Calanda Broncos and Vienna Vikings hunt the Eurobowl trophy

Category: EFL - published 2012-07-18 by EFAF

For a record ninth time in club history the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna from the Austrian capital have made it to the Eurobowl final game. But even if their opponent in Eurobowl XXVI at Liechtenstein's capital Vaduz debuts in its first ever Eurobowl appearance, the Vikings will not enter the game as the favourites. Back at home in Austria they have just reached the national championship final game, during the regular season they twice beat last year's Eurobowl champion Swarco Raiders Tirol.

But these Raiders have been crushed by the Calanda Broncos in the EFL semifinals by a score of 35-3 on their own soil, the worst defeat for a Raiders team for years. And one of the quickest - as the Broncos scored four unanswered touchdowns until midway through the second quarter. And again, this was on the road - for Eurobowl XXVI the Broncos are the hosts. While technically Vaduz serves as a neutral site in the Principality of Liechtenstein located between Switzerland and Austria, the Broncos trip to the finals is a short 40 kilometres from home at Chur (Graubünden), and their fanbase surely will make its presence felt in Rheinpark stadium.

That Calanda is the first team ever from Switzerland to make it to an Eurobowl final game surely will mislead noone. The Broncos are dominating the Swiss Nationalliga A for years now, and their roster was compiled with quite a different purpose: to win the most precious trophy there is for European club teams, the Eurobowl. In 2010 the Broncos took home the EFAF Cup with a win against the Swedish champions from Carlstad in their first step into the European elite. Their 2011 Eurobowl campaign only ended with a narrow loss - in the quarterfinals at Vienna, where the Vikings escaped by 15-12.

And it only took this single game to spark kind of a special rivalry between the two organizations. Partly due to the fact that a number of former ex players and coaches of the Vikings' inner-Austrian rival from Innsbruck now play for the Broncos, namely head coach George Buffum or quarterback Marco Glavic. On the other hand because the Broncos make use of an international European squad, featuring some key German players in the lineup in addition to the usual set of North American imports. The Vikings - aside from their American players like Dusty Thornhill or Tillman Stevens much more rely on native players. Their starting quarterback is Austrian national team quarterback Christoph Gross. New regulations in effect for this year's Austrian AFL season added to the differences. Some German players who could not continue to play in the AFL joined the Broncos, giving them even more depth and knowledge on their Austrian opponents of the EFL season.

As this year's EFL originally was seen as a contest between Austria and Germany on who would be the first nation to win eight Eurobowls it has to be noted that the Vikings have eliminated both German contenders Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns and Berlin Adler with considerable ease. This would make it very bitter for the Vikings now they would not be able to finish their quest for the Eurobowl trophy.

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