Will German Bowl XXXIX be a defensive battle?

German Bowl XXXIX kicks off Saturday, October 7 and for the fourth time in four years, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions and Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns will face each other to decide American football supremacy in Germany.

Not only is it the continuation of a long-standing rivalry, but tor the first time since 1987, it is a championship final between two undefeated teams. In 1987, the Berlin Adler defeated the Badener Greifs to win the title.

The Lions have won all three previous finals against Schwäbisch Hall.

In AFI’s continuing coverage in the lead up to German Bowl XXXIX, we take a look at the two defenses today. The New Yorker Lions had the top defense in Germany in 2017 allowing an average of just 9.9 points a game.   Schwäbisch Hall was 3rd in points surrendered giving up 17.4 a game.

Tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and interceptions

The New Yorker Lions defense had fewer overall tackles which is due, in large part, to the fact that opposition offenses did not have the ball as much. Braunschweig was 2nd in the league in forced turnovers with a margin of 1.00. Schwäbisch Hall was tied for 3rd with 0.56.

Individual tackles

Lions LB Roni Salonen led his team with 99 total tackles on the year, including the playoffs while Nick Alfieri topped the Unicorns with 85 in 12 games. This will be a battle to watch during the game.

Yards allowed (offense + special teams)

While Braunschweig allowed more yards rushing, their secondary was 2nd best in Germany in shutting down opposition passing giving up only  149.5 yards passing per game. However, Schwäbisch Hall is 3rd allowing 187.3 passing yards a game. Special teams accounts for a third of the game and there is not much separating these two. Averaging defense against the rush, pass, punt and kickoff, Braunschweig gave up a total of 356.1 yards while the Unicorns allowed 378.8.


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