The AFC Champions League is back in action with a set of round-of-16 matches this week as Yokohama F. Marinos take on Vissel Kobe on Thursday. The two teams have experienced contrasting fortunes this season and will want to win this game.
Vissel Kobe are currently in 16th place in the J1 League standings and have struggled this season. The hosts eased past Consadole Sapporo by a 2-0 margin in their previous game and will look to achieve a similar result this week.
Yokohama F. Marinos, on the other hand, are at the top of the league table at the moment and have been impressive this year. The away side suffered a shock 2-1 defeat against Sanfrecce last week and will need to bounce back in this fixture.
Vissel Kobe vs Yokohama F. Marinos Head-to-Head
Yokohama F. Marinos have an impressive record against Vissel Kobe and have won 19 out of the 39 matches played between the two teams. Vissel Kobe have managed eight victories against Yokohama F. Marinos and will look to improve their record in this fixture.
The previous meeting between the two teams took place in March this year and ended in a 2-0 victory for Yokohama F. Marinos. Vissel Kobe struggled on the day and have a point to prove this week.
Vissel Kobe form guide: W-L-L-L-L
Yokohama F. Marinos form guide: L-L-L-W-D
Vissel Kobe vs Yokohama F. Marinos Team News
Noriaki Fujimoto, Bojan Krkic, and Sergi Samper are injured at the moment and have been ruled out of the fixture. Vissel Kobe are unlikely to make drastic changes to their team for Thursday’s clash.
Injured: Noriaki Fujimoto, Sergi Samper, Bojan Krkic, Ryuho Kikuchi
Yokohama F. Marinos
Ryo Miyaichi is injured at the moment and has been ruled out of this fixture. Yokohama F. Marinos will need to field their best team to overcome their recent slump this week.
Injured: Ryo Miyaichi
Vissel Kobe vs Yokohama F. Marinos Predicted XI
Vissel Kobe Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Hiroki Iikura; Tetsushi Yamakawa, Matheus Thuler, Yuki Kobayashi, Gotoku Sakai; Hotaru Yamaguchi, Yuya Nakasaka; Yutaro Oda, Andres Iniesta, Koya Yuruki; Yoshinori Muto
Yokohama F. Marinos Predicted XI (4-3-3): Yohei Takaoka; Katsuya Nagato, Ryotaro Tsunoda, Shinnosuke Hatanaka, Ken Matsubara; Takuma Nishimura, Tomoki Iwata, Kota Watanabe; Elber, Kota Mizunuma, Leonardo de Sousa Pereira
Vissel Kobe vs Yokohama F. Marinos Prediction
Yokohama F. Marinos are winless in their last three matches in all competitions and are in the midst of a slump at the moment. The league leaders have conceded seven goals in their last three games and have a few issues to address ahead of this game.
Vissel Kobe have impressive players in their ranks but are yet to justify their potential this year. The hosts can pack a punch on their day, however, and are in better form going into this game.
Prediction: Vissel Kobe 2-1 Yokohama F. Marinos