As rivalries go, there isn’t much more you can ask for when the Western Sydney Wanderers take on Hyundai A-League newcomers Western United in the second leg of a stellar double header at Bankwest Stadium on Friday.
By the time the game kicks off, emotions are sure to be running high with the Wanderers Westfield W-League side having played Sydney FC in what will be a cracking Sydney Derby in the early game.
Previously the “newest” club in the national competition, the Red & Black know what it is like to try and make your mark so early in the life of a club.
It is something the Wanderers made a wonderful fist of, though, as they went on the claim a historic Premier’s Plate in their debut 2012/13 season while claiming a spot in the AFC Asian Champions League (ACL).
And we all know what followed in the ACL.
The two sides have already met this season in Geelong with the Victorians coming away with a 2-1 win in Round 5 and handing the Wanderers their first loss of the season in the process.
The Wanderers have since been unfortunate with some bad luck and unfortunate decisions going against them, but they are ready to turn the tide.
There have been good signs in recent matches against Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix with head coach Markus Babbel having the team going in the right direction as we head towards the half way stage of the season.
While they were on the wrong end of a 2-0 loss to Perth Glory in Perth last Saturday night, things could have been different had they capitalised on some early chances, notably when Mitchell Duke’s curling effort hit the junction of the right post and crossbar after just two minutes.
Importantly, the Red & Black should welcome the return of goalkeeper Daniel Lopar, who was a late withdrawal after falling ill before the game.
While Nick Suman did an admirable job, Lopar has been in outstanding form and his experience is invaluable.
Under Mark Rudan, Western United have been the surprise packet of the Hyundai A-League. They have won five of their 10 games and are sitting in third spot on 16 points.
The Victorians have a very experienced side that includes the likes of Alessandro Diamanti, Andrew Durante, Besart Berisha, Panagiotis Kong and Ersan Gulum.
There are also some familiar faces in the Western United squad for Wanderers fans with former Wanderers captain Brendan Hamill, Jonathan Aspropotomitis, Kwabena Appiah and Josh Risdon.