This season, Adelaide has had the wood on Sydney FC but a sudden-death Semi Final means the past counts for nothing on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues have been the best performed side since the return from the Asian Cup break, but as the Reds showed during the Westfield FFA Cup, they love cut-throat, elimination football.
There are so many big battles, but we look ahead to three pivotal ones to help predict who might come out on top at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney’s leading scorer Marc Janko v Reds defender Nigel Boogaard
It says a lot about the season Janko has had that his current run without a goal is being regarded as a drought.
The Austrian skipper hasn’t scored in his last four appearances. But if Adelaide thinks Janko is out of form they could be in for a rude shock.
There’s a reason why Janko has ended his maiden season in the Hyundai A-League with the Nike Golden-Boot.
He has 16 goals in 22 games. What a record. What a player. And he’s a big-game player, too.
If Sydney is to snap their poor recent record against Adelaide, the 31-year-old will need to deliver.
Easier said than done against the Reds’ well-structured defence, which is led so stoutly by Boogaard.
The Jets-bound centre-back might have a few disciplinary issues (he is the most sent-off player in A-League history), but he is a key cog in the Reds’ armoury.
Boogaard has matured as a player working under coach Josep Gombau over the last two seasons.
He not only has made the Reds tough to penetrate but his distribution from the back has improved immensely. He’s a ball-playing defender now.
Look for him to try and catch out Sydney’s fullbacks with pin-point diagonal passes in behind for his pacy wingers.
Sky Blues defender Seb Ryall v Adelaide flyer Craig Goodwin
One of the highlights of the opening weekend of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series was Goodwin’s exceptional free-kick goal to help sink champions Brisbane Roar.
How the Reds will be hoping it’s a sign of things to come from the talented 23-year-old.
He is blessed with lightning speed, great dribbling skills and can produce dangerous crosses from the left flank.
After delivering on the big stage last weekend, the challenge is now to do it again.
It’s won’t be easy against a player who knows what it takes to be successful at this time of the year.
Ryall already has two Hyundai A-League titles to his name and would love to add another one still two months short of his 26 th birthday.
He is taylor-made for finals football.
Aggressive, hard-working and with a never-say-die attitude, Ryall often saves his best for the big games. And there is none bigger than what awaits them on Saturday night.
Ryall will know he won’t be able to compete with Goodwin in a foot-race so expect him to pull out a few different tricks to try and limit his impact.
Sydney FC ‘keeper Vedran Janjetovic v Reds skipper Eugene Galekovic
It’s not often you would classify a battle of the gloveman being so crucial but that is certainly the case in this one.
The Sky Blues may still be having nightmares about facing Galekovic given his performance in their last meeting last month.
The Socceroo shot-stopper produced one of the greatest keeping performances in Hyundai A-League history, almost single-handedly repelling Sydney FC.
No matter what the home side tried, Galekovic had an answer. He was impenetrable.
Not only did Galekovic make nine superb saves but he was also credited with the assist for Awer Mabil’s late winner.
If there’s one ‘keeper who has enjoyed as good a season as the Adelaide captain it’s Janjetovic.
The 27-year-old has enjoyed his most consistent season between the sticks for Sydney, playing every minute of every match this campaign.
He has kept a league-high nine clean-sheets (equal with City’s Tando Velaphi) and has made 61 saves.
The duo are also adept ‘sweeper-keepers’, making them like an extra defender to their usual back-fours.
With both side’s possessing so many gifted attacking stars, both gloveman are sure to be kept busy and whichever one has the better night is likely to see their team through to the decider.