The Brazilian league, Brasileirão, is coming back this weekend. After Corinthians won the title last year, many believe that this season will be one of the greatest: for the first time since 2012, the "big 12" of Brazilian football will participate and other teams have a lot of expectations. Many teams have been strengthened and we have some big names, as well as young talents that wish to get improved.
BabaGol is delighted to provide you with the guide to one of the best leagues in the world. Vai!
Expectation: Fighting against relegation
America return to the first division after winning the Serie B last season. The team is managed by Enderson Moreira, who has been appointed at the middle of 2016. Back then, he failed to avoid from relegation. This year they already had good campaign in Minas Gerais championship, Campeonato Mineiro, after they reached the semifinals. The team have few talented youngsters, such as the centre back Messias, the midfielder Matheusinho and the right winger Judivian. Even with these player, the squad is still weak in Brasileirao terms, and some positions are lacking the talent. Good luck! They'll need it.
Expectation: Fantasing on a place in Libertadores
Atlético-MG's preparation for this season was interesting. Even though the club brought few players, most of the squad is based on free players who finished their contracts, young players and home-grown players that came back from loans. After an unimpressive start for the season, the coach Oswaldo de Oliveira was fired and his assistant, Thiago Larghi, replaced him. Their Campeonato Mineiro campaign ended with a defeat at the final against their rivals, Cruzeiro. Their main players are the attacking midfielders, Cazares and Otero, and the experienced striker Ricardo Oliveira. It's hard to see the team reaching a better place than the 7th or the 8th spot with such a young coach and an intermediate squad, but it might be enough for achieving their target.
Expectation : Aiming for a place in Libertadores
The team has lost some of its main players at the summer break. The goalkeeper Weverton and the left-back Sidcley left the team for the big clubs (and money) of São Paulo. Their coach, Fernando Diniz, made a great season with Audax in 2016 but failed to achieve another success since then. In this team he trying to play in more beautiful style, while focusing on the players' first touch. Atleti has won the Campeonato Paranaense during the Estudiais, but then they implement a massive rotation including reserve players and even a different coach! Their key players will be the two midfielders, Felipe Gedoz and Nikão, and the defenders, Thiago Carleto and Jonathan. Atlético-PR has a good chance to win the ticket for the Copa Sudamericana, but they can also dream on reaching the Copa Libertadores. Dream big.
Expectation: Going for a place in the Copa Sudamericana
Bahia has been prepared well to this season. Many major players have left, but the team has brought great substitutes. Mena, Douglas Grolli, Nino Paraíba and Elber. The newly appointed coach, Guto Ferreira, is coming back for a second term in the club, and wish to achieve great milestones this time. This year they already won the Campeonato Baiano and reached the Copa Nordeste quarterfinals. They certainly can reach the Copa Sudamericana, but it would not be a surprise if they will get a Copa Libertadores spot. In Guto they trust!
Expectation: Winning a spot in Copa Sudamericana
The biggest change in Botafogo was the departure of the coach Jair Ventura. The new coach of the club is one of the rising stars of the Brazilian football, Alberto Valentim, former Palmeiras coach that already won this year's Campeonato Carioca. The club didn't spent much money for new players, but the Uruguayan striker Rodrigo Aguirre, the midfielder Renatinho and the left-back Moisés arrived to push the team further. Botafogo have some great defenders in Carli and Rabello, and two very experienced goalkeepers, Gatito Fernandez and Jeffferson. Unfortunately, one of the key players, João Paulo, broke his leg at the Carioca final against Vasco, and would not play during this season. Back to the glory days?
Expectation: Simply to survive
As a promoted team, the team made some good signing such as Felipe Azevedo, Javier Reina and Wescley. Another player in the squad that is worth to keep your eyes on is Arthur, the top scorer in Brazil during this year with 16 goals so far. The team's won the Campeonato Cearense and reached the Copa Nordeste quarterfinals. The coach, Marcelo Chamusca, doing well in the club but the mission of avoiding relegation will be difficult. The team is lack of good centre-back, which will make the season even much harder. Be strong Cearenses!
