LIVE STREAM: Big6 – Milano Seaman v. Samsung Frankfurt Universe (3p CEST, 9p EDT)

The Milano Seamen are in the driver’s seat Sunday when they face Germany’s Frankfurt Universe in Frankfurt for a berth in the Eurobowl final against the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

A win by the Seamen will secure them a spot in a final that has long eluded Italian teams. The last time an Italian team advanced to the Eurobowl final was 2005 when the Bergamo Lions reached the title game only to lose to the Vienna Vikings.

But they have to get past the Universe, a team which made it to the German quarterfinals in 2016 in its first year in the league.

Frankfurt still would need to beat the Berlin Rebels to reach the final if they beat Milano.

Milano enters the game feeling confident after upsetting the Rebels two weeks ago in Milano 14-13. The heat and the crowd obviously helped the Italian 2016 semifinalists but their defense also rose to the occasion. Time and again Berlin’s powerful running game which led the German league in 2016, was stymied by Seamen defensive coordinator Randy Beverly and his defense.

Milano QB Luke Zahradka Photo: Dario Fumagalli

Seamen  quarterback Luke Zahradka who is also the Italian national team quarterback, is always dangerous. He is the third leading passer in the Italian league but can carry the ball as well. Receiver Reece Horn is his favorite target so expect him to be around the ball.

Running backs  Danilo Bonaparte and Mattia Binda could be a factor. The Seamen have added also imports Solomon St. Pierre (defensive back) and Tyler Drake (defensive lineman) for this game. Drake was the Ivy League

The Frankfurt Universe enjoyed a remarkable first season in Germany’s top league in 2016, advancing to the quarterfinals and winning the European Football League title, beating Holland’s Amsterdam Crusaders in the final.

Frankfurt QB Mike Wegzyn Photo: Gamma Sigma Sport

The team has undergone a few changes. Mike Wegzyn (UMass) has stepped in at quarterback in place of Marcus McDade, and the club signed running backs Silas Nacita and Sean Richards from Holland. Nacita was the third leading rusher in Germany with Marburg last season and Richards led the Dutch league. Nacita had 166 yards rushing against Stuttgart in Frankfurt’s first game of the year.

Other key returning players include wide receivers David Giron and George Robinson.

The Universe had the number one defense in Germany in 2016 and their win over Stuttgart is evidence they have picked up where they left off. Last season they allowed only 12.2 points per game. This could well turn into a battle of defenses with Beverly and Frankfurt defensive coordinator Thomas Kösling in a battle of wits.

Kickoff: Sunday May 7, 3 pm CET (9 am EDT)

Photo credits: Gamma Sigma Sport, Dario Fumagalli.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!