Having won three of their last four league outings, the hosts sit just a single point behind second-placed Gremio and eight behind league leaders Botafogo after 12 fixtures, while their visitors sit eighth after back-to-back wins of their own.
After finishing fifth in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A last season, Flamengo set their sights on regaining the Brazilian top-flight title for the first time since 2019 this term, and they have enjoyed a relatively strong start, amassing 22 points from their opening 12 outings courtesy of seven victories.
Their success has largely come in attack so far, with no other side having netted as many as the 24 goals that Jorge Sampaoli’s side have managed so far, although they did not come out of the blocks particularly quickly, losing three of their first four Brasileirao matches.
The Rubro-Negro would certainly bounce back in impressive fashion from those three straight defeats, though, putting a six-match unbeaten run together, including five triumphs, culminating in 4-1 and 3-0 beatings of Vasco da Gama and fellow high-fliers Gremio in early June.
Sampaoli’s men would then see their momentum halted by a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Bragantino, as Henry Mosquera helped himself to a brace alongside goals from Eduardo Santos and Alerrandro, but they managed to make an instant return to winning ways in an eventful contest away at Santos at the weekend.
They twice went ahead through Everton Ribeiro and Everton Soares, but after Stiven Mendoza and Rodrigo Fernandez drew their hosts level, Erick Pulgar netted the decisive goal around the hour mark, and now with confidence back in the camp, they will set their sights on second spot while also aiming to cut the eight-point gap to runaway leaders Botafogo in the coming weeks, starting with a second straight win at the weekend.
Preview: Flamengo vs. Fortaleza – prediction, team news, lineups
That will certainly be no easy task, though, as Fortaleza arrive with plenty of confidence of their own following back-to-back triumphs, after making a relatively slow start to the new league campaign.
After kicking off with a six-game unbeaten run, the Leao do Pici found themselves in mid-table with 14 points on the board from their opening 10 games following a 2-0 defeat away at leaders Botafogo, but they have quickly improved their standing later in June.
Juan Pablo Vojvoda’s side bounced back from that loss in a trip to Cruzeiro, as they took all three points with Juan Martin Lucero hitting the only goal of the contest 10 minutes from time, before facing a tough test at home to Atletico Mineiro last Saturday.
Following a goalless first half, Tomas Pochettino put the Leao do Pici ahead in the 54th minute and Tinga quickly doubled the lead, and after Alan Kardec pulled one back for their visitors in the dying minutes, Fortaleza stood strong to see out another three-point haul in impressive fashion.
Now on the back of a 2-1 win away at Palestino, thanks to goals from Lucas Crispim and Lucero, to cap off their Copa Sudamericana group stage in style and wrap up top spot and a round-of-16 place, Vojvoda’s side will be keen to continue building momentum and climbing the division with what would be a major scalp on their travels this weekend.
Flamengo Brasileiro form:
Flamengo form (all competitions):
Fortaleza Brasileiro form:
Fortaleza form (all competitions):
We say: Flamengo 3-1 Fortaleza
Fortaleza will travel with confidence on the back of their consecutive league wins, but the hosts do boast more quality in their ranks, and we see Sampaoli’s men being too strong on home turf, particularly in attack, and taking all three points as a result.