J.League 1 2017 Season Preview – Vissel Kobe


Kobe was one of the most entertaining teams to watch last season, and finished in a respectable 7th place. Their performance in the latter half of the season were  stunning, and only Urawa Reds took more points than Kobe in the 2nd stage.

Since then they have lost one of their best strikers in Pedro Junior, but they still look very potent up front with the likes of Leandro, Watanabe and the newly signed Junya Tanaka. So goals should come easily to Kobe this season as well I think.

Elsewhere, they have gotten rid of several players who saw regular playing time last season, but none of them can be considered to be important, and were not really 1st choice in their position anyway. They’ve made a couple of new signings, with the likes of Watanabe, Takahashi and/or Wescley/Omori, so they still got reasonable depth in their team.

If Kobe can continue on the amazing form they showed in Stage 2 then they could be a contender for the title, or atleast ACL, but they still look a tad too weak defensively to have the quality to go all the way.  With the arrival of Podolski in the summer as well they should be well equipped up front though, so I expect another strong season for them.

Last season:

7th place ( Stage 1: 12th / Stage 2: 2nd )

Expected finish: 8th – 11th place

Average Goals Per Game 2016:
Home:       3,06 (2,00 – 1,06)
Away:        2,76 (1,29 – 1,47)
Overall:     2,91 (1,65 – 1,26)


Nelsinho (3rd season)

Transfers In:

GK D.Maekawa (S/R)
DF H.Watanabe (R)
DF S.Yamaguchi (S/R)
MF Wescley (R)
MF H.Takahashi (R)
MF K.Omori (S/R)
FW J.Tanaka (R)
FW S.Otsuki (S/R)
FW Lukas Podolski (I) (will arrive in the summer)

Transfers Out:

DF Sho. Takahashi (S/R)
DF Y.Tanaka (S/R)
DF T.Muramatsu (S/R)
DF T.Soma (S/R)
MF A.Masuyama (S/R)
MF R.Maeda (S/R)
MF R.Matsumura (S/R)
FW Pedro Junior (I)
FW D.Ishizu (S/R)

(K = Key player,  I = Important Player, R = Regular Starter, S = Squad Player, K/I = Key/Important etc)

Starting Lineup:

  • 4-4-2:
  • Kim (I)
  • Takahashi – Iwanami – Watanabe – Hashimoto
  • Wescley – Nilton – Takahashi – Watanabe (I)
  • Leandro (K) – Tanaka

Points Breakdown:


Overall:  22/30p

Prediction:  4th – 8th


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