Yokohama F·Marinos’ pursuit of Kawasaki Frontale has been relentless and their high-powered attack now has them on the verge of passing the defending champions. The Tricolor are just a point back of Frontale, with a chance to potentially jump into first place this weekend, but if they are going to get there, they are going to have to pass the team with more titles than any other in J1 League history - Kashima Antlers.
Kashima are hardly a team of the past. While they may not be in the hunt for another title this season, they are in fifth place and just three points back of third, led by a young and dynamic attacking core.
Only two teams in the league have scored more goals than Kashima, who are coming off of a four-goal thumping of Shimizu S-Pulse. It was a perfect example of what makes them so dangerous, as four different players scored in the dominant win. Young stars Ryotaro Araki and Ayase Ueda lead Kashima with eight goals, while Koki Machida and Tomoya Inukai have scored five apiece. 11 other players have found the back of the net this season. They are prolific because of how many players can get the job done in what is truly a symphonic team attack.
One of the two teams that has scored more goals than Kashima this season is Marinos, who lead the league with 2.3 per game and have been in peak form this summer. They’ve scored 14 goals in the last three matches, including four in a midweek romp of a strong Sagan Tosu side.
Marinos are led by Daizen Maeda, whose 14 goals are tied for the most of any player currently in the league. He’s notched a hat trick in the last two weeks, as has Léo Ceará. The two of them, along with Marcos Júnior, lead an attack that is the best in the league and in peak form.
With all that in mind, this is a match that should offer plenty of attacking highlights between two sides who accounted for eight goals when they last met in May, when Kashima defeated Marinos at home, 5-3.
But which scintillating strikeforce will win out in the return fixture? Will it be Marinos as they continue their assault on the top of the table? Or will Kashima’s firepower come out on top? Find out this week in the MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE!