This Sunday promises to be a momentous day in Japan’s second tier. At the top, it is a high stakes game of musical chairs, as three teams try to fit into just two automatic promotion places. Where the play-offs are concerned, Fagiano Okayama – who have been in the playoff zone seemingly all season – could lose out on their chance to participate should they lose their final game.

At the bottom, there is one guaranteed safety spot available with three teams all looking to clamber aboard that particular safety vessel.

J.League Regista sought opinions from those who have been following J2 throughout the season to ask them their opinions on:

  1. Who will finish in the top two

  2. Who will claim 6th spot

  3. Who will be safe & who will go down

Let the predictions begin!! (For full disclosure, I will say which team each person supports)

J.League Regista (FC Gifu)

1. At the top, I see Consadole Sapporo beating Zweigen Kanazawa at home to secure the championship. As for second place, I don’t think it is as simple as some people think it is going to be. I think Matsumoto Yamaga will do their bit by beating a flat Yokohama FC at home, and that will put pressure on Shimizu S-Pulse to win at Tokushima Vortis.

Vortis have nothing to play for, but they beat Sapporo recently and drew with Matsumoto at home so the onus will be on S-Pulse doing something that their promotion rivals haven’t done: beat Tokushima at the Pocari Sweat Stadium.

That being said, I think that Shimizu – armed with Chong Tese & Genki Omae – should have just enough to get the job done. But it won’t be easy.

So….

  1. Consadole Sapporo
  2. Shimizu S-Pulse
  3. Matsumoto Yamaga

For the final play-off place, Fagiano Okayama, who currently occupy the coveted 6th spot, are in a horrible run of form having not won on their last seven attempts. They haven’t won at home since September 11th so the perceived home advantage that Okayama have might not work out that way. On the plus side, they face Gunma who are already safe, and they’ve already beaten them once this season.

Machida Zelvia, led by J2 player of the year candidate Yuki Nakashima are bouncing after their stunning win against Matsumoto last week, but I expect Okayama to get the point they need to secure sixth. As an aside, it shouldn’t detract from the excellent season that Machida Zelvia have had.

3. At the bottom, putting biases to one side, I believe that FC Gifu will get the result they need to secure J2 football for next year. They’ve won the last two home games, and were a little unlucky to lose in Kumamoto last weekend. Kitakyushu face a tricky game in Yamagata and Zweigen Kanazawa face an almost mission impossible style task – they have to beat Consadole Sapporo in Sapporo, and hope that Kitakyushu & Gifu fail to match their results.

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FC Gifu to stay up? J.League Regista thinks so….

Chibanews (JEF United Chiba)

My top of the table:

  1. Shimizu S-Pulse
  2. Consadole Sapporo
  3. Matsumoto Yamaga

There might be a small possibility that Sapporo lose the game but Zweigen also need a victory to stay in J2. So it is really difficult to make predictions. Anything can happen.

Play-off teams will be the same as on MD 41. Okayama will be 6th. Then Matsumoto will win in the play-offs. Very disappointed that I can’t put the name of JEF United in play-offs.

Bottom 3:

  • 20 FC Gifu
  • 21 Kanazawa
  • 22 Giravanz

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S-Pulse as champions?

Alan Gibson – Mr. J.Soccer Magazine (Vissel Kobe/Gamba Osaka…I think ;-))

Here we go, top three:

  1. Consadole (even though they’ll only draw in last game?)
  2. S-Pulse (win in Tokushima)
  3. Yamaga

Cerezo to win in the play-offs!

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Play-off winners?

Bottom three:

  • 20 – Kamatamare Sanuki
  • 21 – Giravanz Kitakyushu
  • 22 – Zweigen Kanazawa

Zweigen down…. Giravanz survive in play-off?!

Will be in Tokushima myself and actually hoping that Consadole go down and S-Pulse top the table, but auto-promotion will be fine, thank you… and what a run in the final third of the season to close that gap! Having seen the “reserves” against Gamba and a few other games I can safely say that S-Pulse seem to be all set with a decent squad for J1 survival!

Richy Palmer (FC Gifu)

  1. Sapporo
  2. Shimizu
  3. Yamaga

Wins for Shimizu and Yamaga, but I’m with Alan that Sapporo will draw with Zweigen in the last game. Cerezo will then come and surprise everyone (except Alan obviously!) and win the playoff. Kyoto and Okayama will go without too much pressure and Okayama (if they make it) could upset Matsumoto.

Down the bottom, it’s hard to say. I could see all teams losing and all teams winning. Going with my gut I’d say that Zweigen will draw in Sapporo. Gifu will lose to Verdy and Giravanz will draw in Yamagata. So…

  • 20 – Gifu
  • 21 – Kitakyushu
  • 22 – Zweigen

I could see Gifu getting knocked down to 21st too. Giravanz being more likely to come out on top.

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Kanazawa for the drop?

Leanny chan (Machida Zelvia)

As for me…

  1. Sapporo
  2. S-Pulse
  3. Yamaga

And the bottom three are:

  • 20. Gifu
  • 21. Kitakyushu
  • 22. Kanazawa

And I reckon Okayama will beat Machida to the last playoff spot

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Okayama for the play-offs?

Barry Valder (Shimizu S-Pulse)

  1. Sapporo
  2. S-Pulse
  3. Yamaga

(I hope) Matsumoto are mentally wobbling having been 2nd for so long. All the pressure is on them to get a result and not have to settle for the play offs. Think S-Pulse will knock it out the park and win by 3 goals.

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Shimizu to win in Tokushima?

Final play off place to… Machida! Cerezo to win the play offs.

At the bottom…..

  • 20 FC Gifu
  • 21 Kitakyushu
  • 22 Kanazawa

Giravanz Wombat (Giravanz Kitakyushu – as if you needed that explaining)

Top:

  1. Consadole
  2. Shimizu
  3. Yamaga

Fagiano to get the last play off spot, and Yamaga to win the play offs.

Bottom:

  • 20 – Giravanz
  • 21 – FC Gifu
  • 22 – Zweigen Kanazawa

(I correctly predicted the outcome of the US election and the sex of my sister-in-law’s baby so… just saying…)

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Giravanz to stay up?

Fellow Zelvista Dave (Machida Zelvia)

Well, I think the match of the day is Sapporo-Kanazawa. So much at stake for both of them they should both be up for it.

That being the case it should just come down to quality and I think Sapporo will win. I think the other title and play off contenders all have more to play for than their opponents so they should all win, too.

I guess that means:

  1. Sapporo
  2. Shimizu
  3. Matsumoto
  4. Cerezo
  5. Kyoto
  6. Okayama

At the bottom:

Gifu look like they have the relatively easier game amongst the bottom teams. Verdy are safe and have nothing to play for,so Gifu should win

So I guess:

  • 20. Kamatamare
  • 21. Kitakyushu
  • 22. Kanazawa

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Shinji Ono going back to J1?

A huge thank you to all those who contributed!! It is going to a nerve wracking final day…..bring it on.

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