Georg Niedermeier remembers the day his knees were shaking from the bench as his Bayern Munich side arrived at the Westfalenstadion to play rivals Borussia Dortmund.
A decade on from that Der Klassiker match in 2008, Melbourne Victory’s battle-hardened defender cuts a far more intimidating figure.
That Bundesliga pedigree and imposing 6’2 frame should have Sydney FC’s attackers bracing themselves for a battle for the ages when the Sky Blues host Victory in Sunday’s Big Blue.
"The boys are talking about this game, the Big Blue. Every league has the game with two big rivals fighting each other," he said.
"These big games in Germany are pretty intense. Stuttgart v Hoffenheim ... Schalke v Dortmund. Bayern Munich against Dortmund.
"My first match on the bench for the first team was in Dortmund.
"My knees were a bit shaky to be honest but no worries on the weekend. They won't be."
Niedermeier is not the only seasoned European star Kevin Muscat has at his disposal for Victory’s upcoming trip to Kogarah for rebel Female Football Round.
After making his Hyundai A-League debut from the bench in Round 4’s win over the Mariners, Swedish front man Ola Toivonen could be in line for his first start in Navy Blue.
“He gets better and better, you see after his injury he keeps on moving and it’s looking better and better,” Niedermeier said.
“For him the international break was very good.
“He’s one of our key players and I hope he will prove that on the pitch as well.
“Last time he came on for 10 minutes and had an assist already, I’m not the only one expecting some things from him.”