The Parma Panthers (2-0) enter the weekend as the number one team in Italy and will play host to the Firenze Guelfi (0-1) in this third week of play in Italy’s Division 1.
The Panthers are eager to extend their winning streak while Guelfi is searching for an identity in only their second game of the season. The last time these two teams faced each other was in 2019 when Firenze came out on top, 27-17.
The Firenze Geulfi lost their season opener at home last week to the defending champion Milano Seamen 33-7. NFL veteran coach Steve Hagen will surely make some adjustments in order to get his team in a better position against another tough opponent. Defensively, former five star recruit and Notre Dame safety Max Redfield is a player to watch as his ball hawking and hard hitting play style could change the momentum of any game. Last week, the only Guelfi player to score was quarterback Andrea Fimiani (the only Italian quarterback in the First Division).
Fimiani on the matchup with Parma:
“We didn’t play like we wanted in our first game, but like coach Hagen says: it’s only a loss if you don’t learn. And we learned a lot. This makes us want to step on the field again more than ever to show who we really are.”
The Panthers enter their third week of the season with a ton of momentum. Their impressive 42-32 victory over the previously unbeaten Milano Rhinos showed how dangerous their offense can be. Strong play from their offensive line and running backs was the backbone of the Parma victory. One versatile part of this offense was Nick Diaco, a former Colgate University (NCAA D1 FCS) tight end, who has played quarterback, receiver, and even defensive line for the Panthers. Diaco scored three touchdowns in last week’s victory bringing his total to five on the season.
Diaco on matchup with the Guelfi:
“Florence was in the last championship, so we need to play great, smart, football. We want to get to 3-0 as we go into the bye week.”
Defensively, ex XFL linebacker Asantay Brown has been a key player for the Panthers, forcing two fumbles in last week’s victory. This week, the team announced that Italian defensive back Guiseppe Dellavacchia has signed on with the team, transferring from the Bolzano Giants. Dellavecchia, will join a secondary lead by Simone Alinovi who has been a two-way star for Parma scoring three times as a receiver while recording one interception and one fumble recovery on defense.
This is a great chance for fans of Italian football to see how Firenze responds to their disappointing season opener. For the home team Panthers, they’ll want to keep the momentum going their win extending their winning streak to three games at the halfway point of the regular season.
Watch the game live here. Firenze Guelfi @ Parma Panthers, April 25, 15:00 CET (3 pm, 09:00 am ET)
Parma Panthers roster (Click to enlarge)
Firenze Guelfi roster (Click to enlarge)