Match to Watch, Matchweek 23: Urawa, Junker taking aim at top 4 as they head to Sapporo

Match to Watch, Matchweek 23: Urawa, Junker taking aim at top 4 as they head to Sapporo

For the first time since late May, we have a full MEIJI YASUDA J1 LEAGUE matchday! All 20 teams will play as the league comes back from its Tokyo 2020 break for the second half of the season.

A marquee match will come at the Sapporo Dome, where a pair of very different teams clash. The home side, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, are trying to find their footing after losing their top striker. Anderson Lopes, whose 11 goals are still good enough for fourth in the league, departed for a Chinese club and now Consa will have to refashion their attack.

Urawa Reds added a new striker in May and it remade not just their attack, but their entire team. Kasper Junker is already up to seven goals in the league and Urawa have surged up the table as a result of the Dane’s terrific play. They’re eighth in the league, but only three points back of fourth place and the final AFC Champions League berth.

In addition to how their strikers, be they present or not, affect this one, both teams will be hoping their fitness is up to snuff. Urawa haven’t played a match since July 10, while Consa have only played once since then. Both teams have been working hard in training, but will the absence of matches keep them from full fitness? Which team still has legs late in this one could determine the winner.

If the Reds can perform for 90 minutes and get a big day from Junker, they may find themselves right up against the top four, while Consa will be hoping their fitness can reign supreme as they figure out a new-look attack to restart their campaign.

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