Friday, May 14, 2021

Weekend Preview May 15 and Midweek Recap May 12

The most important preview this weekend is the Women's CL Final with Ji So Yun's Chelsea facing Barcelona on Sunday at 3PM ET. I believe Paramount+ owns the rights but the listing on the app looks weird so might have to do some last minute searching. 

A wild semis vs Bayern and a WSL title all lead to this. Ji should start in a CM role.

As for the rest, things will get tricky in terms of previews as managers may use different lineups for a variety of reasons. The next most important match is Kiel's possible promotion clinching this Sunday morning on ESPN+.

Saturday9:30 AMJeong Woo YeongFreiburgBayern MunichESPN+
Saturday9:30 AMKwon Chang HoonFreiburgBayern MunichESPN+
Saturday2:00 PMSuk Hyun JunTroyes@Le HavreNone
Sunday9:05 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamWolverhamptonNBCSN
Sunday9:30 AMJi Dong WonEintracht BraunschweigWurzburgerNone
Sunday9:30 AMLee Jae SungHolstein Kiel@KarslruherESPN+
Sunday9:30 AMChoi Kyoung RokKarlsruherHolstein KielESPN+
Sunday12:30 PMLee Kang InValenciaEibarTBD
Sunday2:30 PMHwang Hee ChanLeipzigWolfsburgESPN+
Sunday3:00 PMHwang Ui JoBordeauxLensBeIN Play
Sunday3:00 PMYun Il LokMontpellierBrestNone

Jeong Woo Yeong-- Perhaps a cameo vs. his former club but not expecting much right now.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- I don't expect a major change for Kwon tomorrow either.

Suk Hyun Jun-- With promotion set, perhaps there will be changes in the final match of the season but Suk is likely to play whether at the start or as a sub.

Son Heung Min-- Should start.

Ji Dong Won-- Not sure about his health and given time off, seems unlikely to start even if healthy as he regains fitness.

Lee Jae Sung-- Played most of the match and had an assist in the comeback which leaves Kiel on the cusp of automatic promotion. He'll have to step up Sunday as their in-form scorer, Bartels, might miss after coming off at HT. A win in one of their final two would be enough.

Choi Kyoung Rok-- No update on his health. I don't expect him to start unless he's 100%.

Lee Kang In-- After the optimism of Sunday, LKI was an unused sub midweek so I remain uncertain as to his role this weekend. Should be in the squad at least.

Hwang Hee Chan-- Hwang got another surprise start, this time in a front pair with Sorloth. Unfortunately, after a bright start from Leipzig's offense, things looked quite jumbled and Dortmund took advantage and ran away with the match. Hwang had a hand in the second goal as his pass back from a throw in went to a Dortmund player which started a goal scoring sequence. Things were not in sync with the change in shape and Hwang looked a bit lost and was no surprise when he was taken off at HT. I don't expect a start but we'll see if he gets a sub showing this weekend.

Hwang Ui Jo-- Should start but things are very dicey in terms of team behind and their relegation battle.

Yun Il Lok-- Didn't make squad which doesn't bode well for the weekend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Midweek Preview May 12 and Weekend Recap May 7th

A bit off on my dates last week and even missed Holstein Kiel catching up on COVID postponements on Monday. Nearing summer break when I can look forward to easing off the blog pedal.

Wednesday1:00 PMLee Kang InValencia@SevillaBeIN
Wednesday3:00 PMYun Il LokMontpellierPSG (Cup)BeIN Play
Thursday9:30 AMLee Jae SungHolstein KielJahn RegensburgNone
Thursday2:45 PMHwang Hee ChanLeipzigDortmund (Cup)ESPN2

Lee Kang In-- A surprise start and a win to avoid any risk of relegation was a good start in the interim manager era. LKI was only ok though playing out wide and didn't get too many touches on the ball, especially in the first half when Valencia had far less possession. When he did get touches, he showed a bit of rust and over-eagerness with his play, though it did improve as the match wore on. His defensive work was ok when he tracked back, though it was unclear if it was tactical, fatigue or lack of work rate when he didn't. Its a short week and hard to gauge what Valencia's intent is here but I'm leaning to a possible start in an attempt to either convince LKI to stay or to increase his value if he does go. And Valencia somehow keeps winning when he starts which won't hurt.

