Paper Talk: German imports “strange reunion”, new Jet set for take off

Georg Niedermeier’s Melbourne Victory debut was memorable for more than playing reasons, a Brisbane Roar star helps a Hyundai A-League rival land a key signing, and a Newcastle Jets recruit is ready to repay his coach’s faith.

It's all in this week’s Hyundai A-League Paper Talk.

German pair reunited in Ballarat

Markus Babbel
Markus Babbel

There was a special reunion for Melbourne Victory debutant Georg Niedermeier in his side’s pre-season clash against Western Sydney Wanderers in Ballarat last weekend.

After making his first appearance for Victory, Niedermeier caught up with Wanderers boss Markus Babbel, his former coach at Bundesliga club Stuttgart.

It was Babbel who signed Niedermeier to Stuttgart back in 2009, with the defender going on to be club captain and make 148 appearances in seven seasons there.

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Babbel left Stuttgart at the end of that season, with the pair reuniting for the first time after the 1-1 draw at Morshead Park on Saturday.

"Sometimes, yes life is strange," Babbel told AAP.

"I bought him to Stuttgart and he ends as the captain there. He's a great guy, top professional and good defender. I wanted to bring him here but he signed for Victory and that's OK.

"He was looking for a new challenge, just like me. He said he's very happy, working with top professional guys and very lovely guys.

"He will help Victory to win games. I think both him and me, coming to Australia, we made a good decision."

Roar star’s role in City signing impressive Frenchman

berenguer
Florin Berenguer

A phone conversation with Brisbane Roar winger Eric Bautheac was all Florin Berenguer needed to convince him to move to the Hyundai A-League with Melbourne City.

The French attacking midfielder signed with City last month and has just completed his first week of training with Warren Joyce’s squad.

In an interview with Goal in France, Berenguer said he has been impressed with the standard of the City team and revealed the chat with compatriot Bautheac convinced him to move Down Under.

"I called Eric Bauthéac," said Berenguer.

"We talked about the city and the league. It's hard to compare to France. This isn't the same approach, it looks like the English league with box-to-box players, quite physical.

"This is a human and sporting adventure. This isn't an end of career choice, I have big challenges here.

“The level is good. We have good players in the team.”

Ridenton ready to take off at Jets

Matt Ridenton
Matt Ridenton in action for the Jets in the FFA Cup.

A chance to link-up with the man who gave him his first professional contract was too good to pass up for Jets recruit Matt Ridenton, who is eager to reignite his Hyundai A-League career in the Hunter.

Ridenton was 17 when then-Phoenix boss Ernie Merrick gave him his shot with the Phoenix, with the pair now reuniting in Newcastle.

And the 22-year-old is excited about working with Merrick again and feels the Scotsman’s attacking philosophy will suit his game.

"It made the decision [to join Newcastle] easier because you know what sort of environment you’re going into and the football that Ernie likes to play it’s obviously very attacking…I think that’ll suit how I play," Ridenton told Goal Australia.

"To play under him again was always going to make the transition a bit easier. He really encourages you on the ball, to always look forward and play forward when you can.

"I think he always get the best out of his players as you saw last year with the team in the attacking third and that’s an area of my game I want to develop - to score more goals and hopefully go forward more this season.“

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This article was originally published on the Hyundai A-League website.
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