Machida Zelvia: From Underdogs to J1 League Leaders

FC Machida Zelvia, a club with a relatively short history compared to J1 League giants like Kashima Antlers and Urawa Red Diamonds, has taken the Japanese football scene by storm. Currently sitting atop the J1 League standings, Zelvia’s success story is one of determination, tactical brilliance, and a passionate fanbase.

This article delves into Machida Zelvia’s remarkable rise, analyzing their current position, key players, and the factors contributing to their unexpected dominance.

A Club on the Rise: Machida Zelvia’s History

Founded in 2005, Machida Zelvia spent its early years climbing the ranks of Japan’s regional leagues. The club achieved J3 League status in 2012 and secured promotion to J2 in 2020. After two solid seasons in the second tier, Zelvia defied expectations and earned a historic promotion to the J1 League in 2023.

This meteoric rise is a testament to the club’s commitment to youth development and a strong tactical philosophy. Manager Daisuke Matsumoto, a former Zelvia player himself, has instilled a possession-based style of play that emphasizes quick passing and attacking movement.

J1 League Frontrunners: Zelvia’s Stellar 2024 Campaign

The 2024 J1 League season has been a dream run for Machida Zelvia. As of June 20, 2024, they occupy the top spot in the standings, boasting an impressive record of 12 wins, 2 draws, and only 4 losses. This success can be attributed to several key factors:

Solid Defense: Zelvia has conceded the second-fewest goals (16) in the league, thanks to a well-organized backline marshalled by veterans like Gen Shoji and Ibrahim Dresevic.

Prolific Attack: With 31 goals scored, Zelvia possesses a potent attack spearheaded by the likes of forwards Oh Se-Hun (6 goals) and Fujio Shota (7 goals).

Tactical Flexibility: Manager Matsumoto has shown tactical adaptability, switching between a 4-3-3 and a 3-4-2-1 formation depending on the opponent.

Team Spirit: The close-knit nature of the squad, with a strong core of players who have progressed through the ranks together, fosters a sense of unity and fighting spirit.

A Season of Surprises: Machida Zelvia’s Rise to the Top

The 2024 J1 League season has been a revelation for Machida Zelvia. They started the season with a fighting spirit, defying predictions and picking up valuable points against strong opponents. Key acquisitions like the prolific striker Shota Fujio and the experienced midfielder Yu Hirakawa bolstered their squad significantly.

Under the astute guidance of manager Yuki Yokouchi, Machida Zelvia has developed a fluid and attacking style of play. Their strong work ethic, coupled with tactical flexibility, has allowed them to overcome challenges and grind out results. Victories against established teams like Albirex Niigata and Kashima Antlers further solidified their position as genuine contenders.

Key Players to Watch: The Zelvia Stars

Several players have emerged as crucial figures in Zelvia’s success story:

Oh Se-Hun: The South Korean forward has been a revelation, leading the team’s scoring charts with his pace, clinical finishing, and ability to create chances.

Fujio Shota: Another key attacker, Fujio’s creativity and dribbling skills have troubled defenders throughout the season.

Daigo Takahashi: The young midfielder has impressed with his composure on the ball and ability to dictate the tempo of the game.

Koji Suzuki: The experienced goalkeeper has made several crucial saves throughout the campaign, proving a reliable presence at the back.

Current Standings: Machida Zelvia Leading the Pack

As of June 20, 2024, Machida Zelvia sits atop the J1 League table with 38 points after 18 games. This is a remarkable achievement for a club that was fighting relegation just a few seasons ago. Here’s a breakdown of their current standing:

Points: 38

Wins: 12

Draws: 2

Losses: 4

Goals Scored: 31

Goals Conceded: 16

Goal Difference: +15

Machida Zelvia is just two points ahead of their closest rivals, Kashima Antlers. The battle for the top spot promises to be intense, with several other teams like Gamba Osaka and Vissel Kobe also in the hunt.

Fanatical Support: The 12th Man Advantage

Machida Zelvia enjoys a passionate fanbase known for its unwavering support. The club’s Zelvia Stadium reverberates with chants and cheers, creating a truly intimidating atmosphere for visiting teams. This fervent fan base acts as a significant motivator for the players, pushing them to achieve their best on the pitch.

The Road Ahead: Can Zelvia Maintain Their Lead?

The J1 League season is far from over, and several challenges lie ahead for Machida Zelvia. Here’s what to look out for:

Maintaining Momentum: Zelvia will need to maintain their current level of performance to stay ahead of the chasing pack, which includes established clubs like Kashima Antlers and Gamba Osaka.

Player Fitness: Injuries to key players could disrupt Zelvia’s rhythm and tactical coherence.

Tough Fixtures: Upcoming matches against fellow top contenders will test Zelvia’s mettle and determine their true title credentials.

Despite these challenges, Machida Zelvia’s story is an inspiration for smaller clubs in Japan. Their success demonstrates that with a strong work ethic, tactical innovation, and unwavering belief, even underdogs can challenge the established order. As the season progresses, the entire footballing world will be watching with anticipation to see if Zelvia can rewrite the J1 League script and become champions for the first time in their history.


Q: Where does Machida Zelvia currently stand in the J.League?

A: As of June 20, 2024, Machida Zelvia surprisingly occupies the top spot in the J.League table!

Q: How many points does Machida Zelvia have?

A: Machida Zelvia currently has 38 points after 18 games played.

Q: How many wins, losses, and draws does Machida Zelvia have?

A: They have an impressive record of 12 wins, 2 draws, and 4 losses.

Q: Who is Machida Zelvia’s closest competitor?

A: Kashima Antlers are currently in second place, trailing Machida Zelvia by just 5 points.

Q: Where can I find the latest J.League standings?

A: You can find the official J.League standings on the J.League website/ or on various sports news websites.


Machida Zelvia’s position at the top of the J.League table is a significant upset! This relatively new team is making waves in the league, exceeding expectations and challenging the established powerhouses. With a strong performance so far, it will be exciting to see if they can maintain their lead and claim the J.League title. Stay tuned for the rest of the season to witness how this Cinderella story unfolds!

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