Sweden’s defending champion Stockholm Mean Machines head over to Helsinki, Finland to face the reigning Finnish champion Helsinki Roosters in the opening game of the IFAF’s European Club Team Championship tournament, Saturday, April 13.
The Roosters have undergone a few changes since winning the Finnish crown in 2018. New head coach Mikko Koikkalainen starts the season with Miro Kadmiry. Kadmiry led Team Finland to the bronze medal in the 2018 IFAF European Championships. He will still have the Roosters leading receiver from 2018, Adam Connette.
The Mean Machines, who stunned the Swedish football community last week by decisively beating the Carlstad Crusaders 33-13, are healthy and confident. Head coach Fredrik Pilbäck has brought in Austrian national team quarterback Alex Thury who looked solid last week completing 16 of 26 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns. His wide receivers Omar Fall, Per Lindelöf and Hans Maximilian von Wachsmann are all dangerous. Also at his disposal is Alpha Jalloh who is the joker. While listed as a WR/RB, Jalloh can play both ways and on special teams. His athleticism and versatility will keep the Roosters on their toes.
Defensively, Helsinki may have the edge. In 2018, they allowed a league-low 16.6 points a game and in the playoffs lowered it to 10.5. They are playing with only one import on defense, French national team defensive lineman, Camille Gruel.