European action is almost done with for 2012-13. Make sure to check out our boys around the world.
Jae’s Game of the Week
Bolton Wanderers vs Blackpool
The English Championship wraps up this Saturday with plenty still to play for. Bolton is one of those teams still looking for a result. Currently Bolton is in 6th place, the final spot for the promotion playoffs to the Premier League. A win is needed to ensure they extend their season as they are level with Nottingham Forest on points, but ahead on goal difference. Bolton will feel they have the slight edge in terms of the match up for the final weekend, as they host Blackpool while Forest entertains Leicester City. Blackpool doesn’t have anything to play for, safe from relegation (four points clear), and far from the playoff spots.
Bolton will be looking for their key players, including Lee Chung-Yong, to help deliver a win. Lee has been in sparkling form for Bolton, and seems to have finally shaken the rust from his long injury layoff last season. In the earlier meeting this season, the tie ended in a 2-2 draw with Lee getting on the score sheet. Bolton will go into the match in a fairly good run of form. Winning 3 of their last 5, with a loss to Leicester City and the draw last week to Cardiff. But importantly, Bolton has won their last 8 home matches. The last time they dropped points at the Reebok was back on January 13 in a 1-1 draw with Millwall. Blackpool is 2-2-1 in their last five, the loss was a 6-1 drubbing they received at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion. In their last five away matches Blackpool is 1-3-1.
Bolton fans will certainly be keeping an eye on the Forest – Leicester match, as that result could prove crucial to Bolton’s promotion hopes. Here’s a rough rundown of the permutations: Bolton wins – Bolton to the playoffs; Bolton draws, Nottingham Forest wins – Forest to the playoffs; Bolton draws, Leicester City wins – City to the playoffs; Bolton draws, Forest and City draw – Bolton to the playoffs; Bolton loses – Forest or City to the playoffs. The current table for 6th, 7th, and 8th.
6. Bolton – 67 points +8 GD
7. Nottingham Forest – 67 points +5 GD
8. Leicester City – 65 points +22 GD
England – Premier League
Swansea City vs Manchester City (Ki Sung-Yueng, Swansea) – Neither team has much to play for. Swansea is safe from relegation, and qualified for the Europa League next season thanks to their League Cup win. City can’t win the title, and isn’t in any danger of losing their grip on the second position. Still, expect an entertaining game. City will look to prove they’re not a one season fluke, and Swansea will want to end on a high note by taking down one of the big boys.
QPR vs Arsenal (Park Ji-Sung, Yoon Suk-Young, QPR) – Probably not one for Korean fans to watch. Park Ji-Sung and Yoon Suk-Young are highly unlikely to make an appearance for the Rangers, who know they will be in the Championship next season. Of course, if Harry has watched Park historically, he should know that Park is kind of a bogeyman of sorts for Arsenal. Always seemed to do well against the Gunners. Probably doesn’t matter. Park will likely be an unused sub again, and Yoon will probably not even make the 18 man list.
England – Championship
Hull City vs Cardiff City (Kim Bo-Kyung, Cardiff) – One would think Cardiff would probably take it easy in their final game of the season, what with the title and promotion already wrapped up, and one would also think that Hull would like Cardiff to do that too. Hull is currently in 2nd place and the other automatic promotion spot, but right behind them is Watford who would certainly like to jump ahead of Hull and take that auto promotion spot. Since Hull does have something to play for, I think that Cardiff will go ahead and be honorable and field a strong team.
Spain – La Liga
Celta Vigo vs Athletic Bilbao (Park Chu-Young, Celta Vigo) – Park Chu-Young is still injured as Celta Vigo looks to get out of the relegation zone. Bilbao isn’t mathematically safe yet, only seven points ahead of Celta Vigo, but aren’t likely to be too threatened by relegation. Of course a Celta Vigo win would push Bilbao uncomfortably close. *Spoiler alert – the game is over, and Celta Vigo and Athletic Bilbao finish the game 1-1.
Germany – Bundesliga
Stuttgart vs Greuther Furth (Park Jung-Bin, Greuther Furth) – Park Jung-Bin returned to the Furth starting XI last week (although Furth still lost), and German magazine Bild expects him to start again against Stuttgart.
>> Tavern Owner here, slipping in late as usual. Shame! Anyway – happy Children’s Day over in Korea [May 5]. Happy Cinco de Mayo over here in North America. We celebrate with football and more football. Listings from here on out will be in US Eastern Standard Time / Korea Time. TV broadcasts lists the US and streaming should be available worldwide.
SUNDAY / Children’s Day
Freiburg vs Augsburg (Ji Dong-Won, Koo Ja-Cheol, Augsburg) 9:45 am / 10:45 pm (earlier there was an incorrect tinge listed) – More of the same for Augsburg. Koo is still inured. Ji will start. Augsburg’s win last week moved them level on points with Fortuna Dusseldorf, and remain behind them only on goal difference. They’ll have a tough match this weekend taking on a solid Freiburg team.
Hamburg SV vs Wolfsburg (Son Heung-Min, Hamburg) 11:30 am / Monday 12:30 am Korea Time- Hamburg will look to get back into the European spots with a win over Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg is one of those strange teams that has a significantly better record on the road (7-3-5, 24 points) than at home (3-7-6, 16 points). This one should be entertaining with Son, and Wolfsburg’s Diego, being two of the more exciting players in the league.
Portugal – Primeira Liga
Beira Mar vs Maritimo (Suk Hyun-Joon, Maritimo) 11 am / Monday 12 am Korea Time- Maritimo will look to get back into the win column with a victory over bottom club Beira Mar. Beira Mar has one of the league’s worst defenses (in terms of goals allowed), so Suk Hyun-Joon should have chances to add to his goal tally.
