By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian football (soccer) league, the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol or short Brasileirão, will kick off the season this weekend with games on both Saturday, May 9th and Sunday, May 10th. Twenty teams from all over Brazil, with the majority from the South and Southeast, will dispute 38 games until the champion is crowned in December 2015.
The Brasileirão is made up of several leagues, with the Série A being the highest league. Games in the Série A will go on until December 6th. The second league, the Série B, will also start this weekend and play until November 28th.
This season the Série A is made up heavily from clubs from the South and Southeast of Brazil, with Recife’s Sport being the only club from the Northeast and Goiás the only club from the center of the country.
The city of Rio de Janeiro has three of its four big clubs disputing the Série A this year: Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama. São Paulo state even sends five clubs into the race; Palmeiras, Corinthians and São Paulo FC from the city and Santos and Ponte Preta from the state.
The first weekend of games will already have some big clashes with 2014 champion Cruzeiro taking on São Paulo heavy weight Corinthians at the Arena Pantanal on Sunday, while São Paulo FC and Flamengo will dispute their game at the Morumbi. On Saturday, Palmeiras will face 2014 Copa Brasil champion Atlético-MG at home.
The other two Rio clubs, Fluminense and Vasco, will both play at home and face new Série A addition Joinville on Saturday and Goiás on Sunday respectively.
The Fourth big Rio club Botafogo, relegated to the Série B at the end of last season, will start this year as a favorite for the re-promotion to the Série A against Paysandu on Saturday. Other top candidates are Bahia and Ceará.