Dusseldorf panther

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Dusseldorf panther Flag of Germany.svg
City: Dusseldorf
Founded: May 1, 1978
Team colors: black / red / white
League (2020): GFL North 2
Current uniforms
Dusseldorf panther
Greatest successes
Eurobowl winner 1995
German Bowl winner 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995
German runner-up 1985, 1988, 1996

VfL Benrath stadium

Address: Karl-Hohmann-Strasse
Owner: City of Düsseldorf
Play surface: Natural grass
Capacity: Approx. 7,000
Address: Düsseldorf Panther e. V.
Immermannstrasse 14-16
40210 Düsseldorf
Internet: duesseldorfpanther.de
Data status
October 6, 2019

The Düsseldorf Panther are a Düsseldorf club for American football and cheerleading . In 2018 the panthers celebrated their 40th birthday. You will play in the German Football League 2 from the 2020 season .


Dusseldorf panther

With its six German Bowl victories, the men's team of the Düsseldorf Panthers is the second most successful American football team in Germany , after the New York Lions with eleven German Bowl victories. The two titles of the Northwest German Football League (NFL) from 1980 and 1981 were also referred to as the “German championship” by the Northwest German competition association AFV, but are not recognized by the AFVD , which was founded in 1982 . From 1983 the Panthers won official finals.

The U10, U13, U16 and the most successful division, the Panther Rookies U19, are all teams in the youth field. The Pantherettes, the Panther cheerleading team , are the first known cheerleading formation in Germany.

The Düsseldorf Panther were the first German club with two tackle youth teams in regular play.

Since the annual general meeting in January 2017, Michael Wevelsiep, Willi Sauer and Markus Becker have been managing directors of the Düsseldorf Panther.


1978 to 1989: foundation and championships

The Panthers were founded about six months after the Frankfurt Lions , which dissolved in 1985, making them the oldest German and European American football team still in existence. They celebrated their 40th anniversary on May 1st, 2018.

In 1979 the Panthers started operating in the 1st Bundesliga ( American Football Bundesliga 1979 ). You were also instrumental in setting up the first American Football Association Germany (AFBD) in Germany. In order to receive support from the German Sports Association and the State Sports Association of North Rhine-Westphalia , a state association (AFV / NRW) had to be founded, which initially consisted of a few Panther board members. This led to quarrels with the AFBD and ended with the expulsion of the Panthers and six other clubs, who understood that one ultimately needed state associations. One suspected a counter association to the AFBD. Therefore, the Panthers played together with these six other teams in 1980 and 1981 under the AFV / NRW in the Northwest German Football League (NFL) , which at that time was held parallel to the Bundesliga for two years. The big cats from Düsseldorf won both championships, in 1980 against the Bremerhaven Seahawks in Essen and in 1981 against the Mannheim Redskins in the Park Stadium "auf Schalke".

After the seven clubs were resumed under a reorganized umbrella organization, the AFVD , the Panthers returned to the officially highest German league from the 1982 season. They became German champions for the first time in 1983 ( German Bowl V). They repeated this success in 1984 and 1986. In addition, the club was German runner-up in the 1985 and 1988 seasons. The Panthers were the most successful German American football team of the 1980s.

1990 to 1999: Further championships and Eurobowl victory

They were also very successful in the 1990s. After two other championships in 1992 and 1994, they won the double in the 1995 season: German champion and Eurobowl winner (as the first German team). Above all, it was remarkable that this was the first time in German football history that this was achieved not under an American coach, but under two German coaches (Christos Mantzaridis and Walter Rohlfing 1992, Mantzaridis 1994), both of whom were Panther's own generation. Mantzaridis is also the only German trainer to have received two awards (Coach-of-the-Year-Ring). By working in the 1996 season, the Panthers were in the final of the German championship for the last time, which they lost. Towards the end of the 1990s, the Panthers got into sporting and financial turbulence. The high level of the previous years could no longer be maintained.

