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.