There are plenty of games this weekend. I’ll be staying a bit closer to home this weekend, with a couple K League Classic matches and maybe a J League one too if I have the time. Also check out all the listings below to see Korean players in action!
Ulsan Hyundai vs Busan IPark
The first K League Classic match is the Ulsan Hyundai vs Busan IPark. This match will showcase a number of players who are attempting to secure a spot with the senior squad, and will offer me a chance to see who deserves to make the cut and who doesn’t. For Ulsan, there are Kim Shin-Wook and Kim Young-Kwon. For Busan, there are Lee Young-Bum and Park Jong-Woo. For Kim Young-Kwon and Lee Young-Bum it is a direct competition for the number 2 spot, and Kim Shin-Wook and Park Jong-Woo are attempting to make sure they should stay with the squad.
As far as the actual match, it should be a fairly comfortable win for Ulsan. Ulsan has played fairly well this season, and are currently sitting in third place behind Suwon and Pohang. They lost to Jeonbuk and drew with Seoul. That being said, Busan is coming off a win, but were fairly poor in both of their away matches against Gyeongnam and Jeju. Busan shifted to a 4-3-3 formation last week, and it will be interesting to see if they continue with that formation or revert to a more defensive formation.
Again, this should be a comfortable win for Ulsan. Look for them to control possession, and for Busan to sit back and defend. Busan will most likely look to score from a set piece, and possibly on the counter (although their counterattack has looked fairly toothless so far).
Suwon Samsung vs FC Seoul
The second match is the big match of the weekend. The so-called “Super Match” between Suwon Samsung and FC Seoul. Suwon has dominated this match up lately, winning 7 of the last 8. Suwon has also enjoyed a considerably better start to the season, sitting top of the table, while Seoul is still looking for their first win, and are in the bottom half of the table. One would think that another loss to Suwon (and for the season) would really raise the anger level of Seoul fans, who are a bit short tempered. As seen when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Suwon last season.
Despite being the two really high profile teams on the peninsula, neither Seoul nor Suwon really contribute many players to the senior squad right now. Suwon just had Jung Sung-Ryong called up. Suwon does has several players who were called up previously however, in the form of: Seo Jung-Jin, Lee Yong-Rae, Kim Do-Heon, Choi Jae-Soo, and Hong Chul. Likewise, FC Seoul only had a couple players called up last time out, Ha Dae-Sung and Kim Yong-Dae (to replace the injured Kim Young-Kwon), but have a number of players who have appeared in the past: Choi Hyo-Jin, Kim Chi-Woo, Go Yo-Han, Go Myung-Jin, and Cha Du-Ri. But looking at that list of players, only perhaps Seo Jung-Jin figures to possibly in the longer run picture.
Hopefully, this match will be a fun one. Seoul looked better last week against Ulsan, and Suwon cruised against Daegu. But both had midweek AFC Champions League fixtures that ended in draws (Seoul against Vegalta Sendai, and Suwon against Kashiwa Reysol). I expect a tight game, that sees Suwon prevail again, and Seoul fans fuming.
Urawa Reds vs Shonan Bellmare
The J League match that I may watch is the Urawa Reds vs Shonan Bellmare match. I won’t watch all of it, if any, because the start conflicts with the end of the aforementioned ‘Super Match’. But, hopefully I can catch the second half and see some more of Han Kook-Young. I don’t know much of anything about the J League, Urawa, or Shonan so I’ll just leave it at that.
Other Europe Matches
Weekend Listings [all TV broadcasts are listed for the US (mein hamneeda -one day we’ll have a more comprehensive international broadcast list) Times are in both US EST / Korea Time and streams should/could be available worldwide.
Germany, Mainz vs. Hamburg 9:30 am/10:30 pm: Hamburg will be looking to end their slide which has seen them drop down the table. There’s no danger of relegation, but they will want to end a three game slide. Likewise, Son Heung-Min has also seen his form stutter a bit. He hasn’t scored in almost two months, not since his brace against Dortmund. Mainz has been a slow, but steady kind of team, with plenty of draws of late. I expect a tight affair, that probably ends in a draw.
Germany, Greuther Furth vs. Borussia Dortmund 9:30 am/10:30 pm: This is one that could be ugly. Greuther Furth has looked doomed for awhile now, but an exhausting midweek match for Dortmund in the Champions League, could see them make a number of changes. Will that help Greuther any is a different question. Park Jung-Bin hasn’t featured lately for Greuther, and I doubt whether he’ll see any time against the former champions. Changes aplenty are likely for Dortmund, who have nothing to play for in the Bundesliga, but a comfortable win is most likely the outcome anyway.
