Spira weighs in on Wanderers' ACL opener

Former Wanderer and Asian Champions League-winning defender Matthew Spiranoivc spoke about what the Red & Black can expect against his former side Urawa Red Diamonds in tonight's tournament opener in Campbelltown.

Having spent the first four years of his professional career in Germany playing for FC Nürnberg, Spiranovic didn't entirely understand the magnitude of his move to Urawa Red Diamonds until he arrived in Japan.

"I quickly learnt that over the history of the J.League, Urawa Reds have been one of the powerhouses of Japanese football both on and off the field," Spiranovic told  www.wswanderersfc.com.au

"Their supporter base is phenomenal and the passion and numbers they bring to Saitama Stadium every home game is simply spectacular. 

"The sea of red and the vocal support that came with it funnily enough gave me a strong sense of déjà vu once I walked out onto the pitch in front of the Wanderers faithful at Pirtek Stadium."

J League

The Red Diamonds will be coming off the back of a very successful season in the J.League and Spiranovic anticipates that their confidence will be high leading into tonight's tournament opener against the Red & Black.

"They are a team that in most games enjoy the lion's share of possession and will be aiming to dictate terms against the Wanderers," said Spiranovic.

"Last year they often pushed five players into attack and with the way they held possession and pressed all over park, they could be fantastic watch."

Spiranovic says much of the main differences between the J.League and the Hyundai A-League stems from how long each league has been established for.

"The J.League has been around for much longer than the Hyundai A-League and it's currently heading into its 25th season.

"The number of clubs and therefore player pool is much greater and it's given them a very strong second division with promotion and relegation".


According to Spiranovic, the Wanderers will need to repeat their previous performances in the Champions League to secure a victory.

"In their past Asian Champions League campaigns, they have become accustomed to playing against very technical teams and have learnt to keep possession very well. The Wanderers will know that they need to be very organised and disciplined in their tactics. 

“Over the last few seasons, the Wanderers have continued to evolve and improve in their ability to maintain possession and build attacks from from defence.

“However, if they find themselves unable to do this, they'll need to make sure they remain very compact and limit the space for Urawa’s attacking players and keep them out of the dangerous areas where they can really punish teams.

“If they can then frustrate the Reds and force them to over commit we'll no doubt see chances for the Wanderers at the other end.”


Spiranovic was a key player in the Wanderers Champions League success and noted that the continental competition is a great opportunity for players who haven't experienced Asian football before.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved, so embrace the challenge and enjoy playing against some of the best teams Asia has to offer.

"Don't be overawed, have faith in your own ability and go out there with a positive attitude."