K-League 2012 Round 25 Preview

Kim Shin-Wook and Lee Geun-Ho have both been playing well recently but they will both need to be on fire if they are to win against Suwon in Round 25

It was a bit of a struggle for the home teams last round with only two of them getting the win as all teams are striving to be safe inside the top eight before Round 30. The pick of the round would be Ulsan vs. Suwon who are battling for 3rd but with both sides in some ordinary form, they will need to improve somewhat if they are to win this weekend. Time to have a look at this weekends action.

Saturday – 7pm

*Gyeongnam vs. Daegu – the first game of the round brings us a very important one for both teams. 9th. place Gyeongnam is hosting 8th. place Daegu and with only six rounds to go (including this one) before we split into two halves it is of vital importance for both teams to get a win here. A win for Gyeongnam would leapfrog them above Daegu and into the top half while a win for Daegu would give them a five point gap over Gyeongnam which could be tough to bridge and would be much needed with a couple of tough games in the home stretch. Both sides did themselves no favors last weekend losing games that were winnable which has made this matchup a little more tasty. Gyeongnam have been decent at home for the last three months or so and excepting that rain-fest against Pohang haven’t lost at home in that time. They should be full of confidence with a FA Cup quarter-final win midweek against Suwon with the only thing that could be a worry is fatigue, as the game lasted 120 minutes and this will be the 5th game in two weeks. Daegu had the week off being already eliminated from the cup and have some fresh legs coming in with three key players coming back from suspension and injury. This game really is very important for both teams and I am sure they are fully aware of the fact. I think Gyeongnam will get the win here and boost themselves into the top half for the first time since Round Two. The only problem is the Gyeongnam players could be tired after all the recent games in the heat but with Daegu being quite poor on the road with only two away wins in the last 12 months, Gyeongnam should be able to overcome this. Pred: 2-0.
FUN FACT: In six league games between these two at Gyeongnam, Gyeongnam has won ALL SIX MATCHES.

*Seoul vs. Gangwon – off to the capital we go with 2nd place Seoul hosting Gangwon, who in recent times have been very decent on their travels. Seoul played out a thriller last weekend in Jeju with the “Demolition Duo” of Dejan and Molina getting all three goals between them. They both have about two-thirds of Seoul’s goals this season and one has to wonder if one of them goes out with a long-term injury, the fate of the team could fall with them, as they seem so reliant on these two foreigners. After two away games in a row Seoul find themselves back in their stronghold of Sangam where they have only dropped two points all season and to be honest it would be a shock to see anything but a win here for the home side. Gangwon have shocked Seoul at Sangam once before however, winning there in 2009 and have always put up a decent fight there. Their away form as well has been very impressive, winning four of their last six on the road in some tough places. It is this away form that is keeping Gangwon off the bottom of the ladder as their home form has been very average. They have some good firepower up front and they will need it, to break down the best defence in the league. With all things considered, it looks like this should be a Seoul victory in their bid to narrow the gap to the leader Jeonbuk, but Gangwon won’t make it easy for them. Pred: 2-1.
FUN FACT: Seoul have lost only two home games in two calendar years.

*Gwangju vs. Busan – both of these played in drab 0-0 draws in Round 24 and will be hoping the same doesn’t happen again as this is a winnable fixture for both sides. Gwangju have managed to reverse their slide somewhat but still can’t convert games into wins but have managed to draw their last two matches to put them one point ahead of last placed Daejeon. They are not leaking goals as badly as they were last month and even managed their first away clean sheet last weekend in that 0-0 draw at Gangwon. They just need to start firing in the goals up front if they are to start turning around what has become a horror stretch of matches for them. Busan meanwhile are seemingly destined to finish in the bottom half of the top eight, not good enough to challenge the big boys but have a good seven point gap between them and 9th place which should be easily defended before the league splits. Busan had some great news last week welcoming back Matt McKay after a long term hamstring injury and if he can stay healthy, then Busan should have achieved all of their season league objectives. Not sure how this one will shake out as while McKay has returned, they are still not at full strength and on the road have been not the best in recent times. Perhaps a draw is the likely outcome here as Gwangju makes it three in a row. Pred: 1-1.
FUN FACT: Gwangju have only won two home games in the last 12 months.

*Incheon vs. Chunnam – how times have changed for both these two teams in recent months. In Round 14, Chunnam were in eighth place and looking at making a big run into the top half, while Incheon were really struggling down in last place and there looked to be no end in the sight for their miserable season. Now, about two months later the fortunes have changed, as Incheon, after a nice stretch of matches are above Chunnam on the table and have given themselves a little breathing space in the battle for the cellar, while Chunnam, who have only won once during this stretch are in the battle for the bottom and seem to not be able to find a way out. Both of these teams lost to two of the big boys last round and will be hoping it won’t be two losses in a row. Where Incheon have really found their groove is at home, winning three of their last four at Sungui and not losing there since the dark days in late April. This home form has propelled them up the table and if it continues, they should have no problems for the rest of the season. Chunnam on the road have not been the best, but they bulked up their forward line even further midweek with the addition of ex-nats team player Jeong Seong-Hoom who should give them some height up front. They are looking to blast their way out but with Incheon in such great touch at their home ground, might have to wait until Round 26. Incheon look the goods here to make it three home wins in a row as they look a completely different side to the one that played in the Incheon shirt just 3 months ago. Pred: 2-0.
FUN FACT: Incheon haven’t won 3 games in a row at home since 2005.

