It’s the moment Western Sydney Wanderers fans have all been waiting for.
After years in the wilderness, the Hyundai A-League Season 2019/20 marks Western Sydney’s return to Wanderland and, with it, a renewed optimism.
The chance to turn over a new leaf and make a fresh start is a solid distraction from the Red and Black’s failure to make the Finals Series during their past two attempts.
Regardless of what happens this campaign, Markus Babbel’s second year in the dugout will forever go down in history as the homecoming season.
We look at three key fixtures where Wanderers will need to set the tone to ensure their memories of 2019/20 live long as happy ones.
The Hyundai A-League return to Wanderland
It’s been three years in the making, but Western Sydney are bringing Hyundai A-League football back to Parramatta.
There’s no doubting that the all-new Wanderland will be pumping and, amid the excitement and adrenaline, there will be a touch of nostalgia in the air for Wanderers fans.
Their first-ever Hyundai A-League match after the club entered the league, at the old Wanderland, Pirtek Stadium, was against the Central Coast Mariners.
The Red and Black history books opened with a goalless stalemate and, of course, they finished their maiden season with a Hyundai A-League Premiership. Alen Stajcic’s Mariners will be seeking to gatecrash the party.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners
Round 1 – Saturday 12 October 2019
Kick-off: 5.15pm AEST
Marking their territory in the Sydney Derby
The first-ever Sydney derby at the brand new Bankwest Stadium is certainly going to be a spicy one.
Babbel’s side will be desperate to create some lasting derby memories at the new Wanderland, having not recorded a win over their Harbour City rivals in three contests last season.
Michael Zullo has already vowed that the derby is ‘going to be even better this year’ and Sydney FC will be hellbent on leaving their mark on enemy turf.
Add in the mix that former Red and Black favourite Alexander Baumjohann will be pulling on a Sky Blue jersey. That should make for an intense atmosphere in the Parramatta cauldron.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Round 3 – Saturday 26 October 2019
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEST
Facing Wanderers old boys in battle of the West
It was not so long ago Western Sydney were the new boys in town, and we all know how that famous inaugural season under Tony Popovic ended up.
Wanderers set the bar for debut seasons and Western United will need a miracle campaign to come close to matching it.
Round 5 sees the battle of Melbourne’s west versus Sydney’s west, and United head coach Mark Rudan is likely to field some Wanderers alumni as the club seeks to establish themselves in their new home in Geelong.
Brendan Hamill could help form the backbone of Western United side after five years in Red and Black, while Josh Risdon is another key recruit aiming to get one over his former club. Wanderers will have to step up against an unknown quantity on the road.
Western United v Western Sydney Wanderers
Round 5 – Saturday 9 November 2019
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEST