Two of the top teams in Germany, and in Europe, will clash this weekend as the 6-2 Dresden Monarchs, currently third in the German North Division, will play host to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes who are second and also have a 6-2 record.
The last time these two teams met on June 13, the Hurricanes outlasted Dresden 21-17 after taking an early 14-0 lead. The key to that matchup was Kiel’s rush defense as they held one of the top running backs in the league Donald Russell to 44 yards rushing and the entire Monarchs team combined to a mere five yards.
Kiel quarterback Blake Bolles enters the game as the leading passer in Germany averaging 326 yards and four touchdowns per game. However, Dresden’s defense held him to 210 yards in their previous meeting and intercepted him twice. His counterpart for the Monarchs, Jake Medlock only joined the team after their month long break and has played in the last three contests, all victories.
The rushing attacks of both teams are formidable though, and comparable. Dresden’s Russell is third in the GFL in rushing averaging a little over 102 yards per game while scoring 14 touchdowns. Andreas Hofbauer from the Hurricanes is right behind him at 101 yards a game but has only made it to the end zone three times.
Kiel receiver Tyler Davis has had banner year recording 64 catches for 1,113 yards and 17 touchdowns, all tops in Germany. He is also one of the best pass defenders in the league with five interceptions to his credit. Monarch receiver Guillaume Rioux has been one of the elite receivers in the German league for many years and this season is no exception as he is averaging 74 yards per game. His teammate Jan Hilgenfeldt has also played well in 2015 with 39 receptions for 529 yards and seven touchdowns. In fact, Dresden is the only team in the GFL with two receivers in the top 10.
Defensively, overall there is nothing much to separate the two as Kiel has allowed 266 yards per game good for fifth in the league while Dresden is right behind giving up 268 yards per contest. However, the difference shows up when taking a closer look. Kiel’s defense gives up less than 90 yards a game rushing while Dresden allows almost 140 yards. Hurricanes linebacker Ryan Newell is a key as he is fourth in Germany with 58 tackles and five sacks.
However, the Monarchs have far and away the best pass defense in Germany only allowing an average of 139 yards passing a game compared to Kiel who at number seven gives up 177 yards a game. Dresden’s Damien Donaldson tops the league in interceptions with six.
Monarchs head coach John Leijten is a veteran of the European football wars while Stephen Parker, head coach of the Hurricanes is in only his second season as a coach in Europe and his first as a head coach. Nevertheless they lead two outstanding football teams and the winner of this contest will likely have homefield advantage through much of the playoffs.