210926 Hamburg Sea Devils - Frankfurt Galaxy

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Hamburg Sea Devils

Players to watch: #10 QB Jadrian Clark: Season: 16 touchdowns in 10 games, 11 INTs, 1622 passing yards, 61,58% completion rate. Divisional Round: 235 passing yards, 1 TD, 75% completion rate, 1 INT, 96,6 QBR. Height: 1,90m, Weight: 95 kg. Played DIV I Football at Weber State. Week 10: 164 yards, 1 TD, 60,87% completion rate. Week 9: 183 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 63,6% completion rate, was sacked 3 times. Week 8: 139 yards, 1 INT, 68,2% completion rate. Week 7: 169 passing yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 53% completion rate - was sacked 6 times. Week 6: 165 passing yards + 80 yards rushing / 1 passing touchdown + 1 rushing touchdown.

#88 TE Adria Botella Moreno - Season: 10 games, 51 receptions, 6 TDs, 585 receiving yards, 11,47 yards per completion. Divisional Round: 9 receptions, 123 yards. Week 10: Clark tried to pass the ball to him four times but without success. Week 9: 6 receptions, 3 TDs, 58 receiving yards. Week 8: 6 receptions, 47 yards. Week 7: 3 receptions for 38 yards. Week 6: 5 receptions against Wroclaw for 66 yards. Height: 1,98m, Weight: 112kg. He is the favorite target of QB Jadrian Clark.

#24 RB Xavier Jerome Johnson - Season: 150 carries, 863 net rushing yards, 5,75 yards per rush, 7 TDs. Divisional Round: 25 carries, 150 net rushing yards, 3 TDs. Week 10: 14 carries, 80 net rushing yards, 1 TD + 1 completed pass to Clark for 12 yards (trick play). He had to recover throughout the last weeks but Hamburg needed him despite his (injured) status - Now he is back and should be completely fit again. Week 9: 19 carries, 110 net rushing yards, 20 receiving yards (3 receptions). Week 8: 15 carries for 37 net rushing yards - 3 catches for 28 yards. 

Additional player stats: #4 K/P Philipp Friis Andersen - Season: 23 of 27 FG attempts were successful. Divisional Round: 1/1 FG, 5 out of 6 kickoffs were touchbacks, 3/4 successful PATs. Week 11: Missed two FGs (45, 46 yards), 2/2 PATs and 1/3 FGs -incredible FG for 59 yards  - new ELF record. Week 10: 1/1 FG (31 yards), 3/3 PATs. Week 9: 0/1 FG, 4/4 PATs Week 8: 3/3 FGs, 4 out of 5 kickoffs have been touchbacks. Week 7: 5/5 FGs, 1/1 PAT, MVP candidate - 7 kickoffs, 61.9 average (3 touchbacks). Spent a short time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019 preseason). Founded his own gin-label “Amager Gin” with two friends in 2020. Beside his kicking ability - he is a really good Punter who is often responsible for the good field positions from Hamburg´s perspective.

#43 LB Miguel Boock - Season: 43 total tackles, 1 sack, 5 TFL, 2 deflected passes - Missed a couple games but is so important for the defense (Team Captain) and their energy according to Edebali. Divisional Round: 11 total tackles (4 solo tackles), 1 TFL    

#26 DB Justin Rogers: Season: 40 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, 5 TFL, 1 FF, 4 INTs, 5 deflected passes, 4 return TDs (1 kickoff, 3 punt). Divisional Round: 5 total tackles (3 solo). Played in Week 12: Had 4 returns (2x punt return, 2x kickoff return - for 86 yards. Week 10: 95 yards kickoff return TD (4th return TD of the season), 3 solo tackles, 1 INT, 1 deflected pass. Week 9: 3 solo tackles, 1 INT. Week 8: 5 solo tackles (8 total tackles) / 3 TFL. He had 9 returns (3 punt / 6 kickoff) for 170 yards (average 18,88). Week 7: 2 solo tackles, 1 deflected pass, 1 interception. MVP Week 5 - Scored 2 punt return TDs against Leipzig (3 returns for 173 yards). He already had one against Barcelona in Week 3. Played at UTEP (University of Texas, El Paso). Plays an important role in Hamburg Sea Devils defense - in Week 6 he had 6 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles and 2 deflected balls (Season: 2 INTs)- 40 yd-kickoff return / 58 yd-punt return. Height: 1,80m, Weight: 87kg. He was ranked as the 8th best player of the ELF by Lorenz Leinweber (Sports Illustrated) - the best DB in the league. 

