The Mariners game on Sunday evening was Victory’s third in seven days and came after a gruelling return journey earlier in the week to China.
”I had the advantage of not travelling to China. We spoke during the week and I felt like the boys were tired, they had two times 90 minutes in a couple of days and those long flights,” Niedermeier said.
”Me and Raul spoke before that it’s part of our responsibility to try and lift the boys and maybe give the 1 or 2 per cent they might not be able to deliver at that moment.”
Victory dominated possession and were by far the better team against the Mariners, but until Niedermeier popped up with his late winner were unable to turn their pressure into goals.
”Luckily I did [get] the winner because it was very important for the team. The last goal I scored was at Freiburg. I am not too bad up front. I hope I get some more chances,” he said, revealing that the winner had come from a rehearsed set-piece, although Kosta Barbarouses was supposed to be the player who scored.
”We studied this option … it was supposed to be Kosta, he was supposed to run in the goal and shoot, but I saw him getting attention from two defenders so I tried to give him an option. I had to take the ball away from Ola [Toivonen]. It was just important that the ball was in the net.
”We are two points behind Sydney … it was very important that we got a good result. ”
Niedermeier has had an injury-plagued campaign but now he feels ready to finish the season strongly.
”I have felt pretty confident the last couple of games. I have had some injuries earlier in the season but the important phase of the season is now and I am happy I am fit now and can help the team in the finals.”
Victory next face a difficult trip to Adelaide on Good Friday, a quick turnaround after Sunday’s game.
”We can’t take it easy and go there. They have have good quality in their squad they are fighting every game.
”Marco Kurz [Adelaide coach] makes a good job over there, the team is not easy to play against, they have a good match plan and they know about their strengths, but it’s about us and what we do. ”
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing