Magician's return to boost Roar
WHEN the Brisbane Roar's record-breaking run of 36 unbeaten A-League football games came to an end at the hands of Sydney FC, many pundits believed it to be nothing more than an aberration and that the Roar would bounce back with a vengeance.
That didn't happen and the team slumped to its second consecutive loss to the Melbourne Heart a week later. The Roar has only had one win from its past eight games. That poor run featured a club record five losses in a row.
Many supporters, myself included, put down this sudden loss of form to the absence of some star Roar players, most notably the A-League's best player, Thomas Broich.
Unsurprisingly, Broich played in every game during the club's 36-match unbeaten run which continued for the first eight games of this season.
The Roar continued its impressive run and bagged 22 goals in this time, two of those provided by Broich himself, who also contributed with numerous assists.
Since Broich's injury, the Roar has only scored nine goals in the same number of games.
These statistics point towards a serious deficiency of an attacking strike force which lacks the killer punch in the absence of the midfield general.
Besart Berisha, the Roar's go-to front man, has also had a lean time in front of goal lately.
Like the team itself, he had a feast in front of goal in the first eight games of the season, slotting nine successful shots. Since then the Albanian has not scored another goal.
The lack of quality service and, more specifically, the absence of Broich, are contributing factors in Berisha's recent drought - a drought that will hopefully be broken this weekend when the Roar goes head to head with the team that ended its unbeaten run, Sydney FC.
Barring a recurrence of the heel injury that kept him sidelined, Broich will return for the game, which will be played at home tomorrow night.
The stars seem to be aligning for the Roar.
Broich was sidelined with injury before that fateful round-eight game against Sydney and now, eight weeks later, the talismanic midfielder has the chance to put things right for the champions in a bid to get its 2011-2012 title defence back on the right track.