Just a mini-informational update on the European and Asian Champions League.
The draw for the round of 16 was held earlier and Son Heung-min and Bayer Leverkusen learned their opponent for the next round. They were drawn with last year’s La Liga champion and Champions League runners-up, Atletico Madrid. Atletico comfortably topped their group (Group A) ahead of Juventus.
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04fussball) December 15, 2014
Early online predictions of the tie don’t look favorable for Leverkusen with most feeling that Atletico is a bit too good for the German side to overcome. Indeed the match up should prove an interesting one to watch, at least for the tactics nerds, as it features two very different, but well respected managers, in Diego Simeone and Roger Schmidt.
The Asian Champions League picture got a little clearer as the Japanese Emperor’s Cup final was held last weekend between Gamba Osaka and Montedio Yamagata. Gamba won the match 3-1 to seal a domestic treble for the Osaka team. Korean right-back Oh Jae-suk started the match for Gamba and played the full 90′.
Perhaps our resident J League expert Takeuchi can shed some light, but the match also featured (for Gamba) a player named Kim Jung-ya. From my short research, Kim JY was born to Korean parents in Japan (thus making him a “zainichi”), but different sites show different ‘nationalities’ for him. Gamba’s official site lists him as Japanese. Wikipedia lists him as South Korean. Soccerway lists him as North Korean. So, I’m not entirely sure where his “allegiance” lies. Although, it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t seem to have any national team future as he rarely features for the team plus he’s already 27. Just something interesting.
Back to the more important matter. How Gamba’s win shakes through the different group situations in next year’s AFC Champions League.
- Group E – will get the Japan 4 spot (Jeonbuk’s group), which will go to Kim Chang-soo’s Kashiwa Reysol who finished 4th in the J League. They will enter in the 3rd round of qualification.
- Jeonbuk Motors, Shandong Luneng, Becamex Binh Du’o’ng, PO team 2
- Group F – was already settled with Gamba Osaka in that group with Seongnam.
- Gamba Osaka, Seongnam FC, Buriram United, PO team 3
- Group G – will get the J League runners-up which was Urawa Red Diamonds. They will be in the same group as Suwon.
- Brisbane Roar, Urawa Red Diamonds, Suwon Samsung, PO Team 4
- Group H – will get the J League third-place team which was Kashima Antlers. Should FC Seoul make it out of qualification they will go into this group.
- Guangzhou Evergrande, Western Sydney, Kashima Antlers, PO Team 1