Roared on by 60,000 fans at Saitama Stadium in November 2007, Abe and Yuichiro Nagai were on target as Urawa posted a 2-0 second leg win over Iran's Sepahan as Holger Osieck's side completed a 3-1 aggregate victory to become the first Japanese side to win the Champions League title.
Fast forward just over five years and Urawa make a high-profile return in a much-anticipated meeting with 2012 quarter-finalists Guangzhou Evergrande, the reigning Chinese Super League champions, in China on Tuesday after securing a return to AFC Champions League for the first time since reaching the 2008 semi-finals.
"My best memory of 2007 was sharing the victory with our supporters at Saitama Stadium," said Abe, who re-joined Urawa at the start of last season after an 18-month spell in England with Leicester City.
"The games in the AFC Champions League were always very different from the matches in the J.League, especially the away games.
"There is a big difference between games at home and away games; it makes you think that you are facing a totally different team. We need to ensure we play with confidence and make sure all the players are working towards the same goal."
Having lost to eventual champions and fellow J.League side Gamba Osaka in the 2008 semi-finals, Urawa secured a dramatic return to the AFC Champions League at the end of last year as a 2-0 final day win over Nagoya Grampus sealed third place in the table.
The Reds had been in contention for the title for much of the season, and despite falling away, third place ranks as Urawa's best J.League finish since 2007 and arrived just a year after narrowly avoiding relegation.
And Urawa, who are now coached by former Yugoslavia international Mihailo Petrovic, will also face K-League runners-up and 2006 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors as well as Thai Premier League champions Muangthong United in Group F alongside Guangzhou.
"Everybody was pleased because we never gave up and fought until the end. It was extremely important for Urawa to return to the AFC Champions League once again," added the 31-year-old Abe.
"No team has won both the J.League and AFC Champions League in the same season, but we will try to reach that goal while it is possible.
"We must ensure we reach our potential in every game. The team must be coherent and always play to win."
During his time in England, Abe made 59 appearances and scored two goals for Leicester before his contract cancelled by mutual consent with the midfielder citing family reasons.
"The time I spent in England gave me a challenge that I could have never experienced in Japan," said the former JEF United Chiba midfielder."When I returned to Japan, it didn't take me very long to adjust, I just felt like it was a new challenge rather than returning to the club."
Along with Abe, the Reds begin 2013 with much of the squad remaining which formed the core in 2007 with holding midfielder Keita Suzuki - who captained the side in the AFC Champions League final - still an influential part of the side under Petrovic.
Central defender Tomoaki Makino has also made his loan move from Cologne permanent over the close season, while exciting young striker Genki Haraguchi earned a first call up for Japan during 2011.