No Broich, no Roar? It seems to be what everyone is talking about since the losses to both Sydney FC and more importantly, a loss at home to Melbourne Heart. Many have argued that the loss to Sydney at Jubilee Oval was due to the adverse conditions, including severe gale winds and a very greasy pitch. The severe winds were evident when Sydney went 2-0 up after Brett Emerton scored directly from a corner. Most football fans expected Brisbane Roar to bounce back at home against Melbourne Heart on the weekend, but it wasn’t the case.
Melbourne took the game to Brisbane and opened the scoring, thanks to a beautiful header from Jonatan Germano in the 11th minute of the game. Brisbane looked flustered without key playmaker Thomas Broich who, by coincidence, has missed Brisbane’s past two games which have both resulted in defeat. Brisbane fans aren’t used to this, ever since their team re-wrote the record books, becoming Australian’s longest reigning sporting team to go 36 games undefeated, a record Broich has been at the forefront of.
Mitch Nichols has been Broich’s replacement player. In his own right he is a remarkable player, but Nichols doesn’t seem to possess that same awareness and skills that has made Broich an international superstar.
Another problem is the lacklustre performance in front of goal, seeing Brisbane only score once in its past two league games, when its season average is a stunning four goals a game. And with Broich having the most number of assists in the league to date, the supply coming into the box for Henrique, Nakajima and Berisha is notably evident.
Brisbane was severely outplayed last week during its match against Sydney from start to finish, regardless of the adverse conditions. Against Melbourne Heart at home, for the better part of ninety minutes, Brisbane rarely looked dangerous going forward. The only reason Brisbane managed to get a goal back was due to the Melbourne players succumbing to fatigue. Many rival managers would have studied the games against both Sydney and Melbourne to pinpoint Brisbane’s weaknesses, but immediately, without Thomas Broich, Brisbane appears to be very beatable.
The German international has been arguably one of Brisbane’s best players during the 2011-12 A-League campaign, but picked up a heel injury during a training session days before the match against Sydney. While it looked like an injury many expected Broich to simply walk off, Brisbane’s coach Ange Postecoglou said he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to risk Broich with so much of the season still to play. However, with an additional loss last night against Wellington Phoenix last night, then a grand final replay against Central Coast Mariners, this decision could result in Brisbane Roar going an unprecedented four losses in a row.
The loss against Melbourne caused Brisbane fans to ‘boo’ their own team. Ange Postecoglou appeared calm during his post-game press conference, but hinted Broich will return as soon as possible and his team will be back to their winning ways.
If Thomas Broich is the key to Brisbane’s success, they’ll need to make sure he is at 100 per cent fitness before he can return to their first team. With much of the season still to play and Asian champion’s league matches coming up, Ange Postecoglou needs to either re-shuffle his formations, or find a different approach to goal.