*Sangmu vs. Jeju (7:30) – the late Saturday game takes us into the heartland of Korea to the small city of Sangju. In recent times, Sangju have been going along well and are undefeated in five games. The best came last round when they scored a very late winner against Gyeongnam to give the home fans something to cheer about during the summer vacation. Kim Chi-Gon has been key for them along with the good goalkeeping of Kwan Sun-Tae. Unfortunately for the military boys, these two players will be departing come September due to their time in the military being served so they need to get as many points on the board before they are discharged. Jeju have been two-faced this season, very strong at home while very weak away from the island. They haven’t won away from home in the league since April and have the worst away record of any team in the top eight. They did manage to win away on Wednesday night however in the FA Cup quarters at Daejeon, so hopefully they will be able to turn that around and get two wins on the trot away. Santos and Jair are both in the top 5 in league scoring but only have five goals between them away from home. If they could score more on their travels, then Jeju could possibly be challenging for the top. Sangju were very good at home last round and while I don’t think they can make it two in a row, they should be able to make sure Jeju don’t win two straight away games. Pred: 1-1.
FUN FACT: Sangmu haven’t won against Jeju in all games since 2008, a run of 10 matches (7 Jeju wins, 3 draws).

Sunday – 7pm
*Ulsan vs. Suwon – in this match of the round it is a battle for the 3rd place slot as while both teams are still in with a shout for title, it seems to me if they lose this game then that would be their title chances pretty much over unless both of the top two suddenly hit on some large problems. Ulsan return home after an unsuccessful two game road swing which brought them only one point and a failure to score in both games. They have been a lot more comfortable in their Munsu confines however and showed that midweek shipping 6 goals past N-League team Goyang in the FA Cup quarters and have only lost there once this season (to Gangwon) while have scored in every game. In recent times both their two gun Korean forwards, Kim Shin-Wook and Lee Geun-Ho have been playing well and they will really need their goalscoring prowess if they are to get the points over Suwon. Suwon were not so lucky in their midweek FA Cup contest failing to advance at Gyeongnam playing the full 120 minutes and then losing in penalties. After having a bad run of fixtures they did get a good win last week against Incheon to snap the streak but once again on the road, have been rather poor so far, only winning in the league at teams who are currently in the bottom six. To make matters worse, influential defender Bosnar will be sitting out this one after picking up a red card in last weeks Incheon encounter and the boys could be quite tired after the exertions of the last 2 weeks or so. Now that Ulsan have returned home I think they can get the win over a fading Suwon and leapfrog them back into third place. An interesting encounter. Pred: 2-1.
FUN FACT: Suwon haven’t drawn three away games in a row in 3 and a half years.

*Joenbuk vs. Daejeon – this appears to be a complete mismatch with current leaders Jeonbuk at home to last place cellar dwellers Daejeon. Jeonbuk continue on their amazing run of games, now going 15 games in a row undefeated in the league, with a brilliant injury time comeback against Chunnam last Saturday to keep them with a nice cushion at the top. Shockingly, midweek they lost at Pohang in the FA Cup quarters 3-2 which was also the site of their last K-League defeat as well. Seems to be they don’t like to visit Pohang very much. Anyway, this has little effect on their league standing and they get to return home to a somewhat easy game, playing the last placed Daejeon. Compared to Jeonbuk’s 15 game unbeaten run, Daejeon are having a shocker at the moment now winless in seven matches and they also lost at home in the FA Cup quarters midweek to Jeju. They will need to find themselves a win soon if they are to get off the bottom but this game could be a bit too hard with Jeonbuk in such rampant form. It is hard to see anything but a home win for this one as Jeonbuk have been nothing short of great at home since April. An easy Jeonbuk win. Pred: 3-0.
FUN FACT: Jeonbuk have won six of their last seven against Daejeon (with one drawn).

*Pohang vs. Seongnam – the last matchup of the round gives us two teams that have been rather underwhelming so far this season and instead of battling for a place at the top, are battling to ensure they are inside the top eight by the time the split takes place. Pohang are in a better position than Seongnam though and need to ensure one or two more wins if they are to cement that spot. They have an easy run of games coming so it should not be a problem but with Pohang’s Jekyll and Hyde play this season, who knows what Pohang team will show their face. Their better half was alive on Wednesday winning nicely in the FA Cup quarters against leaders Jeonbuk and they have a good shot at taking that trophy. Their worse half was present in their league play as in two games last week they failed to win so they need to ensure their good form of Wednesday continues. As for Seongnam, they have started to finally get their season into gear and have won their last two straight away to give them a big lift. Their run home is not easy, playing 4 teams out of the current top five after this so they really need to win this if they are to have any chance of being in with a shot of that 8th place spot. Should be a fascinating match and could go either way, as who knows which face Pohang will show this Sunday. If they show their best side, then they can win this one well, but if they show their worst, then Seongnam can get their third away win in a row and really put the pressure on the teams in front of them. I think Pohang will just get up at home, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Pred: 2-1.
FUN FACT: If Seongnam avoid defeat here, it would be 5 undefeated in a row, their longest league streak in almost 2 years.

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Comments
2 Responses to “K-League 2012 Round 25 Preview”
  1. dajkula says:

    the koreans saved my ass again even if I already scratched pohang, lucky that jeonbuk was to low to try(obviously are dropping in form since that long winning run), thanks for the tips

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