The whole football family is missing the beautiful game, which means so much to so many. Weeks had passed without any games to watch and it felt like an age, but now the K-League has brought the first instalment of what has been missing.
South Korea’s top-flight kicked off at the weekend, with empty stadiums and safety measures to closely monitor the health of players and staff. Korean football is now in the spotlight more than ever before, as audiences around the world are tuning in.
There are a few interesting rules in the K-League that some may not be familiar with. Each team must field one under-22 player in the starting line-up and one on the bench. It’s an interesting idea that means younger players always have a chance and can develop their game and pick up experience.
The league contains 12 teams and the league splits into two playoff groups, similar to the Scottish Premiership. Normally teams play each other 3 times for a total of 33 games each, before the split where each team plays a remaining 5 games. This season it has been shortened so that each team plays twice before the split, so there will be 27 games in total for each team.
Rather than using goal difference to decide the table when teams are level on points, goals scored is used instead. This was brought in as a new rule in the last few years to encourage more attacking football.
The league favourites this year are Jeonbuk, who are managed by Jose Morais. Morais was Mourinho’s assistant at both Chelsea and Madrid. Jeonbuk have won the league three years in a row, and have won 6 times in the past 10 years.
FC Seoul are the team from the capital but they moved there controversially from outside of the city in 2004, and many fans were unhappy about the move. They are one of the most successful clubs in the country and the only team to dethrone Jeonbuk since 2013.
Pohang Steelers are the only other team to have won the title in the past decade, and they are three times winners of the Asian Champions League, making them the joint most successful club in Asia.
Pohang’s main rivals Ulsan are another team to watch after finishing second last season. Nicknamed the Tiger, Ulsan were one of the most successful clubs in the 2000s.
It is an interesting league and now it has been given an opportunity to showcase itself to the world. It will be exciting to see the talent and entertainment on show, in a league that otherwise would be in the shadow of the major European Leagues. #mmlove