Anfield to the Top End: Babbel's first match at Wanderers a long way from home
Anfield. Wembley. Old Trafford. Camp Nou. The famous old Olympiastadion in Munich. And now… the Darwin Football Stadium.
Football has taken Markus Babbel many places, but none quite like the one where the new Western Sydney coach will take charge of his first competitive match at the club.
Low key: Western Sydney Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer with new coach Markus Babbel, who will take charge of his first match in Darwin on Tuesday.
The Wanderers will meet Darwin-based Hellenic Athletic in one of six FFA Cup round of 32 clashes to take place on Tuesday night.
For Babbel, it will an adventure truly out of the box.
As a player for Liverpool, Bayern Munich and the German national team in his past life, Babbel has been to the very top of the sport's pecking order.
And it's a long, long way from Marrara, the humble 1000-seat ground where his team will play against a group of amateurs whose top-scorer is a dreadlocked 48-year-old.
"This is a new experience," Babbel said on Monday at Sydney airport. "This kind of flight, normally in Europe you play a Champions League game very far away – Russia, something like this.
"[And] we are not flying for four and a half hours."
The Wanderers should easily account for Hellenic, if previous performances from Northern Territory clubs in the FFA Cup are to go by.
No team from the NT has ever progressed past the round of 32.
Darwin Olympic's 6-1 defeat to Adelaide United in 2015 represents the state's best result so far.
Last year, Sydney FC won 8-0 on the road against Darwin Rovers, a team of backpackers who arrived at the match venue in a Hummer limousine.
Heyday: Babbel, here for Liverpool, is more at home at stadiums like Liverpool’s famous Anfield.
But Babbel is treating the match, and their opponents, with the utmost respect.
"The other team, they also have good players in their squad who can play football," he said.
"We can't do many mistakes, we have to perform.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing how the team is working in a proper game."
Six other A-League teams are in action on Tuesday night.
Four of them will play against each other – Brisbane Roar face Melbourne City in Redcliffe and Tony Popovic's new-look Perth Glory outfit hosts Melbourne Victory.
Wellington Phoenix will be looking to avoid embarrassment against 2015 semi- finalists Bentleigh Greens, while Newcastle will be hoping to shake off jetlag following their recent pre-season camp in Spain when they meet the Gold Coast Knights.
The other match has Melbourne-based Northcote City at home against Devonport Strikers, the sole Tasmanian outfit in this year's cup.
Source: Read Full Article