Frankfurt is the team with the clearest shot at clinching a World Bowl berth in Week 9.
The race for places in World Bowl XI at Hampden Park, Glasgow, on June 14 could be the closest battle in NFL Europe League history.
With two weeks to go in the season, four teams remain in the hunt for the championship game, including three teams bidding for a record fifth appearance in the big game - and the host team themselves, the Scottish Claymores.
One team has a shot at clinching a World Bowl berth in Week Nine. Another could also be in a position to clinch if other results go their way. But if Scotland and Rhein are victorious this week, it will be the first time in league history that Week 10 has arrived without either World Bowl contestant having been decided.
Confused? We hope you won't be. So to begin with, here is a reminder of the NFL Europe League's tiebreaker system.
NFLEL Tiebreaker System
If two or more clubs finish with identical won-lost-tied percentage, the following steps will be taken until a winner is determined:
- Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games among the tied clubs)
- Best points differential in games between tied teams
- Best points differential in all games
- Best net touchdowns in games between tied teams
- Best net touchdowns in all games
- Coin toss
Note Regarding Multi-Team Tiebreakers: If, after completion of one of the above steps, clubs remain tied after third or other clubs have been eliminated from, or have won, a multi-team tiebreaker, the tiebreaker reverts to Step 1.
Frankfurt is the team with the clearest shot at clinching a World Bowl berth in Week 9. If the Galaxy end a seven-game losing streak against the Rhein Fire at the Waldstadion they will be guaranteed a place in the championship game. (However, if they lose to the Fire they could find themselves needing not just a win in Week 10, but other results going their way).
The Rhein Fire will be in position to clinch a World Bowl with a victory in the Deutschland Derby next Sunday if the Barcelona Dragons beat the Scottish Claymores in Spain 24 hours earlier. In other words, a Dragons win against the Claymores means the winner of the Frankfurt-Rhein game is guaranteed to be the first team to clinch a World Bowl place.
It is impossible for both World Bowl contestants to be determined in Week 9.
To summarise, here is the World Bowl picture in simple forms for each of the teams.
Amsterdam Admirals: Eliminated from World Bowl contention and still seeking first championship game appearance since 1995. Need to win final two games to avoid matching longest streak of losing seasons in NFLEL history (5 - London/England Monarchs, 1992, 1995-98)
Barcelona Dragons: Need to win final two games to be certain of World Bowl berth. Can qualify with one win and combination of other results (see scenarios).
Berlin Thunder: Eliminated from World Bowl contention, thus ending bid to become first team to qualify for three straight championship games. Need to win one more game to avoid posting worst record of a defending World Bowl champion (London, 2-7-1 in 1992).
Frankfurt Galaxy: Can clinch a World Bowl berth in Week 9 by beating Rhein Fire. Victory in Week 10 could also clinch World Bowl berth, depending on other results. Can even qualify with two losses (see scenarios).
Rhein Fire: Clinches World Bowl berth with two more wins. Can clinch in Week 9 with win against Frankfurt and a Scotland loss to Barcelona. Can qualify with one win in final two games, depending on other results (see scenarios).
Scottish Claymores: Can clinch World Bowl berth by winning final two games, but needs Frankfurt to win or lose each of their last two games to avoid being in a tie that includes the Galaxy. Even then, it could depend on points differential against Barcelona.
Notes On Points Differential
Some ties could be broken by points differential in games between the tied teams. Here are the results so far in series where points differential could be a factor.
Barcelona 13 at Frankfurt 15
Frankfurt 47 at Barcelona 13
Rhein 3 at Barcelona 11
Frankfurt 7 at Rhein 14
Barcelona 17 at Scotland 10
Scotland 17 at Rhein 34
Rhein 0 at Scotland 33
Scotland at Barcelona
Rhein at Frankfurt
Barcelona at Rhein
Note: Frankfurt-Barcelona scores are included because it is possible for Rhein, Frankfurt and Barcelona to finish in a tie where all teams have swept a series, in which case points differential in the games involving those three teams would be decisive.