Babbel: Wanderers fans have been through s*** things…we have to give them success

Markus Babbel says his Western Sydney Wanderers must deliver success this season to repay the fans for the ‘s*** things’ in recent seasons.

The Wanderers have missed the Hyundai A-League Finals Series for the last two years as the club have been without a permanent home due to the redevelopment at Parramatta Stadium.

But after three long and tumultuous seasons the Wanderers will finally return to their spiritual home – the new Bankwest Stadium – when they take on Central Coast Mariners on Saturday afternoon.

“Tomorrow we play at home in our new stadium. The supporters have been through many s*** things in the past so we have to give them success.

“We want to finish better than last year. We were all not happy with the season last year," Babbel told reporters on Friday.

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS SEASON PREVIEW: Santalab predicts top-four finish
STATS PREVIEW: The curious opening round omen facing Western United


“I believe we are stronger now, we have better team spirit now, individually we have more quality now and if we can bring this on the pitch then I can imagine we’ll play a good role in this league.

“I trust the boys and if they show me what I see for the last two and a half months in training then we can play a big part.”

Asked if a top six finish was the target for the season, Babbel said: “Of course, we want to finish better than last year. I don’t want to finish 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th. 

“Now we could do some changes and I want to see this on the pitch. Of course, the target is always the finals.”

Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners: match preview 


Meanwhile, the Wanderers’ first game at the new Bankwest Stadium has brought back some fond memories for club skipper Mitch Duke.

Duke was involved in the Wanderers’ very first match at Parramatta back in 2012, although he was wearing the colours of the Mariners on that night.

“I just remember it being crazy loud, passionate and intimidating.

“I was on the other side of it as well. To play against it was unbelievable and now for me to be on the other side playing for it, it’s going to be so exciting," Duke recalled to a-league.com.au.

"To play [the Mariners] in the first round, the team I used to play for, in a game where we’re back home, it’s a massive moment for me personally and everyone [at the Wanderers].”

HOW TO WATCH: Don't miss a kick of Hyundai A-League Round 1
TRANSFERS: All the pre-season signings made by your club


Mariners playmaker Michael McGlinchey was also involved in that opening game and believes the Wanderers’ return to Parramatta is a huge coup for the Hyundai A-League.

It used to always be the place that you wanted to come and play, the fans are always amazing,” he said.

“[The fans] have to come and see this stadium, it’s a proper football stadium.

“It’s going to be a great occasion, coming down here tyring to get the three points and to silence the crowd.”

Watch the full video with Wanderers skipper Mitch Duke and Mariners midfielder Michael McGlinchey in the player at the TOP of the page.