2000 to 2010: crash, new beginning, GFL and GFL 2

After the semi-final defeat against the Cologne Crocodiles in the 2000 season, the traditional club was finally down. Due to financial problems, the club decided to start over. The men's team started the 2002 season in the Regionalliga, where they were promoted directly to GFL 2 . The 2003 season was also very successful with the return to the GFL . In the relegation, the Assindia Cardinals were defeated twice. From 2004 to 2006 the Panthers were represented in the GFL. In the 2006 season , the Düsseldorf team finished last in the GFL Nord behind the tied Berlin Adlers . The relegation for relegation, as in the 2005 season against the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes , was lost this time (first leg: 0:30, second leg 30:27). After a turbulent 2007 season , the Panthers finished fourth in the 2nd division north . In the 2008 season, the team missed promotion to the GFL and finished fourth again in the table. Due to an enlargement of the GFL determined by the AFVD in the course of the 2010 season, the Panthers were given the opportunity to play in two relegation games for promotion to the GFL as they were second in the GFL 2 Nord. On October 3, 2010, the Düsseldorf Panthers achieved promotion to the GFL in the second relegation game against the Berlin Rebels despite a 33:34 defeat, as they had won the first leg in Berlin 43:41.

2011 to 2016: Panther in the GFL

The 2011 season ended with the Panthers in third place in the GFL Nord and qualified for the play-offs for the German championship. The quarter-finals could be won in Marburg and only in the semi-finals was the run of the Panthers against the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes over. A semi-final had been reached for the first time in twelve years. After the season, they separated from head coach Martin Hanselmann after four years . In the 2012 season, the Panthers experienced an ups and downs. Nevertheless, they could reach the play-offs again. James Jenkins only held the post of head coach for one year. His successor for the 2013 season was Clifford Madison . In the 2013 season you played no role in the fight for the play-offs, the Panthers were penultimate in their group. Surprisingly, they separated from Madison after just one year. Kirk Heidelberg became the new head coach for the 2014 season . He only stayed for a few months, until the end of the season Jörg Mackenthun and Markus Zielke took over. The Panthers played a disappointing season and finished last in the GFL North. On November 11, 2014, the club announced that Marc Ellgering will take on the role of head coach. He was active as a Panther player himself and could e.g. B. win the German Bowl in 1994 and 1995 and the Eurobowl in 1995. Like the 2014 season, the 2015 season was less successful. As in the previous year, the Panthers came last in the GFL Nord.

In the 2016 season, Ellgering remained the team's head coach until halfway through the season, when he was replaced by Michael Wevelsiep. Again, as in the last three years, the Panthers finished last in the GFL Nord, without a win. The relegation games against the Cologne Crocodiles were each lost to zero, so that the Panthers were relegated to GFL 2.

2017 to today: Ascent and descent - "elevator team"

Deejay Anderson was the first team head coach from October 24, 2016 to March 13, 2018. Anderson was already position coach for the D-Line and running backs from 2009 to 2013 and thus involved in promotion to the GFL in 2011. Under him, the Panthers stabilized after unsuccessful years before and came second in the GFL 2 North in the 2017 season . Shortly before the start of the 2018 season, the club split from their head coach Anderson. His successor for the 2018 season was Mendoca, who was the Panther quarterback from 2006 to 2007. Under him, the Panthers completed a very successful season and became champions in the GFL 2 North. In the relegation they played against the Hamburg Huskies for promotion to the GFL Nord. The Panthers won both games (first leg 10:36, second leg 34:21) and were promoted back to the GFL after two years in GFL 2.

For the 2019 season , John Leijten took over the new Bundesliga club. After a disastrous start to the season, the Panthers parted ways with their head coach and Tim Johnson took over the big cats. However, the results ultimately failed to materialize. With historic defeats against the New York Lions (14:70 and 13:77), the Panthers remained without a win and were last in the GFL North. For relegation it was against the Elmshorn Fighting Pirates. Both games were lost 14:47 and 21:34. Thus, after only one year in the Bundesliga, the Panthers were relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga.

The youth program

In addition to the men's team, the Panthers' big figurehead is youth work. The Panther rookies (16–19 years) have been German champions 15 times , for the first time in 1982 and from 1985 to 1988 and from 2002 to 2008 in succession, between 1991 and 1998, most recently in 2010. The Düsseldorf Panther Rookies are the most successful youth team in Europe . Another very successful youth division of the Panthers are the U16s. With four “perfect seasons” in a row they became West German champions in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The U13 became West German champions in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The youngest Panther team, the U11 (from the 2017 season U10), became West German champions in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Rookies U19

With their 15 titles, seven of them in a row (2002–2008), the Düsseldorf Panther Rookies are the most successful team in Germany. More than ten ex-Panther rookies made the leap to high school or college football . The rookies (16 to 19 year olds) play in the GFLJ and were divided into A, A / B and B ranks until 2011.

