Melbourne Victory is eyeing a fifth straight win when it hosts Adelaide United at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
Victory continued its fine form in Round 6, producing arguably its best performance of the season in a 4-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Now two points off top spot in the Hyundai A-League, it hosts the fourth-placed Reds as the clubs renew their rivalry.
Victory has scored 11 goals in its four-match winning run, and no club has netted more (14) through six rounds.
Keisuke Honda scored his fourth of the season and Terry Antonis his third in the win over the Wanderers, while Raul Baena and Kosta Barbarouses struck for the first time this campaign.
But that win marked a fine all-round team performance, with Victory also keeping its second clean sheet of the season.
Barbarouses' penalty was his 27th Hyundai A-League goal for Victory, moving him level with Marco Rojas in sixth for most league strikes for the club.
Meanwhile, Honda and Antonis continued their fine form, the Japanese star having created a league-high 20 chances this season – including three assists – while the Australian midfielder has two assists to go with his three goals.
Ola Toivonen made his second start and has now been directly involved in three goals in just 164 minutes.
Defender Georg Niedermeier (concussion) and James Troisi (illness) missed the clash against the Wanderers, while Nick Ansell suffered a shoulder injury.
Adelaide visits Marvel Stadium after back-to-back wins, which have left them in fourth, just a point adrift of Victory.
Player in focus
What they said
"I think the special thing for us is I think we're still quite far off where we want to be so as long as we're learning lessons as we're winning, I think that's the best way. We push each other, test the standards and don't let nothing drop and we'll see where it takes us." – Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.
"They (Victory) are looking good. They're a very, very good team. Historically, they start pretty slow so for them to be in this form early shows they're a very, very good team and they're going to be title contenders, the favourites probably. I think this is how we probably expected them to play, whether we expected it so early, who knows? But with the players they've got, they were always going to be up there." – Adelaide midfielder Vince Lia.
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Elimination Final
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Adelaide United
Sunday, April 22, 2018
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Victory overcame Adelaide in the finals on its way to the championship last season.
Leroy George cancelled out Nikola Mileusnic's second-half opener before Besart Berisha's overhead kick saw Victory advance.
As it stands
Head to head
Elimination Final, 2017/18: Victory 2-1 Adelaide at AAMI Park
Round 21, 2017/18: Victory 3-0 Adelaide at AAMI Park
Round 10, 2017/18: Victory 1-2 Adelaide at Marvel Stadium
Round 3, 2017/18: Adelaide 2-2 Victory at Adelaide Oval
Round of 16, 2017 FFA Cup: Adelaide 3-0 Victory at Marden Sports Complex
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Kick-off: 7.50pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Matt ACTON (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Corey BROWN, 4.Keisuke HONDA, 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Terry ANTONIS, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.James TROISI, 11.Ola TOIVONEN, 13.Birkan KIRDAR, 14.Thomas DENG, 15.Raul BAENA, 16.Josh HOPE, 19.Rahmat AKBARI, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 26.Nicholas SETTE
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Georg NIEDERMEIER (return from injury), 10.James TROISI (return from injury), 21.Nicholas SETTE (promoted)
Outs: 22.Nick ANSELL (shoulder - TBC)
Unavailable: Kenny ATHIU (hamstring – TBC), Jai Ingham (quad – TBC)