Sunday the 24th brings the event that Tokaijin have been drooling over for the past month when the big boys of Aichi take on the new kids from Gifu.
Taking a quick peak into pre-season form there have been mixed results from FC Gifu. On a positive note they have scored in all their games, beaten J2 rivals Mito Hollyhock, and have fought back from two goals down to lose a respectable 2-1 againgst J1 Tokyo Verdy. But on the other side of the coin, they have allowed in goals from University teams, have conceded last minute goals againgst Kusatsu and Seongnam, and have not really posted any big convincing scores againgst High School or University teams.
Nagoya Grampus on the other hand bet JFL teams Sagawa Kyuubin (6-2), and Kitakyuushuu, as well as Tsuegen Kanazawa (5-0) and Aichi Gakuin University (7-0) amongst other results. Above all, these results show that the team is playing well and definitely have a lot more ability to put a team away, whilst maintaining a tight defence line.
Although we can't read too much into practice match results, from the evidence above, Grampus should definitely have an advantage and a score of two or three goals is looking very likely. On the other hand, Gifu should struggle with their team which has only been together for a short time, although an early goal in front of the home crowd could provide some confidence and the chance of a draw or even unlikely victory.
My prediction though, 3-1 to Grampus.