The IFAF Europe Champions League kicks back into gear this weekend with a full offering in the final round of the group stage. The full standings are available at ifafeurope.org.
After this weekend the group winners will be established and will advance to the Champions League Final Four.
This year the tournament was awarded to Belgrade, Serbia and will be held July 24-26.
Check out our previews of the May 16th matchups!
[tps_title]IFAF Europe Champions League[/tps_title]
Champions League West
Madrid’s Osos Rivas (Spain) (0-1) v. London Blitz (Great Britain) (1-0)
If ever there was a foregone conclusion in the group round this may well be it.
Two weeks ago, the Blitz defeated the other team in this group, the Aix Argonautes, the number two team in France right now, 27-21. On April 18, the Argonautes turned back Osos Rivas 47-14.
Last week, the Spanish number two team folded their tents in losing to their Spanish rivals the Valencia Firebats 76-0.
The Blitz will be moving on to the semi-finals.
[tps_title]Champions League North[/tps_title]
Carlstad Crusaders (Sweden) (1-0) v. Helsinki Roosters (Finland) (1-0)
This game could be very interesting. Each team has beaten the Copenhagen Towers, the third team in the group, although Helsinki had more of a struggle winning 13-0, while not scoring in the second half. Carlstad on the other hand, cruised to a 34-9 victory and look poised to advance to the semis.
However, Helsinki is the reigning champion and beat the Crusaders in last year’s group match up 42-30 after falling behind 17-0 in the first half.
The Crusaders have undergone a coaching change since their game against the Towers so are still trying to get back on track. This one is a toss up.
[tps_title]Champions League Central[/tps_title]
L’Hospitalet Pioners (Spain) (0-1) v. Thonon Black Panthers (France) (1-0)
Here again, the outcome of this game seems predictable. The Pioners will not qualify for the Spanish playoffs and lost to the Milano Seamen 37-14 in CL action on April 18. The Black Panthers hosted Milano May 2 and put in a solid performance in beating the Seamen 32-23.
The Spanish team has struggled this year with a new head coach and the departure of some key Spanish veteran players. The Black Panthers have begun to find their stride in the French league and climbed back into third after being out of a playoff spot for much of the season. It seems that they are poised to move into the IFAF Champions League semis as well.
[tps_title]Champions League East[/tps_title]
Ljubjana Silverhawks (Slovenia) (0-1) v. Istanbul Bogazici Sultans (Turkey) (0-1)
Since the Vukovi Belgrade from Serbia has already advanced to the semis after defeating both these clubs, this would seem to be an uninteresting game. However, this could be the best game of the weekend.
The Silverhawks gave Vukovi all they could handle in the opening game on April 18 finally succumbing 26-24. Meanwhile, the Sultans were no pushovers either in their May 2 meeting with the Serbian champions taking a 13-6 halftime lead, before losing 34-19.