JEF United manager Ivica Osim must be delighted with how the second-stage table looks after 11 of the 15 games.
JEF are in fourth place, but only one point off the pace, and not many people are talking about them as potential second-stage champions.
First-stage champs Yokohama F Marinos and Nabisco Cup finalists Urawa Reds are regarded as the two favourites, more so than even table-topping Tokyo Verdy.
This is exactly what Osim wants.
I had a long, long chat with him at Nihondaira Stadium after JEF had been crushed by Shimizu S-Pulse in the 14th round of the first stage.
Looking ahead to the second stage, he said he didn't want to see his team at the top of the table too early because he felt they could not handle the pressure.
"I hope we can be fourth or fifth and stay close to the top," he said.
"Then we can sprint for the title in the last couple of games."
After last weekend's matches, when none of the leading teams won, JEF are in the perfect position to strike late.
Verdy and Marinos have 20 points, Reds and JEF have 19, and then there is a bit of daylight back to FC Tokyo in fifth place on 17.
But just look at JEF's remaining matches.
After the break for the Nabisco Cup, JEF resume on November 8 against lowly Kyoto Purple Sanga at Nishikyogoku.
A week later they are at home to another team nearer the bottom of the table than the top: Cerezo Osaka.
Then, in the penultimate round of games, JEF are at home to Oita Trinita. Osim will be desperately disappointed if JEF lose one of those three games, and he has every right to feel that they should take all nine points.
The last game of the season could be a title decider, as JEF are away to Tokyo Verdy at Ajinomoto Stadium, on November 29.
Kyoto, Cerezo, Oita and Verdy...the fixture list has been kind to JEF United.
I gather that Choi Yong Soo's late equaliser against Jubilo on Saturday produced tears in the stands from emotional Ichihara supporters.
Maybe there will be a few more tears to come.
But of joy or despair?
We will soon find out.