Jordan Neuman is preparing to head into German Bowl XLI, his third straight German Football League championship game as Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns head coach since taking over the reins in 2017.
This will be the second time he prepares his team to face the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, the team he usurped two years ago as title holders after the Lions had won four titles in a row. But it will be the fifth time in six years these two have faced each other in the final. The Unicorns have won one of the previous four encounters but have won the last two title games.
Both teams enter the game unbeaten. You couldn’t ask for a better final.
AFI asked Neuman about his preparations for the game, his thoughts about his opponents and the legacy he has built.
AFI: You are heading into your third straight German Bowl as head coach of the Unicorns. Has your approach to preparation changed at all over the years?
Neuman: Over the past years we have found a good routine for our preparation as far as scheduling goes. Preparing for the game itself its just a step by step process over the last two weeks. We break things down best we can to make sure by game time everything is installed and ready to go.
AFI: Your team is again entering this game unbeaten, for the third year in a row. How do you keep your players from becoming over confident?
Neuman: Our football team has confidence in our ability as a team for sure. Having said that we have such a strong respect for every opponent we face that we understand it will take our best football every week to win. With that mindset I feel it eliminates any problems of over confidence or overlooking an opponent which we would not do.
AFI: The New Yorker Lions are your foes for the fifth time in six years. Is this a special feeling or does it make any difference who you are facing?
Neuman: Every German Bowl has a different storyline to it so the fact that it is New Yorker Lions does not make it any more or less special. They are a great team with a great tradition in the GFL so its not surprising that this is our German Bowl matchup. But its the German Bowl so that makes this game special regardless of who we play.
AFI: The Lions run game was by far the best in the league led by Chris McClendon. Does your game plan change drastically facing a team with such a one-sided rushing attack or do you just rely on fundamentals of a good defense?
Neuman: Our game plans change every week throughout the entire year regardless of the opponent. Fundamentals and technique always play a major roll in that but our entire team is used to adjusting on a week to week basis and its no different for this game as well.
AFI: Your team was second behind the Lions in rushing, but they are also stingiest against the run. Without revealing any secrets, how can you attack that defense?
Neuman: Its a great defense who is very well coached and has a lot of talent as well. We have to be on top of the details of the game plan and play fast. Even the smallest mistakes will be taken advantage of so we certainly have to play our best football on Saturday.
AFI: Jadrian Clark came to you from the Lions. Does this give you an advantage in terms of how you face their defense?
Neuman: There are no major advantages we get due to Jadrian having played there last year. There is a small help that he knows the personnel but to be honest at this point I’m certain both teams know each others personnel very well regardless.
AFI: Their passing game, while not the most prolific, was among the most efficient. What do you have to look out for?
Neuman: They do a good job of mixing in the pass and play action pass with their run game. So even though they are not a big passing team its still a legit threat we have to be aware of, especially due to the fact they have very good WRs that can make big plays at anytime.
AFI: Your team has a habit of winning close games and this one could very well be a close game. Does this give you a measure of confidence?
Neuman: We have played in many close games over the years so I do fully believe we will be ready to handle whatever situations we face as we expect a very tough football game on Saturday.