Few sporting rivalries in Australia divide a city like the Melbourne Derby between bitter foes Victory and City.
The clash never fails to deliver edge-of-your-seat drama and intensity and the opening round of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season will see these two rivals do battle again.
We’ve seen some epic clashes between these two clubs over the years and sparks are set to fly again as both sides – under new coaches for 2019/20 - look to make an early statement.
It will be an extra special occasion for Scott Galloway, who goes up against former club Victory on his City debut.
MATCH PREVIEW: Victory v City
Galloway, who started his professional career at Victory in 2013, made his senior debut in a Melbourne Derby, a game in which the Big V won 2-1 over the then-Melbourne Heart.
“It was a game to remember. The derby just means so much to everyone and to make your debut in it and get thrown in at the deep end was something special,” Galloway recalled to a-league.com.au.
“It’s going to mean a lot to me this game, especially as I’m on the other side of the derby now. Personally, it adds a little bit more fire to it which is great.
“They are the games you want to play. The atmosphere changes that little bit around the city.
“Everyone knows how much it means, not just to us but to the fans and that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.”
City head into this clash unbeaten in their last three Melbourne derbies, while they have also won the opening derby of the campaign for the last three seasons.
“They [City] lift a lot and some of the games are on a knifes edge,” Victory veteran Leigh Broxham said.
“I’m aware the last few season we haven’t won the early derbies so it’s something I’m not comfortable with something we want to rectify.
“We know how important it will be.”
HOW TO WATCH: Hyundai A-League Round 1
Josh Brillante is another City recruit set to get his first taste of the Melbourne Derby and admits there’s a sense of excitement in the playing group heading into this clash.
“You feel like there’s a bit more hype that comes around these type of games. The fans get involved more, the players get a bit more fired up for this game,” the midfielder told a-league.com.au.
“The boys talk about it as well, it’s a little more special and that rivalry is there.
“These types of games there’s usually more fans and it’s a bit louder and rowdier.”
While injury means Robbie Kruse won’t be involved for Victory on Saturday night, the Caltex Socceroos winger knows what this fixture is all about.
VICTORY BLOW: Kruse ruled out of Melbourne Derby
He scored a match-winning double for Victory in his first Melbourne Derby, a moment which still brings him plenty of joy.
“It really set the precedent for the rivalry I guess. What I remember it was very intense, a really European-like atmosphere and it’s what every player likes to be a part of,” Kruse said.
“It’s going to be a massive game for both clubs. It really sets the tone for the rest of the season.
“The first one at AAMI Park was massive, a sold-out stadium, 90% probably Victory supporters like it is most games.
“When I managed to score both goals I was really happy and happy to stamp our authority on the city and really show we are the main team, which the club has carried on doing.”