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11.06.2010 EFAF

EFL final game for Eurobowl at Vienna

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Austrian champion Vienna Vikings will host the final game for Eurobowl XXIV against German champion Berlin Adler on Sunday, July 4. The game will be played at Vienna's Hohe Warte stadium, the kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eurobowl XXIV will be the sixth EFL final played at the Austrian capital and help the host country to further close the gap to Germany, still remaining the country with the record number in regard to hosting Eurobowl finals. Ten times European club champions have been crowned on German soil in the past, and even the fact that the final 2010 will mark the seventh time in a row, EFAF has awarded the game to Austria, just equals the series of seven Eurobowl finals in a row in Germany between 1994 and 2000. Like German teams have shaped the EFL in the 90's, Austrian teams took over that role in the last decade from the Germans. Accounting for this and for the fact that Germany will host the European Championships for national teams from July 24 to 31 the EFAF Board of Directors on June 11 decided to award the Eurobowl final game to Vienna.

The Vienna Vikings have won the Eurobowl trophy four consecutive times between 2004 and 2007 and reached the final game two more times in 2001 and 2008. In last year's competition the team from Vienna surprisingly fell to La Courneuve in the quarterfinals, but later on rebounded to conquer their tenth national championship in Austria. In this year's EFL they took revenge at La Courneuve in the quarterfinals (44-7 at Paris) and won the all-Austrian semifinal game against the Graz Giants by 38-22.

For the Berlin Adler the final game at Vienna will be the second trip to Austria this year, after the team beat last year's Eurobowl champion Tirol Raiders in the semifinals by 29-27. Actually this was their second road win during the competition against a team from the Austrian Football League, as in the preliminaries Berlin was victorious at Prague (40-30) and the Prague Panthers joined the AFL this year. Berlin won the national championship in Germany in 2009 for the sixth time and was EFAF Cup champion in 2008. However, it is only the second time Berlin has reached the Eurobowl final, with their only appearance dating back to 1991, when they lost to Amsterdam at Offenbach (20-21).

With the clash of the Austrian and German champions the scene is set for an extraordinary Eurobowl final. Austrian and German clubs alike each have totalled six Eurobowl victories up to now. On the evening of July 4 one of the two countries, which feature a special rivalry in all fields of sports, will have reason to celebrate. Either Austria will reach a long-time goal of surpassing the big neighbour from the North in terms of Eurobowl victories, or Berlin will have defended the record mark for Germany. As only 20 days later the national teams of Austria and Germany will face off in the EC opener at Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena and both finalists have a lot of national players on their roster, the game will have another special flavour and in all should provide another milestone in the long-lasting German-Austrian rivalry.

Home field advantage in the semifinals and finals of both EFL and EFAF Cup is awarded in a bidding process amongst the competing teams. The process was standardized by EFAF in 2009 and enables clubs to formally apply, if they wish to host one of these games. The EFAF Board of Directors after evaluation of all applications decides based on financial, strategic and quality aspects. The goal is to showcase the top European games to a broad public, thus past attendance figures or possible TV coverage are amongst the most important in the mix of criteria that leads to the decision.

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