Expectation: Achieving a place in the Copa Sudamericana
One of the most admired teams outside of Brazil is keeping on rebuilding the team based on players from minor teams and loans. After Reinaldo returned back to São Paulo, Chapecoense brought to new left-backs, Vinicius and Bruno Pacheco. The team managed to keep in their important players such as Luiz Antonio and Arthur, who both were amazing during the magnificent last season. At the beginning of the year they had an early elimination from Copa Libertadors and lost the Campeonato Catarinense final, but they still have a good enough squad to avoid relegation, and also reach a Copa Sudamerican spot. Vamo vamo Chape.
Expectation: Nothing but the title
The reigning champions are trying to find a solution after Jô left to Japan. The attack is a bit problematic, as both Kazim and Junior Dutra getting a lot of criticism from the fans. Even though more players have left, Corinthians made good signings: the young midfielder Mateus Vital, the defensive midfielders Rene Junior and Ralf, and the left backs Sidcley and Juninho Capixaba. The coach, Fabio Carille, already won the Campeonato Paulista and he can lead his club for another national title. A repeat for the Democratia Corinthiana?
Expectation: Fighting for the title
Cruzeiro has one of the best & biggest squads in the league. During the break they spent a lot of money on new signings such as the full backs Egídio and Edilson, the midfielders Bruno Silva and Mancuello and the attacker David. The team won the Campeonato Mineiro but failed to impress at the Copa Libertadores so far, with a single point after two games. Unfortunately, their main signing, the striker Fred, was injured and will miss the whole season. Cruzeiro has everything that a team need in order the challenge the title: they based on technical players and the have one of the best defences of the league. Cruising.
Expecation: Fighting for the title
Troubles were the main issues of Flamengo at the beginning of the year. They appointed a new coach, Paulo César Carpegiani, but sacked him after being eliminated at the Carioca semifinals. The club barely made moves on the transfer market and their main signing were Marlos Moreno and Henrique Dourado. Julio Cesar, one of the club idols, was supposed to be the leader of the squad, but he preferred to retire, and will do it pretty soon - his last game will be next saturday against America-MG. It still not clear how the team will perform this year: their squad is great, but the managerial problems can bring the club to a complete mess. And we didn't even mentioned Vinicius Jr., Paqueta, Guerreo, Diego & Vizeu. Fla-Hollywood is on.
Expectation: Staying alive
Perhaps one of the weakest teams in the league, Fluminense will have to work hard to achieve something this season. The beginning of the year has not been the best: the team has already been eliminated from the Brazilian Cup and left the state championship in the semifinals. In addition, the squad is very limited: every position lacks the quality for competing in the top Brazilian level. Few reinforcements have been brought in and the main ones are full back Gilberto and midfielder Airton. The team lost their striker Henrique Dourado, their best defender Henrique and goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri. Overall, the squad is very poor, however, Fluminense has hope in the young striker Pedro, who was top scorer of the Carioca Championship, and in Sornoza. The experienced coach Abel Braga will have a hard job to keep the team in the top flight. Flu is having flew.
Expectation: Fighting for the title
Current champion of the Libertadores, Grêmio comes strong for this season of the Brasileirão. So far this year, the team has been champion of the Campeonato Gaucho and the Recopa Sudamericana. In addition, Gremio is second in its group in the Libertadores. Even after losing Barrios, Edilson and Fernandinho, the team continues to play a high level football, being the one that plays the best football in the country, and even South America. The team did not bought many big name, bringing more players to be a backup for the squad, than to be starters. Madson, Alisson and André were the main signings for the season. Coach Renato Gaúcho is now seeking the title of the country's most important championship, one of the few that he does not yet have. And there are great chances that at the end of the season this will be different. Luan & Arthur are still here for the mission. It looks good for the Gauchos.
Expectation: Aiming for a place in the Libertadores
After experiencing the second division for the first time, Internacional returns to the first division and its a big bad question mark. The team is greatly improved with Zeca that can play on both full back postions; the team brought quality players to the midfield, such as Rithely and Patrick, and brought Wellington Silva, Rossi, Roger and Lucca for the attack. The team has good names With Andrés D'Alessandro leading the gang, it may end up getting a place in the Libertadores. With Odair Hellman, a young and debutant coach, it looks fragile but adventurous and promising. The tendency is for the team to be close to the eighth position and to have a good year. They hope at least.
