LIVESTREAM Germany: Saarland Hurricanes @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, May 21, 16:45 CET (4:45 pm, 10:45 am ET)

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns open their 2022 German Football League South campaign at home in Optima Sportpark facing the number two team in the GFL South in 2021, the Saarland Hurricanes.

The Unicorns won both games against Saarland in 2021, beating their southern rivals 45-20 on the road and then blanking them 28-0 at home. Schwäbisch Hall reached the German Bowl in 2021 but lost 28-19 to the Dresden Monarchs after holding a 19-17 lead to start the fourth quarter. Saarland reached the semifinals where they were also thwarted by Dresden, getting shut out 37-0.

The Unicorns have two games under their belt so far this year, a 46-0 thrashing of Finland’s Helsinki Roosters in a preseason exhibition game and a 58-7 trouncing of Sweden’s Örebro Black Knights in Central European Football League action.

Schwäbisch Hall enters this game with new quarterback Reilly Hennessey at the helm. The Italian-American has looked impressive in his two first games against Helsinki and Örebro, after making one appearance for the Schwäbisch Hall last season, starting in the German Bowl loss to the Dresden Monarchs, filling in for injured starter Alex Haupert.

Former Oregon State (NCAA D1) running back Micky Alfieri, younger brother of linebacker Nick Alfieri, along with last year’s starting tailback John Santiago, gives Schwäbisch Hall a formidable backfield. Ex NFL tight end Moritz Bohringer, returns to the lineup along with receiver Tyler Rutenbeck. A veteran offensive line led by Allesandro Vergani and Lucas Maier aim to be able to get the offense in rhythm against a physical Black Knights defense.

Defensively, the Unicorns will rely on the older Alferi along with veteran safety Cody Pastorino. New faces in the secondary include Italian national team defensive back Giuseppe Della Vecchia and former CFL safety Mitch Fettig.

For Saarland, who were somewhat of a surprise in the GFL in 2021, finishing with an 8-2 record and reaching the semifinals, the key will be new quarterback Jack Lindsey (Arkansas/Arkansas Tech). With returning receiver Marvin Fuchs (26 rec/584 yds/9 TDs), new wideout Devon Bibbens (Lehigh NCAA DI FCS) and a revamped offensive line including Chandler Anthony (North Texas NCAA DI), the 6’2″, 205 pound Lindsey could surprise.

Hurricanes head coach Christos Lambropoulos has bolstered his defense with the signing of defensive back Jonathan Roebuck (Concord NCAA DII) and French linebacker Teo Knight (Thonon Black Panthers) while re-signing linebacker Benjamin Thompson and defensive Lamar Hall.

This is a huge game that could set the tone for the rest of the season.

Saarland Hurricanes @ Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, May 21, 16:45 CET (4:45 pm, 10:45 am ET)

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