Painful memories confront Wanderers and Babbel on FFA Cup debut

The last time Western Sydney Wanderers entered an FFA Cup Round of 32 clash as overwhelming favourites, they became victims of one of the competition’s greatest shocks.

Wanderers' head coach Markus Babbel had no affiliation to the Red and Black when the club were defeated 1-0 by Adelaide City in the national round back in August 2014.

The loss meant the Wanderers, who would lift the AFC Asian Champions League three months later, became the first professional side to lose to a semi-professional club in FFA Cup history.

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That result assumes a new level of importance for Babbel as he prepares for his Wanderers' debut tomorrow night against Hellenic AC.

Western Sydney were also nearly eliminated by NPL NSW side Blacktown City last year, and Babbel knows his players cannot afford to take the match up against the Northern Territory club lightly.

“I’m really looking forward to it because it’s the first important game and it stops now the preseason the friendly games it’s not the same,” Babbel told the official Western Sydney Wanderers website.

 “Now we can’t do many mistakes we have to perform. After five, six friendly games you get a little bit bored for the players are well.

“They know this [pre-season friendlies] is not a really important game and now if we do mistakes we come into trouble."

A flight to Darwin to take on Hellenic might not carry the glamour of the countless UEFA Champions League ties the German has been involved in during his playing days, but Babbel says there is a unique feel about his FFA Cup debut.

The 45-year-old's reign will officially commence when the two sides clash, and he says its vital for the club to advance to the Round of 16.

“It’s kind of like normally in Europe: you play a Champions League league game very far away in Russia or something like this but normally you’re not flying for four and a half hours.

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“The good thing in the pre-season is I think the boys are fully fit so if we are concentrated on the first minute, if maybe we can score two goals in the first half, then it makes it a little bit easier.

"The most important thing for me is not the other team. How can we bring our best performance?

"This is the key - if we do this the chances are big to come in the next stage.”