Vidmar eyes Hiroshima return

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar is relishing the prospect of coaching against one of his former clubs in the Asian Champions League after Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima became the final team to qualify in Group H.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar is relishing the prospect of coaching against one of his former clubs in the Asian Champions League after Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima became the final team to qualify in Group H.

The final spot on Group H was designated to the winner of Japan's Emperor's Cup, but Gamba Osaka, who defeated Nagoya in the final, had already qualified, so that left the team that finished fourth in the J-League (Sanfrecce) to secure the final spot in the group alongside Shandong, Pohang and Adelaide.

Vidmar made 24 appearances and scored six goals in his one season in Hiroshima as a player 10 years ago and he admitted to feeling strange when he found out he would be returning there.

"When I realised that Nagoya were playing Gamba (in the Emperor's Cup Final), I knew that if Gamba won then Hiroshima would get into our group, and deep down that's certainly what I wanted," Vidmar said.

"It's a strange feeling because it was 10 years ago that I was there and you wouldn't be thinking that 10 years later you'd be coaching against a team that you played for, so I'm really excited about going back there."

"We're really looking forward to going to Hiroshima, it's a beautiful city, there is a lot of history there and I look forward to catching up with some old friends."

Sanfrecce has endured a topsy-turvy ride in the past seven seasons, having been relegated twice to the J-League's Division 2. However, on both occasions they went straight back up, their latest revival being last season, where they finished fourth.

Vidmar expects Hiroshima to be similar to other teams the Reds have faced in the ACL and should not be discounted despite not finishing as high as Shandong and Pohang in their respective leagues.

"They had a very good season in finishing fourth. It's a massive effort, especially considering they've only just come back from the J2," Vidmar said.

"Their football is typically like what you get with football in most countries in Asia and what we have seen in the ACL. They're quick, have got slick passing, are very fit, they run all day and they've been like that for a long time."

"Everyone will be a threat. Although Hiroshima didn't finish in the top two, finishing fourth in the J-League is a great achievement and they deserve a lot of credit."

While Vidmar can look forward to coaching against his former club, his immediate focus is getting the Reds of the foot of the Hyundai A-League table and challenging for a finals position.