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Aug 1, 2021 at 1am UK
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Preview: Bragantino vs. Gremio - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bragantino vs. Gremio - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Brasileiro clash between Bragantino and Gremio, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

After their 14-game unbeaten run finally came to an end last week, Campeonato Brasileiro title-chasers Bragantino host lowly Gremio on Sunday.

While a series of draws has seen the hosts' early-season momentum stall, the visiting side have put together three games without defeat to drag themselves off the foot of the Serie A table.

Match preview

Though, last week, Bragantino finally lost their invincible status in the Brazilian top flight, their defeat to Fortaleza had perhaps been on the cards for a while.

As they had only won once in the league over the past month, during a frustrating spell of five domestic matches, the Sao Paulo-based side had already found themselves slipping off the frantic pace set by current table-toppers Palmeiras.

Massa Bruta coach Mauricio Barbieri - expelled from the touchline for his vociferous complaints against Fortaleza - saw his team dominate much of the final stages last Sunday, after falling behind to a 13th-minute goal, but they could not evade the tight marking of a team that remain undefeated at their Castelao headquarters.

Sat at the top of the standings earlier this month, Bragantino are now back among the chasing pack in fourth place, seven points adrift of the summit. They have, though, progressed in continental competition - recently beating Ecuador's Independiente del Valle 3-1 on aggregate in the last 16 of the Copa Sudamericana.

The Red Bull-backed outfit also remain the second-highest scorers in the division, with eleven different squad members chipping in to that healthy tally.

While that demonstrates Barbieri has nurtured a well-rounded team, he will again look to top scorer Ytalo - whose six Serie A strikes include important late goals against both Athletico Paranaense and Santos this month - to lead the way against Gremio.

Even if they were unable to join Bragantino in the last eight of the Copa Sudamericana - having crashed out on away goals to LDU Quito - relative to their terrible start to the 2021 campaign, Gremio have seen their fortunes improve of late.

After seven league matches without a win, former coach Tiago Nunes was relieved of his duties, with veteran manager Luiz Felipe Scolari subsequently returning to the club for a fourth time in his place.

Having signed on with the expressed aim of lifting the Tricolor out of the drop zone, 'Big Phil' took charge with his old club at a low ebb, but he has at least had an impact during the past few weeks.

A hard-fought draw with major rivals Internacional was followed by the rare taste of success against Fluminense, LDU and Copa do Brasil opponents Vitoria, who the Porto Alegre side beat 3-0 on Wednesday.

While that margin of victory away to a lower-league club may have boosted confidence ahead of Sunday's challenging assignment at Nabizao, Gremio have registered the fewest goals in the league so far this season - finding the net just six times in their 11 matches so far.

Such a lack of penalty-box potency can only spell trouble for Scolari's men, with a long fight against demotion in prospect should they fail to improve soon.

Bragantino Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L

Bragantino form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L

Gremio Brasileiro form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D

Gremio form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Team News

Ahead of their return to action, Bragantino are set to be without the injured quartet of Vitinho, Luan Candido, Rafael Luiz and Gabriel Novaes, while Bruno Tubarao continues his recovery from a broken ankle. Versatile forward Claudinho is also unavailable for selection, as he is with the Brazilian Olympic team in Tokyo.

Following a rare defeat, midfielder Jadsom is in contention to start ahead of Raul - who he replaced in the last league game - and Weverton will compete with Aderlan for the right-back spot in Mauricio Barbieri's probable 4-2-3-1 formation.

Gremio, meanwhile, will again be without goalkeeper Brenno Costa and midfielder Matheus Henrique this weekend, as they are helping the Selecao go for gold in Japan.

In addition, Luiz Felipe Scolari is expected to have Ferreira (knee), Thiago Santos (thigh), Maicon (calf) and young winger Elias Manoel (ankle) sidelined due to injury.

Former national team forward Douglas Costa - who recently joined on loan from Juventus, but has provided little productivity since his arrival - recently overcame a foot injury and could start in a central role, behind the strikers.

The front pair is likely to comprise either Jean Pyerre or Alisson alongside Diego Souza, though Ricardinho scored on cup duty in midweek and is an outside contender to start.

Bragantino possible starting lineup:
Cleiton; Aderlan, Bruno, Ortiz, Edimar; Jadsom, Evangelista; Praxedes, Artur, Cuello; Ytalo

Gremio possible starting lineup:
Chapeco; Miranda, Geromel, Kannemann; Vanderson, F. Pereira, Bobsin, Guedes; Costa; Souza, Pyerre

We say: Bragantino 1-1 Gremio

Demonstrating sterner stuff since the appointment of former Selecao supremo Luiz Felipe Scolari, improving Gremio can pick up another point to frustrate upwardly mobile Bragantino.

The hosts have struggled to finish off opponents of late - having drawn five of their last eight outings - and a first league defeat of the season is sure to have dented confidence further; helping their visitors add another goal to their slim pickings so far.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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