LIVESTREAM: Swissbowl XXXV – Bern Grizzlies @ Calanda Broncos, October 2, 18:00 CET (6 pm, 10 am)

Tonight under the lights in Rankof Stadion in Basel, Switzerland, the country’s top two teams will meet in the 35th annual Swiss Bowl.

The Bern Grizzlies (8-1) and Calanda Broncos (8-1) will meet for the third time in the title game’s history. This season, the two teams split the regular-season series as the home team won their matchups.

The Calanda Broncos are led into the championship once again by head coach Geoff Buffum. Buffum is in search of his fourth championship with the Broncos while the team looks to win its fourth consecutive Swiss Bowl, and 10th overall in their 11th straight appearance.

Offensively, Connor Manning returns under center leading Switzerland’s top-scoring offense. The former Georgia State Panther (NCAA D1) has guided the Broncos to a Swiss bowl victory before, helping them capture the title in 2019. Fans can anticipate Manning’s to find receivers Greg Calonego and Severin Murk in an offense that loves the deep ball. Another one of Manning’s favorite targets, Maxwell Gray remains a game-time decision as he battles an injury. Expect the former NAIA All-American to make a big impact if he can play. On the ground, veteran Erik Rageth will aim to move the sticks and control the clock behind a large and experienced offensive line. Geoff Buffum on the teams attitude heading into Saturday:

“I think the players are very excited for the chance to play in the Swiss Bowl after this long season. We are 1-1 vs. Bern this season, so we are expecting another tough battle in the final.”

Defensively, the Broncos have a plethora of experience as the physical unit has played together for many years. This year, the veteran unit gave up the least points in the Swiss National League. Edge defender Marco Mahrer looks to bring the pressure off the edge, just as he did in last week’s semifinal terrorizing Winterthur. Next to him, French nose tackle Michel Sousa is a quick and skilled lineman who can defend the run well. In the defensive backfield, cornerback Sebastian Katz is eager to help his team to get another Swiss Bowl title.

Two-time Swiss Bowl champion Clark Evans leads the underdog Bern Grizzlies. Evans won the Swiss Bowl in 2017 and 2018 as a member of the Broncos. Now he looks to knock off a Swiss football dynasty he helped build. The 6’4″ 240 pound quarterback has the ability to tuck it and run, as well and find receivers in stride. Expect the veteran signal-caller to target goto wide receiver Dominik Stucki often. Running back Mortiz Stein should also see some touches out of the backfield. Quarterback Clark Evans commented on what it will take to beat the defending champs:

“We have to limit mistakes, in the 2nd game against the Broncos we had far too many turnovers. We need to play confident and fast, let loose and have fun.”

Bern‘s defense struggled against the Broncos in their last meeting giving up 35 points. If defensive linemen Dominik Leichti and Tim Hänni can shed blockers and disrupt the Bronco’s passing game, it could shift the momentum of the game in Bern’s favor. On the outside, cornerback Cedric Cordy has the ball skills to cause turnovers along with the speed to cover some of the Broncos’ best weapons. Linebacker Andreas Büro is another key player to watch as his athleticism and physicality have made him one of Bern’s top tacklers. However, the undersized Grizzlies must hold up in the trenches against a physical Broncos offensive line to pull off the upset tonight.

The Grizzlies are excited to be back in the title game for the first time since 2016. Meanwhile, the Broncos look to continue their dominance regardless of their opponents. With two exciting matchups already this season, it’s only fitting that the Swiss Bowl serves as the grudge match between the countries top two teams.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football