After having scored two goals for Bayer Leverkusen before the Bundesliga even got underway, Son Heung-Min and company will attempt to guide B04 to a victory against Borussia Dortmund in the season opener. Later, my thoughts on the Mackay/Moody/Tan controversy, a look at the coming weekend’s domestic action and an update from Incheon for the 2014 Asian Games draw.
Time and time again we get a little bit lazy at the Tavern. Thanks to the permission “skimmilk”, we’re just going to copy and paste the table for the KPA’s this weekend from his blog.
|Day||Time (ET)||Player||Club||Opponent||TV (US)|
|Saturday||9:30 AM||Hong Jeong Ho||Augsburg||@Hoffenheim||None|
|Saturday||9:30 AM||Kim Jin Su||Hoffenheim||Augsburg||None|
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Lee Chung Yong||Bolton||@Brighton||None|
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Kim Bo Kyung||Cardiff City||@Wolves||None|
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Ki Sung Yueng||Swansea||Burnley||NBC Extra Time|
|Saturday||12:30 PM||Son Heung Min||Leverkusen||@Dortmund||GolTV|
|Saturday||12:30 PM||Ji Dong Won||Dortmund||Leverkusen||GolTV|
|Sunday||8:30 AM||Yun Suk Young||QPR||@Tottenham||CNBC|
|Sunday||9:30 AM||Koo Ja Cheol||Mainz||@Paderborn 07||GolTV|
|Sunday||9:30 AM||Park Joo Ho||Mainz||@Paderborn 07||GolTV|
>> And cool thing about those links on the gametimes in the table above – it will tell you what time the games are at in your time zone if you scroll down the linked page a little.
There’s lots to go over… so get comfortable, order yourself a beer or a soju if you feel a little adventurous (I’ll just take a coke, please)… here we go.
Son meets Ji… not
It would have been an absolutely epic battle from our point of view. Two South Korean youngsters, playing in two of Germany’s strongest clubs, taking on each other in their opening game of the Bundesliga season.
Unfortunately, the “epic” battle will be put on hold for now, as Ji Dong-Won sustained in injury in training at BVB, meaning he’ll be out for a few weeks, according to several sources. Whether or not he would have actually played had he not been injured is a different story – as we highlighted in the Tavern Google Hangout yesterday, Ji seems to be more of a long-term project for BVB.
Turning my attention to the guy who actually will play – or at least, who should – Son Heung-Min. He’s been on lightning form of late, scoring 2 goals before the Bundesliga even started. He helped rout a lower-level side in the German Cup competition and prodded another one past the goalkeeper in Denmark to score the winning goal in their Champions League qualifier against FC Copenhagen. And Son seems to have this knack of performing well against Dortmund – and given his exceptional early-season form, perhaps he can open his Bundesliga goal scoring account and add his 3rd goal of the season this weekend.
Kim Jin-Su to make Bundesliga debut
Yet another youngster has gone to Germany, the dream destination it seems for Koreans Abroad. He’s already got some playing time at Hoffenheim, his new club, and he seems to be settling in well, his family even coming to Germany from what I’ve read. A promising, young team with high hopes, and Korea’s young fullback seems to be a piece of the puzzle.
Kim will kick off against… Augsburg. Being pegged by many as a team who will struggle this season, defender Hong Jeong-Ho will hope to change that as he begins his 2nd season at the German club, however, he (Hong)’s unlikely to feature in the opener – I believe he is still carrying a minor injury.
Mainz boys open against minnows
Newly promoted Paderborn will take on Koo Ja-Cheol and Park Joo-Ho to open the season. Mainz isn’t getting much love from the press – and after their shocking exit of the DFB-Pokal against a weak lower-league side, they are actually expected to finish in the bottom half. Undoubtedly, the Mainz boys will try to change that, and we can get a first glimpse of how we can expect Mainz to do this season as they take on a newly promoted team trying to stay up.
Koo is slowly but surely finding form at last, and Park is preparing for the Asian Games as well. I hope both get a start – I can’t see why they wouldn’t.
