EFL quarterfinals ahead

Category: EFL - published 2012-05-23 by EFAF

In the EFL quarterfinals scheduled for May 26 and May 27 the first of up to three possible direct encounters between a German GFL team and an Austrian AFL team lies ahead, when the Vienna Vikings, unbeaten in 2012 league play, meet the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns who had a perfect season in GFL 2011 crowned by their first-ever national championship. In total three Austrian teams and the Prague Panthers as a fourth AFL team battle with two GFL teams and Swiss champions Calanda Broncos and British champions London Blitz for a spot in the Eurobowl final.

The game at Vienna will be played in the Austrian capital's modern Generali Arena, a venue the Vikings use for their key games of this season. And a true key game it will be, when the Unicorns visit. In the preliminaries the Unicorns defeated the Spanish and Italian champions of the previous years. And after a loss at Stuttgart last week they went back on track, crushing the Rhein-Neckar Bandits by 56-0, showing nearly the same offensive power as in their championship run of 2011. However, in eight games this year Vienna in total just conceded 44 points to the opponents. Whether the Unicorns will be able to alter this statistic figure and how they cope with Dusty Thornhill, 2011 one of their championship players and now member of the Vikings team, will decide the first of the AFL-GFL battles this spring.

Reigning Eurobowl champion Tirol Raiders this year will meet a GFL opponent no earlier than in the final game. At Wattens the Raiders are favoured heavily against the Prage Panthers, whom they already beat twice in AFL regular season play this year. The winner of the game at Wattens will meet the winner of Graz Giants vs. Calanda Broncos. Not long ago, any game between an Austrian and a Swiss team would have seen a clear favourite in the Austrian team. But the Broncos are in no way the ordinary team from Switzerland. An international roster has been set up to conquer the European throne. Former AFL league MVP Christian Steffani or head coach Geoff Buffum who coached Tirol to an Austrian championship will surely still have an in-depth view on the Graz Giants' strengthes and weaknesses. Recently the Giants played a very close game against Austrian champion Tirol raiders, with only a missed PAT kick between them and a tied game. But will it be enough to stop the Broncos which eliminated Finnish champion Helsinki in the preliminaries?

The Berlin Adler are the fourth of the quaterfinal hosts. 2010 winners of the Eurobowl they face British champion London Blitz, who surprisingly eliminated long-time European stand-out La Courneuve Flash in the preliminaries. The Blitz did not lose a game within Britain for years now, however like the Broncos from Switzerland they currently do not run into much of a competition at home. Last year London won the EFAF Cup, which earned them their spot in EFL 2012. So even if Berlin was victorious in all of its three GFL league games so far, the Adler team will be warned. They themselves some years ago took quite exactly the same route than the London Blitz: In 2008 they won the EFAF Cup and this not only helped them into the EFL but propelled them into the elite of European american football.

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