The Frankfurt Universe, German Football League semifinalists in 2019, have signed one of the top defensive players in Europe as linebacker Dustin Illetschko returns to the team for the 2020 season.
The 6′, 230 lb native of Vienna, Austria, spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Universe before moving back to Austria and his mother club, the Dacia Vienna Vikings in 2018. Last year, with the Potsdam Royals in the GFL North, Illetschko was the fifth leading tackler in the GFL recording 144 tackles in 14 games. The year before, with the Vikings in the Austrian Football League, he was the fifth leading tackler in Austria with 45 tackles in 10 games, tops on the Austrian Bowl finalists.
Illetschko, a product of the Vienna Vikings football program, spent the previous two seasons with the Frankfurt Universe and in 2017 was named Defensive Player of the Year for Frankfurt. He amassed 214 tackles in two years. He arrived in Frankfurt after playing one season with the Finnish champion Helsinki Roosters in 2015 where he earned Maple League All Star honors. He was named Austria’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 after helping the Vienna Vikings win the Austrian crown.
The Universe reached the GFL semifinals in 2019 but were eliminated by the eventual champions, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, losing 36-18.
Illetschko was asked about his finest memories as a player.
“I have had some wonderful experiences. One of the best memories I have was in 2013 when I was able to win two titles with the Vikings in one year: the Austrian Bowl and the Eurobowl with a 15-0 record. Winning Finland’s Maple Bowl in 2015 with the Roosters is also an unforgettable experiences. I also have to mention the home game with the Universe against Schwäbisch Hall in 2016 in front of 8,000 fans. Despite a bitter loss, that game is definitely one of my personal highlights. But the bitterest defeat, and yet one of the highlights of my career was playing for Austria and losing in the European Championship final to Germany.”