As Prague Black Panthers head coach Petr Vitovec prepares his team to face the 14 time Austrian champions, the Dacia Vienna Vikings, Sunday in the Austrian Football League semifinals, he answered a few questions about his team’s preparations.
The two teams faced each other twice during the regular season with Vienna coming out the winner both times, 28-7 and 29-3. However, Prague enters the game on a four-game winning streak while the Vikings dropped the ECTC final two weeks ago to the Swarco Raiders.
The Black Panthers reached the semifinal after defeating the SonicWall Mödling Rangers in the wild card playoffs, in a game that was much closer than expected.
AFI: Your team seems to be peaking at the right time although the Rangers gave you a tougher time than expected. How do you feel going into this game?
Vitovec: We have prepared well. I think we are different team compared to our last game with Vikings, especially on the offense and the play offs are play offs there can happen everything.
AFI: In the two games against the Vikings this year, Dylan Potts has thrown for a total of 110 yards although his has rushed for almost twice that much. Will you ask him to go to the air a bit more in this game?
Vitovec: I don’t want open so much our cards but we are completely different team compare to regular season. We developed good our passing game in last 3-4 games and we we would like show this also against a very good defense that the Vikings have.
AFI: With Potts and Herbert Gamboa, you have by far the best rushing attack in Austria with an excellent offensive line. You also have excellent receivers in Stiegler, Wolesky and Tesar. How can you get them more involved?
Vitovec: It is a similar answer. We are getting better and better and we are involving our wide receiving corps more and more.
AFI: This is the first year the Black Panthers are playing in a semifinal game in Austria since 2015. That must give the team a lot of incentive.
Vitovec: Yes, i know everybody in our team is ready to play and is ready to show Austrian fans how much we have developed in the last few years. But for us, it is very important to be a strong and important part of the Austrian Football League over many years, and not just for one season.
AFI: Is everyone healthy for this game?
Vitovec: It is end of the season and almost everybody is playing a little hurt and everyone has some pain. But this is playoff football. We are looking forward to playing the Vikings on Sunday and showing off our best football. The keyword is “ALL IN”.
Watch the game live here on American Football International, Sunday, July 14, 4 pm Central European Daylight Time.