LIVESTREAM GERMANY: Potsdam Royals @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, September 25, 17:00 CET (5 pm, 11 am ET)

The always loud OptimaSportpark will be the home for this semi-finals matchup. The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns look to defend their home turf and return to the German Bowl for the seventh straight season. Across the field, the Potsdam Royals are eager to pull off the upset and knock off one of the league’s championship favorites in what’s sure to be a competitive playoff game.

Potsdam enters the semi-finals after a hard-fought win against the Munich Cowboys last week. Much like the rest of their season, the Royals used dynamic running back Jake Mayon and a solid defensive line play to best their opponents in the quarterfinals. Royals running back Jake Mayon is sure to see plenty of touches out of the backfield again today. The Northern Michigan (NCAA D2) product ran for a league-leading 1,628 yards and 21 touchdowns in the season. Mayon continued his regular-season dominance in the postseason rushing for 209 yards last week.

Potsdam Royals @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, September 25, 17:00 CET (5 pm, 11 am ET)

The Royals passing game, however, leaves something to be desired as their two quarterbacks combined for five completions and 41 yards last week. Dual-threat passer PJ Settles should see the majority of the snaps behind center, while pocket passer Giovanni Rescigno (Rutgers NCAA D1) is also likely to see his fair share of snaps.

Aiming to contain the league’s most productive back is an athletic and well-coached Unicorns defense. Middle linebacker Nick Alfieri (Georgetown NCAA D1 FCS) projects to have a busy day against one of Europe’s toughest runners. Schwäbisch Hall did get a boost last week as veteran Devin Benton has returned to the lineup. The speedy defensive end is eager to get his Unicorns back to the German Bowl after missing most of the season recovering from an Achilles tear. Benton made four tackles and created plenty of pressure in his return. Long-time Schwäbisch Hall coach Jordan Neuman is thrilled to have the veteran back on his defense. Unicorns head coach Jordan Neuman spoke on the matchup against a run-heavy Royals offense:

“Running the ball is almost always key to winning football games. This game will feature two of the best backs in all of Europe, so there is no question the run game on both sides will have a big impact on the outcome of this game.”

Offensively, Schwäbisch Hall homegrown passer Alexander Haupert hopes to have another thirty-point outing against stingy Royals defense.  Last week, Haupert was able to connect with former NFL tight end Moritz Böhringer and Austrian receiver Yannick Mayr for scores, while veteran Tyler Rutenbeck had a quiet day. If the game gets close expect Haupert to target Rutenbeck and Moritz Böhringer as both players have stepped up in clutch moments this season.

On the ground, former XFL running back John Santiago had a breakout game last week rushing for 119 yards. If Santiago can have the same success today against an athletic Royals defense expect the Unicorn faithful to be celebrating another trip to the German Bowl.

Potsdam’s defense however is loaded with talent at all three levels. Defensive lineman OJ Thompson and Malcolm Engstroem are two long and athletic edge defenders that should be able to get the quarterback. The pair of defensive ends have combined for 12 sacks and 33 tackles for a loss. Swiss linebacker Lukas Ruoss patrol the second level with speed and power racking up 37 tackles on the season. In the secondary Frenchmen Marceo Beard and Kevin Fortes pair well with American imports Abu Daramy-Swaray (Colgate NCAA D1 FCS), and Adehkeem Brown (Quincy NCAA D2). Potsdam’s head coach Michael Vogt commented on the matchupL

“The Unicorns are one of the best around, the talent on the team is outstanding, they are very well coached in all parts of the game and also have a great and loud fanbase. They are not one dimensional, they can pass and run. Besides that, their specials look very sound as well.”

Fans can expect to see a physical game today as both teams enter the matchup with hard-hitting athletic defenses. If the Royals can control the clock and are able to put up a point their rushing attack they could pull off a historic upset. However, the Unicorns are a well-coached team with minimal weak spots looking to hoist the German Bowl trophy once again.

Watch the game live here: LIVESTREAM GERMANY: Potsdam Royals @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, September 25, 17:00 CET (5 pm, 11 am ET)

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and