Vienna Vikings Move to 7-0 with Win over Berlin Thunder

The Vienna Vikings moved to 7-0 in the European League of Football on Saturday as they defeated the Berlin Thunder 16-9 in a relatively sloppy contest.

The game started with a bang as Aaron Jackson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown for Berlin.  This was the second week in a row that he took the opening kickoff to the house, as he did so last week against the Prague Lions.  The Vikings quickly responded though, as quarterback Chris Helbig found Florian Bierbaumer for a touchdown on their first possession.  However, after that hot start, the rest of the first half would be quiet, filled with punts and a couple of turnovers on downs.  Berlin managed to kick a field goal at the end of the second quarter, and thus took a 9-7 lead into halftime.

Photo: (c) Hannes Jirgal / Vienna Vikings

In the third quarter, the Vikings found the end zone as Helbig scored a 20 yard rushing touchdown.  On the first play of the ensuing Thunder possession, quarterback Slade Jarman was intercepted by Nikolaus Huszar who returned it 15 yards to the Thunder 27 yard line.  Helbig moved the Vikings down to the nine yard line and then Dennis Tasic kicked a 26 yard field goal to give Vienna a 16-9 lead. The Vikings picked off another Jarman pass on the following possession, this time on the goal line, preventing a potential game winning touchdown. On the ensuing possession, Vienna marched deep into Thunder territory but Tasic then missed a 41 yard field goal and Berlin got the ball back with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game However., they were stuffed on a 4th down attempt at their own 40 yard line and the Vikings took over with just over four minutes left. Keeping the play calling simple, the Vikings ate up the clock and Helbig finally took a knee at the 16 yard line to end the game, keeping their unbeaten streak alive.

Vienna DB Benjamin Straight #23 making a tackle Photo: (c) Hannes Jirgal / Vienna Vikings

Though this was a one-score game, Vienna thoroughly outplayed the Thunder throughout the game, having the advantage in virtually every category.  Outside of Jackson’s kickoff return to open the game, Berlin managed just three points all afternoon.  Their defense played well enough to keep them in the game, but the offense simply could not find the end zone.  Berlin’s offense was quite one-dimensional, as they managed just 31 rushing yards as a team.

The Vikings will now have two weeks off, as their game next week against the Leipzig Kings has been canceled, and they have a bye week the following week.  Their next matchup is on August 13 against the Wroclaw Panthers.  As for Berlin, they are still right in the wild card race at 5-3.  Their next game is scheduled to be against the Prague Lions, also on August 13, but that game might not be played given Prague’s financial issues.  If that is the case, then they will only have two games remaining in this regular season.

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.