The hosts were held to a 2-2 draw against 15th-placed Bahia in their last match, marking their fourth consecutive league match without a win, while the visitors suffered a 2-0 defeat to the league leaders Botafogo.
Last season’s Serie B winners Cruzeiro have hit a bit of a difficult patch in the domestic league this term, currently in ninth place with 14 points after a promising start to the campaign that saw them win three of their first four matches.
After beating America Mineiro 4-0 last month, O Raposa have failed to win any of their next six matches in all competitions coming into this one, including a 1-0 loss to Gremio that saw them knocked out of the Copa do Brasil.
They have also developed an unwanted habit of starting slowly and have conceded inside the first half an hour in each of their last three matches, while Rafael Cabral has found himself picking the ball out of his own net at least once in the first half in each of their last five matches in all competitions.
Adding to concerns for Cruzeiro boss Pepa will be his side’s home record of late which has taken a noticeable dip as they have lost four consecutive matches on home soil and failed to score a single goal in any of them.
However, despite only taking a point against Bahia in their last match, Cruzeiro were by far the better team, but VAR denied them what would have been a valuable three points as they saw an 88th-minute goal deemed offside and had a penalty overturned in stoppage time.
Having won just one of their last eight matches, Pepa will see that performance as a small step in the right direction, and if they can keep their clean sheet intact in the first 45 minutes, it would not be surprising if they went on to win this match.
June has not gone according to plan for Juan Pablo Vojvoda, starting off with a 1-0 win over Palmeiras in the Copa do Brasil round of 16, which was not enough to see them progress to the quarter-final as they had lost the reverse fixture 3-0.
With Internacional and Cruzeiro earning a win and draw respectively last week, Fortaleza’s loss to Botafogo saw them slip two places in the league standings, down from ninth to 11th, in a compact Serie A table.
They also suffered their first defeat in the Copa Sudamericana against Estudiantes de Merida and played out a disappointing stalemate against Bahia in the previous week, meaning that they come into this match winless in their last three matches.
Vojvoda’s major concern, though, will be his side’s attacking performances of late as they have the second-lowest goal tally of any side in the continental cup qualification positions with just 12 goals after 10 matches, and have failed to score in their last three in all competitions.
Despite coming into this match as the outsiders, Fortaleza will take some confidence from their past record against this opponent, who have failed to beat them in their last three attempts.
Cruzeiro Brasileiro form:
Cruzeiro form (all competitions):
Fortaleza Brasileiro form:
Fortaleza form (all competitions):
We say: Cruzeiro 1-1 Fortaleza
Neither side have been particularly impressive in recent weeks, and while they will likely go all out to bag a much-needed win, we can see them cancelling each other out in a low-scoring draw.