It’s that time of year again as football fans all over Korea breathe a sigh of relief, no more being dragged to the IFC Mall by your non-understanding partner, no more lying in bed wondering how to spend your deserved day off. It’s football time again! Whether it’s the black of Seongnam, the red of Seoul or even the 1970s-style, LSD inspired leopard print of E-Land it’s time to drag your team’s colours out the drawer and head to a stadium.
This weekend sees the return of the top-table, with the K2 starting in a couple of weeks, so below is a preview of Saturday’s K-League Classic matches.
Incehon v Gwangju 14:00
First up we have Incheon v Gwangju in the early kick-off. It’s been a tough time for Incehon fans recently, over the close season they have offloaded a fair amount of players in a desperate attempt to cut costs. They have brought in one time Daejeon and Jeonbuk player Kevin Oris which should in some part help to make up for the exodus. They started last season incredibly poorly and will be hoping to get off to a better start this year. Gwangju are back in the Classic after defeating Gyeongnam in the playoffs at the end of last season. Hotly tipped by many to yo-yo straight back down again they will want to try and prevent the kind of start newly-promoted clubs so often make.
Prediction Incheon 0 Gwangju 0
Jeonbuk v Seongnam 15:00
Arguably the ‘match of the day’ is at Jeonju World Cup Stadium where last season’s runaway winners Jeonbuk take on the FA Cup holders Seongnam. Both teams are coming into this match on the back of ACL victories midweek. Jeonbuk were pretty active over the close season bringing in Edu and Eninho to bolster their front line. They have looked sharp in their two ACL matches so far and you would have to be daft to not have them pinned as favorites to retain their title. Seongnam have offloaded a couple of big name players during the winter, Djeparov and Kim Tae Hwan both leaving for Ulsan. They have brought back Kim Do Heon and added the ubiquitous couple of unknown Brazilians to their squad. Losing in Thailand they bounced back win a home victory over last years J-League title winners Gamba. Can they repeat a double champion-scalping? Probably not.
Prediction Jeonbuk 2 Seongnam 0
Busan v Daejeon 16:00
The final match on Saturday has something of a relegation battle ring to it even though it’s the opening match. Busan, like Incheon above, were poor last season. They ended the year with a flurry of good results which kept them up but they were definitely in the mire for the most part of the season. It will be interesting to see how they perform this year as another poor year will surely only see their crowds dwindle further. Although tipped for a probable relegation battle, Daejeon will attract a lot of interest this year if for no other reason than the free-scoring Adriano. The K2’s top scorer calmed a lot of Daejeon worries when he agreed to stay with the club and it will be interesting to see if he can repeat the incredible goal-scoring feats of last year. It is a big step up but if he can make the grade in the Classic then Daejeon will surely be safe.
Prediciton Busan 1 Daejeon 0