NPL Finals Series: Get to know Heidelberg United

Heidelberg United are back in the National Premier Leagues finals for another year after being crowned Australian champions in 2017.

The Bergers maintained their reputation as one of the best Member Federation clubs in the country with another dominant campaign in Victoria and will start favourites to go back-to-back in 2018.

Here’s a closer look at the team from Victoria.

How they qualified

It’s been another superb season for Heidelberg in the Victorian NPL, wrapping up a second consecutive Premiership with two games to spare ahead of Bentleigh Greens.

From 26 games this season, the Warriors have won 19, drawn two and lost only five.

While their scintillating attack has been a key part of their campaign, scoring a league-high 60 goals, they also have the second best defence with only 29 conceded all season.

Heidelberg United premiership

Star player: Sean Ellis

The winger is one of the best players outside the Hyundai A-League, having lit-up the NPL over the last few seasons.

Still just 28 and reaching the peak of his career, Scottish-born Ellis has all the skills in his locker and has been arguably Heidelberg’s most consistent performer during their recent dominance.

Ellis possesses a sweet left foot which not only provides goals for his teammates but also gets himself on the score sheet, like this cracking strike below!

Coach: George Katsakis

Katsakis has been in charge of Heidelberg for the best part of the last decade, besides a short period due to a health problem.

But with the club struggling once he left, ultimately getting relegated to NPL2, Katsakis returned and helped the club earn promotion back to the top division for the 2014 season.

He’s since helped Heidelberg become a powerhouse of the NPL, guiding the club to the FFA Cup quarter-finals on two occasions as well as back-to-back Premierships over the last two seasons.

George Katsakis
George Katsakis

Home ground: Olympic Village (Park)

Heidelberg have turned their home ground into a fortress over the last few seasons, in both the local NPL and the FFA Cup.

The ground, which has a capacity of around 12,000, was used as an official warm-up venue for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne.

It has a grandstand with 1,000 seats as well as undercover standing room, while there are also grass hills for fans to watch from.

Olympic Village
Olympic Village