7 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, 39 total tackles and 4 pass break-ups in 12 regular season games – Backed up with these impressive numbers Leon Balogh his status as one of Europe’s top pass rushers last season. If the #1 in the Vienna franchise is anything to go by, then his stats are set to get even better in the 2023 European League of Football season.
“I aim to be the #1 pass rusher in the league. And topping the rankings in Sacks and TFL’s is my goal.” — Leon Balogh
Balogh, who was invited to the NFL International Combine in 2019 and 2021, lists a Perfect Season as his goal: “Our goals are clear: defend the title and this time without losing a single game.”
Head Coach Chris Calaycay about Vienna’s #1 Leon Balogh: „Leon may not have had the numbers that we are used to but make no mistake that he is a disruptive force on the edge. He is one of those players that makes everyone around him better and when we need that big pressure in the 4th Quarter or in a big game, he seems to always find a way to make an impact play. It is a big win for our franchise to have #1 back on the field with us.“
“I think it’s safe to say that every single person in the organization would be unhappy with less than a championship.” — Oskar Kranich
A contract extension with the Vikings also stood for defensive tackle Oskar Kranich out of question. „I extended with the Vikings because I really feel like we have a great chance of lifting the trophy again this year. It’s safe to say that every single person in the organization would be unhappy with less than one championship. I personally want a Perfect Season. It would be different not just to win it back-to-back but to go 14-0 at the same time.”, said the 23-year-old Viennese, who won after 12 regular season games with 5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 32 total tackles and 2 fumble recoveries.
In the playoff game against Barcelona and in the championship game against Hamburg, Kranich was one of the main defensive constants. The fact that he had to undergo a minor meniscus surgery at the end of the regular season didn’t detract from his strong post-season performance.
2022 marked a particularly successful year for Kranich. In addition to the ELF title, he was also able to win a title as a coach. The AFC Vienna Vikings U18 team, where Kranich trains the D-Line, became Austrian champions after a perfect season.
„Our long time Viking is back for another season.“said Calaycay about the important signing of his number 52. „Oskar is just a pure technician. Not the biggest Defensive Tackle but able to hold the point and split double teams. He is another one of those important guys in our defense that makes the whole thing work.“
“I’m currently in the best form I’ve been in a long time and I’m well prepared to give everything on the pitch.” — Marvin Wappl
With Marvin Wappl the Vienna Vikings announce the third D-Liner today. The 29-year veteran is in the form of his life and aims to make the 2023 season one to remember: “This year is supposed to be the pinnacle of my football career. I’m currently in the best shape I’ve been in a long time and fully prepared to give it my all on the field to create a season to remember.„
Head Coach Calaycay is also happy to have Marvin on board the Viking ship and predicts what might be the best season of his career so far: „Our veteran defensive lineman made a brief „retirement“ after the 2021 season to return to the Vikings in the European League of Football. I think he found the fountain of youth, because he has put in an incredible off-season, is in great shape and is looking to make 2023 his best season yet.“
The mission of defending the title began months ago for the Austrian players with the optional Strength & Conditioning Training in the off-season. From Tuesday, March 21st, the Homegrown Players will take to the field with Pads & Helmets for the first time when the Indy Sessions kick off twice a week. Balogh, Kranich, Wappl and their teammates will have to wait a few more weeks before the first official team training session – including the American and European import players – can take place on May 2nd.