J1 League: League-leaders FC Tokyo take on Kawasaki Frontale in blockbuster Tamagawa Clasico
Bragging rights are not all that are up for grabs in the J League's blockbuster clash between FC Tokyo and local rivals Kawasaki Frontale this weekend. The hosts sit top of the table on 39 points, while the visitors lie in fourth on 32.
Should Tokyo come out on top, they will increase their lead at the summit to six points, with Yokohama F Marinos, who beat Urawa Reds 3-1 on Saturday evening, in hot pursuit. A win for the visitors, on the other hand, will close the gap to the top and put them on 35 points, 1 behind Marinos in second place but with a game in hand.
The fixture is known locally as the Tamagawa Clasico. The Tamagawa river separates the Japanese capital city and the smaller city of Kawasaki in the Kanagawa prefecture.
The return fixture earlier in the season ended in a drab 0-0 draw, with neither team able to break the other down.
FC Tokyo will head into this fixture in high spirits after a convincing 3-1 victory against Gamba Osaka last weekend.
However, the club from the capital city will be without former South Korea international Jang Hyun Su after the center-back completed a lucrative move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal earlier this week.
22-year-old defender Tsuyoshi Watanabe has performed well and proven to be the most viable replacement for the Korean, and he is likely to step in again this weekend.
Kenta Hasegawa's men have become masters of the counter-attack and are likely to sit tight and compact in an attempt to draw their opponents forward.
Long through-balls will be played to frontmen Kensuke Nagai and Diego Oliveira, who have formed a formidable striking partnership that can be credited with the majority of the goals scored this season.
Kawasaki are likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with last season's MVP Yu Kobayashi as the lone striker. Kengo Nakamura is likely to come in for attacking midfielder Yasuto Wakizaka.
The visitors may also be without injured Ryota Oshima. This is likely to hinder the effectiveness of their attack. Former Brazilian international Leandro Damiao will also be absent, with rumours of an imminent transfer circulating.