FINAL Preview & Poll Down to the final two! After 5 consecutive seasons of the Coppa Tradizione Final being a matchup between a Serie A and Serie B club, we're back to an all-Serie A Final for the first time since the Coppa Tradizione inaugural season in Season 3. And if there were ever a pairing of the two of the most successful and hottest teams in all of TFS, this may just be it. CxMacx10 has been to two previous Coppa finals before, and has one Coppa crown and a Serie A title under his belt as he tries to get back to the top with West Ham in this match. Meanwhile, 4-time Serie A champ shiftee has never had Coppa success before, but his Gremio squad this season has put that statement to rest. As the talented managers are set to face off, who has the upper edge for the Final? (CxMacx10) WEST HAM -- GREMIO (shiftee) Road to the FinalFirst, let's run through how each team has fared this season and their path to the Final. West Ham Serie A: Finished 1st Place, 12-6-2, 43 GF, 27 GA, +16 GD, 42 points Coppa Group B: 2nd Place, D 1-1 vs. Ajax, W 2-0 vs. Everton Coppa Round of 16: W 3-2 vs. Sao Paulo Coppa Quarterfinals: W 3-1 vs. Anzhi Coppa Semifinals: W 1-1 (5-3) vs. B. M'gladbach Is another cup-league double in order for Manager Mac? Mac recently clinched the Serie A title with a win in his final game, the second Serie A triumph of his career. The last time he won the title, Season 7 also with West Ham, he won the Coppa Tradizione as well. This time around, West Ham appears to be just as dominate as the last time. West Ham led Serie A in goals per game (2.15) and finished fourth in goals allowed per game (1.35). Additionally, West Ham was the only club to average more than 2 points per game (2.10). West Ham finished the season with 42 points, which coincidentally is the same total the club earned in its Season 7 title-winning season. In Coppa qualifying this season, West Ham found itself in a shortened 3-team group following one club dropping out of TFS. With only 2 games for West Ham to put its stamp on Group B, the club finished in second place in the group, lining them up against Sao Paulo in the Round of 16. Yet with a win over the Brazilian club and another Serie A member in Anzhi during the Quarterfinals, West Ham was back in the semifinals for the 6th time in 7 seasons. A penalty shootout over Borussia Monchengladbach left West Ham's fate up in the air, yet they crusied through PK's going 5-for-5 and thus winning 5-3. Gremio Serie A: Finished 2nd Place, 11-5-4, 39 GF, 22 GA, +17 GD, 38 points Coppa Group H: 1st Place, D 1-1 vs. Getafe CF, D 2-2 vs. Atl. Mineiro, W 2-0 vs. Stoke City, W 5-1 vs. Spartak Moscow Coppa Round of 16: W 3-0 vs. Aston Villa Coppa Quarterfinals: W 3-2 vs. QPR Coppa Semifinals: W 4-0 vs. Swansea City Finally, shiftee can exhale. Year after year, the manager and his Russian-based teams tore apart Serie A while always underachieving in the Coppa. Now down at the beaches in Brazil, shiftee finally made his first Semifinals and Final appearances. The most successful Serie A manager with 4 league titles, last season's league champion didn't come out of the gates like his usual self. But as the season wore on, shiftee quickly began to settle in at Gremio. A strong finish will now see Gremio finish in second place. Gremio finished 3rd in goals scored per game (1.95), but was led primarily by its stout defense, allowing a Serie A-leading 1.10 goals per game (crazy stat- despite leading Serie A in goals allowed, that 1.10 number is still more than double his average from Season 8!). As for the Coppa, that slow start with Gremio carried over to cup play as well. With two draws out of the gate, Group H quickly went from "shiftee's slaughterhouse" to a group that would go down to the wire. Gremio still managed to finish atop its group, albeit on tiebreakers. But much like league play, Gremio fit full stride by the second part of the tournament. Gremio faced three Serie A clubs in the knockout stage, and managed two clean sheets in the process. Can Gremio make it four Serie A beatdowns in a row? Those three victories did happen to be against the bottom 3 teams in the league, so don't expect the Final to be another runaway victory by any means. Match AnalysisNext, we'll go through the clubs position-by-position to see where each team holds the advantage. GoalkeepersWest Ham: Jussi JaaskelainenGremio: DidaWhile neither goalkeeper is overly fantastic- the two are rated 73 and 75 overall- they both perform above their ability level. Jaaskelainen has consistently helped West Ham to strong seasons anchored by a strong defensive force season after season. He sits in the middle of the pack in Serie A with 3 clean sheets, and came up biggest for the club when they managed to defeat Borussia Monchengladbach in a penalty shootout. Yet head-to-head, it's hard to surpass Dida's level of production. Dida led Serie A with 6 clean sheets, helped Gremio to a Serie A low in goals allowed per game at 1.10, and allowed less than a goal per game in the Coppa (including 3 clean sheets). Head-to-head, it's hard to find where Jaaskelainen has the edge. Advantage: Gremio DefendersWest Ham: Guy Demel, Emanuel Pogatetz, Winston Reid, Joey O'BrienGremio: Para, Werley, Cris, Saimon, Andre SantosYikes... looking strictly at the players, it's hard to see how either team consistently puts up strong defensive games or how either side would not get burned over and over against when matched up against the opposing attackers in this game. Let's begin with West Ham: It's no secret that they cannot let the speed of Gremio's attack run rampant. Yet with a more CB-like build in the 6'2'' RB Guy Demel and a tank in Emanuel Pogatetz, Gremio may just have their window of opportunity should they be able to get a quick breakaway. Winston Reid does have good speed for a center-back though, and his ability to recover from any teammate mistake will likely prove to be vital in this match. The common trait among the Hammer backline though is that they are tall and strong. They