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Wolves hunt in Packs - New German club Dresden joining Czech league in 2013

  • Friday, February 15 2013 @ 08:30 am ACDT
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A new club on the German scene will enter regular play this year, with long time Rheinland Lions stalwart Chris Odenthal having built up a club in the eastern city of Dresden over the past 10 months.

Chris played seven seasons with the Rheinland Lions and has also represented the German Black Eagles on the European stage - now he's hoping to apply his experience to a new club.

LEFT: The Dresden Wolves in 2012 (wearing old Düsseldorf Lions jumpers until their own arrive)

Chris Odenthal discovered the sport through his brothers, who had taken a trip to Australia. The four Odenthal brothers - Dirk, Thomas, Roland and Chris - started out by kicking the footy around in their local park in Cologne, until Thomas discovered the existence of the Düsseldorf Lions, just a short distance away up the River Rhein.

After contacting the Lions and finding they actually trained in Cologne (having since changed their name to the more regionally inclusive "Rheinland Lions"), the brothers joined up and were soon playing in the AFLG Grand Final under coach Rob Cannon.

From this point, the Odenthal brothers were hooked and even a major knee injury couldn't dull Chris' enthusiasm.

After 7 seasons with the Lions, Chris had to move to Dresden to study. In his words, "I don't want to stop playing. I thought to myself, if there's no club here, I'll just have to start one. And that's where the Wolves started."

"At the Lions we had the slogan 'Lions hunt in packs', which I always found important in the club and was what I liked about footy. Not just winning the game, but being part of the club. In Cologne we were always more than a team, and this atmosphere is what I want to create in Dresden - Wolves also hunt in packs. Besides that, the wolf is making a comeback here in the east... So it all adds up."

"The first training session was in April last year, and feeling that we weren't so bad for just having started out, we took part in the AFLG9s, achieving the glorious last place! It was a lot of fun though, and interesting to play against my teammates from the national squad."

"At present we've got around 11 players, all of them German. We had one Australian last year, but he had to return home. If anyone knows of any more in Dresden, some more experience in the squad would do us good!"

The Wolves will be playing in the Czech domestic competition (CAAFL) this year against the four Prague-based sides, with Dresden located only around 150km from the Czech capital, closer than any city with another AFLG club. This is part of a trend around Europe towards geographic regional leagues, such as Swedish sides in the DAFL and the Graz Dogs playing in the Croatian league.

However, Odenthal will still be playing AFLG footy with the Rheinland Lions when he can, and is planning on building the Wolves into a "AFLG capable" club.

"Unfortunately we won't be at the AFLG9s this year, as it's being held on the same weekend as a CAAFL round. But the AFLG know we're here and that good things are happening. There are also a handful of hungry young Wolves who could make it into the German national team, but that's up to (national team coach) Troy Pedder. In any case, they'll have their chance to show their skills be at the national team training camp."

The club's goal this year is simple - to be Czech premiers.

The Dresden Wolves can be contacted via dd-wolves.de.

Ed: Stay tuned for more news on German footy development - an article detailing the Baden-Württemberg regional league hoping to kick off in 2013 will appear on WFN soon.