210801 Leipzig Kings - Berlin Thunder

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Leipzig Kings

Players to watch: The QB position: #15 QB Tom van Duijn - Week 4: 295 passing yards, 2 TDs, 63,8% completion. Against Hamburg he had just 4 completed passes for 21 yards. Awini played mainly as QB in Week 5. Van Duijn will start against Berlin when Birdsong is still inactive. Height: 1,93m, Weight: 105kg.

#3 QB Michael Birdsong - is the starting QB but missed every game since Week 3 (last game against the Panthers in W2) due to an injury. Won championship in X-League and was the X-League MVP in his few years in Japan. He was with the Seattle Seahawks in training camps. When he doesn’t play then he supports his team from the stands (comparable to an additional member of the coaching staff). Week 1 + 2: 7 TDs, 429 passing yards, 4 INTs, 60% completion rate.

The whole WR-core is dangerous but Hamburg´s defense neutralized them completely:

#12 QB/WR Jaleel Awini - Played in Week 3 at QB, played WR before. Has college experience playing QB, WR at University of Colorado (DIV I). Week 3 stats: 4 passing TD, 1 rushing TD at QB (1 INT as well) + 147 net rushing yards (3rd most in league off all players including RBs), 341 net passing yards for him at QB in Week 3 - incredible stats. In Week 4 he had some issues and played a little bit as QB and as WR - Week 4 stats: QB - 9 passing attempts, 40 passing yards, 1 INT / WR - 4 receptions, 29 yards. Week 5: He played mainly as QB and so Leipzig has one less target. Only 112 passing yards, 56% completion rate - 2 INTs, he was sacked 7 times by Hamburg´s DL.

#11 WR Anthony Dablè-Wolf: Great game in Week 3, 2 TDs (first of the season), 118 yards receiving in week 3. Played in the NFL for Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants as WR. One of the first players to go through the International Pathway Program. Played for the Hildesheim Invaders and French national team before. Week 4 + 5: Only 4 receptions for 40 yards (W4) and 4 receptions for 35 yards.

#8 Alpha Jalloh WR/S: Plays KR, PR, S, and WR as well. Week 5: 6 receptions for 55 yards, 2 kickoff returns for 60 yards. Stats and performances before: Had a 68-yard TD on the first play for Leipzig in week 3 against Cologne. Has a lot of return-yards every week (three return-TDs, one each in Week 1 - 98 yards against Berlin + PAT return + one in week 2 + in week 4 -100 yards return TD after the kickoff was repeated). Week 4: 3 kickoff returns for 156 yards + 1 TD / 5 receptions, 1 TD, 84 receiving yards as WR / 2 solo tackles, 1 TFL and 1 INT + 44 yards. 303 offensive yards in Week 4!!! Was a possible MVP candidate in Week 4, but Jakeb Sullivan (QB Frankfurt) won this award with 5 TDs. Played in Sweden and Finland before (for example Stockholm Mean Machines, like Jan Weinreich during the pandemic and the WASA Royals in Finland – Part of the AFI ALL Pandemic Team). One of the best athletes on the Kings roster and in the ELF in general - very exciting player due to his “triple threat” (defense, offense, returner on special teams).

Keep an eye on #92 DL Aslan Zetterberg and #99 DL Vincent Buffet: Berlin still struggles with the OL (mainly due to several injuries) and also the QB position (probably more than in their first game against each other). Both players are very important for successful pass rushes, high pressure and sacks. They had 4 sacks and 9 TFL combined against Berlin in Week 1. Week 5: 3 sacks, 4 TFL, 7 total tackles (combined) vs. Hamburg.

Additional player stats: #6 WR Timothy Knuettel - Week 4: 7 receptions for 101 yards. Against Hamburg 3 for 23 yards - Scored 2 TDs in Week 1 against Berlin. Height: 1,88m, Weight: 90kg.

