After a brief hiatus, the “Meigi derby” is back, and it represents a prime chance for both teams to finalize their preparations for the upcoming season.
What will we see from FC Gifu?
After rather mixed results in their tour/camp in Okinawa (Gifu lost to Sagan Tosu & FC Ryukyu), coach Ramos will be looking for a bit of solidity in the team. It would not surprise me to see a “double volante” – that is two holding midfielders – of Henik & Masashi Miyazawa. It will be interesting to see who plays in defence. Yuki Fukaya will because he’s captain. I also see Tsukasa Masuyama in the side and I assume Yuki Fuji will be there too. That leaves Kazumichi Takagi, Masanori Abe, Naoya Okane, Hiroshi Sekita & Keigo Omi vying for the final defensive places.
Further forward, young players such as Ryutaro Karube & Yudai Ogawa were given good reviews at camp and Yuto Ono will look for a chance.
Up front, I expect all of Gifu’s strikers to be given a chance at some point in the game (although that depends on how fit new signing Leo Mineiro is). Everyone at the club is excited about Junki Endo’s sophomore year, while Rodrigo is an unknown at this point. Hiroaki Namba, the club’s spiritual leader, will probably start up front.
What will we see from Nagoya Grampus?
Coach Akira Nishino is, like Ruy Ramos, gearing up for his second season in charge. The squad has a lot of attacking talent as they can call upon Kensuke Nagai, Kengo Kawamata, Milove Novakovic and Leandro Domingues. Their defence, marshaled by the iconic Marcos Tulio Tanaka, was breachable last year, and one wonders if the same will be true this year as they didn’t really strengthen that area.
- KO 1:30pm, Sunday February 22nd
- Nagaragawa Memorial Centre Stadium
- Live on Me-tere (Channel 6 on your TV…..probably)