February 8, 2013
Before we get to the weekend listings, Yonhap tweeted yesterday that Park Jong-Woo was preparing to fly out for his final defense at IOC HQ in Switzerland. While his Taeguk Warrior teammates celebrated their bronze medal 2-0 victory over Japan during last summer’s Olympics, the Busan IPark midfielder was photographed holding a “Dokdo Island is Ours” fan made sign. It got him into this months long imbroglio, as he wasn’t aware he violated an Olympic rule barring athletes from displaying political signs. His bronze medal was withheld since, but because he received a light fine 2 months ago -there’s speculation that he will be given back his bronze medal next Tuesday after the hearing.
Let’s first get to some of the higher profile matches (in US EST/network channels in the US/streams possibly available worldwide):
Germany, Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg 9:30 a.m. GolTV This is a rematch of a early season game that sparked Hamburg’s resurgence this season. Before that game, Hamburg was skirting with the idea that they were going to be battling relegation all year. Van der Vaart and Son Heung-Min changed the dynamics, with Son scoring a killer brace that won the game and turned a lot of heads in Germany.
England, Swansea City vs. QPR 10 a.m. foxsoccer2go.com (tape at 4:30 on Fox Soccer). Ki Sung-Yeung vs Park Ji-Sung and Yun Suk-Young? This is actually a difficult game to figure out who to root for, as the Tavern is a fan of Swansea’s elegant style of entertaining football, but doesn’t want Park Ji-Sung and especially January transfer Yun Suk-Young to go down off the relegation edge with the QPR ship. Best case scenario: Swansea shows their good form, but goes down to QPR as Swansea isn’t anywhere near relegation danger and should get into European action next season by winning the League Cup later in February.
Spain, Celta Vigo vs. Valencia noon beIN Sport Spanish Park Chu-Young’s side is in relegation trouble as last weekend’s loss to Osasuna allowed both teams to swap places. Park usually starts in home matches, so we will be closely following to see if he can impact their chances against Valencia, who is holding at 6th place in La Liga’s table.
Some other non-televised matches…
Germany, Gruether Furth vs. Wolfsburg 9:30 Park Jung-Bin has looked good in 2 matches coming off the bench. Debut start possibly?
England, Bolton vs. Burnley 10 a.m. Bolton’s form hasn’t been too terrible, and yet they are at the edge of the relegation drop in the English Championship Division. Lee Chung-Yong was one of the few bright spots for the Taeguk Warriors in their midweek friendly loss to Croatia; I’d be surprised if he wasn’t part of the starting XI.
England, Cardiff City vs. Huddersfield Town 10 a.m. Kim Bo-Kyung usually gets the start for Cardiff at home. At 10 points clear at the top, Cardiff’s ticket to promotion seems to have already been booked.
Germany, Augsburg vs. Mainz, 9:30 am. Ji Dong-Won and Koo Ja-Cheol have revamped Augsburg’s offense and has been very exciting to watch as of late. Mainz is going to have a tough Sunday in Augsburg.
Portugal, Sporting Lisbon vs. Maritimo, 11 am. Suk Hyun-Jun got in his debut start for Maritimo last weekend. Our guess: he makes the starting XI.
Last Word: as you know by now, the Baltimore Ravens won the SuperBowl and defenseman Ray Lewis’s last game ends in glory. Still, there were lingering rumors claiming Lewis had used ‘essence of deer antler’ spray to quickly heal from a midseason injury. The New York Times highlighted this strange and unproven claim, but also linked the North Korean soccer team in this story. I thought I heard a while back all sorts of weirdness about the North Korean women’s football team failing a doping test in last summer’s Women’s World Cup. The substance in essence is a banned muscle growing hormone, but the team claimed they applied deer gland musk as a therapy to heal team members who they claimed were struck by lightning during practice -Deer Gland Musk: fantastic name for a men’s cologne by the way -anyone trademarking that? The article goes on, “…the explanation was not as convincing as it was inventive, and North Korea was banned from the next World Cup.” C’est La’vie.