Friday, April 22, 2016

Back to normality in Uruguay?

Following the tragic natural catastrophes in many South American countries, football rightly had to take a backseat for a while. Many people are still trying to help rebuilding the damage done to homes and whole areas. Nevertheless, Germancopa is a football blog and Uruguay's Primera División is supposed to return on the upcoming weekend. As the title race reaches its later stages, here is a preview of everything you need to know before Saturday.

If the games should indeed go ahead, league leaders Plaza Colonia will try to defend top spot against struggling El Tanque Sisley at home. El Tanque could celebrate just two wins out of the first eight matches and find themselves, unsurprisingly, third from last. They have not managed to win a game since March 5 against Liverpool. Watch out though: despite their excellent position, Plaza was held winless in the last two games as well. The first loss of their season against Juventud was followed up by a goalless draw against CA Cerro. Either way, Eduardo Espinel's Plaza Colonia will be favourites once again going into the weekend.

Tough lineup decisions for Gustavo Munúa and Nacional. (Photo:
Most exciting game of the weekend should be the clash between second a third: Nacional are visited by CA Fénix. Slowly but surely, the illness wave hitting Nacional has died down going into the decisive stage of the season in league and Copa Libertadores. They find themselves 1 point behind Plaza Colonia at the top and could open up a gap towards their weekend's opponents. Considering it is a home game and all players had a lot of rest instead of playing midweek, they should be the favourites once again. In the last two league games, Nacional banged home a whopping seven goals. Fénix on the other hand are the more defensively solid type of team and are the only ones that have not lost a single time yet. 4 wins and 4 draws have given them 16 points thus far.

New edition of Rentistas vs Peñarol at the Centenario. (Photo:
Peñarol in the meantime will travel to Rentistas and will have to be extremely careful. Not only do they have two tough Copa Libertadores outings behind them, the last of them in midweek, but also meet an in-form team in the league. Rentistas have won their last two games against Sud América and Racing Club and drew against Fénix before. One of their main danger men is former Peñarol midfielder Matías Mier, who scored three goals so far this Clausura. The visitors themselves then arrive with a massive mental boost after their big comeback victory in the Copa Libertadores, but will feel that game in their muscles still. They have not been great in the league recently and it could well end up in an upset, if Peñarol are not careful.

In the latest edition of "Who will Gastón Rodriguez sink this weekend?", the right answer would be Defensor Sporting. It is a home game for Montevideo Wanderers and their 10-goal striker, who has been absolutely fantastic throughout 2016. Is there any reason he will stop against the 15th placed team? Just two wins all season for Defensor have the club's fans extremely disappointed. The latest record does not look too bright either: in the past three outings, they only collected one point. Wanderers on the other hand come into the game with two wins in their backs (Cerro & El Tanque). It is hard to see anyone else than Uruguay's best offense come out on top of this one.

CA Cerro, with their total of six goals, are still in the fight for the title. In fifth position, they find themselves three points behind Plaza Colonia. Going into the away game against Juventud, their 1-0 winning form has taken a little dip. A loss to Wanderers was followed by a draw against Plaza. Juventud on the other side has not lost since late February and will look to keep that run going.

A battle between Danubio and River Plate has two disappointing teams of 2016 matched against each other. Iconic Danubio, one of Uruguay's most famous sides aside from the big two, find themselves in deadlast. The reason for that is easy to find: 15 goals against means the second worst defensive record in the entire league. If they can get it together against anyone, it should be Sunday's opponent, which severely struggled to get goals.

Liverpool vs Racing Club on Saturday is another mid- to bottom-table clash. The pre-game situation looks completely different though. While Liverpool is unbeaten in three and has gotten 7 points from those games, Racing has only collected one point from their last four matches. They need a turnaround in fortunes and they need it fast. Liverpool's Junior Arias comes into the game on a hattrick.

Finally, the last game being played takes place between Villa Teresa and Sud América. Villa Teresa have surprised so far in the Clausura with an even 3-2-3 record. Their last three games tell the same story: 1-1-1. The visitors were fighting at the top of the league for a while, but losses to Rentistas and Liverpool in recent weeks have set their record straight again, returning Sud América to mid-table (with the same 3-2-3 record, by the way). Good luck predicting a winner from this one.


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