The Vienna Vikings are in the final of the European Football League (ELF) 2022 (Sunday, September 25 live on ProSieben MAXX and ran.de).
In Klagenfurt, the Austrians meet last year’s finalists, the Hamburg Sea Devils, around former NFL pro-Kasim Edebali.
As newcomers to the league, the Vikings have a chance to be crowned champions in familiar territory. But who is the surprise franchise from Vienna? ran imagine the Vienna Vikings.
The team reached the final after beating the Barcelona Dragons 39:12. The Vikings caused a lot of talk around this performance: because the Viennese franchise could not celebrate the semifinals in the “Generali-Arena” at home.
Due to a storm warning and the resulting poor space conditions, the Vikings’ Football center Ravelinstraße had to serve as an alternative stadium. Apparently, the new but familiar venue was no problem for the Viennese, who made quick work of their guests.
Vienna Vikings: Runners-up in the domestic league
Sounds like a strong and established team, even though the Vikings have only been part of the ELF since the current season. The success story of “Purple and Gold” began in 1983 when the franchise was founded by Thomas Aichmair, a former player of the local “Vienna Rammblocks”, and his good friend Thomas Bundschuh.
Since then, the Vikings accumulated 15 national championship titles and won the Eurobowl, which was synonymous with the title of the best European Football team, five times.
In the Austrian national Football league, the Vikings finished last season in third place out of ten, which meant qualification for the playoffs. Here they only had to admit defeat in the final against the completely undefeated Danube Dragons.
ONCE: Vikings as freshmen in the final
The first season in ELF is equally successful for the Vikings. The newcomer finished the regular season first in the Central Division with a 10-2 record. Division opponents were the first ELF champions Frankfurt Galaxy, Raiders Tirol, and Stuttgart Surge.
The Viennese performed particularly well at home, where they won all six games. After that semi-final success against Barcelona Dragons, the comparison with the top favorites is already underway. The Vikings’ key players will be particularly important. And they definitely have their roots in Vienna.
Erdmann, Bouah, Calaycay – Vienna Vikings close to home
All-American Jackson Erdmann will start at quarterback this season. Coached with the Nittany Lions of renowned Penn State University, Erdmann played in the NFL for both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, but no permanent contract was in place.
On December 24, 2021, the Vienna Vikings announced the signing of the signal caller. Curious: Erdmann is no stranger to the Austrian capital: his grandmother was born in Vienna.
The quarterback has Italian national player Jordan Bouah at his disposal as a passing station. His Vikings teammates are full of praise for the ultra-fast wide receiver. According to the team, “Not only is he fast, he’s also brilliant and knows exactly what he needs to do to be passable. He’s incredibly hard to defend!”
Can he prove it again in the final against the Hamburg Sea Devils?
The head coach is a former Vikings player.
Last but not least, Vikings head coach Christopher “Chris” Calaycay is a star of the team. Because the former linebacker is a true “homegrown player”, he was already a player from 1999 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2006 he was the Vikings’ Defensive Coordinator. Just a year later he was promoted to head coach of the franchise and since then he has been in charge of the “Purple and Gold”.
But will the great connection to the homeland and the good season so far be enough to win the title at home? The Hamburg Sea Devils, after all, finalists in their debut year, will try to avoid that. In just over a week’s time, there will be a showdown in Klagenfurt.