European semifinals ahead

Category: EFL - published 2012-06-13 by EFAF

Semifinals in both the European Football League and EFAF Cup are scheduled for the weekend of June 16 and 17. EFL action kicks off on Saturday evening at Innsbruck, where reigning Eurobowl champion Tirol Raiders hosts the Calanda Broncos from Switzerland. The Broncos made it to the semifinals for the first time, while in the second semifinal at Vienna two clubs with a longstanding EFL tradition battle for the second spot in the final game. The Vienna Vikings play the Berlin Adler in a rematch of the Eurobowl final game of 2010, when the Germans sneaked away with victory in a close game.

This time it looks as if the game at Innsbruck might be the closer one of the two semifinals. On Saturday night the Innsbruck Tivoli will be the venue for quite a special affair: About 200 kilometres from Innsbruck at Chur the Calanda Broncos in recent years have steadily built a team capable of competing with their well-established neighbours from across the Austrian-Swiss border. Many ex-Raiders joined the Broncos and now return to the Tivoli. Head coach Geoff Buffum and players like Pascal Maier, Robert Zernicke or quarterback Marko Glavic in the past have contributed quite a lot to lead past Raiders' teams to success. Not to speak of Jakob Dieplinger, whose family always has played a key role on and off the field in the Raiders organisation in the past.

The Broncos clearly reach out for the Eurobowl - last year they were tamed in the quarterfinals by the Vienna Vikings, this season they eliminated the Graz Giants on the road, but their performance at Graz was slightly less impressive than what was expected. As the Broncos stand out from their competition back home in Switzerland the game at Graz was kind of their first game of the season on true European top level - the Raiders have already played (and beaten) Graz twice and certainly learned from their loss at Vienna.

At Vienna it is not the Vikings who enter the game as the unbeaten team this year - it ist the Berlin Adler who accrued five GFL wins in 2012 and an EFL quarterfinal victory over London. The Vikings have spoiled their run for a perfect season by a loss to the Graz Giants, however this might just be another factor to consider them to be the favourite against Berlin. Their motivation will be triggered even more, while it already has been of high intense: The loss in the Eurobowl final game at home back in 2010 did hurt the Vikings a lot, and the Vikings would love to take revenge.

Ranked No. 1 in Europe the Vikings obviously will have their chances to reach the Eurobowl final. At home they beat the Graz Giants, the Tirol Raiders and German champions Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, elite teams in Europe by any standard. For the Berlin Adler the game at Vienna seems to be the first encounter of the year at the highest European level. Four of their five wins in the German Football League came in games against newly-promoted teams and their EFL quarterfinal win over London was all but convincing. Their defense and special teams pulled out a victory in a game in which the Adler offense fumbled away the ball frequently. However the Berlin Adler are known for their capability to adjust their level of play to nearly any opponent. So even if until now they may have played weak against potentially weak opponents, this does not automatically mean they will not perform strong when challenged to show their best...

The EFAF Cup semifinals feature two Danish-French matchups, both to be played at Denmark on Saturday. Last year's EFAF cup runner-up Sollerod Gold Diggers will host the Amiens Spartiates while reigning Danish champion Triangle Razorbacks welcomes the Grenoble Centaures at Vejle. The better chances for a road win should be on the side of the Spartiates, who just have reached the French national final game by eliminating La Courneuve. Grenoble missed the French playoffs this year and now visits the Triangle Razorbacks, a team still unbeaten this season.

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