Gamba will kick off their debut J2 campaign with a Kansai derby against Kyoto Sanga.
The first couple of rounds of fixtures were released by the J.League today and Gamba have been pitted against a fellow Kansai club at Banpaku for the third season in a row. A week later they travel to Japan’s newest professional team V-Varen Nagasaki.
The Kyoto tie will mark Kenta Hasegawa’s debut as Gamba manager and he will be hoping to get off to a much better start than Jose Carlos Serrao but it will be a tough match as Kyoto are likely to be amongst the teams battling for a place in the playoffs at the very least. The club from Japan’s former capital missed out on automatic promotion by a couple of points in 2012 before being demolished by eventual playoff winners Oita Trinita in the semi finals so if Hasegawa’s Gamba team can start with a win then they will be well on the road back to J1.
Nagasaki will present a completely different challenge. The 2012 JFL champions will be making their home J2 debut – likely in front of their biggest crowd ever – and will be very eager to make a name for themselves. Gamba will have to be on their guard as this sort of tie quite often results in the underdog grabbing a memorable victory at the expense of their more well-known opponents.
Gamba have also updated their schedule with a number of pre-season training matches beginning with a clash against the youth team and ending with a mini Osaka derby. The fixtures page has now been updated accordingly. The full list of J2 fixtures will be revealed on February 1 so don’t forget to check back then!
Have those fixtures got you excited for the new season? Do you think Gamba can come away with six points? Let us know your thoughts!