Graphic: Igor Lazarevic
The Seamen defeated Spain’s Badalona Dracs, Europe #14, 23-10 and then the Thonon Black Panthers from France, 49-3, to reach the final. Potsdam’s road to the final went through the Brussels Tigers from Belgium who they thrashed 72-0, and then Swiss champions and Europe #16, the Calanda Broncos who they edged 33-31.
Milano has fashioned a 10-0 record in Italy, dominating virtually every opponent in addition to their two EFL victories. The Royals have a 2-3 record in the German Football League.
Milano quarterback Luke Zahradka was the second leading passer in Italy this season with his 2,385 yards and league-best 40 TDs. Xavier Mitchell led all receivers in the country with 946 yards and also a league-best 18 TD receptions.
Royals quarterback Austin Gahafer has thrown for 1,338 yards and 18 touchdowns, putting him third in the GFL while running back Tyvis Smith is the second leading rusher averaging 86 yards a game in five games. He has also scored five touchdowns.
The Seamen are no strangers to international competition. They surprised the Berlin Rebels in the 2017 Big6 tournament, beating them 14-13 at home in Milano. This is the first time the Royals have played an international tournament.
A total of six teams from six different countries participated in this year’s EFL tournament. In addition to Milano and Potsdam, the Brussels Tigers (Belgium), Calanda Broncos (Switzerland), Thonon Black Panthers (France) and Badalona Dracs (Spain) all competed. Among them were three defending national champions. Milano won the 2017 Italian title, Badalona the 2017 Spanish crown and Calanda were the 2017 Swiss champions.
Watch the game live here. Potsdam Royals (Germany) @Milano Seamen (Italy) June 9, 7p (1p EST)