Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Heart will meet in Round 4 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday November 3 at 4pm AEDT
Hingert, Smith, North, Stefanutto
Franjic, Broich, Petratos
Hoffman, Gerhardt, Wielaert, Behich
Dugandzic, Ramsay, Williams
Played: 9, Wins: Roar 4, Heart 3, Draws: 2
Brisbane Roar 2-0 Melbourne Heart, March 24 2013
Past five matches (including pre-season):
Having drawn their first two games and suffered a 1-0 loss in Perth last Sunday, a vulnerable Heart has to hit the road again and face a demanding assignment away in Brisbane.
Roar were last week brought back a peg when they lost for the first time this season away to an emotion-charged Melbourne Victory, who were bidding farewell to Ange Postecoglou. Yet they remain top of the table, one point clear of a cluster of teams who all snared their opening win last week.
The big issue:
Surrendering the only 100 percent record in the competition is not the only concern for Mike Mulvey.
Brisbane's decision to recruit 20 full-time players and not the maximum 23 this season has already come back to bite with defender Shane Stefanutto potentially set to miss out due to a hamstring injury suffered at training this week.
He'll join Besart Berisha (hamstring) and Liam Miller (calf) on the short-term injury list while George Lambadaridis and Kofi Danning are both battling long-term knee injuries.
Injuries have also hurt the Victorians, with defender Patrick Kisnorbo to be sidelined for up to three weeks after suffering cartilage damage in his right knee against Perth Glory.
He's been key to Heart's strong defensive start and his absence will tell us plenty about their depth at the back.
In better news, marquee man Harry Kewell trained with his team-mates during the week but it remains to be seen if he will be able to return from the nasty whiplash he suffered against Melbourne Victory in week one.
The game breaker:
Melbourne Heart's Golgol Mebrahtu is far from the complete package as a striker but he has shown flashes of creative brilliance this season and the 23-year-old shapes as one of Heart's most likely avenues to victory on Sunday. After having a hand in both of the David Williams goals against Central Coast in Round Two, the Eritrean-born forward was well held against a disciplined Glory defence at nib Stadium. Will his power and pace inspire Heart to an unlikely victory on Sunday?
Prediction: Roar 1-0 Heart
The thought of Harry Kewell returning for winless Heart this weekend would be enough to ensure sleepless nights for Mulvey.
But whether the veteran plays or not, the undermanned hosts still deserve to start as convincing favourites on their home patch.
Brisbane had more possession and completed more passes in their loss to Victory but failed to score. That begs the question: Can they find the back of the net without Besart Berisha?
Against a weakened Heart defence we think they can.
Heart have only won once in Brisbane in their history and that means we're tipping the Roar to stay ahead of the competition with a 1-0 victory