Although football fans could only dream about it recently, this duel in football is even historic. For the first time, two Viennese clubs are in the final and play for the title in a derby. The competition from the European League of Football (ELF), where the top two Austrian teams, Tirol Raiders and Dacia Vikings, play with their quasi-one units this year, has rejuvenated the domestic Austrian Football League (AFL) and also changes.
The dominance of the two Austrian cult clubs is gone, but there were always exciting games in the regular season in the AFL, which for the first time this year expanded to a ten-league. Christoph Seyrl even talks about the “most exciting AFL season ever”. The AFL’s general secretary promises a big party in the NV Arena in St. Pölten today when the Danube Dragons meet the Vienna Vikings because the two-tier society in the AFL is due to the Raiders and Vikings decision to take their top team to the ELF to change, over.
Third place game between the Black Panthers and the Patriots
396 touchdowns were scored in a total of 52 games (50 in the regular season and two playoffs), the final of the 2022 AFL season follows today at the Austrian Bowl XXXVII powered by VELO. As part of the grand final day at the end of the first season as a 10-man league, the Prague Black Panthers have met the Telfs Patriots since 15:00 today. At 19:00 the Vienna Derby between Donau Dragons and Dacia Vikings takes place in the grand final.
The Danube Dragons took advantage of the power vacuum this year. The team, which now plays at the Donaufeld Stadion in Vienna, was originally founded in 1985 under the name Klosterneuburg Mercenaries, but moved eleven years ago. This year, Dachen has won ten games in ten games and is now aiming for the second title in club history after 2010 with their MVP Chad Jeffries. In the playoffs, Donaufelderne didn’t give Telfs Patriots a chance.
It is quite remarkable that the Vienna Vikings, as record champions, could celebrate their 16th victory in the Austrian Bowl, as the Simmeringers play in their second suit. 30 players switched to the first team, which competes internationally in the ELF against strong competition from Germany, Poland and Spain – as well as the Raiders. The Tyroleans’ two-man side failed to impress as much as their Viennese rivals in the AFL this year.
At least the dethroned champion has the satisfaction of being better in ELF than the Viennese. In the Austrian Bowl, the Innsbruckers are at the bottom of the table this year after a winless season. In terms of quality, the departure of the top 60 Austrian players to the ELF was of course a noticeable lifeline for the AFL. And the fact that there was no relegation or promotion in the first two years probably did not particularly motivate the Tyroleans to invest in their team of two.
And while the association’s chairman Michael Eschlböck criticizes the ELF for not benefiting amateur football and young people, general secretary Seyrl does not feel the feared negative consequences. On the contrary, there would be even more chances for playing time for the local youth in the AFL. The best example is the Vienna Vikings, who score with seven players from the junior national team.
Defensive backs Noa Calaycay and Raffael Weninger are injured and will see the final. With 19-year-old Nico Hrouda, a junior even plays starting quarterback for the men with the Thorhammer, a position that in this century’s Austrian Bowl games has been (almost) exclusively reserved for American Legionnaires. Of course, Hrouda is also the youngest QB in Austrian Bowl history. In the regular season, the Vikings still only lost 42:57 to the Dragons with their MVP quarterback Chad Jeffries.
Spectacular duel in the base game
The derby in the regular round offered offensive fireworks that give hope of a repeat tonight. The Vikings were in the two Austrian Bowls with the most points scored, in 2018 there was a total of 99 and in 2003 98 points. This year the hundred mark should fall for the first time! Incidentally, the Vikings’ first participation in an Austrian bowl was in 1986. A large part of today’s team was not yet born at that time. But one thing is: O-Liner Roman “Smurf” Seybold is playing in his 20th Austrian Bowl today. It must also be a world record for finals in all international leagues!
5,000 spectators are expected at the Austrian Bowl in St. The pölten and the turf do not cause problems, unlike last year, when the final was canceled at short notice due to the unplayable green and had to be moved from the NV Arena to Innsbruck. And of course there will be a halftime show again. What began spectacularly with Josh in 2019 will be continued with the upcoming Austrian pop band “Alle Achtung”. Among other things, they will create a good atmosphere with their summer hit “Marie”.