Yun Il Lok-- An unused sub and he didn't even make the squad for the midweek fixture.

Lee Jae Sung-- I guess Kiel's manager saw how tired LJS looked as he gave LJS a rest... ahead of the match that I didn't put on the schedule. LJS had a goal overturned by VAR due to handball in the buildup. Still didn't sound like LJS played great but at least Kiel are now in second with a match in hand. I think LJS starts.

Hwang Hee Chan-- HHC's cup heroics earned HHC a start in a low-risk match with short rest ahead of cup final. Though Leipzig did not play well, HHC did as he did cause problems for Dortmund's backline and Hummels in particularly who could not match HHC for pace or strength. Hwang had a chance early from exploiting just that but GK came and had a nice save. Unfortunately, Leipzig couldn't get the ball advanced enough to take advantage often, but Hwang was able to capitalize on one chance when he ran away from Hummels and found Olmo for an equalizing goal. I'd not read too much into HHC's 90 minutes ahead of a much more important cup final, but his showing has to give Nagelsmann second thoughts at least about a bigger sub role.

Hwang Ui Jo-- Back to more of the same with Bordeaux completely outplayed by a side in the relegation zone and HUJ missing in his rare chances to score or assist. At least he seemed to care which was more than can be said of his teammates who looked checked out.

Ji Dong Won-- Missed out with injury.

Jeong Woo Yeong-- An eventual big win but the match was too close until late for Jeong to come on.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- Kwon did make the squad which is an improvement but not the prep for Olympics he'd be looking for.

Choi Kyoung Rok-- Still out with injury.

Son Heung Min-- The downside to a new manager and an attacking style as Tottenham's poor defense was exposed and also struggled against Leeds' press. But Son found a way to have an impact nonetheless, with a nice give-and-go with Alli leaving Son with just the GK to beat which he did with ease. He had a few other chances but Tottenham's struggles in defense reduced Son's ability to create chances. The result was bad as Tottenham look all but out of top four chase, but at least the attacking was watchable even if the defense was groan-worthy.

Suk Hyun Jun-- Suk came on as a sub and Troyes did enough to win promotion! It will be interesting to see the summer play out between City Football Group's ownership likely spending to get Troyes competitive at higher level, Suk's contributing but secondary role, and Suk's citizenship issues.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Weekend Preview May 5th and Recap Apr 30

I'll do my best to catalog a weird week schedule wise though some watching was limited.

Friday12:30 PMLee Jae SungHolstein KielSt PauliNone
Saturday7:00 AMHwang Ui JoBordeaux@NantesBeIN Play
Saturday7:00 AMJi Dong WonEintracht BraunschweigFortuna DusseldorfNone
Saturday7:00 AMChoi Kyoung RokKarlsruherGreuther FuerthNone
Saturday7:30 AMSon Heung MinTottenham@LeedsNBCSN
Saturday9:30 AMHwang Hee ChanLeipzig@DortmundESPN
Saturday2:00 PMSuk Hyun JunTroyesDunkerqueNone
Sunday7:30 AMJeong Woo YeongFreiburg@CologneESPN+
Sunday7:30 AMKwon Chang HoonFreiburg@CologneESPN+
Sunday9:00 AMYun Il LokMontpellier@StrasbourgBeIN Play
Sunday10:15 AMLee Kang InValenciaReal ValladolidBeIN La Lliga/Esp

Lee Jae Sung-- A disappointing end to the cup run as Kiel looked totally spent after a COVID suspension of training and then three matches all so tightly together. LJS was no exception as he struggled to cover ground in a more central role against a Dortmund side that was firing on all cylinders. A move to false 9 didn't help much as Kiel didn't really have the kind of possession to warrant that style of play. In their second match of the weekend, Kiel was able to take advantage of a relegation candidate and keep their promotion hopes alive even if LJS' form seems to be struggling with the load. Should start again.

