The quarterfinals of the J.League YBC Levain Cup will take place on September 2. The winners of the single-match knockout ties will advance to the semifinals.
Kawasaki Frontale will try to keep their hope of back-to-back Levain Cup titles alive away at Vissel Kobe. Last year’s winners registered two wins and a draw in the group stage, while scoring ten goals. Their great form in the league should give them a boost in this competition as well. Current top scorer Kaoru Mitoma is expected to be a key player.
Meanwhile, this is the first Levain Cup match of the season for the AFC Champions League participants Vissel Kobe, who are unbeaten in their last three league games. They might rotate some players due to the intense schedule, but that could mean great opportunities for youngsters who are not playing very often in the league. Kawasaki and Kobe have just met in the league on August 26 and drew 2-2. This time, it will have to end with a winner.
Last season’s finalists Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo host Yokohama F.Marinos. Although the home side advanced to the quarterfinals by earning seven points out of nine in the group stage, they are struggling in the league, being winless in six matches, including a defeat against Yokohama F.Marinos. As Sapporo are conceding too many goals, their defensive unit will be under the microscope. Yokohama F.Marinos are improving their form in the league, scoring 14 goals in the last four matches. They might change their lineups, but their momentum and attacking style could give them an edge.
Cerezo Osaka face Kashiwa Reysol at home. The host won all three group stage matches while conceding only one goal. Their solid defense is hard to beat as repeatedly seen in the league. The performance of Osaka’s youngsters such as Jun Nishikawa deserves a lot of attention. Kashiwa also earned nine points in the previous stage, patiently winning close matches. Since there are several injuries in the defensive department, replacement players need to step up to maintain the level of quality. The performance of attackers such as Hiroto Goya, whose playing time in the league has been limited so far, could also prove to be important.
The match between FC Tokyo and Nagoya Grampus is expected to be a close competition as both are in fine form and boast solid defense and speedy attack. It is hard to predict the lineups in the midst of the tight schedule, but both teams have a lot of talent in their ranks. As their latest meeting dated August 15, which was won 1-0 by FC Tokyo, this is expected to be a match that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seat until the end.