There are only a few German quarterbacks, Lukas Saurwein from Landsberg X-Press is one of them

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Von: Dietrich Limper

Lukas Saurwein is one of the few German quarterbacks. © Ehrhardt

Landsberg – In American football, the quarterback is the coach’s extended arm on the field. In attack, he distributes the balls or makes his own runs. Most of the time, US boys who come from college football well trained are committed for this position. With Lukas Saurwein, however, the Landsberg X-Press has a true son of the city in its own ranks. A rarity in this league.

After graduating from high school, the 25-year-old completed an apprenticeship as an industrial mechanic. He then enrolled at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences to study mechanical engineering and is currently working on his bachelor’s degree. When he is not training with the X-Press, he plays football in the defensive midfield of SV Erpfting, skis in winter and motorbikes in summer.

Mr. Saurwein, the trend sports in Bavaria are football and ice hockey. How did you end up in football?

sour wine: “I actually played football for quite a long time, also in various selected teams. But when I was 15 I didn’t enjoy it that much anymore and I started playing baseball at TSV Landsberg. A buddy then told me about a football tryout at the X-Press. I got in touch with the sport through my father, who has been watching football on TV for ages, so we took part. It was fun, but I wanted to play baseball instead. But I allowed myself to be persuaded to do another tryout and then got stuck there.”

But you probably didn’t start straight as a quarterback?

sour wine: “No, I actually wanted to play as a running back or receiver. Our quarterback at the time also wanted to play receiver; then it was tested who else can throw the ball. And I could do that a little bit. And then, before the first game, the colleague cut off half his fingertip at work. He still tried to play, but I got a few quarterback calls on the first game. That continued throughout the season and in the following season I was always in this position under coach Christian Rung.”

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What does it take to be a quarterback?

sour wine: “If you can throw the ball, that’s not bad (laughs). You have to keep track of the game. You have to know what your own offensive and opposing defense are doing. And you need a characterful presence on the pitch, because the team-mates have to listen to me. I can’t push around there, I have to make clear announcements. But we were a tight-knit group in the youth team. That worked out well, I was accepted.”

The coach tells you the move and you have to implement it. Do you have liberties or does what the coach says apply?

sour wine: “In youth, they do exactly what the coach says. But now with the seniors I can change something if I think a move isn’t right. I joined the seniors in 2016 and the offensive coordinator Jan Radewald gave me a lot of support. A US quarterback was brought in, Jordan Barnett, who I should learn from, but he was plagued by injuries, so I had to get back into it straight away in my first year with the seniors.”

You were only 20 then and you were dealing with seasoned players over 30. How did that go?

sour wine: “In the first game I came in at half-time but luckily it was against the worst team in the league. That went pretty easy. In the next game against Neu-Ulm I had to play from the start and I was a bit nervous. But our team also thought it was cool that I was a German quarterback from our youth, and they threw themselves into blocking more to buy me time. I also knew some of the passport recipients from my youth, so that the coordination was easier. We won the game.”

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Weren’t you ridiculed by the opposing players and treated as a ‘little boy’?

sour wine: “Yes, yes, there were always sayings that I couldn’t do it and so on. But the referees are very careful that there isn’t too much trash talk. And after I threw my first passes, it quickly calmed down.”

How has coach Gabriel Chambers been going for two seasons?

sour wine: “Well, I think that last season in particular brought us a lot, even if the results weren’t always right. We played without Americans and that made us better. At the beginning of this season some of them were injured, but we still played well. We’re not that dependent on the US guys anymore. But we’re really lucky with the three who are here now because they fit the team perfectly. They have experience, know the German league and know what to expect. It can also be completely different with the import players.”

You don’t only see great passes, but also a lot of runs. What gives you more satisfaction: a long pass into the end zone or a successful run?

sour wine: “I’m not one of those wimpy quarterbacks who shy away from contact. Sometimes I spontaneously decide that a run makes more sense. I really can’t say whether I’d rather pass or run – but a successful run into the end zone for a touchdown might be a better feeling (laughs).”

In your opinion, why is it that there are so few German quarterbacks?

sour wine: “I think that too few young players get a chance. Then it would be better to get a US quarterback for this key position, which the coach doesn’t have to teach much. I was just lucky that Jan was convinced at the time that I could do it.”

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The Munich Rangers are guests next Saturday. What are you hoping for from the season?

sour wine: “The game is going to be game changing, we need to beat them if we want to stay up there. The Cowboys also have eight points, so it’s going to be exciting this year. Fürstenfeldbruck used to dominate the league, but now almost anyone can beat anyone.”



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