Die Bratislava Monarchs werden demnach nicht mehr dabei sein. Mit den Devils kommt der EFAF-Cup Finalist des Jahres 2007 in die CEFL.
Blue Devils join CEFL
It’s all about Austrian teams lately in the CEFL — after the Gladiators captured the title in 2008, another Austrian team will join the league for next year, and it’s something special.
In 2008, all three new teams failed to reach the postseason, which was far different from the season before, when the new teams were strong contenders, and one of those two even won the title this season. With the addition of Austrian Football League’s Cineplexx Blue Devils, the CEFL has added another contender to its lineup for next season, a team that should not only compete for the top, but also raise the level of play of the whole league.
CEFL’s 8-team format will not change because of this, as the Bratislava Monarchs decided to take a break from competition in 2009 due to a large number of retirees among players. They were 3-7 in 2008.
The President of the team from Hohenems, Christoph Piringer, confirmed yesterday that the Blue Devils will be playing in the CEFL in 2009 alongside their domestic competition, after four years of playing in the EFAF-Cup. ‚We are joining the CEFL because we always played international games in the last years … The CEFL is a growing tournament with a lot of potential for the future”, says Piringer.
Just like the Wolves and the Gladiators were two years ago, the Blue Devils become instant favorites in the league next year, and Piringer says winning is in fact their goal, although they respect the opposition. ‚Our goal is to reach the championship game and that with a very young core of players.
About the teams, I think they have great potential and the teams have great athletes on their rosters. It will be a big challenge for our young players to play those teams.”
Playing the team from the far west of Austria will probably be an even bigger challenge for the rest of the league’s teams. Founded in 1998, the Blue Devils have been among Austrian league elite teams since the 2001 season, after winning the lower league the year before. The last three years they made their way to the EFAF-Cup semifinal, but lost in that round in 2008 and 2006; in 2007 they lost in the final to another Austrian team, the Graz Giants.
The Blue Devils aren’t entirely unfamiliar with some of the teams in the league — they host the annual Bodensee-Cup, an October tournament that was in 2006 won by the Serbian national team, although the Blue Devils consisted of many junior and without any import players, with former quarterback of the Novi Sad Dukes, Čaba Juhas, winning the MVP.
One of their best players, receiver Christian Steffani, almost joined the league as a member of the Gladiators for the second part of last season, but it didn’t happen in the end — in the end though, he gets to face CEFL teams for the whole season.
After placing fifth in the AFL last year, they will in 2009 play a newly formed Interdivision in their domestic competition, playing four games against AFL and four against Division-1 teams, still maintaining an opportunity to reach the championship playoffs.