Broich backs Roar to rise from slumber
FOOTBALL: Brisbane marquee man Thomas Broich is banking on the occasion of a crucial AFC Champions League clash to lift a team running on empty.
The three-time A-League champions produced a tired weekend display against Wellington Phoenix, suffering a rare 2-1 home defeat to a battling team that had picked up just a point in its previous five matches.
It was the Roar's eighth game in 29 days, with the combination of a busy and inflexible schedule, little recovery time between matches, trips to China, Melbourne and Perth, and a lengthy injury list taking its toll.
"It was a big opportunity for us that we couldn't grab," Broich said following a defeat that dropped the Roar to fifth spot on the A-League ladder.
"I was actually not too unhappy with the way we played sometimes, but it felt like we were just missing that strength and sharpness when it really mattered.
"We're paying the price a little bit in terms of injuries, because we've had players coming back from injuries and others who couldn't play at all.
"We know we can play better but given the circumstances at the moment, the schedule and the injuries, we're not able to tap into our full potential."
And there's no respite for the squad, who left yesterday for South Korea, where they will meet Ulsan Hyundai in a Champions League Group E clash tonight.
Having dropped points at home last Tuesday in being held to a 0-0 draw by Thai champions Muangthong United, the Roar don't want to return home with nothing to show for their efforts against a team including former Brisbane midfielder Dimitri Petratos.
Broich was confident the Roar could rise to the challenge, pointing to Brisbane's 2-0 Champions League playoff win over Shanghai Shenhua on February 8 in China.
"I always enjoy playing games at that level, so let's hope we can do as well as we did against Shanghai," said the veteran playmaker, who also encouraged the younger brigade, including Joe Caletti, Dane Ingham and Cameron Crestani, to continue being brave if called on in Ulsan.
"They're all good players and they need to keep finding the courage to express themselves out there.
"Sometimes when you get chucked in and your first ever game is a Champions League game, then it's quite a challenge, but they're handling these challenges quite well."