Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Round 11 Preview - #ADLvWEL
Marco Kurz insists Wellington Phoenix are a vastly improved side from their previous encounter which Adelaide United prevailed 3-1 in New Zealand back in November.
The Reds and Wellington will square off at Coopers Stadium on Saturday, both possessing equal points as well as the same amount of goals scored and goals conceded.
Indeed, Adelaide’s win over Mark Rudan’s team in Round 5 was the Phoenix’s last defeat and they have since strung together a five-match invincible run.
“It’s a different team to the one we played against them in Wellington,” Kurz said.
“I think now the team is very good in shape.
“They look very comfortable in their playing style, they play well, but we’re also good in shape.
“But I think both teams want to win tomorrow and we’ll see if we’re the better one."
The German tactician revealed he is always meticulous in his analysis of the opposition and the tactics they employ to exploit any potential weaknesses.
“I always study the playing style of the opponents,” he stated.
“That’s very important to know what can we do to win a game and in the last five games they haven’t lost.
“They played very well and they find now a system they feel comfortable with.
“In the first rounds they changed a couple of times the system and a couple of players but now the players are match fit.”
Kurz confirmed striker, George Blackwood, is in his preliminary squad for tomorrow and said he was thrilled to have him available again.
The 21-year-old featured as a second-half substitute against Newcastle Jets, but Kurz was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked if he would start.
“He’s in the squad,” he said.
“I don’t speak about the starting eleven and about my ideas, but I’m happy George is back after the long injury.
“He was out six to eight weeks and that means you need time, you need match fitness and he’s on a good way.
“But it’s good to know George is back.”
The next two home games could prove to be decisive for the Reds as they look to consolidate their place in the top six while giving themselves some breathing room.
As mentioned, the Reds play the ‘Nix on Saturday and then host Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night, before three straight away fixtures.
Kurz said Adelaide needed to start collecting maximum points on home soil and make Coopers Stadium a difficult place for travelling teams.
“It’s now time to win at home and to get three points,” he said.
“Our aim is to start tomorrow, we’ve respect for Wellington but on the other side we feel very confident in our game.
“Now it’s up to us to be better than Wellington.”
Adelaide United host Wellington Phoenix in Round 11 of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season on Saturday, 5 January at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 5.05pm ACDT. Gates open 4.05pm.