all have the ability to bully out any opposition, creating a brickwall-like effect. For Gremio, they have their giants manning their 3 CB positions... that's right, all 6'0'' of each of them. Excluding the keeper, only Andre Santos (5'11'') and the 3 CB's stand above 5'9'' among the starting XI. That could be an issue with the physicality of West Ham. Not only will it be tough for a tiny team to stop just Andy Carroll, but add in the West Ham defenders on a corner kick? Let's just say Dida might as well prefer facing off in a penalty instead. Brazil does have some speed in the back though, yet it might not prove to be too useful when a team like West Ham doesn't have too many blazers on their team. Gremio's manager's preference to play a 5-man backline may be the club's saving grace, but just ask any Arsenal fan how confident they would be if Andre Santos was the best player in their backline. Advantage: West Ham MidfieldersWest Ham: Mark Noble, Matthew Taylor, Matt Jarvis, Joe ColeGremio: Fernando, Kleber, Ze Roberto, Eduardo VargasOne of the key characteristics of West Ham's league-winning season was its balance of play. No one player overly dominated the post-match statlines, but a culmination of strong play from throughout the team has led the English club to the top of the table and into the Coppa Tradizione Final. In Serie A play, Matt Jarvis sits tied for second in assists with 9. He also led the league with 5 MOTM performances, and Joe Cole wasn't far behind with 4 MOTMs. Two seasons ago when West Ham won both the league and cup, it was Matt Jarvis who won the tournament's Golden Ball (most MOTMs) and Golden Playmaker (most assists) awards. And when West Ham needed a win to clinch the Serie A title just the other day, it was Matthew Taylor who assisted on Mark Noble's game-winning goal. Bottom line, it doesn't matter who you try to focus in on or who you try to shut down. West Ham has consistently been able to exploit any opening given to them, with all of the club's midfielders ready to step up at any given time. And with all that being said, Gremio's midfield sure has a tough task to live up to in this comparison. Don't completely discredit the Brazilian's talented midfield though- the ancient Ze Roberto (does he need a cane yet?) leads the Coppa in MOTMs, despite having just 2 assists and 0 goals. Along with 3 MOTMs in Serie A play, it's quite the performance to earn MOTM honors consistently when your name's not always on the scoresheet by the end of the match. That's unlike Eduardo Vargas, who's 11 cup goals is nearly double anyone else's total this season. Fernando also has put his stamp on the Coppa this season, as he currently sits second in the assist leaderboard with 5. Yet while the Gremio midfield may be talented, they just don't appear quite as dynamic as the West Ham quartet. Advantage: West Ham ForwardsWest Ham: Andy Carroll, Marouane ChamakhGremio: WellitonAll three starting forwards match up well against the opposition in this matchup. For West Ham, Carroll and Chamakh each have the height to dominate the air, and Carroll's strength further solidifies that notion. Both players have had successful Serie A seasons, combining for 27 goals. Carroll also has 5 goals in the Coppa, while Chamakh's 3 Coppa assists leads the team. However in league play, Carroll and Chamakh have 4 and 3 assists, respectively. Out of 43 team goals, that definitely puts them in the "finisher" role. Don't get me wrong, both players are capable of going off for multiple goals on any given day. But when it comes to a side-by-side comparison, we have to get a bit nit-picky. Welliton on the other hand leads Serie A with 23 goals, plus he has 5 more in the Coppa. And in the two competitions, he has a total of 13 assists, including currently sitting in line to win the Golden Playmaker award for this season's Coppa. Welliton has tons of speed to burn, but don't expect him to win many headers at 5'9''. All three forwards here are exceptional, but one would have to say that Gremio's Welliton is a bit more well-rounded while the West Ham duo are more specialized finishers. Advantage: Gremio Past Matchupsshiftee has been in Serie A since the start, while Mac has stayed up top ever since earning promotion at the end of Season 4. The two have played many times and have now been in the same league for the past 5 seasons, despite managing a few different clubs throughout their TFS tenure. Here's all of their FIFA 13 matches against each other:Season 9, Matchday 19: West Ham (CxMacx10) 2, Gremio (shiftee) 1Season 9, Matchday 9: West Ham (CxMacx10) 1, Gremio (shiftee) 1Season 8, Matchday 9: CSKA Moscow (shiftee) 1, West Ham (CxMacx10) 0Season 7, Matchday 20: Anzhi (shiftee) 2, West Ham (CxMacx10) 1Season 7, Matchday 9: West Ham (CxMacx10) 4, Anzhi (shiftee) 3Overall: CxMacx10 5-2-3 shifteeDamn, you guys have a lot of postponed matches against each other! Get them done in time you slackers! But anyways, pretty even overall and the two managers frequently play each other, creating a sense of familiarity between the two. And out of their 10 career games, only twice has someone won by 2 or more goals. Mac won the most recent matchup just days ago, but neither side has exactly dominated the other throughout their history. PredictionThe two teams are very similar in that they both have lackluster defenders masked by strong defensive managerial play. Furthermore, they both have many attacking options that match up well against the opposing starters. They're both pretty even in terms of past matchups as well, so I have to be headed toward some sort of draw, right? WRONG! I like West Ham's matchups a bit more than those for Gremio, prefering the physical strength of West Ham, along with the club's penchant for a more disciplined and patient approach, to prevail over speedy attacking front of Gremio. A shot at a second league-cup double for Manager Mac adds to the intrigue of this match, and I don't expect West Ham to waste that opportunity. West Ham 3-1 Good luck to you both!