RB Andreas Hofbauer scored a touchdown against Vienna this year (Photo: Schellhorn)
On Saturday the SWARCO Raiders play their second final of the season. The Oakland Raiders sister-team faces the Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna in Austrian Bowl XXIX. Kickoff at St. Pölten's NV Arena is at 11:30 a.m. PT (8:30 p.m. CET).
This will mark the fourth time this season that both teams will face each other and the first meeting since Eurobowl XXVII which the Vikings won in Innsbruck. Now the SWARCO Raiders want to take advantage of their second championship opportunity.
Follow the SWARCO Raiders live on www.raiderstv.at. The live stream for this week's game starts on July 27 at 11:15 a.m. PT (8:15 p.m. CET).
"The Austrian Bowl XXIX gives us a second chance to play for a championship", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "We have to avoid the mistakes we made in the Euorbowl. We have to play very focused if we want to compete against Vienna".
The Vikings have not lost a game all season, winning 14 games (11 in the AFL and three in the European Football League). It's the first time since 2006 that a team goes into the Austrian Bowl unbeaten. Back then it was also Vienna. And just like in 2006 they have won the Eurobowl too, this season. But in 2006 Vienna's bid for a perfect season ended in the Austrian Bowl where they fell 43-19 to the SWARCO Raiders.
This season the Tyroleans lost all three encounters with the Vikings. They fell 48-13 in week 4 of the regular AFL season at home, then lost 24-6 in week 10 at Vienna in a game where Fatah opted to play many backups. In Eurobowl XXVII the Vikings defeated the SWARCO Raiders 37-14. This was the 34th time both teams played each other in the AFL and EFL. Vienna has won 24 times and six games in a row.
SWARCO Raiders QB Kyle Callahan only played twice against Vienna this season. In week 4 of the AFL season he completed 11 of 34 passes for 153 yards with an interception. In the Eurobowl he completed 18 of 39 passes for 256 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He also scored a rushing touchdown. RB Andreas Hofbauer gained 67 yards on 18 carries and caught a touchdown in the two regular season contests against Vienna.
In the AFL regular season Callahan completed 135 of 208 passes for 1,965 yards with 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also had 37 rushes for 160 yards and 4 scores. No other AFL quarterback had a higher completion percentage (64.9) and he threw the second-most touchdown passes. In the AFL playoff semifinal against Graz Callahan completed 25 of 32 passes for 370 yards with 3 touchdowns and one interception. He also scored on the ground once.
Hofbauer led his team with 92 rushes for 575 yards and 5 touchdowns. RB Lukas Miribung had 60 rushes for 349 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB/DB Jaycen Taylor gained 94 yards on 15 carries and scored once. He also caught 10 passes for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns.
WR Damaso Tarneller was his team's best receiver this regular season, having caught 40 passes for 642 yards and 4 touchdowns. Unfortunately he will miss Austrian Bowl XXIX due to a knee injury. WR Julian Ebner caught 25 balls for 439 yards and 9 touchdowns. WR/K Clemens Erlsbacher hauled in 25 passes for 307 yards and 2 scores. WR Talib Wise caught 18 passes for 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 10 carries for 45 yards and 2 touchdowns. Against Graz in the playoffs Erlsbacher caught 6 balls for 163 yards and Wise had 10 catches for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Erlsbacher also excels on special teams, having converted 38 of 41 extra points in the AFL. He also kicked six field goals, scored a total of 68 points and punted 19 times for a 37.3 average with 6 of his punts being downed inside the opposing 20-yard line. 30 of his 58 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Erlsbacher also had 7 kickoff returns for 133 yards. And against Graz alone he had 123 kickoff return yards.
DB Enrico Martini had 15 kickoff returns in the AFL for 425 yards. Taylor returned 2 punts – both for touchdowns (65 and 78 yards).
The Tyrolean defense also has to overcome some injuries on Saturday. Among others the team won't have DE Philipp Margreiteravailable. He caught an interception against Vienna this season, just like Martini did.
LB Florian Hueter led the SWARCO Raiders defense in the AFL with 43.5 tackles (28 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. LB Christoph Schilcher had 34.5 tackles (24 solo) and one tackle for loss. LB Fabian Seeber had 31.5 tackles (25 solo), 4.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and a fumble recovery.
Margreiter had 19 tackles (17 solo) with 13.5 of them being for loss. He had 6 sacks, forced 2 fumbles and intercepted a pass. Margreiter also blocked a punt. DB Markus Krause had 26 tackles (16 solo) and caught 4 interceptions. Martini had 21.5 tackles (16 solo), recovered a fumble and intercepted 2 passes. DL Korbinian Hoffmann had 4 sacks and 5 tackles for loss among his 16.5 tackles (13 solo). DL Maximilian Pichler had 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss. LB Simon Hoser and Taylor each caught 2 interceptions. Hoser returned one for a score. DB Patrick Pilger recovered a fumble.
The Tyroleans will have their hands full trying to stop Vienna's big three: QB Christoph Gross, RB Jesse Lewis and WR Michael Zweifel. Gross completed 32 of 51 passes for 532 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in two AFL games against the SWARCO Raiders. In the Eurobowl he tossed three more touchdown passes.
Lewis wasn't playing at Innsbruck in week 4, but scored twice in their week 10 matchup and had 23 rushes for 164 yards and a touchdown in the Eurobowl. Zweifel caught 10 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns in the two AFL contests and scored another touchdown in the Eurobowl.
In the AFL regular season Grioss completed 147 of 227 passes for 2,283 yards with 25 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He led the league in passing yards and touchdowns thrown. Lewis had 103 rushes for 947 yards with 15 touchdowns and was the league's top runner. RB Islaam Amadu had 94 carries for 367 yards and 7 touchdowns. He gained 93 yards and scored once in two AFL games against the Tyroleans.
Zweifel caught 35 balls for 619 yards and 10 touchdowns. WR Laurinho Walch had 36 receptions for 560 yards and 5 touchdowns. WR Stefan Holzinger had 31 catches for 667 yards and 6 touchdowns. He ciaght 8 balls for 196 yards and 2 scores in the two AFL contests against the SWARCO Raiders.
The Vikings defense is led by LB Dustin Illetschko, who had 41 tackles (28 solo), 6 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the AFL. LB Marco Aigner had 30 tackles (20 solo) and 4.5 tackles for loss. LB Simon Blach led his team with 15 tackles for loss. He had 5 sacks, 27.5 tackles (24 solo) and forced 3 fumbles. LB Paul Werner had 22.5 tackles (18 solo), 6 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. LB Philip Stojaspal led his team with 7 sacks. DL Alexander Taheri had 5.5 sacks. And DB Benjamin Bubik led the league with 6 interceptions. Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2013 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at.