Marco Kurz and Ersan Gülüm are embracing the challenge of hosting old foes Melbourne Victory in the last 16 of the Westfield FFA Cup, in what is tipped to be another enthralling chapter of the ‘Original Rivalry’.
The Reds boast an indomitable record at the Marden Sports Complex, winning its two previous competitive matches without conceding at the venue – most recently a 1-0 win against Newcastle Jets in the round of 32.
However, United face an even harder test in the form of fierce rivals the Victory, who smashed Brisbane Roar 5-1 in the last round.
It will be the second cup meeting between the two former Westfield FFA Cup Champions, after Kevin Muscat’s men beat Adelaide in the 2015 quarter finals on route to lifting the trophy.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference Head Coach, Kurz insisted the team will be doing everything it can to progress to the quarter finals against a “very strong” Victory outfit.
“I saw the last game from Melbourne Victory against Brisbane and I think they’re a very strong team,” he said
“One of the best in the A-League, but I think also we’re a very good team and we have a big chance to reach the next round.
“That’s our aim for the game tomorrow, we’re playing at home and we’ll do our best in this game to win.”
The German tactician also confirmed new signings Vince Lia and Ersan Gülüm will return to the squad after recovering from respective injuries.
“Vinnie (Lia) is in the squad, he’s fit and he trained the whole week with the team,” he said.
“Ersan (Gülüm) is fitter than two weeks’ ago and I think step by step the players have developed.”
Meanwhile, Gülüm, who is in line to make his official Reds debut, could not hide his enthusiasm about competing in tomorrow night’s encounter.
“I’m excited, I’ve been thinking about this game for two weeks,” he said.
“It gives me nerves which is good, I’m very excited.
“We have been working well as a team for the last two to three weeks now.
“It’s never easy to get a new squad in, new coach, what he wants, it takes time and I think what we have produced on the training pitch is showing in our games.”
Gülüm further revealed he is relishing the prospect of facing an imposing Victory attack, in particular striker Besart Berisha.
“I like that in your face (aspect about Berisha) because I’m a defender I’d do the same,” he said.
“It’s a good part of the game and it brings out the toughness in you, brings out the culture in the game.
“But it’s going to be a good test for both teams a real test before the season starts to show where both teams are at.
“… We’re ready and we’re just hoping our supporters will come out tomorrow.”
The 30-year-old defender knows a thing or two about intense rivalries having played in many Istanbul derbies against Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray during his time with Beşiktaş.
“I always followed the A-League when I was in Turkey,” he continued.
“I knows there’s been big games between Adelaide and Melbourne.
“For the players it’s always an extra boost of confidence and excitement so I think it’s going to be a very good derby game.”
Westfield FFA Cup Record
2014 – Champions
2015 – Quarter finals
2016 – Round of 32
2014 – Quarter finals
2015 – Champions
2016 – Semi-finals
Adelaide United host Melbourne Victory in the Round of 16 of the 2017 Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday, 23 August at Marden Sports Complex. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACST.