No real stand-out games this coming Sunday in J2, but a few important ones on the slate.
Leaders Vissel Kobe, fresh off dispatching local rivals Gamba last week, face a tricky looking trip to the capital to face Yasutoshi Miura’s Tokyo Verdy. Verdy sneaked a win in Gunma last week and are only 3 points off the top six so this won’t be an easy assignment for Ryo Adachi’s men.
Probably the most important game takes place in Utsunomiya where Tochigi SC take on V-Varen Nagasaki. Nagasaki sit in 2nd place after a remarkable start, but this will be a stern test against a team smarting from a humbling in Ehime last week. Gamba Osaka will look to get back on track when they make the trip west to play Avispa Fukuoka. It will be interesting to see how many changes Hasegawa makes from the team that was beaten comprehensively in Kobe last week.
Fagiano Okayama, fresh off their wild and wacky win against Yamagata, travel to Gainare Tottori looking to consolidate their top six place. Gainare snatched a point in Toyama last week, but they are desperate for a win, having not won since March 17th.
At the bottom of the table, FC Gifu will host a red-hot Roasso Kumamoto team that has won their last three outings and hasn’t been shy about scoring goals. Gifu have had a tough run of fixtures, but this is one that they should be looking to go after. Woefully out of form Giravanz Kitakyushu, on a run of 7 defeats, travel to the Alwin Stadium to face Matsumoto Yamaga. Yamaga have yet to win at home this year, and that run includes games against FC Gifu & Thesap Kusatsu so there is a little bit of hope for Giravanz. Thespa Kusatsu Gunma make the trip to Nishikyogoku to play Kyoto Sanga. Sanga were undone by an injury time goal last week against Matsumoto and will likely be right at Gunma from the start.
JEF United will welcome back top scorer Kempes after his suspension for the visit of Kataller Toyama to the Fukuari. JEF were unconvincing winners in Gifu last weekend, while Toyama coughed up a late lead to draw with Tottori. Tokushima Vortis, beaten at home last week, have another home game as they welcome Mito Hollyhock to Naruto. The other team from Shikoku, Ehime FC, travel to Kanagawa to face Yokohama FC. Yokohama are another team that have yet to win at home this year, and they need a win badly as they are currently in 18th position. Not quite the follow up to last year that coach Yamaguchi and his cool leather jacket had in mind.
Finally, Montedio Yamagata host Consadole Sapporo at the ND Soft stadium hoping to repeat the performance, if not the result, from last week’s visit to Okayama. They played some great football at times and I still can’t quite believe they ended up with nothing from the game.