The Saitama derby is the highlight of a J.League weekend which will be a last audition for a place in Japan's FIFA World Cup squad.
Alberto Zaccheroni will name his squad for Brazil on Monday, two days after the only J.League squad comprised exclusively of Asian players strive to maintain their title charge in Round 13 which sees as their closest challengers face decidedly tougher tests.
It has been a mixed week for Urawa Reds ahead of their crunch clash at city rivals Omiya Ardija on Saturday.
The 2007 Asian champions returned to the J.League summit for the first time in four years, but stayed there just a few days due to a goalless draw at lowly Ventforet Kofu.
That stalemate gave Shusaku Nishikawa his third straight clean sheet, and defender Tomoaki Makino and forward Genki Haraguchi are eager to squeeze into Japan's World Cup squad alongside their goalkeeper.
"It's up to coach Zaccheroni," said Haraguchi. "All I can do is go and play my heart out in the derby."
Urawa's last two trips across Saitama have ended in defeat and Omiya will be out to make it four games unbeaten and escape the relegation zone.
Sagan Tosu, pre-season relegation favourites, will aim to consolidate top spot at struggling Yokohama F. Marinos.
Industrious striker Yohei Toyoda, arguably the player of the season thus far, will hope that inspiring Sagan to a fourth successive away victory will be enough to convince Zaccheroni to take him to Brazil.
Fifth-placed Albirex Niigata are another side making a surprise threat to be crowned champions of Japan for the first time. Masaaki Yanagishita's men, unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions, are away to seventh-placed Kashiwa Reysol, for whom the on-song Masato Kudo is another forward with designs on a World Cup place.
Kashima Antlers, in third, will look to recover from back-to-back losses at Kawasaki Frontale, who are expected to rest players ahead of a crucial AFC Champions League game.
Fourth-placed Sanfrecce Hiroshima, another team with continental commitments, could also field a changed side at home to mid-table Shimizu S-Pulse.
A four-game winless run has plummeted Vissel Kobe from the summit, but they will hope to arrest their slide at a Ventforet Kofu team who are goalless and winless in three outings.
Akira Nishino will take centre stage as his Nagoya Grampus side entertain Gamba Osaka, whom he guided to domestic and continental glory during an unforgettable 10-year reign.
Tokyo have registered three consecutive 1-0 defeats to slide towards the relegation zone. Massimo Ficcadenti’s side will, though, expect to get back to winning ways at rock-bottom Tokushima Vortis, who have lost 11 of their 12 games this season, while Cerezo Osaka host second-bottom Vegalta Sendai.
|Coach: K. Okuma|
for T. Tomiyama 56'
for T. Yokoyama 63'
for Y. Hasegawa 84'
|Nasri would love to finish career at Manchester City|
|Captain Howedes extends Schalke stay|
|M´Vila keen to stay if Sunderland survive|
|Johnson admits child sex and grooming charges|
|Amazing Mahrez is one of Premier League´s best - Ulloa|
|Ronaldo, Messi rivalry good for football - Zidane|
|Barros Schelotto leaves Palermo|
|Age is just a number - Ilori defends Klopp´s team selection|
|Messi, Suarez and Neymar rested for Copa second leg|
|Madrid can dream of trophies under Zidane - Raul|
|Ancelotti: Italy job is a decade away|
|Reus will become a monster, says Dortmund boss Tuchel|
|Young Tottenham stars don´t know their limits - Lloris|
|Niang happy at Milan despite Leicester interest|
|Ticket price rise means more tourist fans, warns football supporters chairman|
|Ogbonna revels in first West Ham goal|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Huracan, River Plate advance to group stages|
|Klopp backs Benteke to rediscover goalscoring form|
|Turan will not leave Barca for China - agent|
|Beating Chelsea more difficult without Mourinho - Motta|
|Tuchel praises Dortmund for ´perfect game´|
|Klopp rues Liverpool wastefulness in FA Cup loss|
|Allegri: Chelsea rumours unfounded|
|Bilic feels weight of history after Liverpool win|
|Coupe de France Review: Second tier Sochaux stun Ligue 1 Monaco|
|West Ham 2 Liverpool 1 (aet): Ogbonna sinks Klopp´s men in cup thriller|
|Football League Review: Rhodes rescues a point to send Boro top|
|Stuttgart 1 Borussia Dortmund 3: Aubameyang helps Tuchel´s men into last four|
|Kyle Allen blames chaotic Texas A&M culture on Johnny Manziel era|
|Dortmund fans stage protest against ticket prices for Stuttgart game|
|Bayer Leverkusen 1 Werder Bremen 3: 10-man hosts dumped out|
|Ferdinand fears title wilderness for United|
|Carvalho lands new Sporting deal with €45m buy-out clause|