Coaches: HC Andreas Nommensen: 1998 Eurobowl winner as player. 2009-2014 Kiel Baltic Hurricanes TE coach. Was a coach for the French National Team (Patrick Esume HC at that point), won world games in 2017, European Championship in 2018. 

Favorite NFL team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets - Coaches he looked up to: Patrick Esume, Bob Valesente (worked in the NFL and alongside Esume and Nommensen in Kiel and in France).

Additional Stories: Andreas Nommensen surprised me by his statements during the press conference: The statements of several ELF-Players and the record show that Frankfurt is the favorite and Hamburg the underdog. Until their second meeting Hamburg had much more self-confidence and now he compared Frankfurt to the most successful and dominant football/soccer club in Germany and put his team far below Frankfurt. In my opinion it is not the most effective move to give his players a confidence-boost but probably he wanted to lower the pressure. I talked with him about this and the following quote was his answer: “The statement was linked to the record and only the loss against Frankfurt as well as their winning streak. Those are just facts and not an understatement. We don't have problems with the mentality - We defeated Frankfurt as the only team in the ELF and we want to win the trilogy.”  

“It is important to win the first and the last game. Our performance against Wroclaw was a normal performance of our team and we are back to normal after a few disappointing performances.”

Frankfurt Galaxy

Players to watch: #7 QB Jakeb Sullivan: Height: 1,85m, Weight: 88kg.  Season: 28 TDs passing, 5 TDs rushing, 2362 passing yards, QBR: 110,7, 10 games. Divisional Round: 5 touchdowns, 248 passing yards, 72,2% completion rate, 153,9 QBR. DIV II passing record at his college in South Dakota, father was his first ever football coach and HC in high school - He was ranked as the third best player of the ELF by Lorenz Leinweber (Sports Illustrated). Week 11: 270 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 61,5% completion rate. Week 9: 247 passing yards, 3 TDs, 66,7% completion rate. Week 8 vs. Hamburg: 3 TDs (+ 1 rushing TD), 225 yards, 71,4% completion rate. Week 7: 206 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 66,7% completion rate / 2 TDs as rushing QB. Week 5: 268 yards, 4 TDs but also 3 INTs and a 45,9% completion rate. 

#41 LB Sebastian Gauthier: Height: 1,82m, Weight: 95kg, Season: 70 total tackles, 5 sacks, 4 INT (INT against Panthers in week 3 resulted in pick six), 15 TFL. Swedish player who already played for Frankfurt Universe in the GFL. Divisional Round: 9 total tackles (3 solo), 2 sacks / 2 TFL for 14 yards. Week 11: 9 solo tackles (10 total tackles), 3 TFL. Week 9: 6 total tackles (3 solo) - 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble and 1 INT. Week 8 vs. Hamburg: 6 solo tackles (12 total tackles), 1 sack, 3 TFL for 9 yards. Week 7: 7 solo tackles (10 total tackles), 1 sack, 5 TFL for 8 yards, 1 INT, 1 deflected pass. Week 5: 2 sacks, 7 solo tackles.. Week 4: 1 INT, 5 solo tackles and 1 TFL against Cologne.

#56 LB Sebastian Silva Gomez - Season: 49 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4 TFL, 2 forced fumbles (1 fumble return TD). Divisional Round: 11 total tackles (3 solo), 2 TFL. Week 11: 3 total tackles (1 solo), 1 TFL. Week 9: 5 total tackles (2 solo tackles), 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 deflected pass. Week 8: 4 solo tackles (8 total), 2 sacks / 4 TFL for 17 yards, 1 forced fumble + fumble return TD. 

Additional player stats: #18 CB Fernando Lowery - Divisional Round: 2 interceptions (45 yards), 2 deflected passes, 2 total tackles.

#11 WR Anthony Mahoungou - Season: 35 receptions, 523 receiving yards, 7 TDs. Divisional Round: 3 receptions, 66 yards, 1 TD. He was ranked as the ninth best player of the league by Lorenz Leinweber (Sports Illustrated). Week 11: 6 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD. Week 9: 3 receptions for 19 yards. Week 8 vs. Hamburg: 2 receptions, 1 TD, 38 receiving yards. Week 7: 8 receptions, 177 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD + recovered the forced fumble (by Zach Blair - Stuttgart) in the end zone. Week 5: 2 receptions, 2 TDs (22, 10 yards) - had one kickoff return for 39 yards and 1 solo tackle on defense. 

