Brisbane appear to be finding form right in time for the Finals Series but will get a major test of their title defence with back-to-back matches against a wounded Melbourne Victory outfit with a point to prove.
We look ahead to three crucial match-ups in what should be a cracking contest between two attacking, slick-passing outfits with two big clashes in the space of four days.
Roar playmaker Thomas Broich v Victory skipper Mark Milligan
Two of the Hyundai A-League’s best midfielders face off in what should be an intriguing head-to-head contest.
It’s no surprise that Roar’s on-field fortunes have changed since Broich overcame his injury woes. When the German is on the pitch his quality and confidence filters through to the rest of the side who lift their game accordingly.
No longer restricted to a left-wing role, the 34-year-old is given license to roam under Frans Thijssen and as a result is proving even harder to control.
If any player has the ability to keep Roar’s main man quiet its Milligan.
The Socceroo star is arguably of the most well-rounded midfielder in the competition.
If he can out-play Broich in this one, it will go some way to the visitors getting a positive result.
The controversial manner of Victory’s elimination from last season’s Finals Series – when Milligan was denied a late penalty – hasn’t been forgotten and there’s no better way to put that right by winning this clash.
If that is to happen, expect Milligan to have a big say in the crucial midfield battle.
Roar defender Luke DeVere v Victory striker Besart Berisha
What a few months it’s been for DeVere since re-joining Roar at the start of the year.
Not only has he played a vital role in improving the side’s fortunes but he’s also received a Socceroo call-up and faced-up against the likes of Marco Reus, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil.
It’s another fearsome attacker DeVere will have to deal with this week as Berisha – a former Brisbane hero – returns to Suncorp Stadium for the first time since heading to Melbourne.
It was less than a year ago Berisha was being celebrated for guiding Roar to a third title in four years but he won’t get the same ovation now he’s wearing Victory Blue.
Berisha scored a mountain of goals for Roar – and some important ones as well – in his three seasons at the club and will be keen to add a few more to his name at his old home ground.
It will be left to his former team-mate DeVere to try and prevent that from happening and in an injury-hit, new-look defence he will need to stand up big.
Unassuming and no-frills, DeVere is becoming a genuine leader in the Brisbane side, showing the way with his actions.
He’ll need to be at his very best to stop the fiery Albanian in a genuine contrast of style.
Will it be DeVere’s calm and assured approach which prevails or can Berisha’s fierce determination and combative nature get on top for the Big V?
Roar youngster Jack Hingert v Victory star Fahid Ben Khalfallah
On one side you have the wonderful skill, top-quality experience and a real eye for goal in Ben Khalfallah up against the exuberance of youth in Hingert.
Injury has meant we haven’t seen the Roar right-back consistently this season but we’ll get a good indication of what kind of form he’s in up against arguably the buy of the season.
Ben Khalfallah has been a genuine match-winner for Kevin Muscat’s side this season.
Uncharacteristically quiet against the Jets last time out, he won’t be as ineffective this time around.
He can beat you with a drop of the shoulder, a blistering turn of speed or magic piece of skill. Quite simply, the Tunisian is a defenders nightmare.
One thing you can be sure of with 24-year-old Hingert is he won’t back down from the huge challenge.
He will relish trying to match it with one of the Hyundai A-League’s best and should be full of confidence after grabbing his first senior goal on the weekend.
What chance of seeing the Karate Kid celebration again in this one?