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[Preview] Gamba's true worth will be tested in three consecutive games. First, they will go head-to-head against the previous year's champions to win

The thrilling battle that Gamba has been away from for a long time is about to begin. As Head Coach Poyatos said, "Our concept since last year has been to get Gamba back to where it belongs," this season Gamba has been steadily accumulating points in the games in front of them.

Despite struggling against Kashiwa in the previous round, Gamba recorded their first four consecutive wins of the season and are currently in third place. After the 18th Sec., Gamba is four points behind Machida, who are in first place, but they will face three consecutive matches against top teams, starting with Kobe, Kashima and Machida.
"Having three such important games in a row is a crucial moment. It will be a big week to see whether we can move up or not, but in order to do that, we first need to win the home game against Kobe," said Nakatani.
The match against Kobe, the previous year's champions, will test the team's current position on both offense and defense.
While Gamba moved the ball well and had speed down the field, Kobe used long balls to Osako and made powerful reactions to attack.
"If the opponent continues to go without scoring in defence, they will get anxious and start coming forward, which will create space and cause them to stop moving for periods of time, so we want to exploit that," said Handa.
Gamba is only aiming to win at home, but what's important is to be ahead of Kobe by at least one point when the time runs out. The opposing SB also uses diagonal balls, and against Kobe, who excels at long balls, the key to success is to not fall behind in recovering the second ball.

Last season, Kobe's absolute source of goals was Osako, the league MVP, but this season, newcomer Miyashiro has scored the most on the team with 7 goals. Nakatani also said, "They're going to create starting points on our left side, so we need to pick up the second ball there, and it's important that we don't lose the first battle," against Muto, who scored 5 goals, and Osako, who scored 4 goals.

Gamba's strong defense this season is not only due to the last line's perseverance, but also due to the fact that Usami and others at the front have been putting their bodies on the line for the team, but "we really need to play in a way that helps each other, and if one person can't do it, two people can do it" (Ichimori). If the 11 players on the pitch have a common understanding and fight, they will naturally see the chance of victory.

On the other hand, Gamba has no intention of being passive. "We have many talented players in the offensive line, so we want to defend well and take advantage of our chances," said Nakatani.
Of course there's Usami, who scored a brilliant shot in the match against Kashiwa, but against Kobe, where both fullbacks are involved in high positions, the moves from WELTON and Yamashita on the wings will also be key.
"If we can just use our individual strengths to hit each other, we can score goals," said Usami. The simple attack of the powerful WELTON and the speedy Yamashita should also be a threat to the opponent.

Kobe, currently in fourth place, beat Kawasaki F 1-0 in the previous round, marking their first win in four games. Of course, they should be wary of players such as Ide, who used to play for Gamba, and Hatsuse, who has the most assists on the team with three.
Usami said that the match against Kobe, who lost both games last season without scoring a single goal, "will be a test of how we are."
There is nothing to be afraid of. We will just believe in Gamba's current strength and go head to head.