Wanderers bolster defence with Bundesliga gun
WESTERN Sydney coach Markus Babbel has bolstered his new team's defence, recruiting fellow German Patrick Ziegler as part of his bid to transform the A-League club's fortunes.
The 28-year-old centre-back has signed a three-year deal with the Wanderers and will slot straight into a spine left vacant by the departures of Michael Thwaite and Jonathan Aspropotamitis.
To date, Ziegler has plied his trade in Germany, most recently spending three years with former Bundesliga winners FC Kaiserslautern before they were relegated to the third tier for the first time.
Before that he featured for SpvVgg Unterhaching and Paderborn 07 and has made more than 130 appearances in Germany's top two divisions.
It took a high-profile compatriot in Babbel to pry him away from his homeland for the first time.
"The main reason why I decided to join the club was Markus Babbel," Ziegler said.
"We had several nice phone conversations where he told me a lot about the club and my new teammates, but also about the country, the culture and the lifestyle.
"I like the playing style he wants to play with the team."
Having spent his playing career in the back lines of Bayern Munich, Liverpool and the German national team, Babbel has a specialist eye for defenders.
The 45-year-old, who has been in the job two months after taking over from sacked predecessor Josep Gombau, will be intent on shipping fewer than the 47 goals conceded last season when the Wanderers missed the finals by two points.
Ziegler is expected to arrive in Australia Friday night and start training with the team on Monday morning.
The search for a second marquee to join Oriol Riera will now likely continue, with Babbel's respected coaching track record guaranteed to add market pulling power.