Kittel bringing Derby experience

Whilst the upcoming Sydney Derby will be the first for new signing Sonny Kittel, he is certainly no stranger to the trials and tribulations of big derby matches.

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The former Eintracht Frankfurt and Hamburg midfielder has played in plenty of fiery clashes over the years throughout his career in Germany and Poland.

When asked what match was the biggest, Kittel is quick to answer.

“I think the biggest was the Hamburg Derby against St Pauli. For the fans, it’s the most important game in the season.”

That derby is known as one of the biggest and most intense in Germany, attracting huge crowds and debate as both clubs clash in football and political ideology.

Hamburg’s Sonny Kittel (center back) and Hamburg’s Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer celebrate the 4:2 goal during the second division football match Hamburger SV vs St Pauli in Hamburg on April 21, 2023. (Photo by Axel Heimken / AFP) (Photo by AXEL HEIMKEN/AFP via Getty Images)

He knows how much winning those games meant to the fans, and he knows it is no different in the Sydney Derby.

“If you win, it’s a big thing, because the fans feel good. The next day, the next week (and) also the next (Derby) game. So yes, it’s a very good feeling, they react very good.

“But if you lose, it’s also not so nice.”

Kittel has been in the country for less than a month after being a late January transfer window signing for the Red and Black as they look to bring more skill and creativity into the midfield and attacking areas as they look to chase down the top four.

He has only made two appearances off the bench so far, but made a very quick impact in his debut against the Jets, getting the assist for Marcelo’s equaliser in stoppage time from a corner.

He also played for around 30 minutes recently against the Central Coast and will look to further increase his minutes in the coming matches and play a key role in an attack that is also welcoming back Brandon Borrello from a long-term injury.

A match winning performance in a Sydney Derby clash at home would go a long way to endearing himself to the fans – previously foreign stars such as Shinji Ono, Youssouf Hersi and Amor Layouni have pulled off match winning performances to the delight of Wanderers fans -and Kittel would love to add himself to the list.

However, Kittel does his best not to get too swept up by the occasion, and to instead stay focused on the task at hand on the pitch in the big derby games.

“I would say (it’s) every game. Of course you know what it means, but in the end for you as a professional, it’s just a game.

“You want to win this game like every game and you do your work before the game, also in the game, you try to give your best.”