Raiders a tough challenge for the Vikings

Category: EFL - published 2013-07-03 by EFAF

The Swarco Raiders Tirol and the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna are preparing for Eurobowl XXVII, the second time in Eurobowl history that these two Austrian clubs face each other in the final game. The game will be played at Innsbruck's Tivoli stadium on July 6 at 8:45 p.m. CET and it is broadcasted live by ORF Sport + and as live throughout Europe by Eurosport 2 on July 7, 8 p.m. CET.

One thing is certain already: Austria will be the nation with a record eight Eurobowl wins on Saturday. But whether the Vikings will still be the lone team with four Eurobowl wins remains to be seen. In 2008 when both teams met for the first time in the Eurobowl final game, it were the Raiders who took the trophy, ending the four-year winning streak of the Vikings that stretched from 2004 through to 2007. The Vikings who play their 10th Eurobowl final game on Saturday since then never again managed to take home the trophy, the Raiders won Eurobowls in 2009 and 2011 and could now evolve as the second team to win four titles in EFAF's flagship club tournament.

However in Austrian Football League regular season play the Vikings already beat the Raiders twice this year. In the Raiders home game at Innsbruck (which was the second game of the season for both) they outright humiliated the hosts winning by 48-13, the 35 point margin was the biggest since the Raiders had become the Vikings' most profiled rival for the Austrian championship. The Vikings also won the second game at Vienna by 24-6 easily.

But the rivalry between the two clubs is fierce and for years has been the key matchup in Austria. At home it is also the Vikings who hold the record for most national championships, winning eleven Austrian Bowls, five of these in a row between 1999 and 2003. But like in Eurobowl 2008 it were the Raiders who ended that Vikings streak in Austrian Bowl 2004 winning their first-ever Austrian championship by a 28-20 surprise victory. The Raiders conquered national titles again in 2006 and 2011.

And again the Raiders certainly have improved just in time for the important part of the season. The Vikings will not take this game easily as in recent years they had a tendency to fail in the „big games“. Not only when the opponents were the Raiders but also in Eurobowl or EFL games: 2009 the Vikings lost in the quarterfinals to La Courneuve from France at home (3-14), 2010 they lost at home to Berlin in the final game (31-34), where the Vikings at least were as heavily favoured as this year. 2011 they lost at Innsbruck in the semifinals against the Raiders 10-13 after first- and third-quarter-leads, and in 2012 they were the beaten team in the Eurobowl final game, when a Swiss team won the trophy for the first time ever (Calanda Broncos winning 27-14).

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