Hwang Ui Jo-- A big win for Bordeaux but apparently HUJ had an awful first half. He didn't look as bad in the second half but it seems a Sling/BeIN issue is preventing me from watching a performance that was panned by French press. To be clear, he wasn't good in that second half but he should continue to start.

Ji Dong Won-- Not ruled out but sounds fairly uncertain for the weekend. Should start if fit but sounds like he's still not 100% and a bench role or inactive is more likely depending on his health.

Choi Kyoung Rok-- We will see how fit he is. Will start if 100% but with little on the line, they may take it slow on the recovery.

Son Heung Min-- Tottenham finally showed signs of offensive life and creativity and Son benefited with a saved chance earlier in the first half, an assist, a goal ruled offside by VAR and finally a goal of his own before being subbed off. Tottenham did have quite a bit of rust, with passing patterns not fully connecting, but it was a relief to see a pattern nonetheless. For his assist, Son ran onto a long pass out wide and found Bale running through free who scored nicely. As for his own goal, Son kind of stumbled on his usual cut and shoot (maybe as he cut out rather than in :) ), but the quality of his shot really overcame any issues with space, pinging the ball in off the post. Some optimism finally but perhaps too late for top four. Son should start.

Hwang Hee Chan-- Came on late in regular time and had a hard time getting in the flow of the match... until extra time when he came alive, showing pace to beat the offside trap to score a goal to put Leipzig ahead. And when it looked like penalties looked certain after a Werder Bremen equalizer, Hwang Hee Chan again was the hero, finding space to receive a cross and being aware enough to find teammate for the winning goal. Again, HHC isn't a perfect attacker but he does provide some explosiveness to Leipzig's front line and the lack of opportunities until now made for some frustrating watching. An interesting weekend match as they face Dortmund for first of two matches, with the cup final next week. Nagelsmann suggested some more minutes down the stretch for HHC but the question is if he uses Saturday as a test or as a decoy. I'm leaning to a start as I'm more pessimistic about a big role in the cup final but plenty of welcome uncertainty here.

Suk Hyun Jun-- Came on with about 30 minutes left and though Troyes didn't look great against a relegated opponent, they still came away with three points that leaves them on the cusp of promotion. Suk had a very good chance to score when his shot from a throughball was really well saved, but was otherwise often not in sync with his wing players. But Suk was very useful killing the remainder of the clock as the opposition had a hard time knocking the strong Suk off the ball in the corners. Should continue to be an early offensive sub.

Jeong Woo Yeong-- Came on in a lost cause with ten or so left. Jeong brought his pace but showed some of the faults that Streich must be considering when leaving him so frequently on the bench. He often made the wrong decision under pressure, even if his energy is what created the opportunities in the first place. Likely remains on the bench.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- Was left out of the squad. I think the full squad was fit so not great news for the final stretch where it seems making squad is far from certain now with military and Olympics hanging overhead.

Yun Il Lok-- An unused sub and unlikely to play even if he makes the squad. With his manager leaving at the end of the season, a fair number of question marks surround with Yun's contract up this summer.

Lee Kang In-- Gracia got sacked midweek in a surprise even if it was too late for Lee Kang In to play on the weekend. What that means for last few matches of the season remains to be seen though a greater than usual chance of playing in an attempt to convince him to stay, even though he has reportedly communicated that he wants to move this summer to club execs.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Weekend Preview Apr 30 and Midweek Recap Apr 27

For those who follow me on Twitter, I'll be following the lead of  English football and avoiding using social media this weekend. I don't think it will do much but we can hope that basic measures to control online abuse can be introduced. We know the ability exists but the willingness to reduce their user count seems to not be there...

