Three months before hosting the European Championships Germany will meet Japan for the first time in a national team contest in the Germany-Japan Bowl in the ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf on April 24, 2010.
The organizer of the game is DüsseldorfCongress, the operating company of the ESPRIT arena.
President of the German American Football Federation (AFVD- American Football Verband Deutschland), Robert Huber said: "This game is an absolute highlight in the history of our federation. With Japan we will play against the second strongest country in the world next to the United States. This game will not only be a game to prepare our national team for the upcoming European Championship but will also help our national team determine its playing level internationally".
There could not be a better choice of venue for a game between Germany and Japan than the Düsseldorf ESPRIT arena. Düsseldorf is well known for its many connections and relationships to Japan.
More than 200 Japanese companies have offices in Düsseldorf and about half of these companies have either their German or European Headquarters based in Düsseldorf. The oldest existing active American Football club in Germany, Düsseldorf Panthers, is based in Düsseldorf. Thanks to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, American Football became a big event in the arena starting in 1995.
The ESPRIT arena has 51,500 seats and a roof that can be closed completely within 30 minutes. This international game provides a good occasion to once again celebrate a big football event in this modern arena.
No country outside of North America has such a long and successful American Football tradition than Japan.
Japan won the first two IFAF World Championships in 1999 in Italy and 2003 in Germany before finishing second to the United States at the World Championships in Japan in 2007 after losing the championship game in overtime. The first two Japanese American Football teams were founded in 1934 and Japan celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.
What is today known as the X League in Japan was founded in 1981. Teams playing in the X League are closely affiliated to or directly owned by companies. Since 1983 the Champion of the University League and the Champion of the X-League meet to determine the Japanese Champion in the Rice Bowl.
Following victories against European Championship competitors Sweden and France, Germany was once again able to assert its top position amongst its European competitors.
"It was important for us to find a top team to play against, in order to prepare our team for the European Championships in Frankfurt," stated Marshall Happer, the National Team Sports Director of the German national team.
"Japan is an ideal opponent. None of the other favorites competing in the European Championships this coming summer would have ready been willing to play against us so close the upcoming European Championships."
Teruo Taniguchi, President of Japan American Football Association (JAFA) said: "We are really looking forward to having a game with the German National Team. Team Japan won the silver medal and Team Germany won the bronze medal at the last IFAF Senior World Championship held in 2007 in Kawasaki, Japan, but we do not know which team is stronger, since we have never played against each other at the senior level.
This will be the first game between the two countries, and we believe it will be an exciting one. We are also looking forward to visiting the city of Düsseldorf, which with its Japanese community and Japanese ties is one of the closest related cities in Europe to Japan and the game in Düsseldorf has a special meaning for the Japanese people. We appreciate this opportunity and would like to express our special thanks to Mr. Robert Huber, President of the German American Football Federation."
Jörg Mitze, Managing Director of DüsseldorfCongress, said: "We are very proud to host this game in 2010 and to bring a big American Football game back to Düsseldorf. Like no other city in Germany, Düsseldorf can look back at a long tradition of American Football."
"This is the reason the AFVD decided the ESPRIT arena in Düsseldorf is the ideal venue for this game. The German Japan Bowl will be a success for the city of Düsseldorf, the AFVD, DüsseldorfCongress as well as for all fans who love the game of American Football."
The AFVD and JAFA aim to establish a tradition of the Germany-Japan-Bowl, which will take place every few years. The next Bowl would be the Japan-German-Bowl II, which would possibly be played in Japan shortly before the 2015 World Championships. Respective discussions regarding the second game were also agreed upon.
I'd love to go to some of these games just because I'm sure its the beginning of something bigger. :thup: