J.League Match of the Week: Urawa host Gamba in worldwide broadcast

J.League Match of the Week: Urawa host Gamba in worldwide broadcast

Urawa Reds and Gamba Osaka are two proud clubs with glittering histories, and on Saturday at 16:00 JUST they will meet at Saitama Stadium 2002 in a match that you can watch live on JLeague.co and broadcasters around the world.

Urawa and Gamba are two of the three Japanese clubs to win the modern AFC Champions League and, as former kings of Asia, they know what excellence looks like. At times in the early going of this season, both sides have flashed the potential to be excellent, but consistency has eluded them, which is why they find themselves 10th and 11th in the table.

Despite languishing in the middle of the pack, they are only six and seven points off the top, respectively, and it is early enough in the campaign that a couple wins could vault them right into the title race.

That push begins this weekend and, for Gamba, that means finding a way to give their attack a jumpstart.

Only two teams in the league have scored fewer goals than Gamba this season. Takashi Usami is trying his best, but no other player in the squad has scored multiple goals this season and too often Usami is left to create for himself.

The good news is the Gamba defense that was so porous a year ago looks well and truly fixed. They have been well-organized and allowed just seven goals through the season's first eight matchweeks, rewarding a club-wide effort to shore things up at the back.

Urawa seemed to be in a different boat entering the season, with the league’s best defense from last year returning. But, in a case of roles reversed, they’ve struggled at the back so far under manager Per-Mathias Høgmo with 11 goals conceded.

On the other hand, The Reds have an attack that is looking dynamic and formidable, with 12 goals scored, from nine different scorers, across eight games.

Few at the start of this season would have expected Gamba's defense and Urawa's attack to be areas of particular strength entering Matchweek 9 but in a season as unpredictable as this one little is surprising anymore.

Saturday should offer a fascinating encounter between two teams with defined strengths and a need for points to keep up with J1's elite. Tune in at 16:00 JST to see who can get the job done in Saitama.