Overview: AFC Champions League
AFC Champions League 2021 is 19th competition since 2002-2003. If it includes former competition, it is 40th. The champion team can get the ticket to FIFA Club World cup 2021, which will be held in Japan. 8 teams increase in this cup and total 40 teams participate.
There is 46 football federations belonging to AFC (Asian Football Confederation). Then main 2 regions exist. West area has 25 federations and mainly western Asian countries (=Arabian countries) organize it, on the other hand East area has 21 federations and eastern Asian countries (=ASEAN + China, Korea and Japan) mainly organize it.
When you say ASIA, it is spread from Japan to Saudi Arabia. The distance is longer than Russia. So it is impossible to have home & away games in the mid-week like as Europe, if it mixes up West and East in one pool.
DAZN took the broadcasting right in Japan. It has been difficult to say it is successful business. The popularity or recognition were not high. So AFC took action from this season, and announced its rebranding finally.
This year, the schedule is concentratively short term. The group stage in East area is undergoing just behind EURO 2020. West area already finished in April. Then knock out stage will be in September to November. The schedule is anomalistic like as the last season because of COVID-19. Each participants consumed their games in national league faster than other teams.
It is very tough condition for players, even thought it avoids the hottest season July and August in summer.
Kawasaki Frontale, Gamba Osaka, Cerezo Osaka and Nagoya Grampas participate from Japan. It is 8th time for Kawasaki, but they could not get outstanding achievement in this cup. Gamba Osaka became the champion once in 2008. They had Corona pandemic in the beginning of the season, and also they fired the head coach because of not good performance in J League. Let’s expect their recover from this cup. Cerezo Osaka was 4th in J League 2020, then they got additional ticket to the cup. Finally, Nagoya keeps its good shape. It had no outstanding achievement in this cup, so they desire to make an achievement.
Let’s see what happen in the tournament!