Expectation: Fighting for the title
After a disappointing year, Palmeiras did not make big investments for this year. The team reinforced the positions that really needed and kept the top players, with the exception of Yerry Mina who went to Barcelona. The main reinforcements came on the full backs: Marcos Rocha became a starter on the right back and Diogo Barbosa and Victor Luís came to play in the left side. In addition, the team hired goalkeeper Weverton, promising defender Emerson Santos and good midfielder Lucas Lima. The team also has a very good squad, being considered the best in the country, but some think the defense still needs reinforcements. So far, the team has gone well in the Copa Libertadores, having 7 of the 9 possible points, but lost the state title to rival Corinthians in the final. Coach Roger Machado has made the team play well and the work looks very promising. Keep an eye on the duo Dudu and Lucas Lima: both are excellent assistants and Miguel Borja has everything to score many goals in the year. Avanti Palestra!
Expectation: Escaping relegation
Paraná is facing a challenge. With one of the weakest squads, the task of surviving in the top flight will not be easy. Many players left, and the main figures are Caio Henrique, a promise of Atletico de Madrid, and Matheus Pereira, who is on loan from Juventus. The coach is Rogerio Micale, champion with the Brazilian Olympic team, but has not done any good work ever since. This year, the team was eliminated from the Brazilian Cup and did not reach the final of the state championship. Staying in the first division will be the top of their aspiration. they are crossing fingers in Parana aren't they?
Expectation: Eyeing a spot in the Libertadores
Santos had as main reinforcement is coach Jair Ventura, who has already proved that he knows how to assemble good teams without very good players. In addition, the team also hired striker Gabriel Barbosa, a homegrown product with a great future, and left-back Dodô. Massive losses were the departures of Lucas Lima and Ricardo Oliveira, who played an important role in the team. For this season, the team should focus on the development of young players, such as Rodrygo, who has great potential. Reinforcements to the midfield would be very good, since it is a very 'needy' position for them. So far these year, the team was eliminated in the semifinals of the Paulista championship and is the leader of their group in Libertadores . It will not be an easy year for Santos, but it is a team that is sure to be able to reach Libertadores.
Expectation: Booking their ticket to the Sudamericana
São Paulo is another question mark. The team does not have an exactly bad cast, however, there is not one player on the team that is capable of deciding matches, who can call the responsibility in difficult times. The team made several signings for the season, such as goalkeeper Jean, defender Anderson Martins, Diego Souza, Valdivia and Nene, and strikers Trellez and Gonzalo Carneiro. They all seem to be good players, but none are capable of changing the level of the team. In the past year, the team was eliminated in the semifinals of the state championship and is advancing good in the Brazil Cup. There was the change of managers a few weeks ago, in which Dorival Junior left and gave place to Diego Aguirre. This change is very good, since Dorival could not get the best of the team and Aguirre is a very experienced and good manager. Counting on him, and the Morumbi.
Expectation: Fighting against relegation
For the year of 2018, Sport should focus on escaping relegation then thinking about winning trophies. The squad is much weaker with the departures of Diego Souza, Rithely and André, as the spare parts were not the best. The team does not have a full squad of options in all positions and, mainly, there is the lack of a striker and a attacking midfielder. The coach Nelsinho Baptista returned to Brazil to manage the team after having spent 9 years in Japan and has already gone through a hard elimination: the team lost to Central in the semi-final of the Pernambucano Championship. The coach will have a hard time trying to keep the team in the top flight. No 1987 for them this year.
Expectation: Getting a place in the Libertadores
The main losses of Vasco for this season were the exits of Anderson Martins and Mateus Vital. The team hired many players, however, none of them was a big name. The team reinforced practically every position, having as main reinforcements the defender Erazo, the defensive midfielder Desabato and the midfielder Giovanni Augusto. Unfortunately, the great young player of the team, Paulinho, won’t play for a few months due to an injury. The manager Zé Ricardo has done a good job, leading the team to the final of the Carioca Championship, however, the performance in the Copa Libertadores has not been good. The team has a chance to fight for a place in next year's competition, but the squad is not one of the strongest, despite being very wide. Looking for stability while climbing back up.
Expectation: Fighting ther lives out to avoid relegation
Another team with a great chance of relegation is Vitória. Vagner Mancini, proved to be a good coach last year, but the squad is still very weak. David, Trellez and Kieza moved to other teams and were some of the team's top players last year. The team lost the state championship to the biggest rival Bahia and qualified for the quarterfinals of the Copa Nordeste. Staying in the first division will be a huge achievement for Vitoria, as the lack of good centre backs will be a problem throughout the championship. Hard days in the Northeast.