Meanwhile, Ki Sung-Yueng will likely start in a central midfield pairing with Jonjo Shelvey as they play for the first time at Liberty Stadium this season against newly promoted Burnley. The Clarets showed real character, as displayed by going 1-0 up against Chelsea last weekend, but have some exploitable flaws, as proved by losing that encounter 3-1. Swansea have looked like a very good side, beating Louis Van Gaal in his debut at Old Trafford last weekend, with Ki scoring the opening goal, of course. Swansea’s immaculate passing game should be enough to see off Burnley – I’m curious to see, as always, how much license Ki gets to move forward and have a crack on goal.
Yun Suk-Young isn’t really worth mentioning, as he really does not seem to feature in Harry Redknapp’s plans yet again. I really hope a loan move can be worked out for Yun. He would benefit greatly for playing time. You never know – Harry Redknapp loves Transfer Window Deadline Day.
Down in the Championship, Bolton are in search of their first win, and don’t really look like they’re getting promoted anytime soon. But Lee Chung-Yong is expected to stay put at the Macron Stadium, so don’t get your hopes up. They take on one of last year’s promotion candidates – Brighton and Hove Albion.
Which leads us to Kim Bo-Kyung… he’s been a bit mixed up in a controversy between Malky Mackay and Iain Moody. Now, I know Roy’s going to give us a post on this, or so he’s said, but I’ll go ahead and throw my thoughts on this whole issue out there now.
Ex-Cardiff boss Malky Mackay caught in controversy
So the bare bones – Malky Mackay is being investigated by the FA after Vincent Tan and the Cardiff City club allegedly sent The Football Association a dossier which reveals text messages exchanged between Mackay and Iain Moody during their stay at the Bluebirds (turned Dragons). Suddenly, we had Iain Moody expected to resign from his job at Selhurst Park, with Mackay suddenly out of the race to manage Crystal Palace and end up being reunited with Moody at CPFC.
Why? Because these text messages where leaked to be homophobic, racist and sexist. Examples? How about “nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers”. Or “He’s a gay snake, not to be trusted.” And “F*cking chinkys. F*ck it. There’s enough dogs in Cardiff for all of us to go around.”
Last comment – directed at the signing of Kim Bo-Kyung. Quite evidently, it wasn’t Mackay who approved his transfer. Suddenly, the former Scottish manager has become very unemployable. Today, he apologized through a statement for the remark concerning racism – presumably including the one about Kimbo. He called it “friendly banter” and that he was “letting off some steam.”
Such a suggestion that calling someone a chinky, a fucking chinky, looking down upon him when he is of the very same species of you and I, of the Arab down the street or the African two blocks down, is acceptable friendly banter is ridiculous. If I were to say, “Ugh, those fucking [insert race here]! Go back to the [insert country/region here]!” to my friend via text, casually, does that make it acceptable behavior?! Since when did casual racism become acceptable – and what’s worse, he works for you! He is your player and you are his boss – and instead of treating him with respect and dignity, he goes on and discriminates upon him and makes racial slurs against him behind his back? That’s acceptable behavior? Moreover – in a position of authority?
It’s ridiculous. He didn’t just slur against Kimbo though – former players such as Ibrahim Farah said he was called derogatory terms as well on his twitter feed. For one reason or another, those damning allegations were since deleted.
Now – I don’t want to open this can of worms too widely. It’s a loaded subject and I’ve spoken enough about it to make my point clear. Mackay is being investigated and hopefully justice will be served. Let’s move on.
Domestic Preview – Let’s start with the K-League Classic
Gyeongnam-Pohang (Sat, 6am Eastern/7pm KST)
We talked about Pohang lacking a little bit of playmaking ability from Lee Myeong-Joo (since he has transfered) in yesterday’s Google Hangout – so can they take 3 points against struggling Gyeongnam? Or will the hosts prevail despite going through a managerial change in a shock victory for the relegation candidates?
Jeonbuk-Seoul (Sat, 6am Eastern/7pm KST)
The next few fixtures will be a big test for Seoul – having to tackle Pohang twice, Jeju once and Choi Kang-Hee’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. (Note: I called him by his actual name for the first time in ages. How dare I.) This fixture will be a test of Seoul’s ability to pull off big results against big clubs in their attempt to make the top tier. Or will Jeonbuk maintain their lead atop the K-League?
