Midfielders Naoshi Nakamura and Makito Yoshida are expected to return to the first team for today's clash with Vissel Kobe. Naoshi may well get to start, having come through a practice game on Tuesday. Makito is more doubtful, but may at least make the bench. So we should have our Dream Team of Dani and Naoshi to dominate the midfield again. The Columbian has looked not half as effective without the industrious Nakamura to share the defensive load.
With former Japan No.1 Seigo Narazaki also making rapid progress after his dislocated pinkie was expected rule him out for up to four weeks; he now looks at least a possibility for next week. This leaves only Mu Kanazaki of the regulars still out through injury. With Fujimoto and Ogawa settling into a good rhythm, the Mie native's direct approach is missed, but not as significantly as we might have feared.