the offseason, the first, and biggest being the retirement of championship quarterback Marco Ehrenfried. This will be the first season the Unicorns will not have Ehrenfried behind center since 2014. In his stead, Unicorns head coach Jordan Neuman has signed former Braunschweig New Yorker Lions signal caller, Jadrian Clark. In 2018, Clark threw for 3,267 yards and 45 touchdowns in guiding the Lions to the German semifinals.

Returning for 2019 are top receivers, Nate Robataille, Tyler Rutenbeck, Christian Hafels and towering, 6’9″ Aurieus Agdebesan. The team’s leading tackler in 2018, linebacker Nick Alfieri is back along with defensive lineman David Bada and defensive back Cody Pastorino.

Other key signings included cornerback Xequille Harry (Weber State) and offensive linemen Robert Hager, Francesco Fanti and Lukas Meier.

In other words, the Unicorns are more or less intact and will be the favorites to win a third German crown this season.

The Mercenaries finished with a 6-8 record last year and came within one game of making the playoffs. They pushed Schwabisch Hall to the limit in the second last game of the year, losing 34-31, and will be looking to improve on that this season.

Marburg comes to Schwäbisch Hall also without a key offensive weapon as Silas Nacita has moved to the Firenze Guelfi in Italy. New at quarterback, which became a revolving carousel last year, is Jakeb Sullivan from the South Dakota School of Mines. He finished the 2018 season with a record-setting 293 of 461 for 3,576 yards and 32 TD passes for 63.6 percent (all school season records). He averaged 325.1 yards per game, which led the entire NCAA Div. II. Marburg head coach Dale Heffron has also signed running back Triston McCathern (Faulkner University) along with linebacker Justus ‘Jet’ Moreland from the University of South Dakota Coyotes and defensive back Jarrod T. Cann from Central Connecticut State.

Both teams dominated their preseason opponents. The Unicorns beat Solingen (GFL2) 40-3 while Marburg downed Darmstadt (GFL2) 40-6.

Jordan Neuman:

“Marburg has done a very good job rebuilding their roster with new German players along with international kids. Along with that I feel all four of their imports are very good players. It’s never easy going against Marburg and I expect a good game to start of the GFL Season. Its been a long offseason and we have put in a lot of work in preparation for the season. I’m very excited to see our returning players combined with our new faces on the field for the first time!”

Dale Heffron:

“You always just hope you play well and compete at Hall. If we avoid major injuries I definitely think we have playoff potential.. But, we have to avoid the injuries in the long GFL season. We are also very young with Joshua Porter and Sydney Shiundu from Paderborn Dolphins, German U19 National Champs We also have both Nickas Fengler from the Düsseldorf U19 team and Max Lutz from the Cologne Crocodiles U19 team.”

Watch the game live here. Marburg Mercenaries @Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, Sat. April 27, 5p CEDT (11a EDT)

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