Polish Semifinals: Bydgoszcz Archers vs Wroclaw Panthers – The Coaches

For the first time ever, the Wroclaw Panthers and Bydgoszcz Archers will face each other in the Polish playoffs.

While the Panthers have been here many times before, this is Bydgoszcz’s first trip to a playoff game in the Polish top league.

Earlier this season, Wroclaw downed the Archers 58-0.

Wroclaw head coach Kuba Samel and his counterpart Mateusz Marciniak of the Archers, took the time to answer a few questions from American Football International about managing to play a season during a pandemic, preparations for the game and the status of their respective teams.

How has it felt being able to play football when so much of the sports world is still shut down?

Samel: It was a great feeling when we got the opportunity to come back, practice and play the game we love.

Marciniak: It is a great privilege for us in these uncertain times. It is with great joy that we take advantage of every opportunity given to us this year.

How satisfied are you with your season so far?

Samel: In the regular season we did win every game but there was still a lot of room for improvement. Now with the playoffs the regular season records don’t count so we are still focused on getting better with each practice.

Marciniak: Despite our first year, I believe that we as a club have made a huge leap forward together that I hope will bear fruit in the future. However, there is still a lot of work ahead of us to compete as equals at the highest level.

Where do you need to improve in preparing for the game Saturday?

Samel: There’s a lot of small mistakes that we need to address. During the course of a season you need to constantly focus on fundamentals like pad level, tackling, blocking and ball security because if you don’t emphasis it every practice it can cost you in the most important moment.

Marciniak: Our opponent is very solid, but most of all we have to focus on game plan execution. The second thing is self confidence and the same commitment of all players on the field.

Which players do you need to be especially prepared for?

Samel: We are always aware of the overall talent of the team and we need to be ready for every player they will highlight with their game plan. With a different QB it will be a totally different game this time so we will need to adjust and play fundamentally sound football.

Marciniak: The Panthers have very good imports, but also a line-up of Polish players, which does not differ far from the contract players. However, we focus the most on Thiadric Hansen.

Is the team healthy?

Samel: Yes, we are healthy and we have some players coming back from injury to help with our depth

Marciniak: Despite the shortened season and fewer matches so far, a few players will not be able to dress because of injuries. Some players are also in quarantine due to Covid-19, who will also not be able to take part in the match. This is a very bad omen for us, although we do not lose faith and we know that we want to fight as equals.

Watch the game live here. Bydgoszcz Archers @ Wroclaw Panthers, Oct. 31, 14:00 CET (08:00 ET)

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