AFC Champions League Matchday 3 Preview: Brisbane Roar vs. Suwon Bluewings

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Brisbane resume their AFC Champions League campaign on the back of their first ever win in the competition on matchday two, and they will be looking to make it back to back against a strong Suwon Bluewings side.

Despite having solid form since the Asian Cup break both in the league and in Asia, Brisbane were sloppy defensively against Sydney at the weekend so they will need to tighten things up at the back considerably. Any repeat of that and Suwon will be just as ruthless in front of goal, while not so forgiving themselves at the other end of the park.

Suwon for their part have been inconsistent in their form this season, with a 50% record both in the K-League and the ACL. Interestingly, their two wins so far have been picked up at home, while they’ve lost both games on their travels this season, including last matchday away to Beijing. At the weekend they had a 2-1 win over Incheon, with Santos and Hun Yeom the scorers.

Form:
Brisbane: LWWDL
Suwon: WLLW

Brisbane
There has been plenty of speculation about Thijssen opting to rest a number of players, including Thomas Broich, but I can’t see that happening, not in a game of this magnitude.

The coach already in part rested Stefanutto, Borrello, McKay, Henrique and Kaluderovic at the weekend, with the five likely starters either not playing at all –Stefanutto-, starting on the bench –Borrello, Kaluderovic- or being substituted before the hour against Sydney- Henrique, McKay-. All of that doesn’t include Luke Brattan who was suspended for the weekends clash either.

Michael Theo is set to miss his second consecutive ACL game with his groin problem, meaning that Jamie Young will again be in goals for Brisbane, while Jade North will also miss out with injury. That should allow for James Donachie to make his first start in Asia of the campaign alongside DeVere.

Outside of that, it figures to be the same XI that got the job done against Urawa two weeks ago. The only Brisbane player in danger of missing the matchday 4 trip to Korea is Jack Hingert, who is one yellow away from a ban.

Expected Brisbane XI: Young, Hingert, DeVere, Donachie, Stefanutto, Brattan, Broich, McKay, Borrello, Henrique, Kaluderovic.
Substitutes: Chalmers, Bowles, Brown, Lustica, Sarota, Petratos, Brady.

Suwon
The Korean outfit will have to make a chance to their starting line-up for the first time this tournament, with defender Yang Sang Min suspended after being sent off on matchday two. Min Sang Gi, who came off the bench following the red card is the man most likely to deputise.

Elsewhere Suwon are still without regular goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong, who is out with a knee injury, which means that No Dong Geon will deputise for the third straight game in the competition. Other than that it’s unlikely that Suwon will make any changes to their side, with Oh Beom Seok and Jong Tae Se one yellow away from a suspension.

Expected Suwon XI: Dong Geong, Beom Seok, Sung Jin, Chul, Sang Gi, Eun Sun, Santos, Jung Jin, Chang Hoon, Ki Hin, Tae Se.

All-time record with Suwon Bluewings:
First ever meeting.

The other matchday 3 encounter in this group was played out on Tuesday evening where Beijing Guo’an confirmed their superiority in Group G with a third straight win. The Chinese side, who had to qualify to get into the group stage are now almost certainties to progress to the last 16 after their 2-0 win over Urawa.

For the Japanese side it’s a third straight loss and there is seemingly no way back now for the 2007 Champions who have started their 2015 season in sluggish fashion.

That result means that it is essentially a shootout between Brisbane and Suwon for second spot in Group G, with tonight’s encounter on the Gold Coast and the reverse game at the Suwon World Cup 02 stadium in three weeks will decide both teams fate. Brisbane haven’t got the best record at home in Asia (P4: W-0, L2, D2) or on the Gold Coast generally, so there’s no better time to set both of those records right. In a lot of ways, the season rides on the result tonight.

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