Cross-border heavyweights collide as Wroclaw Panthers visit Vienna Vikings

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The European Football League increased cross-border flavor will be on full display in week 5 when Wroclaw Panthers from Poland travel to Austria assume the Vienna Vikings in a battle of former national heavyweights.

Both teams turned into ELF suitors, like the vikings are undefeated for four weeks and the Panthers sit just one win out of a playoff berth at 2-2.

Wroclaw might well have been at the top of their own division as well, had it not been for a narrow overtime loss at the hands of the Hamburg Sea Devils Last week. This game was the first appearance for the team’s new quarterback, Slade Jarman, and he should only feel more comfortable this week. Brought on as a replacement for injured Judge Hansen, Jarman threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns on his debut, but was also sacked five times and threw for two picks.

Photo: @hjirgal

It won’t be an easy second test for the fresh import either, as the vikings‘ defense veteran took on their new challenge in the ELF. A defensive backfield led by Luis Horvath and Benjamin Straight will look to exploit the new quarterback, as will do-it-all Exavier Edwards, who added three offensive touchdowns last week. Thomas Schnurrer remains steadfast in the middle of defence, while Leon Balogh and Dominic Siegel will provide the pressure in his face.

Of course, Jarman has more than enough weaponry to deal with this defense. Import receiver Malik Stanley currently ranks fourth in the league with 380 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, while Przemyslaw Banat and Jakub Mazan each have game-clinching ability. French Running back Phileas Pasqualini can’t be ignored either, with 199 yards to his name this year.

Vienna has its own powerful offense, led by big-armed quarterback Jackson Erdmann. Last week it was Italian speedster Jordan Bouah who burst with a 161-yard performance, but Spanish Tight end Adria Botella Moreno is getting a bigger share of the target since big man Florian Bierbaumer suffered a season-ending injury. Brothers Florian and Anton Wegan add a dangerous threat in the background to relieve Erdmann.

Wroclaw RB Philéas Pasqualini #7 Photo: Łukasz Skwiot

They will definitely need this item against a charged Panthers defence, headlined by import locking defensive backs Darius Robinson and Jamaal White. They are aided by security Goran Zec, while Dutch Semmie Radji leads the passing rush with three sacks this season. Add to that a linebacking corps that includes Lars Steffen and former Edmonton Elk Maxime Rouyer and the vikings will have their toughest test yet.

No one knows which group will have the upper hand over the other, but the outcome will certainly have serious implications for the future. ELF playoff race.


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