For the first time in the history of the club, Vissel Kobe are the Meiji Yasuda J1 League champions. They are Japan’s top team, and they captured the crown with a week to play at that.
Now, Vissel get to go on a bit of a victory lap. They head to Gamba Osaka on the final day of the season with a winner’s medal in their pocket and nothing to play for. The traveling Kobe faithful will be there and in good spirits, eager to cheer on their heroes and you can watch the spectacle live on Sunday at 14:00 JST on the J.League International YouTube channel.
Yuya Osako has his team supremacy wrapped up already, but he still has some individual work to do. The forward currently leads the league in goals with 22, but Yokohama F·Marinos’ Anderson Lopes is right on his heels with 21. If Osako can find the back of the net against Gamba, it could be what wins him Top Scorer honors, giving him both collective and singular honors for his spectacular 2023 campaign.
Yoshinori Muto has already had his personal benchmark, notching his 10th goal to clinch the league and, along with his 10 assists, give him double digits in both categories. No other player in J1 can claim that, putting him in rarified air.
With such fabulous players, it’s no wonder that Vissel are the champions and they’ll certainly want to wrap up their historic season with one more win.
Gamba Osaka won’t be looking to hand them an easy three points, though. They’ve lost six in a row and heading into the winter on a losing streak would put quite a damper on the offseason. A win would do wonders for the mood at Panasonic Stadium Suita, especially against the league’s top team.
Will Osako and Muto lead Vissel to one more win on a celebratory day for the marvelous 2023 champions? Or will Gamba pull the upset and set the tone for an improved 2024? Tune in live on the J.League International YouTube channel and find out!