LIVESTREAM: German Quarterfinals – Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns Battle the Berlin Rebels

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns who finished first overall in the regular season in Germany with a perfect 14-0 record will play host to the upstart Berlin Rebels (fourth in the North) Saturday in the first game of the German Football League quarterfinal weekend.

This is familiar territory for the Unicorns. Head coach Siegfried Gehrke has taken his team to four of the last five German Bowls and won two of them, in 2011 and 2012. This is the first trip to the playoffs for Berlin head coach Kim Kuci and the Rebels since the team advanced to Germany’s top league in 2010.

The Unicorns swept through the regular season with the second best offense in the league and the third best defense. Schwäbisch Hall averaged 49.6 points per game while giving up 20.1. They will be facing a Rebels team with the best rushing offense in Germany averaging 218 yards a game although the Unicorns are tough against the run. They have surrendered just 96 rushing yards a game, good for second in the league.

Schwäbisch Hall ‘s offense relies on the pass averaging 285 yards a game second only to Dresden. Nevertheless, Berlin’s pass defense is not porous. They have held opponents to 189 yards a contest.


Unicorns WR Tyler Rutenbeck is deadly Photo: MANFRED LÖFFLER

Unicorns quarterback Marco Ehrenfried has taken his team to the past two German Bowls and is a veteran to playoff pressure. He led the league in passing efficiency with a rating of 210.6, tossing 58 touchdown passes against only five interceptions. His 3,772 total yards placed him second and two of his receivers, Tyler Rutenbeck and Patrick Donahue were among the top 10 in Germany.

Berlin will be hard pressed to keep Rutenbeck and Donahue under control. Rutenbeck led the league with 1,255 yards receiving while catching 20 touchdown passes. Donahue had 62 receptions for 948 yards and 21 touchdowns so the pair accounted for fully two thirds of Schwäbisch Hall ‘s passing touchdowns.


Berlin Rebels QB Terell Robinson Photo: Christian Gosslar

Berlin’s Lawrency McCoy has led a rushing attack unlike any other in Germany this season. He piled up 1,804 yards rushing scoring 23 touchdowns. He is, as they say, a “load” and a punishing runner. Quarterback Terell Robinson added another 883 yards rushing while throwing for 1,891 yards and 22 touchdowns. This combination makes the Rebels tough to stop.

Schwäbisch Hall running backs Anthony Bilal and Bastian Ziegler have combined for 1,671 yards giving the Unicorns a balanced attack.

The Unicorns topped the league in the key Turnover Margin category. In other words they created far more turnovers per game than they gave up. They had a rating of 1.29 per game. This could be a difference maker in this game.

This one is tough to predict. The Unicorns should prevail but only if they find a way to stop McCoy.

Kickoff: Saturday September 17, 5 PM CET (11 AM EDT)


Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.