Top Japanese team
Thu, 27/07/23, 19:25
Kawasaki Frontale profile
In the second friendly of the Audi Summer Tour 2023, the German record champions will take on local club Kawasaki Frontale. Thomas Tuchel's side will face the four-time J1 League champions at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday (29 July, 12:00 CEST). fcbayern.com has taken a closer look at the club from the metropolis of 1.5 million inhabitants in Kanagawa Prefecture for you.
From a works team to professional football
Light blue and black are the colours Kawasaki Frontale supporters have identified with since the club was founded in 1996. However, the origins of the club date back to the 1950s, as the current club emerged from the works team of the electronics manufacturer Fujitsu. The Fujitsu Football Club played in various regional leagues for several decades, but initially failed to make the breakthrough into professional football. From 1972 onwards, the light blue and black team played for the first time in the Japan Soccer League, the country's second-highest league. They triumphed in this league in 1976 and celebrated their debut in the Japanese top flight the following year, but were relegated back to the second division after just one season.
When the J-League was formed after the 1992 season, Fujitsu joined the newly created Japan Football League and renamed itself Kawasaki Fujitsu after its hometown, then Kawasaki Frontale in 1996. The club, which has been in the top flight since 2004, plays its home games at the 27,495-capacity Todoroki Stadium under that name.
A mixed 2023 season so far
Compared to Bayern, who are in the middle of preparing for the new campaign, the season in Japan is already in full swing. Unlike the Bundesliga, the Japanese J1 League doesn't start in the summer months, but in February each year. This season so far, however, the club is still lagging behind its own expectations. After winning four league titles in previous years, Frontale currently find themselves in seventh place in the table with 32 points from 21 games played.
The gap to an AFC Champions League qualifying spot has grown considerably, and seven points now separate Kawasaki from current third-placed side Nagoya Grampus. The current league leaders are Vissel Kobe, the ex-club of former Bayern player Lukas Podolski.
Japan's top club in recent years
Although Kawasaki Frontale's history is still quite recent, the club from the city on the Japanese island of Honshū in the north-east of Kanagawa Prefecture has attracted attention time and again in recent years. All four J1 league titles in the club's history have been won under the guidance of head coach Toru Oniki, who has been at the helm of the club since 2017. The team, which is currently made up of 29 Japanese players and five non-Japanese ones, is one of the top teams in the J1 League.
Here's everything you need to know about the Japanese metropolis of Tokyo: