After a six month break, the Copa Libertadores gets under way again this evening.
Seven Brazilian sides will take to the field this in the Copa Libertadores this week, as the competition resumes after a six-month break. The games are coming thick and fast now in Brazil and they are about to come even thicker and faster for those involved in the Copa Libertadores. Squad rotation will be key and some Brazilian sides have already started resting players for league games due to the hectic schedule.
It might be tough for the Brazilian sides, but they hold an advantage over some of their South American rivals who are at the other end of the scale and completely lacking in match fitness – domestic football hasn’t even resumed yet in Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela!
The Brasileirão got under way more than a month ago, with state championship games taking place before that. Palmeiras, for example, have already played 19 matches since the lockdown was lifted. Bolivar, their opponents on Wednesday, haven’t played any games yet. (For more information on the Brazilian Serie A – all of the teams, transfers and talking points – check out Brazilfooty’s 2020 season preview/update.)
Flamengo are in a good situation in Group A with two wins from two games. They travel to Ecuador and play Independiente del Valle on Thursday, who also have six points.
Palmeiras are also on six points in Group B, while their opponents Bolivar have three. Palmeiras might have a lot more match fitness, but the match is being played more than 3500m above sea level in La Paz, meaning that the players of Bolivar will at least hold an advantage in the altitude acclimatisation sense.
Athletico-PR are in action in Group C on Tuesday evening and also face Bolivian opponents, also away from home. Jorge Wilsterman are based in the city of Cochabamba, which is ‘just’ 2500m above sea level. Still tough, but not as bad as La Paz. Athletico have three points from their two games so far and need a result this evening.
São Paulo take on River Plate on Thursday in Group D. They are at home and will have a match fitness advantage over their opponents, who have former striker Lucas Pratto in their team. Lei do ex? São Paulo could really do with the points since all four teams in that group are currently tied on three points after three games.
City rivals Internacional and Grêmio are both in Group E and are tied at the top of the group with four points. Internacional host América de Cali of Colombia, while Grêmio are away at Universidad Católica of Chile. Colombian football has only just resumed after the break so Inter should hold a fitness advantage. Chilean football hasn’t been back much longer and Universidad have played four matches since the lockdown. Internacional are a home, in good form, top of the Brazilian league and will fancy their chances. Grêmio, meanwhile, are 12th and struggling for movement, creativity and goals after the departure of Everton Cebolinha to Benfica.
Finally, Santos take on Paraguay’s Olimpia at the Vila Belmiro this evening. After a shaky start, Santos seem to be finding their feet in the Brasileirão at the moment and will be hoping to keep up the momentum in the Libertadores this evening. They also have six points from two Libertadores games already and a win would be a big step to securing their place in the next round.
Overall, its looking pretty good for the Brazilian sides in the Libertadores at the moment. Most of them have made good starts to the competition and now some of them hold a fitness advantage over their opponents. Fatigue could be a problem as the competition progresses, but those concerns can wait for now.