Sapporo finished fourth two years ago, when Mihailo Petrovic took charge, but dropped to the 10th place in 2019, after losing steam towards the end of the year. They still reached the Levain Cup final for the first time in their history and put up a good fight, although they were defeated by Kawasaki Frontale in the end.
The last two seasons validated their attacking brand of football, which accepts taking the risks that come with building up from the back. Consadole try to overwhelm the opponents with quick passing and speedy attack from both flanks before their three offensive players, Jay Bothroyd, Musashi Suzuki and Chanathip, finish the job.
Without any top transfer, this season they focus on continuity. Though their defensive vulnerability led to a 4-2 defeat against Kashiwa Reysol in the opening game, Sapporo showed powerful attacking as well, especially towards the end. Their firepower will be a big threat this season as well.
A skillful attacker dubbed “Thai Messi”, Chanathip leads Sapporo’s attack with his dazzling dribbling and passing, as well as powerful shots. After three years of excellence he is now one of the star players in J.League.
A rookie defender, who joined from Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, and already received a call-up to the Japanese national team last year, before graduating. He boasts the strong physicality needed for defense, but also great distribution skills after recovering the ball. While his natural position is center back, he can also play as a defensive midfielder.