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After Urawa Red Diamonds' demolition of Johor Darul Ta'zim, do BG Pathum United stand a chance in AFC Champions League quarterfinals?

Despite struggling to mount a title on the domestic front in the J1 League, two-time AFC Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds are once again looking like contenders on the continental stage. Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

Given they currently sit 8th in the J1 League and 13 points off the pace in their own domestic competition, it is impossible to say that Urawa Red Diamonds are flying high in 2022.

Finding consistency has been a real struggle for the Reds all season long and, prior to Friday evening, they had failed to win more than two games in a row throughout the entire year.

But the AFC Champions League is a different proposition altogether for the two-time winners.

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For some reason, even while they struggle to challenge for top honours in the J1 League, Urawa always seem to find an extra level when it comes to Asia's premier club competition.

Back in 2017, when they were last crowned champions of Asia, Urawa finished a disappointing 7th in the league and a massive 23 points behind eventual champions Kawasaki Frontale.

Just two years later, they flirted with relegation for much of the season yet marched all the way to the ACL final before ultimately succumbing to Al Hilal.

And following Friday's stunning 5-0 demolition of Malaysia Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim in the ACL Round of 16, the Reds once again look like they could be the team to beat in the tournament's East Zone in 2022-23.

Curiously enough, and similar to previous iterations of Urawa, the current side does not look overly formidable on paper but seems to thrive on having a plethora of steady contributors each takings turns to rise to the occasion.

David Moberg Karlsson showed his quality against JDT but he would not exactly be classified in the 'marquee player' category in the J1 League just yet.

The same can be said for Urawa's other foreign imports in Alexander Scholz and Kasper Junker but still, they are the type of players that never fail to get the job done with minimal fuss.

Urawa's impressive displays in the ACL are even more remarkable when considering, from the nine local players that started the rout of JDT, seven have never been capped by Japan at senior level -- with the exceptions being right-back Hiroki Sakai and goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

The quarterfinal draw has handed Urawa a meeting on Monday against Thailand's BG Pathum United, who were equally dominant -- albeit against less-formidable opposition -- in their own 4-0 Round of 16 triumph over Kitchee of Hong Kong.

BGPU undoubtedly head into the tie as underdogs but will be high on confidence and do have their fair share of leading names capable of turning a game on its head, with Singapore international Ikhsan Fandi, Thailand veteran Teerasil Dangda and Brazilian import Diogo leading the way.

Nonetheless, for a team that is used to dominating proceedings -- in their domestic Thai League 1, as well in previous rounds of the ACL -- it will be interesting to see if BG Pathum can cope with being the more defensive of the two teams, and whether or not they can hold up against what is likely to be wave after wave of Urawa pressure.

The engine room battle is already looking like it could be pivotal, and how well BGPU's central midfielders Sarach Yooyen and Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul exert their own influence -- against Atsuki Ito and Ken Iwao -- on the contest could go a long way in determining the result.

On Monday, the Rabbits should pose more of a challenge than a disappointing JDT did in the Round of 16.

Whether or not they have enough to stop the juggernaut that is Urawa -- in the AFC Champions League -- remains to be seen.