Vissel Kobe are top of the Meiji Yasuda J.League, but Nagoya Grampus and Yokohama F·Marinos are right on their heels and those two teams are set for a massive clash on Saturday at 3 pm JST in a match that can be streamed on the J.League’s International YouTube channel.
Nagoya are a mere one point off of the Ushi for the top spot in the league, while Marinos are fresh off of a win over Vissel and are now in third place, just two points back. A win this weekend could lift either team to first place or, at a minimum, mark them as the top challengers for the top.
Grampus’ success has been because of their outstanding defense, which is no surprise. They have been one of the best defensive teams in the league for years, anchored by Mitchell Langerak in goal, and they’ve simply continued that this season with a J1-best five goals against through nine matches.
With such a good defense, Nagoya don’t need a spectacular attack, but they have been plenty dangerous. New signing Kasper Junker has paced the team with four goals, giving Grampus an attack capable of making their great back line count. As a result, they’ve lost just one game all season, which is the best mark in the league.
Excellence is nothing new to Marinos, who are only five months removed from winning the J1 title. They struggled a bit early on in the season as they worked through the departure of 2022 J.League MVP Tomoki Iwata and several others, but they have found their form in recent weeks and are beginning to look like a team that can repeat as champions.
Anderson Lopes has emerged as the clear cut star of the Tricolor attack, scoring seven goals to lead the league. He’s gotten help from fellow Brazilian Élber, but it’s been the emergence of Kota Mizunuma in recent weeks that has transformed Marinos.
Mizunuma has five assists in the last three matches, flashing even better form than what he showed en route to J.League Best XI honors a year ago. With him keying the attack, Élber popping up everywhere and Anderson Lopes as the danger man up front, the Tricolor are nearly unstoppable.
Matching that red hot Marinos attack against Nagoya’s outstanding defense is going to be one of the best clashes of the season, and it comes with the stakes of the emerging title race as both aim for the top spot in the table.
This is one match you don’t want to miss and with all eyes on Nissan Stadium, make sure you’re part of it on the J.League International YouTube channel.