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Vissel Kobe may have emerged as the surprise early leader in the J. League this season, but the chasing pack behind them already has a very familiar look.

Vissel top the table on 15 points after six games, ahead of Urawa Reds on 13, Kashima Antlers on 12 and Gamba Osaka, Kawasaki Frontale and Cerezo Osaka on 11 each. Vissel are in uncharted territory having never finished any higher than seventh in their history, but the four heavyweights immediately behind them occupied the top four slots last season and boast 11 league titles between them.

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