It could be a quiet KPA midweek despite an important UCL playoff tie for Son Heungmin’s Bayer Leverkusen. Also, Jeonbuk Hyundai welcome Gamba Osaka to Jeonju World Cup Stadium for the Asian Champions League quarter-finals.
Asian Champions League – Jeonbuk vs Gamba Osaka – 6am EST/7pm KST Wednesday
Jeonbuk Hyundai, as the lone representative of the K League in the Quarter-Finals of the Asian Champions League, welcome former Japanese treble winners Gamba Osaka to Jeonju. Jeonbuk’s form has been quite good, as they sit atop the K League Classic without much worry, but a weekend 0-1 reverse to Incheon are slightly concerning signs. Gamba, Alan Gibson from JSoccer Magazine tells the Tavern, are “failing in the J.League”. He expects that Gamba will not give “less than 100%” in this match.
This tie promises to be an exciting duel of two of the most prodigious youngsters from East Asia. Lee Jaesung has made his mark as playmaker supreme of Jeonbuk, the catalyst for most of their attacking moves. Gamba’s answer is Takashi Usami. As Alan Gibson of JSoccer Magazine puts it, Usami is “not afraid to look silly by trying a shot” and “is fast on his feet and has become an all-round player”. The one-time Bayern Munich striker can also shift on to the left wing in case Gamba goes 4-2-3-1. He is expected to be particularly influential in this match. Koreans Oh Jaesuk and Zainichi Kim Jungya are both not expected to feature, the former struggling with injuries and the latter giving rest to centreback Iwashita by playing on the weekend. Yasuyuki Konno will miss the first leg, but Tomokasu Myojin is expected to come in in his place. It won’t be a major loss for Gamba.
Expect a truly invigorating and captivating match between two regular powerhouses of their countries, and two young rising stars of their respective countries.
Capital One Cup Matches – 2.45pm EST Tuesday/3.45am EST Wednesday
All three Koreans could see this match as a valuable way to be reintegrated back in the first team (Ki), get some playing time (Chungy) or test their recovery from injury (Yun). All three players are therefore probable to feature for their clubs for similar reasons. Swansea hosts League Two’s York City, Crystal Palace hosts League One’s Shrewsbury Town, while QPR welcome League Two’s Carlisle United to Loftus Road.
UEFA Champions League – 2.45pm EST Wednesday/3.45am EST Thursday
Son was not in the squad on the weekend, and reports surfaced that he missed training today due to an illness. It’s likely that he will not feature in the Playoff tie vs Lazio midweek, with Julian Brandt taking his spot on the team. Ryu Seungwoo is unlikely to feature.