Midweek Listing / KLeague & Champions League

Hot Hot Hot in Seoul Wednesday – a battle for the last Asian Champions League qualifying spot on the line and a tight relegation battle next door in Incheon — later on Wednesday, Son Heung-Min and Bayer Leverkusen face AS Monaco in Champions League, can they wrap things up to advance to the knockouts?  

First to the K-League: the dust has settled and in the shocking wake of Seongnam’s upset of FC Seoul in the Korea FA Cup title finale, Seoul now must catch up to Pohang for the last Asian Champions League qualifying spot – only a 3rd place photo finish in the table can qualify. 3 points separate Pohang and Seoul. Thank the schedule gods for Wednesday’s fixture:

FC Seoul Pohang Steelers 5:30 am EST / 7:30 pm Korea Time

This is a delayed fixture, moved midweek due to said FA Cup final last Sunday. Had FC Seoul captured the cup, this fixture would’ve been moot. Now their presence in Asia next season is on the precipice with the K-League season wrapping up next week.

We turn a few miles to the west in Incheon where a tense relegation battle will ensue. Seongnam will have the unusual distinction of qualifying for Asia as a relegated club – that is unless they can prevail in the final 2 matches, including Wednesday at Incheon.

Incheon United Seongnam FC  5:30 am EST / 7:30 pm Korea Tim

Here’s the table as it stands. Should Seongnam win, they would leapfrog to safety (barely), leaving Gyeongnam temporarily in the relegation battle hotspot.

K-League
Standings
#
Team
GP
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
1
Jeonbuk*
37
24
8
5
60
21
39
80
2
Suwon*
37
18
10
9
50
36
14
64
3
Steelers
36
16
9
11
49
37
12
57
 ————————————————————————————————————–
4
FC Seoul
36
14
12
10
40
27
13
54
5
Jeju United
37
14
12
11
38
35
3
54
6
Ulsan
37
13
10
14
43
42
1
49
7
Dragons
37
14
8
15
48
53
-5
50
8
Busan IPark
37
10
13
14
37
48
-11
43
9
Incheon
36
8
15
13
33
45
-12
39
10
Gyeongnam
37
7
15
15
29
49
-20
36
 ————————————————————————————————————–
11
Seongnam*
36
7
13
16
30
39
-9
34
12
Sangju Sangmu
37
6
13
18
36
61
-25
31

Asian Champions League Group Stage Qualifiers: Jeonbuk, Suwon & Seongnam

Asian Champions League qualifying 3rd round: TBD- 3rd place in table at season’s end.

12th place is automatic relegation. 11th place earns a playoff battle with yet to be named K-League Challenge(r) -either Gwangju or Ansan. Gwangju v Ansan is next weekend for 2nd round of playoffs -this after Gwangju beat Gangwon 0-1 in round 1 of the K-league challenge playoffs -thanks Jae for keeping the Tavern straight on the K-League!

Last K-League note: last game for FC Seoul at Jeju United. Pohang hosts Suwon. Busan visits Seongnam.

Let’s go to Germany now: Son Heung-Min seems to make scoring routine – not that I’m complaining.  He notched his 5th Bundesliga goal last weekend (co-leaders in scoring w/ Bellarabi) and on Wednesday they face AS Monaco for their penultimate group match.  Leverkusen lead Group C but need at least a draw to qualify to the knockout round.  AS Monaco weren’t expected to show up when they last faced each other in round 1 back in September, but sneaked in a cheeky 1-0 win after absorbing a heavy onslaught of shots in the 1st half.  Son has been in relatively good form in Champions League play thus far – scoring 3 goals in the group stage. For fun comparison, Messi has 4 goals, Benzema has 5 and get this, Shakhtar Donestk’s Luis Adriano has 9 goals!  Me thinks this is why Putin wants to annex the Ukraine.

Bayer Leverksuen AS Monaco  2:45 pm EST / 4:45 am Korea Time

Broadcast in the US: ESPN3.com / Direct TV / Maybe on Dish via MASN2

 

Last weekend, Jinseok delivered good news about Koreans in Europe in scoring, we already know about Son but Lee Chung-Yong and Suk Hyun-Jun also got in on the fun for their respective clubs. Lee got this nice distinction for rescuing a point for Bolton with this equalizer:

He’s won several recent Man of the Match polls for the Wanderers. Kudos to the Blue Dragon!  Check out the KPA Roundup to see video highlights of the goals scored last weekend. BTW, Suk has used his height to his advantage in scoring.  Could he eventually work his way and get his first KNT cap?  Maybe not, but stranger things have happened…

Last note, everyone knows FIFA is as crooked as a (insert your analogy here________), their lack of transparency is legend, still resolute in not publishing their internal investigation in payments in exchange for World Cup hosting rights for Russia ’18 and Qatar ’22. The question of whether FIFA can be reformed is ongoing. Could it actually happen?  Some are pessimistic since the World Cup has an inertia that exceeds the world’s ability to hold it’s organizers accountable. Some say it could require all the FA’s to unite, but difficult to really coordinate. Other analysts have theorized that only FIFA’s corporate sponsors have the real power to institute real tangible reforms at the corrupt organization.

Interesting development this morning in regards to the latter:

Sony & Emirates pulls out of FIFA World Cup sponsorship / Coke taking about pulling out as well. 

Nice start. Let’s see if the other corporate bastards do something right for a change. Tavern owner out. 

About Roy Ghim 403 Articles

The old Tavern Owner

3 Comments

  1. Couple small things Roy.

    1) Bayer have two more UCL games (today vs Monaco, and in two weeks at Benfica). However, if they win tonight they will secure top spot and qualification to the next round.

    2) While I’m hopeful (but not optimistic) that FIFA’s commercial sponsors put the boot to them, the decision by Sony and Fly Emirates seems to be more business-based rather than morality-based. If Coca-cola pulls out on morality grounds that would be a good sign. Or if FIFA has trouble replacing Sony and Emirates that would be promising too.

    • 1 ) Thanks Jae –silly error on my part -just fixed it.

      2 ) I agree w/ what you said. hopeful, not optimistic. But you never know – this could start a steamrolling effect – maybe…

      • Indeed, I suspect we’ll see little change in the short-term, but maybe further down the road. Sponsors don’t give as much, it’s harder to get, and maybe it’ll just chip away little-by-little.

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