After losing four out of their first five games this season, Grêmio have rediscovered their form.
Grêmio did not hit the ground running this year following their exploits in the World Club Cup competition in Abu Dhabi in December, where they reached the final and lost to Real Madrid (due to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal – who else?). The Rio Grande do Sul State Championship started just one month after that competition ended and they rested key players in the early rounds of this year’s state competition.
The fringe players were called in and did a pretty lousy job – losing four out of the first five games, against pretty poor opposition too. The first teamers have now returned and Grêmio once again look like the well-oiled machine that won the South America’s premier intercontinental competition last year. They beat Monagas 4 – 0 in the Copa Libertadores last night and last weekend they won the first leg of their state championship final 4 – 0.
With the league starting soon, this form bodes well and the players are peaking at the right time. The big issue for the club though, is whether they can keep their squad intact. Lucas Barrios has joined Argentinos Juniors, although Jael’s excellent form means that he hasn’t been missed. Grêmio have also bought Andre from Sport who was one of the leading scorers in Brazil last year.
But with Arthur most likely heading to Barcelona when the European transfer window opens and their play maker Luan on the radar of many European clubs, the well-oiled machine may lose some of its key parts. An even bigger worry for Grêmio is the rumour linking coach Renato Gaúcho (who bizarrely claims that he was a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo) to the vacant manger’s position at Flamengo. When pressed on the speculation the coach was non-committal. Grêmio are certainly one of Brazil’s best teams at the moment. Will that remain the case?
Lineup against Monagas:
Marcelo Grohe, Léo Moura (Alisson), Pedro Geromel, Kanneman, Bruno Cortez, Maicon (Cícero), Arthur, Ramiro, Luan, Everton, Jael (Thonny Anderson)
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