In Week 5 of the 2012 Austrian Football League (AFL) season, the two remaining unbeaten teams face each other. The SWARCO Raiders, sister-team of The Oakland Raiders, travel to Vienna to play the Raiffeisen Vikings. Kickoff on Sunday at Stadium Hohe Warte is at 6 a.m. PT (3 p.m. CET).
"The Vikings are a very good team. They don't have many flaws", said SWARCO Raiders head coach Shuan Fatah. "The game will be a tough test and a huge challenge, especially for our young players. We have to be focused from the first play from scrimmage and can't have any penalties or easy mistakes".
Fatah is absolutely right with his statement. The Vikings have made opponents pay for every mistake. They already forced seven turnovers (three interceptions, four fumbles). Vienna started into the season with a 20-13 win against the JCL Giants Graz, then beat the Danube Dragons 39-3. The previous two weeks the Vikings won 55-0 against the Rangers as well as in Prague. The Vikings scored 42.2 points per game and allowed only 4 points per contest. The Tyroleans post similar numbers, scoring 45.5 points per game and allowing only 4.2 points per game.
Last season both teams met three times. The Vikings won the regular season matchup 28-24 at home. In the European Football League's (EFL) semifinal the SWARCO Raiders won 13-10 at home. The third meeting took place in Austrian Bowl XXVII with the Tyroleans prevailing 23-13 to win their first double-championship in a season.
Despite those two victories last season the SWARCO Raiders have won only nine of their 27 AFL and EFL matchups against the Vikings. Although in recent years the Tyroleans often had the upper hand. They won six of their last nine encounters, with the three losses coming by a total of 13 points.
On Sunday much is expected from both quarterbacks. SWARCO Raiders QB Kyle Callahan completed 38 of 66 passes for 579 yards and 5 touchdowns. He also had 22 rushes for 198 yards and four scores.
His counterpart QB Christoph Gross completed 66 of 105 passes for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns. He gained 44 yards and scored a touchdown on nine carries. Both quarterbacks haven't thrown an interception yet this season.
RB Andreas Hofbauer had 44 rushes for 175 yards and 6 touchdowns for the Tyroleans. RB Florian Grein had 18 runs for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Lukas Miribung scored three touchdowns and gained 72 yards on 13 carries.
WR Julian Ebner leads the SWARCO Raiders with 13 catches for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns. WR Damaso Tarneller caught 6 balls for 86 yards and a score. WR Clemens Erlsbacher caught 5 passes for 82 yards and WR Talib Wise caught 3 balls for 66 yards and a touchdown in his only game-action this year.
Vienna's top rusher is RB Timothy Bach. He gained 216 yards on 40 carries and scored 4 touchdowns. RB Dusty Thornhill had 20 rushes for 181 yards and 4 touchdowns. Both runners also caught 7 passes each. The team's best receiver is WR Kyle Kaiser, who caught 14 balls for 212 yards and 4 touchdowns. WR Laurinho Walch caught 12 passes for 277 yards and 5 touchdowns. WR Stefan Holzinger had 12 catches for 184 yards and a score.
The Vikings will have to pay special attention to the Tyroleans' special teams. Erlsbacher (4 punt returns for 132 yards), S John Clements (3-122, TD) and Wise (2-63 yards) had a combined 9 punts for an average of 35.2 yards per return and a touchdown. The SWARCO Raiders punt coverage unit allowed only one return for minus 2 yards.
Best kick returner for the Tyroleans is DB Enrico Martini, who averages 28.3 yards per return (3-85 yards). K Christian Kellner was good on 5 of his 6 field goal tries and made 23 of 24 extra points. Erlsbacher also excels as the team's punter. He had 10 punts for 371 yards with 6 punts being downed inside the opponent's 20.
The SWARCO Raiders defense allowed an average of 10 first downs and 187.5 total yards per game. CB Manuel Eisenführer leads his team with two interceptions. LB Christoph Schilcher leads the team with 14 tackles (12 solo), followed by LB Philipp Margreiter (13 tackles/8 solo) and LB Florian Hueter (11 tackles/9 solo).
DL Markus Eitzenberger has 10 tackles (9 solo), a sack and recovered a fumble. DT Reinhard Pardeller has a sack, forced a fumble, has 3.5 tackles for loss and totaled 9.5 tackles (9 solo). DE Markus Hechenberger recovered a fumble. LB Chris James played only one game so far, but had 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a blocked punt in the contest. Clements has 4.5 tackles.
Vienna's best tackler is LB Marcus Greber with 16.5 tackles (10 solo), followed by LB Simon Bach (13 tackles/9 solo), LB Paul Werner (11.5 tackles/9 solo) and LB Dustin Illetschko (11.5 tackles/6 solo). Blach also has 6.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. The Vikings totaled 10 sacks on the season.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free onwww.raidersTV.at.