Auckland City will once again attempt to work miracles on the world stage in the Club World Cup on Thursday morning (NZT).

It's that time of year, when the Sandringham-based club made what has become their annual sojourn to Fifa's showpiece club competition.

Given the resources of the competing teams — which include the champions of Europe, South America, Asia and Africa, it should be mission impossible for the Oceania team.

Based on pure footballing logic, Auckland City's group of semi-professional and amateur players should be blown off the park by the fully professional, cashed up teams they face.


But each year, somehow, they punch above their weight, setting a new standard for teams from this country.

Like beating the African champions TP Mazembe 3-2 in 2009, in their third game in the space of a week.

Or holding top Moroccan side Raja Casablanca until the 93rd minute in 2013, where Raja later reached the final against Real Madrid.

Even last year, when Auckland City took the lead against J-League side Kashima Antlers, who have an annual operating budget more than US$50 million.

The gold standard was in Morocco in 2014, where Auckland City topped the Moroccan, African and North American champions to finish third, and Ivan Vicelich received the Bronze ball, on stage alongside Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tomorrow they face another mission improbable, against UAE Champions Al Jazira.

The Gulf club boast ex-Real Madrid and French international Lassana Diarra on their roster and also have Moroccan forward Moubarak Boussoufa — who has twice won the golden boot in Belgian's top league — and former Corinthians striker Romarinho.

They also have several UAE internationals, and are guided by former Barcelona and Chelsea assistant Henk ten Cate..

"They are a very strong team," said Auckland City defender Dan Morgan. "But we have to back ourselves to compete well, and go from there."

Morgan epitomizes the challenge that Auckland City faces. In any normal week the 27-year-old works 7:30am-4pm for an electrical goods wholesaler, before racing across town to evening training sessions.

"I maybe get an hour in between and then go to training," said Morgan. "It's an early start and a late finish but you get used to it."

Coach Ramon Tribulietx insists on at least five sessions a week in the three months leading into the tournament, a considerable load for those juggling full time work.

"It's a lot of training you need to adapt," said Morgan. "But the body becomes used to it, it becomes normal. And trainings are structured. There is nothing aimless and it is all catered around getting better."

The visit to the UAE has special significance for Morgan, who is the only surviving player from the 2009 team that upset TP Mazembe, then biggest result in Auckland City's history.

Morgan came on at halftime in that match, and laid on the pass for Riki van Steeden's famous 95th minute winner.

"I made a run and got played in," said Morgan. "Then I heard a call and I didn't think twice, I just played it. It was Riki, and he was a centre back. I thought 'Oh here we go, this could go anywhere'. But then he scored and the rest is history."

Not long after the tournament Morgan disappeared off the scene, confining himself to winter football for a few seasons before his comeback last year with Waitakere.

"It's amazing to be back at a Club World Cup," said Morgan. "It's a once in a lifetime experience that I have got to have twice. It's great to go back to the same place and be able to relive how it was in 2009, and hopefully the same, or even better result than last time."