Switzerland Hosts Dutch Lions in International American Football Tuneup Game

Team Switzerland will play host to the Dutch Lions this Saturday in Thun, Switzerland in a game both teams are using as a tuneup for their respective IFAF Europe qualifiers in September and October.

Switzerland’s last game was a 30-19 loss to Italy in January of this year while Team Holland defeated Team Catalonia from Spain 36-26 just over a year ago.

Swiss head coach Chris Winter has bolstered his coaching staff with the addition of Swiss champion Calanda Bronco’s head coach Geoff Buffum as offensive coordinator leaving Winter to handle the defense. Winter is cautious in explaining the importance of the game:

“We are looking at this game strictly as a means to evaluate players for our qualifier against Slovakia the following week.”

Team Switzerland v Team Italy

Team Switzerland taking the field against Italy in 2014

Team Switzerland will be playing without regular starting quarterback Dea Baumann who is attending college in the United States. Instead they will rely on the “quarterback by committee approach” rotating Tim Liechti (London Blitz), Marcel Niklaus and Steven Mueller. Veteran receiver Brian Keene is questionable also but Adrian Suenderhauf and Dalvin Sollberger will see plenty of playing time. Key offensive lineman Daniel Shachar will anchor a veteran unit.

On defense, Holland has to keep an eye out for middle linebacker Michael Wilhelmy who is fast and smart, and also strong safety Jeffrey Provencal who hits as hard as anyone. In addition, Winter has converted Alex Raich from receiver to safety for this contest.

Team Holland Head Coach Reyhan Agaoglu will also be missing key starters including running back Chris Smith and receiver Tom van Duijn as well as American/Dutch receiver Evan Landi all of whom are playing a key playoff game in Germany this weekend with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

Nevertheless he will still have veteran national team quarterback Richard Bouthoorn under center protected by an offensive line anchored by Errol Zeefuik. Wide receiver Dylan von Gerhardt is a key target for Bouthoorn. The running back spot will see a rotation with Miquel Castelen, Kevin Wesseling and Glenn van Gorcum.

Team Holland - Kevin Bourne

Kevin Bourne

On defense, linebacker Kevin Bourne continues to be a force for the Lions who have proven to be tough to run against. Up front, Nick Meijers is a key on the defensive line while defensive back Stephan van der Veen leads a secondary that has become very cohesive and could give the Swiss quarterbacks some problems.

Although neither team considers the outcome of this game to be crucial, they both need it to finalize their rosters for both important qualifying games.

Holland faces Belgium on October 24 to determine who will play in the Group B tournament while Switzerland plays Team Slovakia September 26.

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.