|Ben Arfa out for at least four weeks with hamstring injury|
|Neville´s Valencia woes welcomed by Crespo|
|Ozil key to Arsenal´s title hopes - Rosicky|
|Zika threat could keep Solo from Rio Olympics|
|Blanc pleased to have solved David Luiz matter|
|Atletico midfielder Partey suffers thigh strain|
|Dickov: Leicester title run built to last|
|Guardiola not a menace for our players, says Luis Enrique|
|Mexico v Senegal: Osorio believes in youngsters|
|Celta Vigo v Sevilla: Krohn-Dehli not taking Copa del Rey final for granted|
|Madrid confirm Marcelo shoulder dislocation|
|Injury rules Chiellini out of crucial Juve games|
|Oblak extends Atletico deal|
|Blanc hints PSG could move for Ben Arfa|
|Luis Enrique urges Neymar to cope with off-field distractions|
|Carrick: Manchester United not throwing in towel|
|Neville determined to turn things around at Valencia|
|Guardiola hails Lewandowski professionalism amid Real Madrid and PSG rumours|
|Guardiola wary of ´aggressive´ Bochum|
|Premier League reveals new logo|
|West Ham open Payet contract talks|
|I could leave Barcelona for Guardiola, says Busquets|
|Giggs can be Manchester United´s Guardiola - Robson|
|Zidane has everything to become a great coach - Ancelotti|
|Carragher: Liverpool got it wrong on ticket prices|
|Neymar will be at Barcelona for years, claims director|
|Eder talks up Inter´s Scudetto chances|
|Larsson: Watching Barca is like playing FIFA|
|City recruit Wilkinson hoping to debut in Melbourne derby|
|Allegri will join Chelsea, says former coach|
|Zanetti: No need to compare Maradona and Messi|
|Vardy: I never expected Leicester to top Premier League|
|Capello: Ronaldo has at least three years at the top|
|Klopp hoping for Sturridge revival|
|Bilic wants new contract to keep Payet at West Ham|
|Shelvey can be as good as Cabaye - Sissoko|
|Rooney leaps to Depay defence after Chelsea error|
|Januzaj, Varela injured in United Under-21s win|
|Valencia v Barcelona: Luis Enrique eyes record as Neville stands on the brink|
|Espanyol 0 Real Sociedad 5: Vela scores stunner in ruthless display|
|Cruyff would have preferred Guardiola at Manchester United|
|Questioning Ronaldo is an insult - Aduriz|
|Peterborough United v West Brom: Berahino set for another chance|
|Barcelona confirm medical tests for Messi|
|Ajax defender Riedewald out for season with broken ankle|
|Barcelona is the best place for Neymar - Mascherano|
|Clement axed as Derby head coach|
|Chelsea defender Zouma out for the season|
|Rodgers: I´ve turned down Swansea and four other clubs since Liverpool|
|Russia to invite Blatter and Platini to World Cup 2018|
|Robben rejoices as Ribery resumes Bayern training|
|Terry as good as ever, says Azpilicueta|
|Struggling Rotherham sack Redfearn|
|Courtois feels Champions League or FA Cup glory would save Chelsea´s season|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Genesio vows ´unlucky´ visitors will have a go|
|Liverpool cancel Q&A to discuss ticket price furore|
|Klopp: Liverpool won´t follow Payet to the toilet|
|Bochum v Bayern Munich: Alonso braced for intense month|
|Ronaldo: Two more years at Real Madrid and then we´ll see|
|No problems with Kagawa says Dortmund boss Tuchel|
|Laporte denies saying he would reject Barcelona|
|Impressive Sturridge and returning Coutinho in contention - Klopp|
|Leicester were afraid of Italian tactics - Ranieri reveals his secret|
|Coentrao sustains fractured foot|
|Barcelona director at ease over Neymar future|
|Mata touched by reaction of Chelsea fans|
|Alonso: Guardiola departure not a distraction|
|Thiago Silva: PSG can stay unbeaten all season|
|Cristiano Ronaldo will keep breaking records - Hugo Sanchez|
|Bilic: Klopp will be back because he is a leader|
|Mancini dismisses Inter title bid as ´a closed story´|
|Guardiola took Bayern for a ride - Hamann|
|Mihajlovic demands more from Balotelli|
|Campbell urges clubs to give black managers a chance|
|Marchisio expects Napoli showdown to be decisive|
|You can´t expect to score lots of goals in every game - Modric|
|FFA hit Wanderers with show cause notice|
|We did not deserve Madrid defeat - Granada coach|
|Mata frustrated with Chelsea draw|
|Valencia won´t sack Neville - Mendieta|
|Senna makes Villarreal return|
|Spalletti: Roma need to cut out lapses|
|China will break $100m transfer fee - Cahill|
|Ranieri: Don´t look down|
|Guardiola reinvented football - Alaba|
|Tottenham fear no one - Kane|
|Flores believes Tottenham are Premier League´s best|
|Henderson: Walkout no excuse for Sunderland collapse|
|Neville bullish about Valencia future|
|Ramos: Modric key for Madrid|
|La Liga Review: Luis Enrique matches Guardiola record, Modric rescues Madrid|