Group F Preview: Brisbane Roar v FC Tokyo

The biggest mistake Brisbane could make is to underestimate their opponents.

Date: Tuesday 6 March 2012 Kick-off: 8.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm local Venue: Brisbane Stadium Group F - Match Day 1

History: This match marks the first appearance in the AFC Champions League for both Brisbane and FC Tokyo. While Australian and Japanese clubs have previously featured in the competition to varying degrees of success, this is unchartered territory for both sides.

The Roar earned their place in the tournament by winning last year's Hyundai A-League, while FC Tokyo complimented their promotion from J.League 2 by claiming the Emperor's Cup earlier this year.

Form: Past five matches: Brisbane: WWWWD FC Toyko: WWLWL

Summary of form: The Roar are looking good. Now undefeated in their last five games, they gave up their first point in nearly a month in their 1-1 draw with Melbourne Heart on the weekend.

Indeed, if it wasn't for the last-minute penalty heroics of Clint Bolton, they would have added another win to their tally. But he saved Mohamed Adnan's late penalty, meaning the spoils were split between the sides after Curtis Good and Mitch Nichols both scored. Prior to that match, though, Brisbane were in formidable touch - in the four matches before this weekend, they'd scored 10 goals and conceded just two.

Tokyo have played in official matches only twice this year. On New Year's Day, they beat Kyoto Purple Sanga 4-2 to win the Emperor's Cup for the first time - leading to their ACL qualification. On Saturday, they went down 2-1 to J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol in the Xerox Super Cup.

'The Gas Men', as they're known, had plenty of chances but conceded two first half goals, and they were on the ropes from there on. Before that, we have to go right back to the end of the 2011 J.League to see how FC Tokyo have faired in recent times. They closed last season with wins against Gainare Tottori and JEF United Chiba, but fell 2-1 to Consadole Sapporo on the final day of the campaign.

Match Committee: There'll be no Mitch Nichols for Brisbane - he suffered a groin injury against the Heart and won't be risked for this fixture. However, Henrique will return from suspension and he'll be almost a certain starter.

Fortunately for the Queensland side, their opponents from the Japanese capital won't be at their best either. They've left regular skipper Yohei Kajiyama and Brazilian striker Lucas Severino at home following their loss in the Super Cup.

Danger men:

Besart Berisha - The A-League's leading goalscorer has tasted continental action before. Back in December 2006 when he was with Hamburger SV, he became the first Albanian to score in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League with his goal against CSKA Moscow. It's been a long time between drinks, so the poacher will be keen to bring some of his blistering domestic form into Asia's top club competition.

Naohiro Ishikawa - He might be getting on a bit but veteran winger Ishikawa will need to be paid some very close attention by the Roar. The former Japan international is an attacking threat in every sense - he's got pace, he can whip in crosses, he can crack it from distance and he can find the back of the net in clutch situations.

At the end of the day… The biggest mistake Brisbane could do is to underestimate their opponents. Yes, FC Toyko were in the second tier of Japanese football last year - but prior to that they were in the top flight for 11 straight seasons.

There's no doubt they can play football, even if they're missing two key players. But there's one thing you can say for certain - they're nowhere near as match fit as the Roar. They'll have to back up following Saturday's Xerox Super Cup loss, and before that they hadn't played a competitive fixture since the start of the year. That means they don't have the fitness base Brisbane do.

It doesn't matter how good you are - that's key. No doubt the Roar have that in their favour, as well as their recent results and home ground advantage. In no way will this be easy for them - Ange Postecoglou's gameplan has not been tested against international opposition, so nobody's quite sure what will happen - but we're backing the hosts.