Tim Vickery looks at the prospects for Brazil's Serie A.

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SAO PAULO STATE

Capital: Sao Paulo

CORINTHIANS
Back under the guidance of coach Tite – who was in charge during the all-conquering 2011-12 campaign – and looking sharp and compact. However, the Libertadores Cup is a distraction and they will lose key players during the Copa America.

SAO PAULO
Came second last year but the squad looks better on paper than on the pitch – a fact that forced out coach Muricy Ramalho. They are struggling to live up to the standards set in the middle of the last decade.

PALMEIRAS
Having just avoided relegation last year, morale is high and they will be one to watch. They have an excellent new stadium and a renovated squad led by experienced boss Oswaldo De Oliveira.

SANTOS
The team from the port city are full of attacking options but the mood in a feisty dressing room will not be improved by financial problems. They remain possible outsiders, though.

PONTE PRETA
From Campinas, some 60 miles outside Sao Paulo.  They are back in the top flight at the first attempt but have been a yo-yo club of late and survival will be the prime objective.

RIO DE JANEIRO STATE

Capital: Rio de Janeiro

FLAMENGO

Wanderley Luxemburgo

Chaotic…Luxemburgo will try to bring calmer times to Flamengo

The traditional powerhouse have been chaotically run but are now building sensibly for the long term. The team should perform solidly, but Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s men are unlikely to be title contenders.

FLUMINENSE
Suffering from the loss of a deep-pocketed sponsor and with a squad that is much thinner than the one that finished sixth last year. They have some good youngsters, but can they keep them?

VASCO DA GAMA
Back after one season in the second division but the promotion campaign was hardly convincing, and  it will be a surprise if coach Doriva can keep them in title contention.

MINAS GERAIS STATE

Capital: Belo Horizonte

CRUZEIRO

Cruzeiro

High hopes…but Cruzeiro’s dreams of a third successive title rest on a new squad

The team that had won the previous two titles was suddenly broken up at the start of the year and coach Marcelo Oliveira is grooming a new side that shows promise. The squad does, however, lack depth.

ATLETICO MINEIRO
Cup holders and the team in the best form at the end of 2014. Levir Culpi was unlucky with injuries earlier this year, but with everyone fit the coach has a side that will attack at pace.

RIO GRANDE DO SUL STATE

Capital: Porto Alegre

GREMIO
Came seventh last year and had the best defensive record in the league. Financial problems have led to some cost-cutting, but Luiz Felipe Scolari can still count on a squad that looks capable of qualifying for the Libertadores Cup.

INTERNACIONAL
Finished third in 2014 and another challenge for a Libertadores spot should be possible. Uruguayan coach Diego Aguirre was by no means first choice as the new man in charge and he has spent much of his early months under pressure.

PARANA STATE

Capital: Curitiba

ATLETICO PARANAENSE
Champions in 2001 – the last time the title left the major centres. A forward-looking, ambitious club who recently appointed Enderson Moreira as coach.

CORITIBA
Had to fight hard to avoid relegation in the last two years. Marquinhos Santos, who is one of the country’s most promising young coaches, has had more opportunity to prepare this time around and he will hope for a solid, mid-table finish.

SANTA CATARINA STATE

Capital: Florianopolis

FIGUEIRENSE
The club from the state capital have yo-yoed between the first and second divisions in recent years but finished a creditable 13th last season on their return to the top flight. Coached by Argel Fucks.

JOINVILLE
In the fourth tier as recently as 2010 but winners of last year’s second division and back in the top flight for the first time in 28 years. Good local form gives rise to hopes of survival.

CHAPECOENSE
From the booming agricultural town of Chapeco to the west of the state, they won two consecutive promotions and then did well to finish 15th last year in the top flight. They would be delighted with a repeat.

AVAI
Club from the capital who just managed to win promotion, but whose subsequent local form has been so poor that they are widely seen as relegation favourites. Experienced coach Gilson Kleina has been brought in to steady the ship.

GOIAS STATE

Capital: Goiania

GOIAS
Having finished sixth and 12th since winning the second division in 2012, they are attractive if somewhat low-profile participants in the top flight. Helio dos Anjos is in his fifth spell in charge.

PERNAMBUCO STATE

Capital: Recife

SPORT
The north-east’s sole representative after finishing 11th on last year’s return to the top flight. Recent good form means Eduardo Baptista’s side go into the campaign with hopes of a mid-table finish.