The youth team was looked after by head coach Oliver Nitschmann from 2005 to 2008 and became German champions every year during his tenure. In the 2009 season, Markus Guderian took over the position of head coach. The rookies lost the semi-finals against eventual champions Berlin Adler. This was the first defeat in over seven years. After only one year without winning the title, Guderian resigned and Jürgen Lengling became the new head coach. Under him, the Panther Rookies won their 15th German championship on June 27, 2010 with the German Junior Bowl XXIX ; in Berlin the Hamburg Young Huskies were defeated with 17:07. After Lengling had only been head coach for one year, Markus Maier became the new head coach from the 2011 season. However, when he took office he emphasized that he was only available for one year. With the win of the German runner-up championship, his office ended. In 2012 Michael Tidge took over the team. Since the rookies missed the play-offs and were only penultimate in the group, Tidge had to leave after a year. The new head coach for the 2013 season was Detlef Zorn. The rookies finished fourth in the group and missed the play-offs again. Zorn remained head coach in 2014. The Panthers reached the play-offs again as second in the middle group and made it to the Junior Bowl, where they were defeated by the Cologne Crocodiles. After the final, Zorn resigned and Mario Schulz took over the position of head coach for the 2015 season. The runner-up from 2014 missed the play-offs, so the season ended early. In the past six years, the rookies have only won one junior bowl, been runner-up twice and missed the play-offs three times. The U19 has never had such a negative balance. Lars Trömel took over the team for the 2016 season. It reached the play-offs and was only eliminated in the semi-finals against the eventual German champions Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns. In 2017, the rookies won their group with 11-1 victories and were back in the Junior Bowl after three years. The Panthers lost this 22:27 against the Paderborn Dolphins and thus became runner-up. The Junior Bowl was also reached in the 2018 season, but this was again lost to the Dolphins from Paderborn and it was again enough to become runner-up.

The head coach and most of the coaching staff for the 2018 season ended their engagement with the Düsseldorf Panthers after the Junior Bowl. For the 2019 season, Marvin Damm became the new HC of the U19s. The season was mixed and ended in third place and thus without a playoff participation.

Panther U16

The Düsseldorf Panthers were West German champions in 2013 as U14 with a “perfect season”. After the reorganization of the age groups in American football in North Rhine-Westphalia for the 2014 season, the almost identical team competed as U15 in the NRW Regionalliga in 11 tackle football for the first West German U15 championship. The team was able to win the West German U15 championship 2014 with a “perfect season” again this season. Also in the 2015 season, the team became undefeated champions. This feat also succeeded in 2016. After the season, the U15 became the U16. In the other seasons (2017-2019) they became runner-up behind the Crocodiles.

Panther U13

The Düsseldorf Panther U13 has existed since the 2014 season. From the 2016 season, the U13 will play in the Regionalliga NRW, the highest league in this age group. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 the team won the NRW Regional League Championship. In the 2018 season, the team did not lose a game and thus achieved a “perfect season” for the second time. In 2019 they became runner-up behind the Crocodiles.

Panther Bambinis U10

The Bambinis are the "smallest" of the panther department. With the Bambinis now playing tackle football, the flag division was dissolved. From 2010 there was a tackle league for the first time, which was played parallel to the flag season. Since 2011 only the tackle league has been played. In 2014 the U11 won the West German championship. After the team had a three-year break, it was rebuilt under head coach Marc Greiwe and has been a U10 since 2017. In 2018 the Bambinis U10 won the NRW Regional League championship with only one defeat from 12 games. In 2019 they reached the runner-up championship.

Women's football

Düsseldorf panther ladies (2007-2009)

In 2007, a women's team from the Düsseldorf Panthers started playing for the first time. In the 2007 season, fifth place in the group south was achieved in the 1st women's Bundesliga. In the following season of 2008, with third place in the northern group, they narrowly missed entry into the playoffs for the Ladiesbowl. In 2009 the team reached the semi-finals and clearly had to admit defeat to the Berlin Kobras with 46:06, who in turn defeated the Nürnberg Hurricanes in the Ladiesbowl with 41:26. After this season the team broke up and the majority of the remaining players founded the Düsseldorf Blades , which were in the playoffs and in the ladies bowl several times in a row.

Düsseldorf Panther women's football (2014-2017)

After the Düsseldorf Blades were dissolved by the main Düsseldorf Bulldozer club, a new football team for girls and women aged 14 and over was founded by the Düsseldorf Panthers in September 2014. From 2015 to 2017 the team played in a regional NRW league 5-on-5 football in tournament form. Towards the end of 2017, all players, coaches and supervisors of the women's team left the Düsseldorf Panthers.

