Vienna Vikings look to remain unbeaten against Berlin Thunder

The Vienna Vikings will put their undefeated record in the European League of Football on the line on Saturday when they host the Berlin Thunder in an Eastern Conference battle.

Last week, the defending champions were put to the test at home by a scrappy Wroclaw Panthers team.  The Vikings trailed 21-7 late in the second quarter but would not surrender any more points the rest of the way, as they rallied to win 24-21.  While the Panthers deserve credit for their hard-fought performance with a quarterback making his team debut, the Vikings probably should have been able to win that game much more comfortably.  They likely cannot afford to play at the same level this week as they did last week, as they face a talented Berlin team that has won three in a row.

After starting their season 2-2, the Thunder now sit at 5-2 and in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference behind Vienna.  Admittedly, their last three games were against the Leipzig Kings, Fehervar Enthroners, and Prague Lions, three weak opponents, but the Thunder won each matchup quite comfortably.  Last week in Prague, the Thunder won by a wide margin of 43-6, but there were a few reasons for them to be concerned despite the outcome.  Most notable among them was the fact that Berlin turned the ball over a whopping seven times, including four fumbles and three interceptions.  That statistic against any decent team would almost certainly result in a loss, but Prague is a team that has not won a game on a football field in their time in the ELF, so those mistakes went unpunished.

These teams met back in week 2 in Berlin, in the first game of the season for the Vikings.  Vienna stormed out to a 24-3 lead at halftime, as the defending champions looked like they picked up right where they left off from the year before.  The teams went scoreless in the third quarter, before Berlin rallied in the 4th quarter, tying the game up at 24 with only a few minutes to go.  However, the Vikings would march down the field as the clock ticked down, and Dennis Tasic kicked a field goal as time expired to give his team the victory.  If this week’s game is anything like that one, then we should be in for a treat.

With each team coming off a sloppy win, both will need to bring their A-game on Saturday against better competition.  Not only will this be a big test for Berlin to see if they can hang with an elite team, but a win here would also be huge for their chances at making the playoffs, likely in a wild card spot.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.