Albirex Niigata are on their way back to the top flight!
After five seasons in the second division, Albirex have clinched promotion to the Meiji Yasuda J1 League and will be playing among the best teams in all of Japan come 2023.
Albirex earned promotion with a dominant 3-0 win over Vegalta Sendai on Saturday. The victory put them 12 points clear of third place Fagiano Okayama, who have three matches left to play.
The driving force for Albirex all season has been their league-best attack. They have averaged 1.8 goals per game, but it hasn’t been one spectacular goal scorer who has led the way. In fact, nobody on the team has scored double-digit goals this season, but Ryotaro Ito, Kaito Taniguchi and Yoshiaki Takagi have all scored nine goals in a total team effort, while Ito also has a J2-best 10 assists.
Now, Albirex are on their way to J1 again, having last played in the top flight in 2017. That was the last of 14 straight seasons in the first division for Albirex, a long spell they will be hoping to recreate beginning in 2023.