Friday2:30 PMHwang Hee ChanLeipzig@Werder Bremen (Cup)ESPNNews
Saturday2:00 PMSuk Hyun JunTroyes@ChateaurouxBeIN Play
Saturday2:30 PMLee Jae SungHolstein Kiel@Dortmund (Cup)ESPNNews
Sunday7:00 AMHwang Ui JoBordeauxRennesBeIN Play
Sunday11:05 AMYun Il LokMontpellierSt EtienneBeIN Xtra
Sunday2:15 PMSon Heung MinTottenhamSheffield UtdNBCSN
Sunday3:00 PMLee Kang InValenciaBarcelonaBeIN
Monday2:30 PMChoi Kyoung RokKarlsruher@Fortuna DusseldorfNone
Tuesday12:30 PMLee Jae SungHolstein KielSandhausenNone
Thursday12:30 PMJeong Woo YeongFreiburg@Hertha BerlinESPN+
Thursday12:30 PMKwon Chang HoonFreiburg@Hertha BerlinESPN+
OffJi Dong WonEintracht Braunschweig

Hwang Hee Chan-- Given absence, I don't have positive expectations coming up and it seems based on rumors popping up in German media, it seems his agent agrees. Unlikely to have much of a role whether he's in squad or not.

Suk Hyun Jun-- The offense is doing well without him and given that they're churning toward promotion, I doubt any changes. Should come on as a sub. We will see if the distraction of his "draft dodging" starts to impact Suk and his play.

Lee Jae Sung-- Will start both matches if he's fit and for the second, fresh. One last big showcase expected so hopefully he shows up to play.

Hwang Ui Jo-- Should start but will his team be playing behind him?

Yun Il Lok-- I don't expect him to play if he makes the squad.

Son Heung Min-- Should start.

Lee Kang In-- Counting the days til the summer window. I don't expect him to play unless its total garbage time.

Choi Kyoung Rok-- Great news as he got a new contract out to 2023. It seems his knee injury combined with the duration of the contract seem to indicate that CKR has avoided military duty though his contract might have an out if he does have to serve. He didn't have a crutch in the picture I saw so maybe a decent chance of returning to play but will be a function of his fitness.

Jeong Woo Yeong-- A bit far out to forecast but likely a sub role at best for Jeong.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- Even less optimism for minutes for KCH.

Ji Dong Won-- Ji started a friendly but had to be subbed off after 20 minutes or so. Hopefully precautionary.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Midweek Preview Apr 27 and Weekend Recap Apr 24

More action midweek as BL2 teams catch up on cancellations. No great news recap wise sadly so I picked a good weekend to not be fully attentive. And similarly, testing out a new layout for smaller schedules.

Tuesday12:30 PMLee Jae SungHolstein Kiel@NurnbergNone
Thursday12:30 PMChoi Kyoung RokKarlsruher@HamburgESPN+

Lee Jae Sung-- Played 90 in a win, apparently in a deeper role, and should start as Kiel remain in the hunt for promotion.

Choi Kyoung Rok-- CKR scored in his first match but apparently picked up a small calf strain, forcing him to be subbed off after an hour, but also again after starting the second of the weekend after 20 minutes or so. Sounds like a minor issue but Thursday seems too soon. The lack of news on contract is still curious given that he can pre-sign anywhere.


Hwang Ui Jo-- Bordeaux did not respond well to its financial uncertainty, going down by three. Hwang played the full 90 in what sounded like a dreadful day.

Ji Dong Won-- Only played 60 in a loss.

Jeong Woo Yeong-- Came on as a last minute sub with too little time to do anything.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- An unused sub.

