November 23, 2012
Of course, the very notion of a Korean derby is a bit silly when you consider it’s only 2 Koreans on either side of the pitch. Still, this is the closest thing to a Korean derby on German soil. In just a few minutes, Son Heung-Min‘s Hamburg SV is set to clash at Fortuna Dusseldorf, with a possible appearance by Cha Du-Ri‘s relatively new recast role as a midfielder. Things are getting a bit tight for Fortuna as their drop in form lately has found them in the Bundesliga relegation zone for the first time this season. UPDATE: No Korean derby of the 2 man variety, Cha Du-Ri was not in the 18-man roster for Dusseldorf. It looks like Cha and a few other seasoned veterans has fallen out of favor with Dusseldorf boss Norbert Meier, telling RP-Online that “Du-Ri Cha loses too many balls.”
[UPDATE: The game ended, the score Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 : Hamburg 0. First observation: Marcus Berg brought off the bench to start as the sole forward for Hamburg. 2 goals in the back of the net for Hamburg (not Son related) disallowed. Son Heung-Min had good opportunities to score in each half. Hamburg was dominant in large stretches of the first half, but about 13 minutes after Rafael Van der Vaart left the game with an injury, a misplayed Son pass in the midfield led to a Dusseldorf fast break and Robbe Kruse put it past Hamburg’s keeper for the opening score. Fortuna struck again in the 63rd minute, and while Son nearly cut the score in half 5 minutes later, his right footed shot just outside the box was denied by Dusseldorf keeper Giefer. Son nearly gave up another goal with a misplayed backpass in the midfield, fortunately broken up before it led to another goal.]
Meanwhile over at Loftus Road in England, it comes as no surprise that the QPR board gave Mark Hughes the unceremonious boot. They are dead last in the Premier League table with only 4 points to their name. Harry Rednapp’s name has been bandied about as a possible replacement for Hughes. Mark Hughes is the 2nd manager to be sacked this week in England following Roberto Di Matteo’s firing from Chelsea on Wednesday. Ex Manchester United man Park Ji-Sung, who has been absent several games for QPR while recovering from a knee injury, was hailed by Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson prior to their match scheduled against the Rangers on Saturday. He went so far as to call Park “One of the best professionals” he’s had the opportunity to work with during his 26 long years at Old Trafford. In a press conference, Sir Alex recalled Park’s 2010 Champions League win over AC Milan,
“He never gave Pirlo a kick and he kept running off him which was brilliant too. Park had roles that only a disciplined and selfless player could have.
“That’s exactly what he was, selfless. He played for the team and whatever role you gave him, he would stick to that role. He was a really wonderful, disciplined professional for us.”
Park is still listed as doubtful and may miss his first game back at Old Trafford since transferring to QPR last summer. UPDATE: according to news release issued earlier today at QPR’s official website, while Boswinga won’t be in the squad due to a virus, and Fabio’s loan agreement means he won’t face his parent club, they did mention Park was still a possibility: “The former United midfielder – who has recently been out with a knee complaint – has completed three days of training prior to the weekend and is available for selection.”
Last note before we look at some games this weekend, Jeff Carlisle drew up his best MLS Starting XI for ESPN FC. Lee Young-Pyo, who won Vancouver’s 2012 Player of the Year last month, makes the list as his choice for right back. His reason:
“The ageless Lee – he’ll turn 36 next April – proved to be a welcome addition to the Caps. Not only did the veteran of three World Cups defend his side will skill and tenacity, but his ability to get forward added an important element to a Vancouver attack that oftentimes struggled to score. His efforts, combined with those of DeMerit, helped the Whitecaps concede 14 fewer goals than last year.”
And now that Hamburg v Dusseldorf is out of the way, here’s the rest of the games to look out for this weekend. All time listed in Eastern Standard Time/TV coverage in the US/Internet listing worldwide.
England, Sunderland vs. West Brom 7:30 a.m. Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes Ji Dong-Won not expected to be in the 18 man roster, which may suit Ji fine seeing as a January transfer to join Koo Ja-Cheol in Augsburg is looking definite.
England, Barnsley vs. Cardiff 10 a.m. No Tv/Internet ? Kim Bo-Kyung‘s role as starter for the Bluebirds has become cemented in recent weeks. However, Cardiff’s winning record away on the road has not. Will Malkay settle on a winning road formula and take over 1st place in the N Power Championship as their reward?
England, Brighton & Hove Albion vs Bolton 10 a.m. No Tv/Internet ? Lee Chung-Yong has been fighting to carve out a starting position for the revamped Wanderers. He started some, and been a goal scoring substitute in other matches. Nevertheless, with 2 goals to his name this season, Bolton will definitely be utilizing the Blue Dragon in their fight for promotion this season.
England, Manchester United vs. QPR 9:30 a.m. Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes Park Ji-Sung is doubtful to play on Saturday due to knee injury. It would’ve been a bittersweet reunion of sorts. In an earlier match with Manchester City, Park had a touching reunion with another former Man U teammate, Carlos Tevez. They shared a few laughs and hugs after the game which Manchester City predictably won.
Netherlands, RKC Waalwijk vs. Groningen 1:45 pm No Tv/Internet ? Suk Hyun-Jun has played only a scatterings of minutes since returning from a long term suspension in October. He was not in the 18 man roster for Groningen last weekend.
England, Swansea City vs. Liverpool 8:30 a.m. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com Ki Sung-Yeung might be available for an exciting matchup with Liverpool: a sunday battle between two teams that stylistically are similar in approach with respect to Spanish style footwork savvy football. It could be argued perhaps that Ladrup’s Swans have outdone Rodgers’ retooled Liverpool, evidenced by a Cup victory several weeks back. Both teams have had a resurgence of late, so it’ll be interesting to see what will happen when Breden Rodgers returns to Liberty Stadium to face his former team. Ki has been out for about two weeks from a hamstring injury, incurred from a sliding tackle in stoppage time against Southampton.
Germany, Augsburg vs. Gladbach 11:30 am No Tv/Internet ? Is Koo Ja-Cheol back? Since returning from a long term ankle tendon injury a few weeks ago, you could argue that several 90+ minute shifts and his first goal of the season last weekend is a good indicator. Augsburg is in last place, but buoyed by news of KNT teammate Ji Dong-Won joining the team on loan in January, Koo is expected to find a hidden 6th gear to help his team avoid relegation yet again (Augsburg barely got out of the relegation zone before the end of last season – they seem to love being on the edge).
Switzerland, FC Thun vs. FC Basel 1:45 pm No Tv/Internet ? Left back Park Joo-Ho has been out of action for Basel for several games running now. He was in the 18 man roster for yesterday’s Europa League matchup with Sporting Lisbon (FC Basel a 3-0 winner over SL), but did not come onto the pitch.
Spain, Real Zaragosa vs. Celta Vigo 3pm No Tv/Internet ? First monday match for Park Chu-Young and Celta Vigo as they venture to Northeastern Spain against RZ. Celta’ challenge: while they’ve had a decent home record, they’ve had real trouble getting the full 3 points on the road. Park has had to fight for a starting role for his Vigo club, and while the Korean forward helped his case by scoring the equalizer against Mallorca last Sunday, the competition between Bermejo, and now Natxo Insa returning from injury will make the decision to start Park again more difficult for coach Herrera. SportalKorea correspondent Santiago Perez highlights these rapidly new developments in his Rainmaker18.com blog.