LIVESTREAM German Qtr finals: Straubing Spiders @ Potsdam Royals, Sept. 10, 15:00 CET, (3 pm, 9:00 am ET)

After a regular season that stretched from May to September, the German Football League playoffs are officially upon us.

The GFL North winners, the undefeated Potsdam Royals (10-0), are looking to continue their quest for perfection when they host a GFL freshman in the Straubing Spiders (6-4) who finished fourth in the GFL South in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Potsdam is looking to make history with not only their first German Bowl win, but a perfect season. Fortunately for them, history is on their side as every team in the GFL to have a perfect regular season since 2000 has been undefeated in the quarterfinals. Also, the only teams to miss the German Bowl have been the 2000 and 2001 Munich Cowboys. So, barring an upset, the Royals are heavy favorites from here until the championship game.

Straubing has been having a successful season in their own right, making the playoffs in their first year in the top league. They were on track to be as high as second place in the South. Unfortunately, a hand injury to their star running back, Lamar Carswell resulted in the team losing their last three games in the season and falling to fourth in their division. Nevertheless, they are here for a reason.

When it comes to the offense, the Spiders‘ biggest pillar was their running game, in which they were ranked as number one in the league (2126 yards, 28 touchdowns, 7.0 yards per attempt). Their best player, Carswell was making a strong case to be league MVP, by having the best season out of any running back this year with 1287 yards, 17 touchdowns, 11.6 yards per attempt and 143 yards per game. Due to breaking his hand in the eighth game of the season, he is out for the rest of the season. In his place, quarterback Raleigh Yeldell will have to be their main man running the ball. Yeldell has been a dual threat with the third highest yards per average ranking with 7.0 and has averaged 68.2 yards per game.

On defense, statistically they were middle of the pack, but they stood out in two key areas. For one, they have been second in the league in interceptions and secondly, linebacker Donovan Hayden has lead the league in total tackles per game with 11.7.

Compared to the Spiders, the Royals had easily the better offense, having the top ranked unit in the entire league with 2,012 rushing yards, 3,243 passing yards, 8.1 yards per attempt, 72 touchdowns, 525.5 yards per game and 514 points. It was lead by quarterback Chris Helbig, who had his own MVP-caliber season running the GFL’s best passing offense with 3,085 yards, 65% completion rate, 32 touchdowns, and 308.5 yards per game. His two main targets were wide receivers Jared Wolfe (133.6 yards per game, 14 touchdowns, 8.3 receptions/game) and Brandon Polk (112.3 yards per game, 11 touchdowns 6.0 receptions/game) who were in the top five for the whole league for receiving yards per game, touchdowns as well as receptions per game.

They are also a great rushing team too, ranked second in the GFL, with Helbig being a double threat going for 287 yards and 13 touchdowns for the season. His teammate, Finnish running back Karri Parjarinen meanwhile was the GFL’s second leading rusher carrying the ball 144 times for 1,014 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Although not quite on a par with their offense, Potsdam’s defense was still solid, ranking sixth in points allowed and 11th in total defense. The strength of the offense, it was able to override any shortcomings done by the defense. This was evident by their +236- point differential. Defensive back Manase Time led the team with 67 total tackles.

From every available metric, the Royals are clearly the heavy favorites with Straubing playing without the league’s top rusher. An upset is not likely in the making in this one.

Straubing Spiders @ Potsdam Royals, September 10, 15:00 CET, (3 pm, 9:00 am ET)


A recent graduate of Hofstra University in New York. He is currently a sports freelance journalist and podcaster