Sunday’s Brazilian Serie A action features Gremio making the trip to face Bahia. The visitors arrive as big favourites to claim the three points but face a tall order as regards actually doing so.
That’s mainly because Bahia are like two different teams home and away. On the road, Guto Ferreira’s men continued their miserable streak of 5 defeats from the last 6 with a 2-0 loss at Flamengo midweek but confidence will be restored ahead of a return to the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova; where Tricolor are a staggering 16 matches unbeaten, 12 of which wins.
All 8 of Bahia’s points so far have came in front of the home crowd and continuing such strong home form looks like being essential this season, given how poor they’ve looked away from home. Currently occupying the last relegation spot, Guto Ferreira’s men could really do with picking up another result in this fixture, with matching the performance in last weekend’s 3-0 crushing of Vasco undoubtedly the target.
Meanwhile, having targeted a title challenge this campaign, Gremio are faltering and risk losing ground if they don’t start winning with more regularity. Renato Portaluppi’s troops are not playing badly by any means, but are simply dropping too many points in games they should be winning if they are to realistically push for the crown.
Indeed, a mid-week 0-0 draw with Fluminense made it 3 goalless draws from the last 4 in Serie A action for Tricolor and whilst such strong defensive showings provide reason for encouragement, the team’s undoubtedly talented attacking unit need to start functioning sooner rather than later.
Whilst we do understand that Gremio are the stronger of the two sides doing battle here, such a short price on an away win at a venue Bahia have been so strong at for such a sustained period makes little sense and we’re more than happy to back the hosts on the double chance line as a result.
Bahia beat Gremio 1-0 on home soil last season and with the crowd behind them, the hosts are more than capable of giving Gremio a game. Taking into account Gremio’s aforementioned streak of 0-0s and the fact Bahia have kept clean sheets in 6 of their last 7 home matches, a bore draw looks the most likely outcome all things considered and is worth backing in addition to our main tip.
Bahia possible starting XI: Friedrich; Pedro, Tiago, Fonseca, Mena; Edson, Elton, Regis, Rafael, Vinicius; Junio
Gremio possible starting XI: Grohe; Madson, Bressan, Kannemann, Cortez; Cicero, Maicon, Ramiro, Luan, Everton; Andre.
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Last season’s two clashes between the two ended in 1-0 wins for the home side on each occasion. Bahia have won their last two home games against Gremio.
Midfielders Elber and Gregore miss out through suspension whilst Marco Antonio and Rodrigo Becao remain on the sidelines.
Centre back Geromel is on international duty. Defender Leo Moura and forward Jael are both struggling with knocks whilst key midfielder Arthur sits out alongside Alisson and Marcelo Oliveira.