Preview: Austrian Bowl XXX – Raiffeisen Vienna Vikings vs Swarco Raiders

So what to expect for this the 30th Austrian Bowl? Here is a preview of all you need to know!

After a tough period at mid-season (three losses in four games), the Vikings have been on a roll and are finishing strong. It is not how you start but how you finish, right? Check out this full preview of Austrian Bowl XXX which will be played at NV Arena in St Pölten. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CET, 1 p.m. EST. You will be able to watch the game streamed LIVE HERE!

These teams have met twice this season. The Vikings totally dominated the first game between them, 41-14, but it was the first game of the year. The Raiders took their revenge six weeks later in their second matchup, 22-20, thanks to a couple of big plays on offense and a Vikings team diminished by the absence of their star QB.

Vienna Vikings Offense v. Swarco Raiders Defense

The Vikings being back on track coincides with #8 QB Christoph Gross being his old self again. Not that he was playing bad but maybe a little tentative since coming back from an early season injury. In the last four games, he has been on fire: passing at 67.2%, with 1,108 yards, 17 TDs, 2 INTs.

It has to be fun to play quarterback with such a great cast of wide receivers. Speedy #6 Laurinho Walch (751 yards, 20 yards per catch) and physical #88 Stefan Postel are on the outside. #7 Dominik Bubik is quick and explosive in the slot. TE #11 Manuel Thaller is a matchup nightmare at over 2 meters tall. Good luck defending those playmakers!

Laurinho Walch

 The Swarco Raiders pass defense has been exposed most of the year, allowing 315 passing yards per game in the regular season, the worst in the league (573 yards in one game against Prague). It is a young backfield even if safety #21 Markus Krause brings experience.

Head coach and defensive coordinator Shuan Fatah is a zone defense guy, he doesn’t play much straight man to man and anyway, he doesn’t have the personnel to do so against those Vikings receivers. He changed his defense to a 3-4 front this season. You can expect him to drop eight defenders in pass coverage most the time to counter the Vikings passing game. But can the Raiders put enough pressure on Gross with only a three man rush? Nobody wants to give Gross too much time to throw the ball. Plus, since the Vikings parted away with their American RB, his Austrian former backup, #20 Islaam Amadu, has been a pleasant surprise (163 yards versus Prague) behind a banged-up but very good offensive line. Also, don’t think the Vikings offense is one dimensional. Head coach and offensive coordinator Chris Calaycay loves play-action pass plays and he needs to set up the running game for that to work.

Innsbruck has really struggled defensively at times (457 total yards and +30 points allowed per game in the regular season). They gave up 51 points to Graz and 62 to Prague earlier this season, but they have improved in the last few games, shutting down the Dragons in semifinal and giving up only 18 points to Berlin in their Big 6 matchup. The Raiders’ veteran linebackers, #2 Florian Hueter and #36 Philipp Margreiter will have to step up big time. The defensive line will have to put pressure on Gross. Watch for Margreiter to be the extra guy blitzing on a regular basis.

Next Page: Swarco Raiders Offense vs Vienna Vikings Defense

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Vincent Lelard
Vincent Lelard is a Frenchman and former Head Coach of La Courneuve Flash (France) and Offensive Coordinator of the Vienna Vikings (Austria). He has been involved in American Football in Europe for almost 25 years. Today he lives in Vienna and follows the game as a fan.
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