RB David Oku scored a kickoff return TD in the BIG6 (Photo: Schellhorn)
The SWARCO RAIDERS want to go back to the Eurobowl. To achieve this goal they must eliminate a true football heavyweight. On Saturday, May 2 The Oakland Raiders' sister-team host the New Yorker Lions from Braunschweig in their second and final group stage game of the 2015 BIG6 European Football League season. The game against the reigning German champion kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PT (7:00 p.m. CET) at Innsbruck's Tivoli Stadium.
With a victory the SWARCO RAIDERS automatically are qualified for the Eurobowl. In case of a loss the Tyroleans have to wait on the result of the group's last matchup between Braunschweig and Flash de La Courneuve.
"Braunschweig might be the deepest team in all of Europe. We are in for a great fight", said SWARCO RAIDERS head coach Shuan Fatah. "But we will not hide from the German champion. We are very confident and the team spirit is great. We're excited for the game and hope all of Tyrol will have our back come gameday".
The season in the German Football League has just started and the New Yorker Lions played only two games thus far. In week 1 they had to work hard to secure a 38-28 victory over the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes. A week later the Lions defeated the Berlin Rebels 31-9.
The New Yorker Lions are by far the best team in Germany. They have won 21 straight league contests. Their last loss in the GFL was on August 31, 2013 at the Berlin Adler.
While they dominate the GFL the Lions didn't quite do so well in the first BIG6 season in 2014. They lost their opener 14-13 at the Vienna Vikings, then beat Dresden and advanced to the Eurobowl only because of a tie-breaker. In the championship game they fell short, surprisingly losing 20-17 to the Adler. Obviously Braunschweig wants to do better this time around.
While the Lions have just started into the season the SWARCO RAIDERS already have played seven games. After a bumpy start with two losses to open the new Austrian Football League (AFL) season they have won five in a row.
The Tyroleans beat the Stuttgart Scorpions (34-9) and Düsseldorf Panther (42-0) from the GFL in the BATTLE4TIROL, then defeated Graz in the AFL 51-14 before securing a convincing 47-14 win over Flash at Paris in the BIG6. Last weekend they handed the Vienna Vikings their first loss of the season, winning 30-17.
On Saturday the SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol and the New Yorker Lions clash for the fourth time. All three previous matchups were games to remember. In 2006 the two teams met in home and away games in the group stage of the BIG6 predecessor EFL.
After falling 21-12 at Braunschweig in the first game, the SWARCO RAIDERS beat Braunschweig 40-13 to advance to the next round. Three years later the team met in the EFL quarterfinals. The Tyroleans won 35-7 at Tivoli Stadium.
#25 David Oku (RB, SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol): In his two BATTLE4TIROL games Oku had 15 rushes for 183 yards and a touchdown. He added 8 catches for 48 yards and scored on an 82-yard punt return touchdown against Stuttgart. In the BIG6 opener Oku gained 40 yards on 6 carries and scored on a kickoff return touchdown.
#6 Kyle Callahan (WR, SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol): Kyle Callahan caught 7 balls for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns in the BIG6 game at Paris. In the BATTLE4TIROL he caught 11 passes for 189 yards and 4 scores. Callahan also played in the AFL – only this time as quarterback. He completed 33 of 59 passes for 369 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. He also had 19 rushes for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.
#20 Patrick Pilger (DB, SWARCO RAIDERS Tirol): Military athlete Patrick Pilger leads his team in AFL action with 17 tackles (14 solo), one tackle for loss and a sack. He also intercepted 3 passes. In the BATTLE4TIROL Pilger had 13.5 tackles (12 solo) with a tackle for loss.
#14 Grant Enders (QB, New Yorker Lions): Grant Enders is Braunschweig's new quarterback. He previously played for Towson University and even had a stint with the Baltimore Ravens. In Braunschweig he threw 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his first two contests.
#21 David McCants (RB; New Yorker Lions): David McCants plays fort he Lions since 2013. He scored three touchdowns in the GFL this season. He previously played for Berlin Adler, Hamburg Blue Devils and Düsseldorf Panther in Germany.
#9 Anthony Dablé (WR, New Yorker Lions): In 2014 Anthony Dablé came to the New Yorker Lions. The Frenchman caught 2 touchdowns against Berlin this season. In the season opener he had 5 catches for 36 yards.