Depending on who you ask, Brisbane Roar’s German import Thomas Broich is finally looking like his old self again – or tapping into true greatness.
Either way, the portents are good for the Roar ahead of Thursday night’s crunch A-League season finale against Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium.
Broich earned comparisons with Manchester United great Bobby Charlton from a gushing Roar coach Mike Mulvey after his 25m wonder strike set up Brisbane’s 2-0 win on Sunday that knocked Melbourne Heart out of the finals hunt.
But the Roar will simply be satisfied if Broich resembles the midfielder who helped steer them to back-to-back championships as they look to seal a top six berth on Thursday night.
“Thomas’ goal – wow,” Mulvey said.
“It reminded me of my boyhood hero Bobby Charlton.
“The ball tore into the back of the net – it was a fantastic finish.”
Even broken Heart coach John Aloisi had to dip his hat.
“Thomas Broich is looking like his old self again. That’s always a good sign for them,” he said.
Roar veteran Shane Stefanutto said he had sensed something special was coming.
“John (Aloisi) is a good judge – Thomas did play brilliantly the other night,” he told AAP.
“But his last month he has been very consistent.
“No doubt he is an important player for us, an excellent import.
“Now he’s in good form and when he is that is a good thing for us.”
In another ominous sign for Sydney FC, the Johnny Warren Medallist also broke his goal-scoring drought against the Heart.
It marked his first since round two – 24 matches ago.
As excited as he was by the return of Broich’s magic touch, Stefanutto said the whole team had set the standard that was required to clinch a top six spot in their first-half assault on the hapless Heart.
Now they just have to replicate it against the Alessandro Del Piero-inspired Sydney FC, who only trail fifth-placed Brisbane on goal difference.
“But that’s easier said than done,” Stefanutto said.
“Putting together a 90-minute performance like that first half will be quite difficult actually.
“But nothing worth earning is easy.
“And no doubt Sydney FC will be motivated.
“But our destiny is in our hands. It is still a great to finish the regular season for us.”