The weekend is rolling around, which means some good footy should be on the telly. Check below for listings and which games caught the eye!
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*Koo Ja-Cheol is currently out injured and will not feature
Lee Young-Pyo’s final game before he hangs up his boots for good is set for Sunday night, 8pm EST (Monday 9am Korea time) as his Vancouver Whitecaps will face off against the Colorado Rapids. The 36 year old left back is retiring, one more player from the legendary 2002 Taeguk Warriors World Cup semifinalist squad who is leaving the pitch and headed off into the sunset. In the US, only Direct Kick, and MLS Live (online) are providing broadcast coverage.
UPDATE: Left back Yun Suk-Young just went on an emergency loan to English Championship side Doncaster Rovers and suddenly found himself playing right away – he was substituted in the 46th minute today during a match with Middlesbrough. Yun hasn’t played for QPR since the beginning of the season. The loan spell lasts until the end of December. QPR are currently sitting in 2nd place in the Championship table, while Doncaster are in 17th. Meanwhile, Lee Chung-Yong’s Bolton side have managed to claw their way out of the Championship relegation zone -but are precariously at 21st in the table.
Watching this Weekend
3. Bayer Leverkusen vs Augsburg
Anytime there are two teams with Koreans on both teams, it’s got to be included in the WtW. And, once again we have such a match in Germany, where Son Heung-Min and Bayer will take on Hong Jeong-Ho and Augsburg. Bayer remains in the thick of the hunt for the Bundesliga title as well as advancement to the knockout stages of the Champions League. Bayer edged Hoffenheim last weekend to remain just 1 point behind leaders Bayern Munich and level on points with Borussia Dortmund. Bayer also took apart Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 midweek with Son Heung-Min assisting on the third goal.
Hong has played the last two matches for Augsburg due to sending off and subsequent suspension of Ragnar Klavan. Unfortunately for Augsburg, they have lost both of those matches, but Hong, reportedly did fairly well in his first start against Wolfsburg. I haven’t researched it, but Hong should be in line for another start as Klavan should be suspended for two more games (he received a straight red). This match, should Hong feature, will be another good test for the young defender, as he goes against a quality poacher in Stefan Kiessling, and the pace of Sidney Sam and Son.
2. Sunderland vs Newcastle United
It’s time for the Tyne-Wear Derby. The first for both Ki and Ji. It will certainly be interesting to see how both handle the pressure and intensity of the match. Ki, of course, has experience dealing with intense derbies, having played in the Old Firm Derby up in Scotland with Celtic, but Ji is quite new to this. Ji didn’t experience any real big games when in Korea (with Chunnam), or England (in his previous Sunderland time), or really in Germany. Granted he’s played against Japan, so there’s that, but I think this will be a new experience for him. That being said, he may not see the pitch, so . . .
Sunderland is still searching for their first win of the season, having been trounced by Swansea 4-0 last weekend. Gus Poyet took over last week, and is still looking to re-shape this team into one that can survive. Newcastle, has been a mixed bag so far. Sometimes looking decent, sometimes not so much. As things stand they are 10th in the table, which is probably about right. Decent, but solidly mid-table.
1. FC Seoul vs Guangzhou Evergrande
The big match, isn’t in Europe, but back here in Korea. The quality of play might not be as high as Europe nor the intensity, but it’s a final. It’s a continental championship. It’s worth watching. A more detailed history and preview can be found in this post about the match. But, I’ll put it here just as a friendly reminder. This game is in Seoul, 7:30PM KST (6:30AM EDT). Remember, it’s a two-legged tie, the second leg will be in two weeks time in Guangzhao.