Unofficial team stats: Games: 5 / Average Net Yards Rushing per Game: 85,6 / Average Per Rush: 3,68 / Rushing Touchdowns: 3 / Average Net Yards Passing per Game: 263,6 / Average per Completion: 10,34 / Passing Touchdowns: 13 / Punt Return TDs: 0 / Kickoff Return TDs: 3 / Interceptions by Defense: 2 / Scored a pick six (INT return TD): 1 / Average Possession Time: 32:11 / 3rd Down Conversions: 16 of 56 / 4th Down Conversions: 6 of 12 / PAT: 6 of 11 / FG: 0 of 2

Coaches: Fred Armstrong - Coaching consultant for the NY Giants at the NFL combine since 2002, once assistant RB coach with the Giants, 2015: trained WR and TE for the New York Jets. A lot of experience as a High School and College coach. Favorite NFL-Team: NY Giants. Coaches he looked up to: Tony Dungy (the first black HC who won the Super Bowl - 2006 with the Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Hall of Fame) and Tom Coughlin (2004 - 2015 HC NY Giants and 2x Super Bowl Champion as HC - He is also an inspiration for Stuttgart´s HC Martin Hanselmann).

DC Joe Bommarito: 2000-2012: Scout for the New York Jets. Football coach in Europe since 2014.

Leipzig have signed Malik Jackson as a new coach for their defense. He joined the team late this week.

Berlin Thunder

Players to watch: #11 WR/QB Bryan Zerbe - In the weeks before his start against the Dragons (Week 6) he played a few drives and two pretty similar handoff fumbles took place on those drives. He started in Week 6 and played the full game: 127 passing yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs - he carried 14 times the ball as rushing QB for 18 net rushing yards (1.3 average yards). The offense and their performance after the release of WR coach Vitale left a very big question mark.  

#6 QB Calvin Stitt – Did not play against the Barcelona Dragons. Season: 4 games, 769 yards, 10 touchdowns. Height: 1,80m, Weight: 82,5kg. He is from England - Father played RB for the 49ers in the NFL. Played High School football in the US. Very mobile quarterback (dual threat) - were substituted against Hamburg in Week 4: Zerbe played the 2nd and the 3rd drive in the 3rd quarter vs. Hamburg. Stitt scored 8 TDs in the first two games - only two in the other two games. Berlin used Seantavius Jones as “QB” (2 completed passes, 20-yd rush) in the Wildcat (the snap goes directly to a player and not the real QB) formation to surprise Wroclaw in Week 5.

#7 WR Seantavius Jones – Season: 5 games, 424 Yards, 8 touchdowns. Height: 1,93m, Weight: 95kg. Played 5 years in the NFL (Saints, Chiefs, Eagles, Colts). Chio MVP of the Week in Week 3. Scored an 83-yd TD against Wroclaw - the longest reception among the top-10 (receiving yards) receivers in the league. Berlin used him in Wildcat formation as rusher and passer in Week 5.

#1 RB Joc Crawford – Season: 5 games, 587 net yards rushing (2nd in the league), 5 Touchdowns. Height: 1,93 m, Weight: 95kg. Played college football in the US. Big RB, size and speed. Week 6: 201 net rushing yards, 8.7 average per rush, 23 carries (one big play for 55 yards) - 3 receptions for 16 yards and one completed pass for 12 yards as passer in Wildcat Formation.

Keep an eye on #52 LB Wael Nasri: Nasri is the tackling leader in the ELF. In Week 6 he had 12 total tackles (6 solo tackles) and one deflected pass. He was the overall tackling leader in the first game vs. Leipzig: 14 total tackles (5 solo tackles), 0,5 sacks and 2 TFL in Week 1.

Unofficial team stats: Games: 5 / Average Net Yards Rushing per Game: 157,4 / Average Per Rush: 5,12 / Rushing Touchdowns: 5 / Average Net Yards Passing per Game: 169,8 / Average per Completion: 12,22 / Passing Touchdowns: 12 / Punt Return TDs: 0 / Kickoff Return TDs: 0 / Interceptions by Defense: 3 / Scored a pick six (INT return TD): 0 / Average Possession Time: 28:47 / 3rd Down Conversions: 17 of 61 / 4th Down Conversions: 4 of 9 / PAT: 1 of 7 / FG: 2 of 5

Coaches: Head Coach Jag Bal: Canadian, 37 years old. Played defensive line himself. Was with the Berlin Rebels, Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and Dresden Monarchs.

OC Marcus Herford: American, 31 years old. ST coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College. 2016-2017 Kiel Baltic Hurricanes HC/OC with best offense in the GFL, 405,7 yards/per game