MELBOURNE Victory may have just unearthed the closest thing to a clone of classy title-winning defender Matthieu Delpierre.
Former Stuttgart teammate and protégé Georg Niedermeier, 32, revealed that Delpierre, who planted the A-League seed with him during the Frenchman’s Victory stint in 2014-16, was a massive influence on him.
A Bayern Munich youth product, his breakthrough came when moving to Stuttgart in 2009, where he flourished into one of the Bundesliga’s most reliable stoppers.
With Rhys Williams and James Donachie departing, Niedermeier will lead the defence alongside Delpierre’s former partner Nick Ansell and new Socceroos call-up Thomas Deng.
Just over a week out from Victory’s Melbourne derby opener at Marvel Stadium, German Niedermeier said he would love to emulate his former partner in crime.
“Big footsteps,’’ Niedermeier said.
“In the style we play we are similar so that’s why I could learn a lot from him. He had my style, was always quiet, never spoke too much, but always fighting for the team, had this team spirit and a good eye for teammates and also knew where to stand and what time and what (was) needed on the pitch.
“On the pitch we had a good connection at Stuttgart, I really enjoyed playing with him and his opinion in the beginning, these were my first years playing with him.”
Victory’s professionalism and epic support base clearly helped them in the pursuit of the German defender, although it wasn’t just Delpierre who spoke glowingly of the club.
The Aussie connection extends to Marco Rojas, Mitch Langerak and Robbie Kruse, ex Stuttgart teammates who all have Victory history.
“I’ve played with some players who have a Melbourne Victory past and of course when the offer came in I had a chat with them. The only one I spoke (with) before was Matthieu because he came back and we met in Stuttgart,’’ he said.
“It was interesting to speak with him (Delpierre) and his experiences and he was delighted. So he opened my mind to Australia and as soon as the offer came in I had a chat with Mitch Langerak, Marco Rojas and Matthieu again and they spoke only the best about the club.”