Hwang Hee Chan-- Wasn't in the squad. No news of an injury so not great news. While news of Nagelsmann leaving might normally be good news for next season, the related departure of Leipzig's sporting director is more ominous. None of this points to an improved environment for rest of season, with Nagelsmann having no incentive to play HHC outside the chance of HHC reuniting with his Salzburg manager who is the likely replacement.

Yun Il Lok-- Made the squad but it sounded like the number of injuries was a primary factor and he did not come on. We should get a better read on his standing in the squad on future selections.

Son Heung Min-- Man City played Tottenham off the pitch in the first half and Son didn't help as the pressure to do something with the rare touches of the ball forced many errant passes. It was a bit of a surprise that he didn't come off but of course you may be hoping for the random moment of inspiration with Son especially with a Kane not at 100%. Son was a bit better in the second half but most of his threat was to stretch the defense which was clearly setup to prevent him from getting behind. With Tottenham not having great long passers in DM/CM, Pep probably didn't need to be concerned too much. Disappointing but expected end to last trophy run and questions about next season continue to rise.

Suk Hyun Jun-- Came on as a sub but the match had lost momentum. I did watch but I don't recall anything of note.

Lee Kang In-- An unused sub. Summer can't come soon enough.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Weekend Preview Apr 24 and Midweek Recap Apr 20

Rushing to complete this as I thought I had another day to write up. I have shot #2 coming up later today so we'll see how capable I am to watch this weekend.

Friday12:30 PMJi Dong WonEintracht BraunschweigAueNone
Friday12:30 PMChoi Kyoung RokKarlsruherWurzburger KickersNone
Saturday7:00 AMLee Jae SungHolstein Kiel@OsnabruckNone
Saturday9:00 AMSuk Hyun JunTroyesGrenobleBeIN Play
Saturday9:30 AMJeong Woo YeongFreiburgHoffenheimESPN+
Saturday9:30 AMKwon Chang HoonFreiburgHoffenheimESPN+
Saturday12:30 PMLee Kang InValenciaAlavesBeIN
Sunday7:00 AMYun Il LokMontpellier@NiceBeIN Play
Sunday9:00 AMHwang Ui JoBordeaux@LorientNone
Sunday9:30 AMHwang Hee ChanLeipzigStuttgartESPN+
Sunday11:30 AMSon Heung MinTottenhamMan City (Cup)ESPN+
Monday12:00 PMChoi Kyoung RokKarlsruherAueNone

Ji Dong Won-- Painful match to watch as they went down by three very quickly. Ji was moving well in his first start post injury and was playing ok in his limited touches... until he had a chance in the box and missed just wide. Is starting today but will not want to miss those kind of chances.

Choi Kyoung Rok-- Starts today and likely again on Monday.

Lee Jae Sung-- Should start and hopefully the break freshens him up for final push to promotion/summer transfer window.

Suk Hyun Jun-- Suk came on and had an almost immediate impact, running onto a deflected cross and guiding it past the GK for his first goal post injury. It was quite a quality reaction given the deflection and the speed of the action. Troyes added a third moments later so Suk didn't have to do too much but was willing to battle and looked to be moving ok though a bit short on fitness.

Jeong Woo Yeong-- Given four goals last weekend, I can't imagine Streich will be eager to make too many changes so I suspect on the bench.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- Same as Jeong.

Lee Kang In-- LKI finally came on as a sub but I wasn't watching very closely as Valencia was not seeing much of the ball. The lack of defensive work rate wasn't great in what I did see. With a short week, we'll see if anything changes but not expecting a lot.

Yun Il Lok-- No positive news on a possible return to the squad.

Hwang Ui Jo-- Sadly, Bordeaux is the next club to seek credit protection from a vulture owner walking away. HUJ should start.

Hwang Hee Chan-- Poulsen is still out and Nagelsmann sounded frustrated by the lack of goals... HHC came on relatively early for him at 77 minutes but Leipzig were not playing well and HHC did not get much touches due to that. Still don't think he starts this weekend but has a decent chance of coming on if the front line continues to struggle.

