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Oct 7, 2021 at 1.30am UK

Henrique (45+6'), Fred (77')
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Marcelo (49'), Titi (60')
Henriquez (34'), Marcelo (44')

Preview: Fluminense vs. Fortaleza - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Fluminense vs. Fortaleza - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Brasileiro clash between Fluminense and Fortaleza, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Fortaleza will need a victory on Wednesday to guarantee they remain in a top-four position in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A table when they head to the Maracana for a date with Fluminense.

Flu are riding a five-match unbeaten run at home in league play heading into this game, while Leao do Pici are hanging onto the fourth position in the standings despite falling 3-0 to Atletico Goianiense.

Match preview

After a 10-day break, Fluminense will hope to continue climbing up the table, as they have been in fine form of late, unbeaten in seven consecutive matches.

Their manager Marcao probably wishes that there was not so much time in between their last match and this one upcoming because his side have played a lot better since September after a difficult couple of summer months.

The players have had no trouble starting quickly with six first-half goals in their previous four league matches, five of which came within the opening 20 minutes.

Thanks to a string of positive results, this team have put themselves back into the conversation to earn a place in the Copa Libertadores next year.

After 22 fixtures, they find themselves in eighth place, only two points out of a top-five position which would guarantee that they take part in the qualifiers for the South American club tournament, while a win in midweek would move them to within a point of Fortaleza, who are currently positioned to claim a place in the group stage of the 2022 Copa Libertadores.

Not only are Flu beginning to earn points on a consistent basis, but they are also moving the ball around with a lot more efficiency, while also doing a much better job at creating quality scoring opportunities, particularly on their home ground, where they have had five shots or more on target in each of their previous three games.

A solid first half to the campaign has hit a speed bump for Fortaleza, who have suffered four defeats in their last five league fixtures since the start of September.

An own-goal after 18 minutes seemed to rattle them on Saturday versus Goianiense, as they were unable to recover from that unlucky break, extending their winless run at home in the league to four consecutive games.

Juan Pablo Vojvoda would probably prefer to have a road fixture at this stage as his side have looked better away from home.

Despite only winning one of their previous three matches as the visiting team, they seem to play with a lot more purpose and less fear away from home than they do in front of their fans.

In their first meeting this season versus Fluminense, they controlled the tempo of that encounter with 63% possession but could barely find many openings as they came back to earn a 1-1 draw.

Having played more games than any side in the league, they will need to start winning to put pressure on the teams above them to have to do the same.

Fluminense Brasileiro form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

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

Fortaleza Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Fortaleza form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

The top two goalscorers for Flu were on the mark in their last fixture as Fred notched the opener, his third of the campaign, with Luiz Henrique picking up the winner late in the first half, his fourth of the season, all four of which have come in their last four league games.

Caio Paulista fired home their only goal in the first meeting this year versus Fortaleza, and he has not scored since then, as he is tied with Nino for the third-most goals on the team.

Marcao made a few minor changes to their starting lineup against Braga from the side who began the game versus Cuiaba as Lucas Calegari started in defence in place of Samuel Xavier, Andre took the spot of Matheus Martinelli in central midfield and Fred was inserted as their central striker rather than Raul Bobadilla.

Fortaleza goalkeeper Felipe Alves, who was second in the league with 12 clean sheets a year ago, has five so far in 2021, six if you count their match with Corinthians where he was taken off in the second half for Marcelo Boeck, who managed to shut the door as they won 1-0.

In their last road game, central defender Marcelo Benevenuto picked up the only goal in their 1-0 win over Sport Recife, his third of the campaign, putting him even with Igor Torres and just one back of David for third on the team.

This past weekend we saw three new faces in the Fortaleza starting 11 with Bruno Melo replacing Lucas Crispim in midfield, while up front, we saw Wellington Paulista and David as the attacking pair rather than Romarinho and Robson.

Fluminense possible starting lineup:
Felipe; Calegari, Nino, Claro, Barcelos; Martinelli, Andre, Biel; Henrique, Fred, Bobadilla

Fortaleza possible starting lineup:
Alves; Tinga, Benevenuto, Titi; Pikachu, Ederson, Edinho, Torres; Lima; Romarinho, David

We say: Fluminense 1-0 Fortaleza

Fluminense seem to be playing with a lot more confidence and are progressing steadily up the standings, and they are starting to buy into the way Marcao likes them to play.

Fortaleza have struggled to score goals in recent weeks, being held off the scoresheet in four of their previous six league fixtures, including conceding four at Bahia, so while they have competed harder in their road games, they have not done enough to earn many positive results.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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.Home/Draw:data

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