Is the Sydney derby dying?

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It was a fixture that once stopped a city, but the Sydney derby has fallen flat recently

The 20th A-League derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers will take place on Saturday, but unlike in years gone by, the fixture has some fans barely batting an eyelid.

Set to be their third clash in less than three months, the Sydney derby has become a saturated fixture of late with the Sky Blues dominance doing nothing to add any flavour to a once spicy clash.

Sydney FC have won their past five meetings with the Wanderers failing to score in four of those matches as the derby has become a lopsided affair.

With results on the pitch going one way, fans have gone the other with crowd figures for the rivalry on the decline.

While admittedly played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the game in Round 2 pulled in just 30,588 fans - a massive drop from the 61,880 than poured into ANZ for their Round 1 clash in the 2016/17 season.

That match marked the first A-League game Western Sydney played out of Parramatta and their relocation hasn't done the derby any favours on or off the pitch.

A return to Parramatta for the Wanderers at an attractive Bankwest Stadium will no doubt breathe new life into the derby next season, but for now the club must find a way to turn the tables.

For once, form is slightly with the red and black after the Sky Blues stumbled in recent weeks against Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix respectively.

History however is against Western Sydney with Markus Babbel's short experience of the fixture something he'll be desperate rectify quickly.

"If I see the history, we haven't won a lot of derbies," Babbel said.

"It's only up to us to bring a performance every week on the pitch that the supporters see the players give everything. I can't tell them that we will win every game but we have to try.

"Now we have to do the next step, to win a big game, which we haven't done for many months, years, we haven't won against a big team.

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"It's time to go the next step forward. This is what I want to see on Saturday."

With rain forecast in Sydney on Saturday, the derby is set for a telling test with a crowd under 30,000 a real possibility and should the Wanderers fail to deliver on the pitch - it's a fixture that could well be placed on life support for the remainder of the season.

Though a new stadium will no doubt revive the derby in the short-term, the introduction of Macarthur South-West Sydney in the 2020/21 season will only ask more questions of a derby that may have peaked too soon. 

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