Western Sydney Wanderers defender Patrick Ziegler is quietly confident the club’s German contingent can help change the dynamics of the Sydney Derby with victory at ANZ Stadium on Saturday evening.
The hotly anticipated fixture - to be screened live and free on 10 Bold from 7.50pm (AEDT) - sees the Wanderers out to reverse a poor run of form against rivals Sydney FC.
Western Sydney have won just one of their last 14 Hyundai A-League clashes against the Premiers, a run in which the Sky Blues have averaged 2.2 goals per game.
“I watched two derbies when I was injured so I know the atmosphere and how important the game is,” Ziegler told a-league.com.au.
“We have to win the three points and keep going like we did against the Central Coast [Western Sydney won 2-0 in Round 7].
“If we play this, we can beat everyone … if we perform like we did against Central Coast, I think we can beat everyone and it doesn’t matter if it’s a derby or a normal game.
“We won against Central Coast and [Sydney FC] had a big loss against Wellington so I think the momentum is on our side.
“We’re in good shape. It’s a big opportunity to change the history of this game. I think we can win.
“In the last three games, they didn’t play very well. We have a big chance to take the win.”
Ziegler’s return from a knee injury has come at a good time for the Wanderers, with the 28-year-old centre-back immediately impressing on his Hyundai A-League debut against the Mariners.
And it was no coincidence that his return helped the Wanderers to their first clean sheet of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season.
Also on display in the Mariners win was the clever touches of midfield playmaker Alex Baumjohann, another German enjoying life at the club under the tutelage of former Germany international Markus Babbel, a man who Ziegler is loving working with.
“In Germany, he [Baumjohann] was always a big talent and everyone knew him,” Ziegler said.
“He had bad luck with injuries and coaches and he never reached his potential, I think.
“Now he feels comfortable with Markus and you see he’s a really, really good player … I think he will prove he’s a really big player.
“I followed his [Markus’] career because I was born in Munich … I was a fan of Bayern Munich in my youth.
“I followed his career … for me it was a big honour that he called me and wanted to have me in his team.”
Finally fit again, Ziegler added that he is really enjoying living in Australia - the country his father was born in.
“My family and me, we feel very comfortable here,” he added.
“Very nice people, very nice country, we love it here … it’s really almost perfect. If my injury didn’t happen it would be perfect.
“Obviously my father was born in Adelaide so I had connections with Australia. It was always a little bit in my mind that at some point I could maybe play here.
“Then it happened that Markus called me … it was the right moment.”
A Sydney Derby win would only add to that feeling of vindication.