Düsseldorf panther ladies (from 2018)

After the departure of the previous women's team in November 2018, almost the entire former women's team of the Schiefbahn Riders , which mostly consisted of former players of the 5-on-5 teams of the Neuss Frogs and Neuss Legions, switched to the Düsseldorf Panthers. The newly founded women's team played 5-on-5 football in tournament form in the women's expansion league in 2018. Participation in the Regionalliga NRW or one of the national leagues is still not planned.



As the cheerleading team of the oldest European football club, the Pantherettes are the first known cheerleading team in a sport in Germany. The team was founded in 1980. In addition to many appearances outside of football, the Pantherettes also won the first German championship in cheerleading in 1988. In 1995 the cheerleading team Pyromaniacs was founded with Rhein Fire. With the end of the NFLE in 2007, the Pyromaniacs were looking for a new home. The proximity to football was important to many members and so after talks with the former general manager of the NFL European league club Rhein-Fire Sammy Schmale, the Düsseldorf Panthers found contact with Miriam Abel, who took over the sporting direction of the Pantherettes . In November 2009 Anna Henning and Kamika Sirot took over the management of the team; Anna Henning has been coaching the team alone since October 2011.

Former teams

Panther Prospects (2nd team)

In January 2012 the Panthers founded a second team in the national league. This should make it easier for young players to join the GFL team. After winning the group directly in the first season, the Prospects qualified on October 14, 2012 for the promotion game. The second team rose through a 42-31 against the Rheine Raptors in the association league. It was also David Lux's last game as head coach. Lux had only been named head coach for 2012 in January and terminated his contract after just one year.

Thomas Wolff was appointed head coach for the 2013 season. During the 2013 season, which was unsuccessful to date, he resigned and David Lux ​​resumed the position of head coach. In the end you could stabilize and came fourth in the group. The 2014 season was less successful for the Prospects. They were only penultimate in the association league. In June 2015 the club announced that Lux would leave the club after the season and take over the post of head coach at Wolfpack in Mönchengladbach for the 2016 season. Last year, the Prospects came last under Lux. Due to a rule change, the prospects remained in the association league. The new head chef of the second team was Winfried Khamkaew, who passed this position on to Paolo Bizzarri and Harald Westemeyer early in the season. At the end of the season, the team reached fourth place with four wins and six losses and secured themselves in the fourth year of existence of the second team to remain in the league.

At the end of the 2017 season, Paolo Bizzarri and the rest of the coaching and supervisory staff ended their engagement with the Prospects and the team was subsequently dissolved.

Head coach of the Prospects

  • 08 / 2016–11 / 2017 Paolo Bizzarri
  • 06 / 2016–07 / 2016 Paolo Bizzarri / Harald Westemeyer
  • 11 / 2015–05 / 2016 Winfried Khamkaew
  • 06 / 2013–10 / 2015 David Lux
  • 05/2013 Marc Hildebrandt / Philip Wilk
  • 11 / 2012–04 / 2013 Thomas Wolff
  • 01 / 2012–10 / 2012 David Lux

Panther junior flags

The Junior Flags were a youth division of the Panthers from 1997 to 2008, where 9on9-U-15-Flag was played. The flags of the Panthers were the most successful team in North Rhine-Westphalia and a fixture in Germany alongside other strong teams, such as the Hamburg Flag Devils or the Berlin Adler . From 1999 to 2007 the flags were NRW champions without interruption and were able to become German champions in 2005 and 2006 under head coach Thomas Wolff . In 2000, 2003 and 2007 they became German runners-up. In the 2008 season, the team under the new (last) head coach Uwe Prass was in a state of upheaval. This season one could not build on the successful years and was relegated. The junior flags have been inherited from the "Young Rookies".


The 5stars were another Panther flag football team for the 2007 season. They were formed to give young footballers experience. The 5stars were thus the breeding ground for the Junior Flags. After only one season, the project was discontinued.

Panther Bambinis

The Bambinis were the "smallest" of the panther department. With their three NRW titles and two Masters victories, they were a constant in the 5on5 flag. The number of teams competing varied from season to season. At the end of the season, a so-called Masters was played, where the first two of the NRW League compete against other teams from Germany. The head coach of this team was Uwe Prass, Defense Coordinator Pascal Wildhagen and Offense Coordinator Arnim Guski. The Panther Bambinis were disbanded and now play tackle football (U11).


