After losing to their biggest rivals Internacional, 1-0 over the weekend, Immortal Tricolor are seven points behind Bahia and a spot in the top-flight next year, while Flu moved into eighth thanks to an injury-time goal, to defeat Sport Recife by the same score.
The road woes continued for the former two-time domestic league champions, who lost for a sixth successive match away from home on Saturday, with four of those defeats being by a single goal.
There are eight games remaining in the domestic campaign with little room for error and even more ground to make up in the standings for Vagner Mancini and his team, who have lost four in a row under the new manager that replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari last month.
Even with a new boss, they have continued to play the same physical style that we have seen throughout the season, punishing their opponents with some bruising tackles, committing over 100 fouls in their previous six league encounters and receiving 24 cautions and two red cards in that time.
A 16-year run in Serie A is in serious jeopardy of ending for Gremio, who finished in sixth just a season ago, finishing outside of the top 10 only once since returning to the top flight in 2006.
Heading into their fixture on Tuesday, they have beaten Fluminense on three successive occasions by the same 1-0 score, and their last league victory this year came in front of their home fans, 3-2 over Juventude in the first match in charge for Mancini.
They have scored at least a goal in their previous four home games, but that has rarely been enough for them, losing three of those encounters and conceding nine goals over that span.
It was almost too close for comfort for Marcao and several Fluminense supporters on Saturday, but in the end, a goal in the 96th minute helped them win for a second successive match at home.
On the road, things have not been nearly as smooth this year for the side from Rio, who have been shut out in three of their last four league affairs away from home.
A decade ago, this was a club that looked like they had the potential to form a dynasty and be among the great teams in Brazil, finishing in the top three of Serie A in 2010 (first), 2011 (third) and 2012 (first), but lately we have rarely seen them contending for the title, finishing in the bottom half of the table in five of their previous six campaigns.
Winning the league appears to be out of sight, currently trailing Atletico Mineiro by 20 points, having also played one game more than them, but moving into one of the two Copa Libertadores qualifying positions for next year is certainly a possibility with only seven points to make up to catch Corinthians.
When they can score first, they know what it takes to keep their opponents down, winning four straight encounters when drawing first blood, scoring an insurance marker to go up by two a couple of times.
Since starting the domestic campaign unbeaten in their first five games, they have not strung together enough consistency to move higher up the standings or lower, failing to win or lose more than two straight league matches since August.
Gremio will be without Bruno Cortez, who was sent off along with Patrick of Internacional over the weekend, while Thiago Santos will not be available after receiving a caution in a heated match that saw 36 total fouls committed.
Their leading goalscorer Diego Souza is without a goal in back-to-back games, while Miguel Borja, who is second on the team with four goals in 2021, has not found the back of the net since September 19, when he notched the winner in an upset victory over Flamengo.
David Braz was the hero for Flu at the Maracana versus Recife, scoring his first goal of the year deep into stoppage time, his first since signing with the team earlier this season, after having been a part of Gremio from 2019 until this year.
Marcos Felipe only had to make two saves to collect his ninth clean sheet of the campaign, putting him three behind Everson, Walter, Mailson and Fernando Miguel for the most in the league up to this point.
Marcao inserted two new faces into the starting lineup over the weekend, from the side that started in their 1-0 defeat to Ceara as John Kennedy and Fred replaced Caio Paulista and Abel Hernandez in the attack.
Gremio possible starting lineup:
Chapeco; Barbosa, Kannemann, Geromel, Rafinha; Alisson, Souza, Villasanti; Ferreira, Borja, Costa
Fluminense possible starting lineup:
Felipe; S. Xavier, Nino, Braz, M. Xavier; Andre, Wellington; Paulista, Henrique; Lucca, Fred
We say: Gremio 0-1 Fluminense
Gremio have tried intimidating their domestic opponents throughout the year with many late challenges, and we expect that their lack of discipline will cost them once again in this game.
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