For 2012 J League champions, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, the 2013 season kicks off in Tokyo on February 23 with a clash against last year’s Emperor’s Cup winners, Kashiwa Reysol, in the Fuji Xerox Super Cup. The J League proper starts at the beginning of March, but before that, Sanfrecce will be looking to get off to a good start in their campaign to make it through the group stage of the AFC Asia Champions League.
Sanfrecce are in Group G and have been drawn against Beijing Guoan, South Korea’s Pohang Steelers who were 2009 champions, and Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor. This will be Sanfrecce’s second time in the tournament. They last gained a spot by coming fourth in the in 2009 J League season, but they where they were knocked out in the group phase.
Sanfrecce’s group games are as follows
- Feb 27, 2013 Sanfrecce vs Bunyodkor at Big Arch Stadium, Hiroshima
- March 13, 2013 Beijing Guoan vs Sanfrecce at Beijing Workers Stadium, Beijing
- April 2, 2013 Sanfrecce vs Pohang Steelers at Big Arch Stadium, Hiroshima
- April 10, 2013 Pohang Steeler vs Sanfrecce at Pohang Steelyard, Pohang
- April 23, 2013 Bunyodkor vs Sanfrecce at Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent
- April 30, 2013 Sanfrecce vs Beijing Gouan at Big Arch Stadium, Hiroshima
The winner and runner up from each group will go through to the knock out rounds.