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Oct 14, 2021 at 12.30am UK
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Preview: Fortaleza vs. Gremio - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Fortaleza will be hoping they can consolidate their place in the top four when they host relegation-threatened Gremio in the Brasileiro on Thursday.

The Lion of the Pici have failed to win any of their last five fixtures on home soil, while the visitors have lost eight games on the road so far this term, which can only be matched by Athletico Paranaense.

Match preview

Fortaleza missed the chance to move level on points with Brasileiro holders Flamengo as they suffered a 3-0 defeat on home soil against their top-four counterparts last weekend.

After a goalless first half, the deadlock was eventually broken by Pedro in the 60th minute, before Michael bagged a three-minute brace shortly after to help the visitors run away with all three points.

Just a minute after Michael scored his second of the night, Ronald was shown a straight red card for needlessly lashing out at Rodrigo Caio, to rub more salt into Fortaleza's wounds.

Juan Pablo Vojvoda's men remain in fourth place, three points behind Flamengo in second and just one point clear of Bragantino in fifth, who have a game in hand.

Fortaleza are yet to drop out of the Brasileiro top five so far this season, however a poor run of only two wins in their last 10 league matches has put their hopes of qualifying for their first ever Copa Libertadores at risk.

The Lion of the Pici have won only one of their seven meetings across all competitions against Gremio, winning 2-1 at home in October 2019.

Vojvoda will be hoping his side can return to winning ways and build a positive run of form heading into next week's Copa do Brasil semi-final against high-flying Atletico Mineiro.

Gremio missed the chance to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since June, as they suffered a slender 1-0 defeat away against relegation rivals Santos last weekend.

Marinho's strike from the edge of the area was deflected in by teammate Wagner Leonardo to snatch all three points in the 92nd minute, condemning Gremio to their 12th league defeat of the season.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men are now five points adrift from safety, though there is still hope as they have a game in hand on Santos who sit just outside the relegation zone. Gremio also have two games in hand on next Sunday's opponents Juventude, who have the same number of points as Santos and sit just one place above.

After an impressive run of four victories in five matches between August and September, which included a surprise 1-0 away win against Brasileiro holders Flamengo, Gremio have since failed win any of their last four league games, including three defeats.

With 16 games to go, Scolari remains confident that they can escape the drop zone and will be hoping his side can take advantage of Fortaleza's inconsistent run of form on Thursday.

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

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

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

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

Team News

Fortaleza boss Vojvoda has a fully fit squad to choose from, however Ronald is unavailable as he will serve a one-match suspension.

Matheus Jussa slotted into a back five against Flamengo last weekend, however the 25-year-old will likely replace Ronald in midfield, while Marcelo Benevenuto is set to return at centre-back alongside Tinga and Titi.

Top goalscorer Robson has been benched for the last three matches, but he could be handed a start on Thursday ahead of 38-year-old striker Wellington Paulista, while attacking midfielders Romarinho and Matheus Vargas could be brought into the first XI.

As for Gremio, Leo Gomes (knee), Miguel Borja (ankle) Pedro Geromel (broken toe) and Leo Pereira (ankle) are all ruled out with injuries.

Former Bayern Munich full-back Rafinha was sent off deep into stoppage time against Santos and so will serve a one-match suspension on Thursday, with Bruno Cortez set to replace him at left-back.

Winger Douglas Costa and central midfielder Thiago Santos are also suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards and could be replaced by Jean Pyerre and Victor Bobsin respectively.

Experienced forward Diego Souza has started just two of Gremio's last nine fixtures, though he is expected to lead the line on Thursday in Borja's absence.

Fortaleza possible starting lineup:
Alves; Tinga, Benevenuto, Titi; Pikachu, Jussa, Ederson, Crispim; Romarinho, Vargas; Robson

Gremio possible starting lineup:
Chapeco; Vanderson, Tressoldi, Kannemann, Cortez; Bobsin, Silva; Alisson, Pyerre, Ferreira; Souza

We say: Fortaleza 2-1 Gremio

The last three meetings between the two sides have ended as draws, and another closely-fought contest could be played out at the Castelao.

However, as Fortaleza are almost at full strength, in stark contrast to Gremio, we feel that they should have enough quality to return to winning ways here with a narrow victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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