Markus Babbel has paid tribute to former Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic ahead of his side’s clash with Perth Glory on Sunday.
Popovic led the Wanderers to a series of early successes as the club’s inaugural manager, steering the Red and Black to the Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Premiership and three Hyundai A-League Grand Finals.
The former Caltex Socceroos defender's biggest achievement, however, was attaining the AFC Champions League title in 2014, becoming the first Australian club to do so.
“He did a fantastic job here, he was very successful and he won the Champions League with this club,” Babbel said ahead of Sunday's game at nib Stadium.
“This is unbelievable because if you see the Asian teams how much money they spend for players and for everything, this is a fantastic success for the club and for him, but he decided to go.”
After leaving the Wanderers on the eve of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 campaign, Popovic endured an unsuccessful overseas stint with Turkish club Karabükspor.
But the 45-year-old is now back in Australia and aiming to return Perth Glory back among the Hyundai A-League contenders.
In a twist of fate, Popovic will commence his era as Glory boss against the Wanderers on Sunday, and Babbel is anticipating a fierce contest.
“We know we will play against a physically strong team, and if we are not ready we have no chance.”
You can watch the final match of the opening round - which kicks off at 7pm (AEDT) - live on FOX SPORTS 505 or stream the match live on the MyFootball Live App.
There's still tickets available as well so secure your seat here.