Top 8 German Football League teams head into the playoffs

With the German Football League’s regular season having drawn to a close, it’s time for eight teams to shift their focus to the playoffs which kick off this coming weekend, while the other teams have gone home for an early offseason.

With the opening games around the corner, let’s take a look at who made the cut.

GFL North

1. Potsdam Royals – 11-1

Over the course of this season, the battle for first place in the GFL North has been an intense one, with three teams holding the top spot for multiple weeks. After a prior loss to the Dresden Monarchs, the Royals took the throne in the rematch, blowing the Monarchs out 57-21. 

After falling just short of a German Bowl Championship last season against the Unicorns, Potsdam made some big changes, including the quarterback position. As Chris Helbig headed off to the European League of Football where he led the Vienna Vikings to the league’s first ever undefeated season, the Royals brought in Boise State standout and X-League MVP Jaylon Henderson. 

The dual-threat Henderson took the league by storm with a five touchdown performance in his first game where he led the Royals to a win over the Unicorns, before going on to put up consistently impressive performances. Assisted of course by his favorite targets such as Simon Føns and Brandon Polk, Henderson put up 3,212 yards and 40 touchdowns, while picking up 565 yards and 10 scores with his legs.

Defensively, Ronaldo Tomassello had another great regular season campaign as he picked up four interceptions. Up front, Zach Hale ranked top 10 in the league with an average of 7.7 tackles per game.

The Royals will begin their postseason campaign with a matchup against the Ingolstadt Dukes.

2. Dresden Monarchs – 10-2

 Aside from their two losses, one of which came against the Royals while the other came in an uncharacteristic performance against the Berlin Rebels, the Monarchs have dominated every team in their path. Most recently, they handed the Paderborn Dolphins a 50-14 loss to close the regular season. With the absence of the league’s premier wideout Austin Mitchell, running back Nico Barrow took the spotlight. Barrow put up insane numbers, recording 931 rushing yards on 145 attempts, alongside 47 receptions for 506 yards with a total of five touchdowns.

Throughout the season Dresden’s passing game has been near-unstoppable, with quarterback Steven Duncan having racked up just shy of 3,983 passing yards and 51 touchdowns. Between Austin Mitchell and Tommy Wilson, Duncan has not been deprived of passing options; Mitchell leads almost every receiving stat by a landslide, averaging 173 all-purpose yards per game, while Wilson sits comfortably in the top five in most categories.

Dresden will look to continue their dominance in the first round of the playoffs in what will certainly be a high-scoring affair against the Saarland Hurricanes. The teams last faced off in the first half of the season, resulting in a 63:32 home win for the Monarchs.

3. Braunschweig New Yorker Lions – 10-2

Although the Lions had the longest-lasting undefeated streak, winning their opening five games in a convincing manner, losses to the Monarchs and Royals respectively placed them in the third seed. The loss to Potsdam came in one of the most intense offensive shootouts of the season, before they took a trip to Dresden amidst a Karé Lyles injury which resulted in a blowout defeat.

The main attraction of the Braunschweig offense has been British back D’wayne Obi, who has taken the GFL by storm and leads rushing yards by a significant margin with 1,224 yards, while second place barely scraped past the 1,000 yard mark. Defensively, they lead the league with 20 interceptions with five apiece from Matthew Soldner and Nigel Lawrence who share second place in the league. 

The Lions will take on the Allgäu Comets to open their playoff campaign.

4. Berlin Rebels – 6-6

The Rebels have had a mixed bag of a season, winning against Dresden Monarchs unexpectedly before taking a loss to a struggling Paderborn Dolphins side. The Rebels struggled to find an identity all season long, starting out the season with a strong run game before a string of injuries and poor performances from their backfield weapons began to hinder their offense.

Their last game was a 23-0 loss against the Braunschweig NY Lions. The game saw quarterback Dario Dobrolevski get off to a poor start before the Rebels replaced him with GFL debutant Hamish McClure, formerly of the UWE Bullets, who did not do much better at the helm of the stagnant offensive unit. A bright spot of the Rebels throughout every game has been wideout Bryce Goggin who holds sixth place in receiving yards and fourth in touchdowns (1,075, 16).

They will open up their postseason with a tough matchup against the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns.

GFL South

1. Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns – 9-3

Despite ending their season with a 36-30 loss to the Saarland Hurricanes, the Unicorns managed to secure the top seed in the South yet again. 

In a roster of almost entirely new players, long-time Unicorns Mike Gentili and Caleb Schweigart stood out. In his 10 appearances, Gentili racked up 893 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, while Schweigart asserted himself among the top 10 receivers taking in 59 catches for 821 yards and seven touchdowns. Replacing the now Stuttgart Surge passer Reilly Hennessey, Ian Gehrke completed 56% of passes for 1,978 yards and 21 scores but tossed 16 interceptions. On defense, Monteze Latimore dominated the competition with a mind-boggling nine interceptions. 

The Unicorns will face the Rebels in the first round of the playoffs as they look for a repeat of last season’s German Bowl victory.

2. Allgäu Comets – 9-3

A dramatic win over the Ingolstadt Dukes in the final week of the regular season saw the Comets secure the second seed in the South, with their week one 52-48 win over the Saarland Hurricanes proving crucial to both teams’ seeding.

Led by quarterback Javarian Smith, the Comets boast a top four passing offense. Smith has been instrumental in the team’s success, accounting for 53 of the 56 total touchdowns scored by Allgäu. The dual-threat has passed for 3,494 yards and 44 touchdowns alongside leading his team on the ground with 606 yards and nine scores. Nathanael Stewart leads the league in receiving touchdowns (23) while sitting top five in receptions (79) and yards (1,146). Linebacker Matt Barrett has dominated on defense, leading the league with an average of 11.2 tackles per game.

The Comets will face one of their toughest challenges yet as they play host to the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions.

3. Saarland Hurricanes – 9-3

The Hurricanes have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in the GFL, with an incredibly dynamic offense and a seemingly non-existent defense, causing every game to turn into a shootout. Quarterback Robby Rowell has led the offense to be the third highest scoring in the league, averaging 38.75 points per game. Rowell has been the most dominant dual-threat quarterback in the league this season, holding a top five spot in passing yards and touchdowns while being a top three rusher and leading the league in rushing touchdowns. The ex-Cal Golden Bear finished the season with 3,176 passing yards and 919 rushing yards, with 50 total touchdowns.

Saarland will take on Dresden in a rematch of their 63-32 loss earlier this season.

4. Ingolstadt Dukes – 6-6

Following an undefeated 2022 campaign in GFL2, Ingolstadt have made it clear that they belong in the big leagues. Tough scheduling saw them open up the season 1-3 with two losses coming to the Unicorns and the other to Saarland, but the Dukes have since recovered and put the league on notice with some impressive performances. 

Gabriel Boccella has put up some serious numbers at receiver, hauling in 89 receptions for 1,288 yards and 18 scores, with 2,202 all-purpose yards. Boccella has had five 100-yard performances, including one 218 yard, three score performance against the Hurricanes. Defensively, both Nikita Chereminskiy and Rashad Greene have secured an impressive four interceptions.

The Dukes have a mountain of a task ahead of them as they travel to take on the Potsdam Royals to open their postseason.

A current student at Bournemouth University as well as a quarterback with eight years of playing experience. Brad's goal is to be a part of the growth of the game around the world through journalism and media.