Recently ousted as A-League premiers and having slipped up in the race for a top-two finish, Tony Popovic's side will seek to hit back with a win in Asia
Can the team who finished third in the J.League last season take their momentum into continental competition? After a sluggish start to the campaign, they have claimed 4-0 and 1-0 wins over Tokyo and Nagoya Grampus respectively. The latter victory was the more impressive against a Nagoya side who sit sixth in the league. The strike partnership of Yu Kobayashi and Yoshito Okubo has been prolific, with both scoring four times in the league this season.
If Popovic's men can return to the form that saw them keep four consecutive clean sheets. Just as it looked like the Wanderers had cut out the sloppy, uncharacteristic errors that saw them lose three straight games in all competitions, mistakes returned against the Mariners. They stood off Josh Rose for the opener before a poor pass in the middle third led to Bernie Ibini's 90th-minute winner. Western Sydney were exceptional defensively in their debut season and will be eager to return to that kind of form late in their campaign.
Tomi Juric is likely to play an important role if given the opportunity away from home. If the Wanderers decide to sit deep, the 22-year-old striker will be a key in holding the ball up, drawing fouls and bringing his team-mates into the game. Juric may become isolated up front, but with his neat touch and ability to use his body, the Wanderers could utilise him to maintain possession.
A goalless draw would be a fine result for Western Sydney and they have shown their ability to keep clean sheets often in the past month. Popovic can set them up to play on the counter-attack if required and would take another low-scoring affair if possible. They have claimed consecutive 1-0 wins and while another would be a massive result, a draw would be handy.