Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns reach championship game again in season filled with adversity

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns have been one of the pinnacle teams in the German Football League the for the better part of the last 10 years having reached the title game nine straight times and won the championship three. However, there were some definite question marks heading into the 2023 GFL season for the Unicorns.

Just a little over a year ago, following the Unicorns fifth championship win since 2011, the European football world was shocked to hear that long time Schwäbisch Hall head coach, Jordan Neuman, would be leaving the Unicorns to take over the Stuttgart Surge of the European League of Football. According to Neuman, it was frustration with the management and direction of Germany’s top league that was the driving force for his departure. Neuman would not leave empty handed however, bringing multiple coaches and 23 players with him from Schwäbisch Hall to Stuttgart.

So, what does a team do after losing a coach that led them to three German Bowl championships and half of their roster?

Well, there are two ways you could go about the situation. You could pack it in and accept the rebuilding process or you can fight through the adversity and find your way back to the league championship. Under new head coach Christian Rothe, this is something the 2023 Unicorns have successfully done.

However, it was not easy to get back to glory. Rothe and Schwäbisch Hall had a rocky start after losing two of their first three games. Under new quarterback Ian Gehrke, this would be the first time the Unicorns would lose two regular season games since 2014 when they started 2-2. They would also end up in the German Bowl that season, losing 47-9 to the New Yorker Lions.

Fast forward to 2023, they would find themselves in the same position. The Unicorns would bounce back from their rocky start, winning eight straight before losing in the final week. Ending their season at the top of the GFL South with a 9-3 record.

Rothe has done much more than imaginable getting this Unicorns team back to playing championship caliber football. On offense, Schwäbisch Hall ranks second in the GFL in total rush yards (2,190). Defensively, the Unicorns have given up the third fewest points per game with 20.1.

Their opponent in the final game of the 2023 season, the Potsdam Royals, just so happens to be the same team that was their first opponent of 2023. The game ended 44-30 as the Unicorns walked away with the loss. This second matchup will be a true test to showcase just how much this Unicorns team has grown throughout this season of adversity.

On Saturday, October 14, Schwäbisch Hall not only gets a chance at revenge, but also a chance to prove all of their doubters wrong and capture another German Bowl title.

Noah Costantino is a student and football player at Baldwin Wallace University in Cleveland, Ohio. Fueled by his love for the game he looks to continue his knowledge of football at an international level. He is majoring in Communications with a