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Vikings want Europe’s football throne

For the Vienna Vikings, their debut season in the European League of Football (ELF) is about the most important title in European football club sport.

Coach Chris Calaycay’s team meets the Hamburg Sea Devils in the final in Klagenfurt on Sunday (3 p.m.). “The final was our goal. Another is to win it,” said Calaycay. However, the North Germans travel to the Wörthersee with the reference as the best team in the regular season.

Hamburg celebrated eleven wins with one defeat in the “Regular Season”, in the semifinals the “Seeteufel” eliminated the second Austrian ELF team, the Raiders Tirol, 19:7. “We have no problem going into the game as the underdog. And even if everyone else sees us in this role, I don’t see us as the underdog,” said Calaycay confidently. After all, his team won the Central Conference with a 10-2 win, making it the second-best team of the season.

In the semi-finals in Vienna, the Barcelona Dragons were clearly beaten 39:12. “To celebrate reaching the final in the first year is an extremely important success. It’s a milestone for this team, this franchise, for Vienna,” emphasized the Vikings head coach, who, like his Hamburg counterpart Charles Jones, was voted Coach of the Year was nominated.

Sea Devils plan revenge after losing the final

The Vikings now want to take the last step in the 28 Black Arena in Klagenfurt. However, the Sea Devils have the same plan, who reached the final last year and lost there in a dramatic 30:32 against the Frankfurt Galaxy. The German team still has “unfinished business” to do.

The defense of the Hanseatic League, especially the toxic defensive line around ex-NFL pro Kasim Edebali, and star running back Glen Toonga stand out. Briton Toonga has already rushed for 1,468 yards this season, more than any other ELF athlete at the position. That’s around 122 yards per game with an average of two touchdowns scored. The Vikings defense, which is also extremely strong, will try to tame Toonga and force German quarterback Salieu Ceesay to make mistakes.

“There is no such thing as a perfect football team. They have the number one defense in the league for a few reasons. It’s our job to find the holes in their defense and in their attack. They don’t have many weaknesses, they have a good one Football team, there’s no question. But we also have good players and we want to show that on Sunday,” said Calaycay, who has been a Vikings coach for 18 years.

Forecast rain calls for more concentration

Since rainy weather is forecast, the final will also be about ball safety. “Whoever can protect the ball better wins the game. You have to be even more careful when the ball is wet,” said Vikings offensive coordinator Danny Mitchell, who is up for Assistant Coach of the Year. The focus will be on Vikings quarterback Jackson Erdmann. The US playmaker from Vienna hasn’t had a game since round five in which he didn’t make at least one interception.

The Vikings also underlined the enormous sporting importance of this final. “This is high-level football. It puts us on a global stage, the biggest here in Europe. We proudly represent not only Vienna, but also Austria,” said Mitchell. “We’re showing the rest of the world how we play football here. There are no words to describe how special it is. And it’s also a testament to the greatness of this club.”

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