The Vienna Vikings crown their sensational season – the first in the European League of Football – by winning the title. Coach Chris Calaycay’s team defeated the Hamburg Sea Devils 27:15 (17:6) in the final of the European League of Football (ELF) in Klagenfurt on Sunday. In front of 12,000 spectators, the Viennese dominated the North Germans, who had traveled to Wörthersee as the best team in the regular season, over long stretches and are now the deserved European champions.
The Vikings are replacing the Frankfurt Galaxy – the Germans won the very first ELF championship last year by beating the Sea Devils 32:30 in the final – as the title holders. The five-time Eurobowl winner and 15-time Austrian champion added another brilliant chapter to his successful club history. Hamburg, who defeated the Raiders Tirol 19:7 in the semifinals, lost their second ELF final in a row.
The strategy of the Viennese, to defensively close the middle and not offer Hamburg’s star running back Glen Toonga any space, as well as repeatedly putting pinpricks up front through variable play, worked especially well before half-time. Toonga, who had had 1,468 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns so far this season, was down five yards in the first half. Ex-Hamburg Adria Botella-Moreno and US import Exavier Edwards went on the offensive with touchdowns, Dennis Tasic added a field goal to the 17:6 lead at the break. Lamar Jordan II managed a touchdown for the North Germans.
In the second half, both teams offensively scored points. The Vikings didn’t give up the lead in an open exchange of blows, even despite an interception by quarterback Jackson Erdmann near their own end zone. Running back Florian Wegan reached the end zone while Tasic kicked for another six points. On the other hand, Eric Schlomm was successful with three field goals, which was not enough for a comeback. Two captured interceptions by the Viennese finally sealed the success of the Vikings.