Sportklub CEFL Championship is opening its 2023 season on Saturday, 22 April with two games. First duel is in Stockholm, where two teams new to CEFL are kicking off the 2023 season. Gameday is continuing with a game in Belgrade between the teams sharing the same name. CEFL Cup is also opening this weekend with a semifinal game in Serbia.
CEFL Championship, Round 1
Saturday, 22 April, 12:15 CET
Stockholm Mean Machines — Kuopio Steelers
Live stream: https://www.swe3play.se/livestream/s-cefl-stockholm-mean-machines-kuopio-steelers-npyc2
Stockholm Mean Machines, were scheduled to appear in the CEFL Championship in 2020 but we all know how that year went for everyone. They had an outstanding 2022 season, when they’ve won their national league and were also undefeated throughout the season. Regionally, everything went their way in last season’s Scandinavian Cup too, where they hoisted a trophy as well.
This year they’ve opened their national league with a win and are now looking to continue doing the same internationally. Their overseas dynamic duo represented by quarterback Mark Pappas and wide receiver Matthew Retzlaff will help them on this journey.
The visitors, Kuopio Steelers, are the first Finnish team to be welcomed into CEFL. They were also unbeaten last year in their domestic championship, pulling off a 14-0 in one of the toughest European leagues, which was quite a feat. Their total dominance in Finland is corroborated by the fact that this was the third season in a row where the national crown ended up in their display cases.
Finnish national season is starting in May, so this game will also be a gauge of the Steelers’ early form. They have a plethora of imports and non-homegrown players to choose from, like running back Le’Anthony Reasnover, receiver Vinnie McDonald and linebacker Akileis Leroy.
CEFL Championship, Round 1
Saturday, 22 April, 16:00 CET
Belgrade SBB Vukovi — Budapest Wolves
Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLuh8sciwg4
Second game in the CEFL Championship catalogue is an extension of the rivalry between namesakes from the Danube river, SBB Vukovi and Budapest Wolves. The game, to be played in Belgrade, will be broadcast on Sportklub TV, and a live stream is also available.
Last season, both teams have started their campaign with close games that ultimately ended in defeats. SBB Vukovi have lost at home against the Danube Dragons, while the Wolves traveled to Calanda Broncos and hung on until the end.
Although these two teams have met a ton of times in the CEFL in the past, it’s curious that the Wolves have never prevailed. This game gives them a new chance to break that losing streak and get the monkey off their backs.
SBB Vukovi have achieved an extraordinary success staying unbeaten in their national league in the past two seasons. This year they’ve already snapped that streak losing to their toughest national adversary, Kragujevac Wild Boars. Belgraders’ attacking unit is strengthened by two Amercians, quarterback Joshua Cartwright and wide reciver Nolan Corpening.
The Wolves are current vice-champions of the Hungarian championship. They have a convincing win behind them in their national league, giving them a boost of confidence heading to Belgrade. Their everlasting team policy of relying on their own strengths worked well for them in Calanda last season so they’ll again use domestic passers, Tóth Levente and Bencsics Márk.
CEFL Cup, Semifinal 1
Saturday, 22 April, 15:00 CET
Kragujevac Wild Boars — Vysočina Gladiators
Live stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDwKSfntl-c
This Saturday marks the start of the CEFL Cup too with the first semifinal game. A pair of last season’s participants will clash when Kragujevac Wild Boars host Vysočina Gladiators. It’s the first time these two teams are meeting each other.
Last year didn’t go as planned internationally for the Wild Boars. They hosted Fehervar Enthroners at home and suffered a big defeat. This season started better for them, judging by their early victory against SBB Vukovi. They will look to take advantage of that self-confidence when they greet the Gladiators.
Their last season’s offensive leader, Isaiah Green will start from under center again and running back Ashton Heard will work from the backfield. Wide receiver Strahinja Stepović will use his international experience in the passing game.
The Gladiators have sustained two losses in the 2022 CEFL Cup. Prague Lions beat them at home in Jihlava first and then they traveled to Poland, where Tychy Falcons punished them. That ending seems to be behind them as they’ve already recorded three wins in the Czech league so far with the score difference 127-7.
Their present offensive success has come from domestic hopes, veteran commander of offense Jan Dundáček and his younger colleague Vít Bezecný. Import running back Patrick Blackwood will lead their ground attack.