OSAKA, Japan (AFP) - Gamba Osaka and Adelaide United are primed for the biggest game in their histories on Wednesday with both teams determined to be crowned the best club in Asia.
The Japanese side have home advantage in the first leg of the AFC Champions League final, with Adelaide searching for crucial away goals ahead of the return tie at a sold-out Hindmarsh Stadium on November 12.
The Australians are already guaranteed a place in the lucrative FIFA Club World Cup next month against continental champions including Manchester United, but will not be lacking in motivation.
If they lift the silverware they will go down as the first Australian team to achieve the feat.
With a heavy schedule over the past months, getting his squad into the best physical condition has been coach Aurelio Vidmar's main priority ahead of the match after they lost to Melbourne Victory in the A-League on Friday.
"We have to stay positive," Vidmar said of a team that has punched above its weight throughout its Champions League debut, with some rating their achievement so far on a par with the Socceroos making the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
"We have two of the biggest games in the club's history coming up, so we have to get it right for both matches by fixing some small details," Vidmar added.
The defeat on Friday was a wake-up call and Adelaide captain Travis Dodd believes it will reap dividends.
"Things have been going pretty well for us recently so maybe the result will serve a good purpose as it'll wake the boys up," said the former international midfielder.
"We'll have to work hard to get a result on Wednesday. The AFC Champions League is a massive competition and it's a big game, so I'm sure the boys will pick themselves up and look forward to it in a positive frame of mind."
With Cristiano, the club's top scorer, up front and a tough defence including Angelo Costanzo, the lanky Sasa Ognenovski and towering Robert Cornthwaite, Adelaide will be a tough nut to crack.
But Gamba have been in outstanding form recently, showing great character to reach their first final by scoring three goals in a devastating 27 minutes to beat defending champions Urawa Reds 3-1 in the semis.
They did not have a game at the weekend so approach Wednesday's big match on fresh legs, with goalkeeper Yosuke Fujigaya lining up behind Sota Nakazawa and Satoshi Yamaguchi and full-backs Akira Kaji and Michihiro Yasuda.
The heart of the team is the experienced midfield quartet of Yasuhito Endo, Tomokazu Myojin, Hideo Hashimoto and Takahiro Futagawa.
Leading the line will be Roni and his Brazilian compatriot Lucas.
"We are the representatives of Japan in the Champions League final and we must defend Urawa's cup," said coach Akira Nishino in a rallying call.
Plenty is at stake for Gamba, who are a club with ambition.
The winner gets 600,000 US dollars -- a prize boosted to 1.5 million dollars next season -- which would go some way to helping the team fulfil its dream of moving to a bigger stadium and increasing its fan base.
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