Less than 18 months ago, Adelaide United were the champions of Australia.

But following a season so bad that only the god-awful Newcastle Jets were worse, the Reds will kick-start their A-League campaign with a new coach and just four faces from that grand-final triumph remaining.


Last Season:

A-League: 9th
FFA Cup: Round of 32

They’ll win the league because…
United have a ceiling as high as any other team in the league and a long off-season has allowed Adelaide to quietly construct a side with strong pedigree.

Former Turkish international Ersam Gulum and other high profile signings have had the chance to gel with teammates in a number of pre-season hit-outs, whilst Marco Kurz’s tactical style has shown intriguing promise, earning high praise and a semi-final birth in the FFA Cup.

Adelaide United’s young brigade is also showing spectacular promise. Mark Ochieng was a shining light in a forgettable 2016/17 campaign, and the side was certainly not disappointed by showings from Ryan Kitto and Jordan O’Doherty.

These boys will all be looking to have a breakout season, returning the favour to a club who invested considerable minutes into their growth.

Strong leaders also return to the frame with Adelaide’s newest captain Isaias and Tarek Elrich both looking to bring guidance and know-how to a side that on paper has all the right parts.

If Kurz can deliver the coaching intelligence that saw Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern earn a respectable 7th-placed finish in their first season post-promotion, then surely United have some chance of competing in this league.

 They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

The danger of building a side within a hasty timeframe is the considerable potential for it to all fall apart.

Just two players from the Reds’ starting XI in their closing match against WSW last season will presumably retake their positions. Filling nine starting spots is challenging enough for any club, let alone one bound by salary caps and player restrictions.

Kurz has toiled hard, but with four new foreign signings that are expected to make significant contributions without a minute of A-League experience and a lack of depth in the centre-half position, this season could get messy for the 2015/16 Champions.

Talk around the watercooler… Look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.
The Reds are earning a substantial reputation for signing coaches with rich histories in European football. Marco Kurz won a Bundesliga title at Borussia Dortmund in ’95 and a UEFA Cup with Schalke in ’97 where he was an unused substitute in their win on penalties.

This should hold him in good stead as he takes over United, whose points total at last season’s end was their lowest in A-League history.

This offseason brought…
More change than a beggar would know what to do with. The Reds introduced Kurz and assistant Filip Tapalovic to replace Amor and his departing coaches.

In the playing unit, Gulum, Johan Absalonsen, Karim Matmour, Daniel Adlung, Vince Lia, Paul Izzo and George Blackwood headline the arrivals, replacing a host of former United stars not limited to Marcelo Carrusca, Eugene Galekovic, Riley McGree and Sergio Cirio.

Key player…
Baba Diawara only joined Adelaide in January, but his club will be looking to him to provide a wealth of maturity and a glut of goals. The Reds showed faith in Baba by dangling a two-year contract on his nose in an off-season where renewals were scarce.

For the club’s sake, the 29-year-old has to bang in the goals on a regular basis, otherwise Adelaide will find themselves critically lacking in their scoring department.


One to watch…
Daniel Adlung is an interesting prospect for United. The 29-year-old was announced very recently on the 21st of September and therefore does not have the privilege of getting to know his teammates and the city he now lives in before the season kicks off.

Adlung has spent 11 seasons in the German 2. Bundesliga, with his attacking and defensive prowess able to provide flexibility in midfield for the Reds. Expect a slow start, but the former U/21 German international should slot in nicely and add another weapon to Marco Kurz’s arsenal.

Full squad list…
11. Johan ABSALONSEN, 37. Daniel ADLUNG, 14. George BLACKWOOD, 18. Lachlan BROOK, 9. Baba DIAWARA, 23. Jordan ELSEY, 21. Tarek ELRICH, 19. Ben GARUCCIO, 22. Ersan GÜLÜM, 8. ISAÍAS, 20. Paul IZZO, 7. Ryan KITTO, 6. Vince LIA, 28. Kristin KONSTANDOPOULOS, 16. Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 1. Daniel MARGUSH, 2. Michael MARRONE, 10. Karim MATMOUR, 17. Nikola MILEUSNIC, 24. Jordan O’DOHERTY, 12. Mark OCHIENG, 5. Taylor REGAN, 25. Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 29. Ryan STRAIN, 4. Ben WARLAND

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Adelaide-based writer, content creator and story-teller. Like one of those determined ants that require a second flick.