Munich Spatzen (Germany)
Uppsala 86ers (Sweden)
Victoria Park Panthers (UK)
Atlantic Devils (Spain)
Esslingen Raccoons (Germany)
Wild Hogs (Slovenia)
This group is an extremely tough one to call as at least four of these teams will fancy themselves to progress. While we don’t see any of the traditional European powerhouses here, there is plenty of talent and we expect a number of tight contests. Munich Spatzen were involved in plenty of these at last year’s tournament. They played a ridiculous four one-point games, prevailing in three. They’ll have the opportunity to avenge the other one, a 13-12 loss to the Victoria Park Panthers which determined second place in their group and prevented them from advancing to the playoffs. Munich Spatzen did go on to win the 3rd place bracket and have established themselves as one of the best teams in Germany.
The Panthers advanced to the playoffs for the first time at Big Bowl last year and will surely fancy themselves to make it two years in a row. In addition to Munich, they’ll also have a rematch with last year’s 10th place finishers the Atlantic Devils. The Devils were arguably the biggest surprise of 2017’s tournament as they paired a top 10 finish with some impressive performances, notably a tense 28-25 loss to the outstanding Armadillos. Watch out for double QB when playing them!
The Uppsala 86ers are the Swedish champions and have been putting in work at various international tournaments recently. While they are Big Bowl debutants, the moment shouldn’t be too big for them given said experience. The 86ers also probably possess the best individual talent in this group in receiver/blitzer Sundiata Owens #24. He is the best player on both sides of the ball for the Swedes and can single-handedly take over a game. Uppsala will need him to be excellent if they are to break their recent string of underwhelming international appearances.
Also don’t sleep on the Raccoons. They finished in the top half of the standings in their first year and an improvement is certainly possible.
Perhaps more than any other group, finishing first versus second makes a massive difference. The group winner will encounter a favourable sweet 16 matchup while the runner up will face, barring a shocker, the Armadillos in their first game on Sunday. That’s quite a difference so a little advice to the teams above…go win this group!
Give me one second, need to write down team names on pieces of paper, throw them up a flight of stairs and see who lands highest…ok…got it!
Victoria Park Panthers