England, Everton vs. QPR 10 a.m./11pm foxsoccer2go.com (tape at noon EST on Fox Soccer): A potentially interesting match. Everton started the season red-hot, but cooled midseason. They’ve picked it up a bit, winning three of their last five, and remain firmly in the hunt for a Europa League spot, and theoretically still in it for the last Champions League spot. QPR on the other hand looks more and more likely destined for relegation, as they find themselves essentially 8 points short of safety. Wins over Southampton and Sunderland that gave the fans hope were followed by losses to Aston Villa and Fulham, and a draw to Wigan, where Wigan equalized with the last kick of the ball. OSEN is reporting that Park Ji-Sung will likely be on the bench again, while Yoon Suk-Young remains invisible since his January move.
England, Bristol City vs. Bolton 10 am /11pm: Bolton recent surge has seen them move to the fringes of the promotion playoff spots, and are now just 2 points out of it. A win against bottom side Bristol City is an absolute must ahead of next weeks crucial clash with Leicester (who happens to be one point ahead of Bolton). Lee Chung-Yong has been in good form for the Wanderers, and will look to continue that run.
England, Cardiff City vs. Nottingham Forest 10 a.m./11pm beIN Sport Spanish (tape at 1pm EST on beIN Sport): Another potential good one here. Despite a slight stutter in form, Cardiff still looks fairly comfortable to take one of the two automatic promotion spots, but they will be looking to maintain their first place hold. Forest on the other hand are in the thick of the playoff spot battle, currently sitting 5th with 63 points (but only 2 ahead of 7th place Leicester, and 3 ahead of Bolton). After a prolonged period out of the side, Kim Bo-Kyung has returned to the starting XI and delivered several quality performances. He’ll be looking to help out Lee Chung-Yong and Bolton, by picking up three points against Forest.
MLS, Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake 4 p.m./ (Korea Sunday 5 am) Direct Kick, MLS Live: Ummmm, I don’t follow MLS, sorry. Watch for Lee Young-Pyo though!
South Korea, Suwon vs. Seoul 6 a.m./7 pm One World Sports: See above preview.
Switzerland, FC Basel vs. Zurich 7:45 am/8:45 pm: Basel overcame a tough Europa League match against Tottenham, that saw the Swiss side prevail on penalties. Their reward? A match with current European champions Chelsea. Basel has been in good form domestically, and are currently top of the Swiss Super League table. Park Joo-Ho has been playing well for Basel lately too, and will look to continue that form.
Germany, Augsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt 11:30 a.m. /(Korea Monday12:30 am) GolTV: Augsburg looks to battle out of the relegation spots against Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt was very good in the first half of the season, but has struggled a bit in the second half. Augsburg has a chance to pick up a point or three here, but it’ll take some work. Koo Ja-Cheol remains out due to injury, but Ji Dong-Won will look to continue his quality run of form.
Spain, Mallorca vs. Celta Vigo 4:45 p.m./(Korea Tuesday 5:45 a.m.) beIN Sport, beIN Sport Spanish: It’s a battle of the bottom clubs, but a win could see either sniffing safety. Mallorca has lost it’s last three (although two were against Madrid and Barca) while Celta has lost four of their last five. Iago Aspas is still suspended for Celta, so Park Chu-Young should get another start, but he will need to be much better if he hopes of playing again after Aspas returns.
OTHER MATCHES AROUND THE WORLD THAT INVOLVE KOREANS
K League Classic: Gyeongnam-Pohang, Chunnam-Daejeon, Jeju-Gangwon, Seongnam-Jeonbuk
K League Challenge: Sangju Sangmu-Gwangju
J League 1: Vegalta Sendai-FC Tokyo, Nagoya Grumpus-Albirex Niigata, Oita Trinita-Kashima Antlers, Shimizu S-Pulse-Kashima Antlers, Cerezo Osaka-Omiya Ardija, Sanfrecce Hiroshima-Sagan Tosu, Urawa Reds-Shonan Bellmare
Star League: Lekhwiya-Umm Salal, Al Sailiya-Al Gharafa, Al Sadd-Al Kharitiyath
Pro-League: Al Shabab-Al Jazira
Primeira League: The League is off for two weeks