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Düsseldorf challenges Obic
On May 18 for the third time a German team will host a visiting team from Japan in an international friendly game. After the German-Japan Bowl of the two countries' national teams in 2010 and the inaugural International Challenge Bowl last year in Dresden this time the Düsseldorf Panther will represent Germany and Europe in their game against the Obic Seagulls. Kickoff for International Challenge Bowl II at the Paul-Janes-Stadion at Düsseldorf will be at 7 p.m. on Whitsun Saturday. The game will be aired live on Eurosport 2 throughout Europe, as the German federation AFVD continues its partnership with the Paris-based broadcasting group and brings the next American football game onto European television.
The Seagulls already had been to Europe in May 2012, when they defeated the Dresden Monarchs by 29-17. So Europe still is waiting for a first victory against a Japanese side, the Düsseldorf Panther are eager to try their best at accomplishing this task. The Panther organisation is the oldest existing football club in Europe (established in 1978), has already produced the first European-trained player on a skill position to be drafted to the NFL in Sebastian Vollmer, was Germany's first-ever Eurobowl champion back in 1995, so it would be quite fitting for the team to manage a first-ever win for an European team against an opponent from Japan.
However this will be a serious challenge: American football is played in Japan since the 1930s, Japan's educational system after the Second World War was reformed according to the U.S. model, which lifted American football into the curriculum in Japanese schools. Japan's national team won the two first world championships and lost another World Cup final only in overtime against the United States. The Obic Seagulls from Narashino near Tokyo this year just celebrate their 20-year club anniversary, but have won a record seven X League titles and six Japanese Championships, which is played for by the X-League champion and the Japanese college champion annually in January in the Rice Bowl. Since 2010, the Seagulls won the national title three times in a row and again will not only be favoured for the next Japanese season but also for the game at Düsseldorf.