Fulham full back Sascha Riether admits he is likely to feel some childlike excitement when he sets foot inside Stamford Bridge on Wednesday – even though he is very much a seasoned pro.
The Fulham defender has not experienced the passion of the west London derby with Chelsea, but is convinced it is something he is will relish, having recently visited the home of the European champions for the first time.
“A few weeks ago I was there, and I saw Chelsea against Juventus. It was my first time at Stamford Bridge and it was a good game,” the German right back said.
“I thought ‘Yes, soon you will play there’. It will be my first time playing there and I hope we get a good result. I’m not really aware yet of how big a game it is for Fulham, but it’s nice to know we will be big heroes if we win there.
“Every game is special, but if it’s a derby, it’s a little bit more.
“I never played in the biggest derbies in Germany like Schalke against Dortmund, but Cologne against Moenchengladbach is a derby, so I played in that and it’s always something special.”
The Whites will be bidding to win at the Bridge for the first time in 33 years – since October 1979, when they won 2-0 in the old Second Division. There have been 14 games since then, mostly defeats, although last season Fulham did draw 1-1 with their neighbours.