Switzerland – Super League
Sion vs Basel (Park Joo-Ho, Basel) 7:45 am / 8:45 pm – Unfortunately for Park Joo-Ho and Basel, they were eliminated from the Europa League by Chelsea. Park didn’t play in that match, so there’s a chance he’ll start this one. After a good run out in the XI, Park has bounced back and forth between starting and the bench. He didn’t play in Basel’s last match against Chelsea. Sion and Basel met a few weeks ago, which Basel won 1-0.
Korea – K League Classic
Gyeongnam vs Chunnam Dragons 12:30 am / 1:30 pm – Gyeongnam lost for the first time this season last week against Jeju United. Sounds impressive, but when you consider their record before that match was 1-6-0, it’s slightly less so. Chunnam has picked up two decent draws against Busan and Seongnam in their last outings. One would think they’d be satisfied with another draw this weekend.
Gangwon vs Daejeon Citizens 1 am / 2 pm – A battle at the bottom. Gangwon is still searching for their first win of the season. Daejeon picked up a point in a dull 1-1 draw with Busan last week. Daejeon will fancy their chances to move a bit further from the relegation spots.
Jeonbuk Motors vs FC Seoul *US Broadcast Sunday 5 a.m. [tape delay] One World Sports / 2 pm in Korea – In terms of name match ups, this is the big one of the weekend. The champions from last season versus the champions the year before. Yet, this season both Jeonbuk and Seoul are struggling. Seoul needed a dramatic come from behind win last week to beat Gangwon (3-2), while Jeonbuk and Pohang settled for a 1-1 draw. Jeonbuk has really struggled on defense, conceding 12 goals thus far. A slight surprise considering they raided Incheon’s defensive line during the offseason. Seoul too, has really struggled to keep goals out. So, expect a high scoreline for this one.
Suwon Samsung vs Incheon United 1 am / 2 pm- What really should be the game of the week, Suwon and Incheon meet in a battle of #2 versus #3. Both are level on points with 16, and will look to hopefully make up some ground on league leaders Pohang. Incheon continues to surprise, and I think they have a slight advantage over Suwon who look increasingly reliant on Jung Tae-Se for goals.
Daegu vs Busan IPark 2 am / 3 pm- Like Gangwon, Daegu is looking for their first win of the season, and against Busan they may get it. Busan has been solid at home, but a little suspect away. They’ve improved recently with draws against Ulsan and Chunnam. What’s there to say about Daegu? Bad offense (5 goals). Bad defense (16 conceded). A sure way to get relegated. But, they did manage a respectable 1-1 draw with Jeju last week.
Jeju United vs Ulsan 2 am / 3 pm- Another upper reaches of the table match up as #5 hosts #4. Like the Suwon-Incheon game, Jeju and Ulsan are level on points at 15. Jeju has been very good at home, while UIsan has stumbled a bit as of late.
Pohang Steelers vs Seongnam Ilhwa 3 am / 4 pm- Pohang got dumped out of the AFC Champions League midweek, and will be looking to bounce back against Seongnam. Seongnam has had an interesting season thus far. Started incredibly poorly, but a run of three wins over Seoul, Jeonbuk, and Ulsan saw them get right back in the middle of things. Conventional wisdom says that Pohang should win comfortably, but Seongnam seems to raise their game against top teams.
Korea – K League Challenge
Goyang vs Chungju
Bucheon 1995 vs Gwangju
Suwon City vs Korea Police
Sangju Sangmu vs Anyang
Japan – J1
Albirex Niigata vs Ventforet Kofu (Kim Jin-Su, Kim Kun-Hoan, Albirex; Choi Sung-Keun, Ventforet)
Shimizu S-Pulse vs Kawasaki Frontale (Lee Ki-Je, Lee Min-Soo, Shimizu)
Omiya Ardija vs Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Cho Young-Cheol, Omiya; Hwang Seok-Ho, Park Hyung-Jin, Sanfrecce)
Tokyo vs Jubilo Iwata (Jang Hyun-Soo, Tokyo; Cho Byung-Kook, Jung Woo-Young, Baek Sung-Dong, Jubilo)
Kashima Antlers vs Shonan Bellmare (Kwon Han-Jin, Han Kook-Young, Shonan)
Cerezo Osaka vs Urawa Reds (Kim Jin-Hyeon, Gu Sung-Yoon, Cerezo Osaka)
Oita Trinita vs Sagan Tosu (Kim Yong-Gwi, Kim Jung-Hyun, Choi Jung-Han, Oita; Yeo Sung-Hye, Kim Min-Woo, Sagan)
Kashiwa Reysol vs Yokohama F. Marinos (Kim Chang-Soo, Kashiwa; Jung Dong-Ho, Yokohama)
[Tavern owner non-football related note: ROBOT ON THE LOOSE!! if you happen to be anywhere near the Washington DC region on Sunday AND you have kids, you are in luck: celebrating Korean Children’s Day May 5th, the Smithonian American Art Museum will be hosting a special day of Nam June Paik art and music for kids. From 11:30 am to 5 pm, there will be all sorts of special activities centered around Nam June Paik’s visionary futuristic techno-art, including an escaped Paikbot robot on the lam somewhere in the museum! Bad Robot! Should be hilarious – I’m taking my 2 kids for what will be at least a good hour of furious robot chasing. They will sleep well on Sunday evening. Need more convincing? Check out the Smithonian’s website on the event here. ]