ACL Preview: Beijing Guoan v Brisbane Roar

After they were shown the ropes by FC Toyko on their first ACL matchday, Brisbane will be keen to show that result was just a blip on their radar.

Date: Tuesday 20 March, 2012 Kick-off: 9.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm local Venue: Workers Stadium

History: The AFC Champions League will again serve up another match between two opponents who have never locked horns before, and probably don't know a great deal about each other. However, they do have one thing in common - they both were on the wrong end of defeats in their first appointments in Group F.

Beijing finished runners-up in the 2011 Chinese Super League, which was enough to earn them qualification, while we all know how brilliantly Brisbane played last season to seal their first continental birth.

Form: Past five matches: Beijing: LLW Brisbane: WDLDW

Summary of form: After a terrific year in the Chinese Super League last season, which saw Beijing finish second with the best defensive record in the competition, it's fair to say they've experienced something of a sophomore slump in 2012.

Their first AFC Champions League fixture, away to Korean side Ulsan Hyundai, ended in a 2-1 loss after failing to recover from two first-half goals. Then, to start the new CSL competition, they fell 3-1 to Guangzhou R&F, the new home of former Mariners holder Rostyn Griffiths.

Fortunately they picked up their first win of the year last Friday at home to Nicholas Anelka's Shanghai Shenhua. The well-travelled striker got on the scoresheet - as did his new partner in crime, Joel Griffiths - but Mao Jianquing struck with a late goal to hand Beijing the three points.

The Roar's form has been a little up and down. On the back of four consecutive wins, they hosted Melbourne Heart earlier this month and could only manage a point.

Then a few days later, they welcomed FC Toyko to Suncorp Stadium but were simply outclassed by the tune of 2-0. After that, they turned out a fairly ordinary performance against Adelaide. Thomas Broich put in one of his worst shifts since coming to Australia, and Brisbane were effectively blunted in front of goal by the resolute Reds. On the weekend, though, they kept their premiership dream alive with a solid 2-1 triumph at Newcastle.

Match Committee:

Beijing, at least at the moment, don't have all of their players available. Francois Sene, Lei Tenglong and Zhang Yonghai are all out of action, which leaves the Chinese team a little short in the centre of defence. That's somewhere that Brisbane could capitalize. The Roar don't have too many squad problems right now - only Luke Brattan (knee) and Rock Visconte (ankle) are sidelined, and they'll only be out for the next couple of weeks.

Danger men: Reinaldo - The big Brazilian will take on his former teammates for the first time on Tuesday. However, Brisbane are a bit of a different beast than the one Reinaldo came to know back when he was pulling on the Roar's bright orange kit on a weekly basis.

His presence in this game lends a little bit of intrigue. The burly striker might be able to help Beijing with a little bit of inside info, but by the same token Ange Postecoglou will know exactly what he's capable of - and the best ways of stopping him.

Besart Berisha - On fire. Those two words are probably the best way to describe the form of Albanian goal machine Berisha.

His coach thinks he's been the best player in the whole A-League this season and statistics back up his claims. With 19 goals this term, he's just one away from breaking Shane Smeltz's all-time season record. Now it's just a matter of taking his impact and drive and transferring it from domestic football to continental action.

At the end of the day…

Brisbane Roar are caught between a rock and a hard place. Do they go all out in the AFC Champions League, and potentially let their title aspirations slide? Or do they focus on the A-League and just hope for the best out of their first ever international away trip?

It's a really tough situation and few would envy Ange Postecoglou, but it looks as if he's decided that their domestic fate is a greater priority. Big call - but that's not to say they won't bring their usual zest and fire to Beijing's Workers Stadium.

After they were shown the ropes by FC Toyko on their first ACL matchday, they'll be keen to show that result was just a blip on their radar. It helps, as well, to know that Beijing certainly aren't world-beaters at the minute. The Roar are certainly capable of a win, but it's never that easy, is it? Expect a deadlock.