Gamba Osaka – what you need to know


Find out more about the Reds’ 2012 AFC Champions League Match Day 2 opponents – Japanese giants Gamba Osaka.

Find out more about the Reds- 2012 AFC Champions League Match Day 2 opponents – Japanese giants Gamba Osaka.

Gamba Osaka are no strangers to Adelaide United fans, the J-League club having faced off against the Reds in the 2008 ACL Final and the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. But here is a refresher and a quick rundown on Gamba heading into the 2012 edition of the AFC Champions League.

Where is it?
Gamba Osaka is a club situated in the Japanese city of Osaka. Osaka is the capital of Osaka Prefecture, which is one of Japan-s 47 prefectures (relatively equivalent to states in Australia) and is located in the southern half of Japan-s main island. Japan-s third highest populated city behind Tokyo and Yokohama, Osaka is 1 hour and 30 minutes behind Australian Central Daylight Savings Time (ACDT). 7.00pm in Osaka = 8.30pm in Adelaide

The Club
Originally founded in 1980 as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. Soccer Club, Gamba Osaka is one of just five teams that have been playing in Japan-s top flight since the J-League began in 1993. After winning their first J-League title in 2005, they competed in the AFC Champions League the following year but did not progress past the Group Stage despite defeating Vietnamese side Da Nang FC in a record equaling 15-0 result.

In recent times domestically, Gamba finished second in the J-League in 2010 before they were one of three standout teams in 2011, finishing third just two points behind winners Kashiwa Reys and a point behind second placed Nagoya. Gamba-s reputation for being ther and about the top of the table is highlighted by the fact that they have finished third in five of the last eight J-League seasons.

The end of the 2011 season has seen a major change sweep through the club. Coach for the past decade, Akira Nishino, ended his tenure and was replaced by Brazilian tactician Jose Carlos Serrao, while there were also a host of players coming and going. The most notable new arrivals are former FC Tokyo centre-back Yasuyuki Konno, Brazilian striker Paulinho and Korean forward Lee Seoung-yeoul.

Major Honours
2009 Emperor-s Cup Champions
2008 Emperor-s Cup Champions
2008 AFC Champions League Champions
2008 Pan-Pacific Champions
2007 J-League Cup Champions
2007 Super Cup Champions
2006 Emperor-s Cup Runner Up
2005 J-League Champions
1992 Queen-s Cup Champions

The Stadium
Built in 1968, the Expo -70 Commemorative Stadium is an athletics stadium with a running track around it and has a capacity of 21,000. The Reds have already had first hand experience of playing in front of a full house there after facing Gamba in the 1st leg of the 2008 ACL Final. The Reds will make their second appearance at the venue for the final match day of the Group Stage on May 16.

Previous history with Adelaide United
Adelaide United and Gamba Osaka have met three times previously, all of which were within the space of a month towards the end of 2008. After the Reds made history as the first Australian club to make it to the Final of the AFC Champions League, standing in their way was Gamba Osaka. The J-League club won 3-0 in the 1st leg in Osaka before claiming a 2-0 victory at Hindmarsh in the 2nd leg to be crowned ACL champions. The sides then met again at the lucrative 2008 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, the Reds giving Gamba a huge fright before a Yasuhito Endo proved the difference in a 1-0 result. Gamba have never lost to an Australian club and the Reds will be ding their utmost to become the first.

AFC Champions League record
2011 – Round of 16, 2010 – Round of 16, 2009 – Round of 16, 2008 – Champions, 2006 – Group Stage

Impressively and somewhat ominously for the Reds, Gamba have won 11 of their 19 away games in the AFC Champions League, which remarkably comprises of a run that saw them win every one of their away games on their way to the title in 2008 as they became just the second Japanese team to win the competition.

Lead up to Match Day 2
Uncharacteristically, Gamba Osaka comes into Tuesday night-s encounter against the Reds on the back of three consecutive losses. The Pohang Steelers inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Gamba in Match Day 1, their heaviest ever home defeat in the competition, and this has been followed by losses in their opening two games of the new J-League season as they fell 3-2 to Vissel Kobe at home and then 2-1 to cross town rivals Cerezo Osaka. While it may not be the ideal start under new coach Jose Carlos Serrao, do not be fooled, the Reds can ill afford to think that three points over Gamba will be a given.

Player info
Gamba-s current squad has a host of new names but also still includes a number of veterans who were part of their 2008 ACL Final victory over the Reds. Seven of the players who were in Gamba Osaka-s starting line-up for both legs of the 2008 final against Adelaide are still with the club – goalkeeper Yosuke Fujigaya, defenders Sota Nakazawa and Akira Kaji, and midfielders Yasuhito Endo, Takahiro Futagawa, Hayato Sasaki and Tomokazu Myojin. Gamba is a side overflowing with Japanese talent and their three imports for the competition are Brazilian duo Rafinha and Eduardo plus Korean forward LEE SEUNG-YEOUL.

The Coach
Gamba Osaka is coached by Brazilian Jose Carlos Serrao, the 61 year old taking charge after Akira Nishino left the club following a decade at the helm. Following Nishino-s popularity and success in his time at the club, it will be a tough gig to follow for the well travelled Serrao, who has been a head coach since 1987. On his appointment, Serrao has brought in a number of his countrymen as assistants and it is fair to say Gamba is still in a transition phase as he continues to settle into the role.

The Squad
1.YOSUKE FUJIGAYA (GK, JPN), 2.SOTA NAKAZAWA (Defender, JPN), 4.HIROKI FUJIHARU (Defender, JPN), 5.DAIKI NIWA (Defender, JPN), 6.SHIGERU YOKOTANI (Midfielder, JPN), 7.YASUHITO ENDO (Midfielder, JPN), 8.HAYATO SASAKI (Midfielder, JPN), 9.RAFINHA (Forward, BRA), 10.TAKAHIRO FUTAGAWA (Midfielder, JPN), 11.PAULINHO (Forward, JPN), 13.SHINICHI TERADA (Midfielder, JPN), 14.SHU KURATA (Midfielder, JPN), 15.YASUYUKI KONNO (Defender, JPN), 16.SHOHEI OTSUKA (Forward, JPN), 17.TOMOKAZU MYOJIN (Midfielder, JPN) (captain), 19.KOTARO OMORI (Midfielder, JPN), 20.AKIHIRO SATO (Forward, JPN), 21.AKIRA KAJI (Defender, JPN), 22.YOHEI TAKEDA (GK, JPN), 23.TAKUYA TAKEI (Midfielder, JPN), 24.KENTA HOSHIHARA (Forward, JPN), 25.HIROYUKI ABE (Midfielder, JPN), 26.TAKAHARU NISHINO (Defender, JPN), 27.TATSUYA UCHIDA (Defender, JPN), 28.KATSUHISA UCHIDA (Defender, JPN), 29.ATSUSHI KIMURA (GK, JPN), 30.EDUARDO (Defender, BRA), 31.KEN TAJIRI (GK, JPN), 33.KEIGO NUMATA (JPN), 37.LEE SEUNG-YEOUL (Forward, KOR)

Parts of this information is courtesy of the AFC.

For more, check out Gamba-s official website at http://www.gamba-osaka.net/en/index.html.