EC2010: Austria returns after a 15-year absence

Category: European Championship - published 2010-07-23 by EFAF

Austria makes a comeback to the top level of American football in Europe on Sunday, when they take the field in the A-group European Championships after absence of 15 years. The stakes are high straight away in the opening game against the tough German team, as the loser does not anymore have its faith in its own hands.

- There is a lot at stake in the first game, and it is a very tough situation playing probably the best team in the tournament. But we are excited, Austria's head coach Rick Rhoades said Friday.

- To beat Germany we need impact plays, as you do in modern football, and of couse we can't turn the football over. Germany has a lot of size, so we have to be faster.

The Austrian club teams have been very strong after the turn of the century, winning six Eurobowls in a row before the Berlin Adler ended the streak in a dramatic fashion a few weeks ago. But the Austrian national team has had to climb up the ranks of European football, making it finally to their first A-group European championsips since hosting the games in 1995.

- This has been a result of a lot of hard work, but now we are where we should be, second year national team head coach Rick Rhoades says.

The Austrians already have a strong showing behind them this summer, beating Augustana College in an exhibition game.

- They are a good Division III-school, but I'm not sure how it compares to the European Championships.

24 hours before the kickoff of the games versus Germany, Rhoades praised the play of his team's defense.

- Our defence is very strong. Offensively we have not been as consistant as we should be.

- Our defensive line has been very good. Our quarterback (Christopher Gross of the Vienna Vikings) has been playing good, and also our receivers.

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