Son Heung Min-- Tottenham was very disorganized for most of the match and Son suffered a lot as he thrives with a bit more organization than what we saw midweek. But he was working hard and that started to bear fruit in the second half, where the team started to calm down and link up in attack. It culminated in a well taken goal that was rightfully taken off for offside by VAR. But it was one of the nicest passing sequences we've seen from Tottenham all season. He got a chance to get his goal back when it counted the most, scoring a PK to bring Mason his first win as interim manager and Tottenham a confidence boost and a glimmer of hope for European spots. Will start the cup though he did look a bit tired at the end.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Midweek Preview Apr 20 and Weekend Recap Apr 16

A wild start to the week between Jose Mourinho getting fired and the formation of ESL. The former is an attempt to fix a disaster while the latter is clearly the genesis of another. As a watcher of American sports, which the proposed league is clearly mimicking, I'll just say that removal of CL qualifications let alone threat of relegation would remove most of the drama from league play and the absence of small clubs who might upset the world's order for one midweek evening would be incredibly depressing. 

On a brighter note, Suk Hyun Jun re-enters the schedule as BeIN appears to be planning on showing some Ligue 2 football now.

Tuesday12:30 PMJi Dong WonEintracht Braunschweig@FuerthESPN+
Tuesday12:30 PMHwang Hee ChanLeipzig@CologneESPN+
Tuesday2:00 PMSuk Hyun JunTroyes@Chamois NiortaisBeIN Play
Tuesday3:00 PMYun Il LokMontpellierCanet RoussillonBeIN Xtra
Wednesday1:00 PMSon Heung MinTottenhamSouthamptonPeacock
Wednesday1:00 PMLee Kang InValencia@OsasunaBeIN Play

Ji Dong Won-- Came on as a sub for final few minutes. Maybe a better chance for a bigger role given short week but not sure of his fitness and of course another match Friday so not sure how large his role might be tomorrow but likely to play some if not from the start.

Hwang Hee Chan-- Did make the squad but apparently wasn't fit enough to win even a sub role when Leipzig needed offense. Better chance to come off the bench midweek as Poulsen is in doubt.

Suk Hyun Jun-- Suk Hyun Jun made his second appearance post calf injury that kept him out for most of 2021. A glance at reports seem positive on his direction even if he's not 100% on a short week. I expect him to be on the bench still but perhaps with more minutes.

Yun Il Lok-- Apparently, Yun has been out with an ankle injury. Already fair amount of question about his contract renewal and can't help if he can't play. Still out midweek.

Son Heung Min-- Modern football has shown the flaws in Mourinho's system for many years now so it's no surprise to see this narrative end as I expected at his hire: miserable football, a broken team spirit and far from where they want to be in competitive aspect. That said, Son did benefit from Mourinho's counterattacking system, given that many of his goals come from those scenarios, but then didn't, as Tottenham had nobody to launch counterattacks once opponents realized how to reduce Kane's influence on long balls. Tottenham soon forgot Pochettino's rehearsed buildup patterns, and the bias towards battlers over passers in midfield meant few could create an attack out of pure individual quality. Lots of questions with cup final on Sunday and an interim manager but I think Son starts to hopefully build up some momentum into their last chance at season glory.

Lee Kang In-- An unused sub again. Not expecting a change now.

Hwang Ui Jo-- I'm 35 minutes in and not sure I can withstand more as it's target practice for Monaco and no signs of any offense from Bordeaux. A mixed bag from Hwang in the three or four touches he's had so far but not sure any forward could do better in a no win situation.

Jeong Woo Yeong-- Came on as a sub in garbage time. No major mistakes but the match was done.

Kwon Chang Hoon-- Came on with JWY and same comments apply here.

Lee Jae Sung/Choi Kyoung Rok-- Both clubs remain in COVID suspension of schedule.