Ulsan-Sangju (Sat, 6.30am Eastern/7.30pm KST)
Ulsan are on the drop and knowing that they will be without their star keeper and star striker for a couple of weeks, and with Seoul in good form, they might find that time is slowly beginning to run out on their top half aspirations. The clock is also not on Sangju’s side, with Lee Keun-Ho being among the batch of players completing their loan at the military side in September – they will find it essential to pick up every last point to avoid the drop zone.
Incheon-Jeju (Sun, 6am Eastern/7pm KST)
The port city are a few weeks away from hosting the Asiad – and they were in strong form before last weekend, where FC Seoul destroyed all their good spirits with a 5-1 shellacking of the Blue and Black. Can they prevail in a stern test against a strong Jeju side?
Suwon-Seongnam (Sun, 6am Eastern/7pm KST)
Suwon are falling out of the title race and could find relegation candidates Seongnam an easy chance for 3 vital points. Seongnam are failing to adapt from that transition from “church-owned” to “city-owned” and they sit in relegation position.
Busan-Jeonnam (Sun, 6.30am Eastern/7.30pm KST)
Both these teams are coming off long winless streaks, but Busan find themselves a couple points above relegation and Jeonnam are still in the hunt for a Champions League berth.
Over to the K-League Challenge…
Daegu-Gwangju (Sat, 6am Eastern/7pm KST): Two former K-League sides collide;
Bucheon-Gangwon (Sat, 6am Eastern/7pm KST): Bucheon look to overturn a horrific slide that has seen them fall to 9th;
Anyang-Daejeon (Sun, 6am Eastern/7pm KST): It’s a top two clash with Anyang – but the Daejeon side are firmly in first by 16 points;
Chungju-Suwon City (Sun, 6am Eastern/7pm KST): Chungju Hummel are in the basement and have drawn 10 times this year – they host the other Suwon side;
Ansan Police-Goyang Hi (Mon, 6.30am Eastern/7.30pm KST): No pope in the way of Ansan this time – it’s instead a team with strong church connections, Goyang Hi.
Asian Games Draw
Still there? I know this is longer than usual, but it’s an exciting time. One more piece of business to go over – the Asian Games draw took place in Incheon yesterday, picking out the pairings for sports like Basketball, Rhythmic Gymnastics (and I’m told there’s a certain Son Yeon-Jae who’s a very popular gymnast in Korea) and yes, Football/Soccer. Sigh semantics. Anyhow, it’s a favorable draw for the hosts, on both the men’s and women’s brackets.
(Knockout Stage will be: 1st A v 2nd B, 1st C v 2nd D, 1st E v 2nd F, 1st G v 2nd H, 2nd A v 1st B, 2nd C v 1st D, 2nd E v 1st F, 2nd G v 1st H.)
It’s not clear what their knockout format will be.
Coach Lee Gwang-Jong said that he expected to get a “tough” team in the draw so he’s not surprised that they got Saudi Arabia to deal with early on. He said (loosey goosey translation by me here) “If we work hard and train well, we think we can win our Group games. We hope to get a good result overall for our Korean fans.”
Meanwhile, on the on the women’s bracket, Yoon Deok-Yeo admitted that their group wasn’t very hard, and pledged to “Get a good result for our Korean fans who love Women’s Soccer.”
The men open against Malaysia at the Incheon Munhak on September 14th, 4am Eastern, 5pm Korea Time (damn you time zones!) and the women will play Thailand in Namdong just 3 hours later the same day.
So, what do you think of Malky Mackay’s statements? (Please be nice. Don’t make me regret talking about this please 😀 ) How do you think Son will fare against Dortmund? What do you make of our Asian Games Draw? Let us know in the comments section below – we make a point of answering every question and engaging in conversations there.
The Tavern is now closed – well, for me, here in Quebec, anyways. Enough cola for me. My bed is calling. Jaljayo!
Considering the sheer amount of running that wingbacks have to do and the fact that QPR has only Traore ahead of Yun, I feel Yun will get a decent amount of playing time even just as a backup.
Not positive, but think both Hill and Onuoha can play left back as well (although they’re centerbacks by trade). I think Yoon can get a handful of appearances (maybe in cup matches), but there will likely be significant stretches of time when he doesn’t play. I think the bigger worry with Yoon is that at his age he needs to be playing consistently to continue his growth and development. Going through season after season of bench warming is something that could lower his ceiling considerably.