Preview: Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

Both teams will be bolstered by the return of their respective Socceroos, with Thompson and Milligan back for Victory and Smith and Franjic for Roar.

Date: Saturday 15 December, 2012 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT, 5.30pm local Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Head-to-head: Played: 22, Wins: Melbourne Victory 10, Brisbane Roar 8, Draws: 4

Previous encounter: Brisbane Roar 5, Melbourne Heart 0, 13 October 2012

Form: Past five matches: Melbourne Victory: LWWDW Brisbane Roar: LWLWL

The Game Both sides will be out to atone for frustrating losses last time out that proved costly on the ladder.

Second-placed Adelaide United increased their advantage over third-placed Melbourne Victory with a 4-2 win at Hindmarsh Stadium, while Brisbane Roar missed the chance to climb to fourth following a 1-0 loss at Western Sydney Wanderers and instead slipped to ninth, equal on points with bottom-placed Sydney FC.

Victory, however, have been one of the form teams of the competition since their humiliating defeat at the hands of Brisbane in Round 2, with five wins in eight matches establishing Ange Postecoglou's men as genuine title contenders in his first season at AAMI Park.

Roar, on the other hand, have lost five matches since dismantling Victory at Suncorp Stadium to leave the defending champions reeling towards the bottom of the ladder. But coach Rado Vidosic believes Brisbane have been unlucky since he took over from Postecoglou and is confident the side will improve.

The Big Issue Melbourne Victory - Victory urgently need to solve their problems in defence, where they have conceded an alarming 20 goals this campaign. For all the goals they score, their goal difference is still in the negative. Only last-placed Sydney has conceded more.

There was no better example of Victory's defensive issues than Friday night's loss in the city of churches. Within half an hour, the Victory had conceded four goals, and each to fundamental defensive mistakes.

Brisbane Roar - Vidosic's men have been reduced to a shadow of the side that won the past two grand finals and seem to have lost the belief and desire that fuelled their success under Postecoglou.

Thankfully for Brisbane, they remain just two points outside the top six and you get the best they're not far away from recapturing their brilliance.

Gamebreaker Archie Thompson: The Socceroos striker will make a welcome return for Victory after an impressive showing at the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament in Hong Kong.

Thompson needed only five minutes off the bench to post a hat-trick in Australia's 9-0 annihilation of Guam and opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw with North Korea two days earlier.

Thompson turned 34 this year, but looks more than comfortable alongside younger teammates Marco Rojas (21) and Andrew Nabbout (19) and provides a wealth of experience as one of the A-League's most prolific forwards.

Thomas Broich sets the tone for Brisbane, and the German's form is always a good barometer for how the Banana Benders are tracking. Just as his team haven't been travelling particularly well so far in 2012/13, Broich is yet to truly hit his straps. Ange Postecoglou knows all too well he can be a match winner and will be praying it doesn't happen on Friday night.

Prediction Melbourne Victory 2 - 1 Brisbane Roar

Both teams will be bolstered by the return of their respective Socceroos, with Thompson and Milligan back for Victory and Matt Smith and Ivan Franjic for Roar.

The relationship between Postecoglou and his former charges turned ugly at the start of the season and the new Victory coach will have a score to settle following the Round 2 disaster in Brisbane.

Postecoglou took the blame for Victory's loss to Adelaide and the AAMI Park faithful will be hoping for an improved performance against his former charges.

The 22 games between the two teams have produced 68 goals, and while Victory have failed to beat Brisbane since September 2010, we expect the home side to come out firing.