Men's team

Preseason game 2005, Düsseldorf Panther vs. Bochum Cadets

Panther Rookies U19

  • NRW champions: 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000
  • GFL Juniors - middle group winner: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017
  • German runner-up: 1995, 2011, 2014, 2017, 2018
  • German champion : 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 ( German Junior Bowl XXIX )

Panther U16

  • West German champion U14 2013
  • West German champion U15 2014
  • West German champion U15 2015
  • West German champion U15 2016

Panther U13

  • West German champion U13 2016
  • West German champion U13 2017
  • West German champion U13 2018

Panther Bambinis U10

  • West German Champion 2014 U11
  • West German Champion 2015 U11
  • West German Champion 2018 U10

Achievements of former teams

Prospect team (2nd team)

  • Winner of the Landesliga NRW, promotion to the association league (2012)

Junior Flags (Flag Football 9on9 U15)

  • NRW Junior Flag Champion (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • German Junior Flag runner-up (2000, 2003, 2007)
  • German Junior Flag Champion (2005, 2006)
  • German Youth Indoor Flag Champion (5on5) (2007)
  • U13 European Champion 2003, 2004

Bambini Flags (Flag Football 5on5 U11)

  • Bambini-Flag-Masters Winner (German Championship): 2006, 2007, 2009
  • NRW Bambini Flag Champion: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009
  • NRW Bambini Flag runner-up: 2007, 2008


The first team's home games were played in 2008 in the VfL Benrath stadium. In 2009 the stadium and the facility were renovated so that they were not available. The home games of the first team as well as the home games of the rookies, young rookies and Bambinis were therefore played on the small arena (arena sports park) next to the ESPRIT arena . In 2010 the first team returned to Benrath. In addition, the Fortuna Düsseldorf soccer team and the German national soccer team occasionally use the Kleine Kampfbahn as a training facility.

In 2011, after 33 years, the Alumni Panther eV association, the former members of the Düsseldorf Panthers, was founded. The purpose of the association is to promote the athletic and personal development of the youth and adult players of the Düsseldorf Panther eV association. One of the association's concerns is to promote friendship and solidarity among the former players, cheerleaders and volunteer helpers of the Düsseldorf Panther association, as well as to promote contact to maintain with the active players, coaches and the board of the club.

Sebastian Vollmer , offensive lineman with the New England Patriots , played as left tackle with the Düsseldorf Panthers from 1998 to 2003 before his college career.

Hall of Fame

In 2004 the Düsseldorf Panthers founded their Hall of Fame. Every two years new members are accepted into the circle of the Hall of Famer, whereby the choice and decision is made by a four-person jury: Angie Pitzner, Markus Guderian (former Head Coach of the Panther Rookies), Markus Becker (Mr. Panther) and Marco Block (former Head of Public Relations / Press).

So far, the following players and coaches have been accepted into the Panther Hall of Fame:

Surname Position (s) Team membership Successes (panthers, national team , NFLE )
GermanyGermany Markus Becker TE , RB 1978-1989 German champion : 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986
German runner-up: 1985, 1988
United StatesUnited States Mel Crandall QB 1980-1986 German champion: 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986
German runner-up: 1985
GermanyGermany Francesco Mavaro RB, SS , LB , H 1982-1998 German youth champion: 1982, 1985
German champion: 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995
German runner-up: 1988, 1996
Eurobowl winner: 1995
United StatesUnited States Steve Moor Head coach 1981-1985 German youth champion: 1982
German champion: 1983, 1984
German runner-up: 1985
GermanyGermany Andreas Motzkus QB, WR , S , K , P , PR 1982-2000 German youth champion: 1985
German champion 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995
German runner-up: 1985, 1988, 1996
Eurobowl winner: 1995
United StatesUnited States Brad Parpan QB 1994-1995 German champion: 1994, 1995
Eurobowl winner: 1995

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Four Panther Rookies in America ( Memento of the original from November 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.duesseldorfpanther.de
  2. AFVD: Ladiesfootball AFVD | tables. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 27, 2018 ; accessed on January 26, 2018 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / ladiesbowl.de
  3. AFVD: Ladiesfootball AFVD | tables. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 27, 2018 ; accessed on January 26, 2018 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / ladiesbowl.de
  4. Düsseldorf Panther: Let's go, Panther ladies. January 14, 2018, accessed January 26, 2018 .
  5. Pantherettes - Pyromaniacs - Pantherettes, the history of the Pantherettes at www.pantherettes.de , accessed on March 1, 2009.
  6. Coach. (No longer available online.) Düsseldorf Panther - Pantherettes, archived from the original on December 7, 2012 ; accessed on August 31, 2012 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.duesseldorfpanther.de
  7. ^ Alumni Panther eV - Association of the former Düsseldorf Panthers