#21 RB Gennadiy Adams - Season: 57 carries, 372 rushing yards, 6,53 yards per rush, 4 TDs. Divisional Round: 10 carries, 55 net rushing yards. Frankfurt´s US RB finally returned right before the playoffs (was injured since Week 2). He had the chance to play against Cologne in Week 12 to get back into his own rhythm - Week 12: 10 carries, 51 net rushing yards, 1 TD. Week 11: 10 carries, 80 net rushing yards - 3 catches for 18 yards. 

#82 WR/K Hendrik Schwarz - Season: 28 receptions, 295 yards, 6 TDs. Divisional Round: 4 receptions, 47 yards, 2 TDs - 1/1 FG (25 yards), 1/3 PATs. 

#14 SS Joshua Poznanski - Season: 45 total tackles, 3 TFL, 5 INTs, 2 INT return TD. Divisional Round: 9 total tackles (2 solo), 1 deflected pass. Week 11: 4 total tackles (2 solo), 1 TFL, 1 deflected pass. Week 9 MVP: 4 total tackles (3 solo), 1 deflected pass, 2 INT return TD. Got the “Playmaker” and the “Ballhawk” shirt (HC Kösling has a reward system for scoring plays by his defense). 

Head Coach: Thomas Kösling - was with the Frankfurt Universe in the GFL. Started as DC, then HC (He is also the DC for Frankfurt Galaxy) - Played LB himself. He works as a police officer. Sebastian Silva Gomez talked about his clear statements and his authority in the podcast “Euro Ballers” (Title: WEEK #3 - around minute ten - German language). 

His favorite NFL-Team: Minnesota Vikings - He started watching football when Randy Moss was drafted to the Vikings and was heavily impressed by him. Coaches he looked up to: Markus Grahn (won as a part of the coaching staff the World Bowl in 2006), Mike Williams (gave him his first coaching job - former HC of the Hamburg Huskies), Daniel Garcia and John Rosenberg.

Playoffs + Adjustments + Strategy for the Bowl Game: Jan Weinreich (QB Cologne Centurions) played the Divisional Round with a broken rib. Besides his injury Frankfurt´s defense was sound all day long like in the last months. Their defense has so much potential for winning championships. 

Motivating the team against Cologne for their third match was much more difficult than motivating the team for the Bowl Game + Frankfurt did not forget the loss in Week 1. 

The rushing offense of both teams could be the key to the victory: Johnson (Hamburg´s RB) had an outstanding performance against the Panthers and it was the first game since many weeks without him being banged up or slightly injured. The very physical OL and their RB are a real threat for them - especially in the combination with passing the ball deep to guys like Cerezo. But Gennadiy Adams could be also one of the surprises to Hamburg because they don´t have much tape to analyze him and he could be a game changer besides his gamestats - Kösling expects his performance as something that will surprise Hamburg´s defense.

Additional Stories: Kösling invests much into team building. Besides their WWE belt, he introduced some shirts for defensive playmakers: Gauthier, Poznanski and Sebastian Silva Gomez (due to their TD) got a black shirt with the word “Playmaker” (name and number are written on the back, on the front there is also written “Frankfurt Galaxy Defense 2021”) - Poznanski also earned the “Ballhawk” shirt (a white shirt with the word (purple color) “Ballhawk”) for his MVP performance against the Panthers (2x Pick Six). There is a ranking system: Every defense player gets such a shirt with the first points scored. The players are allowed to wear those shirts during the warm up on gameday. If they score again they will get another shirt with another word on the front and in another color. 

Kösling showed his team during the team meetings on the road (most of the time in the hotel) a stair with all the steps (one step for every match) they have to climb to reach the final in Düsseldorf. He did this for the first time in Week 1. Winning the Bowl Game is their goal from the beginning of the season and they always bear this in their minds.  

Frankfurt has players who won the German Bowl with Frankfurt Universe like the 2018 Finals MVP Nikolas Knoblauch (LB). 15213 fans were in the attendance: Some of the guys have already played in front of bigger crowds which could be an advantage. “There will be players on both teams that will reach their emotional limit because of this special game, atmosphere and stadium.”