Here is our Prediction for the upcoming 2013 K League Classic and K League (since renamed the K League Challenge). Firstly to make it clear, this prediction is our personal view and based on personal knowledge, recent K League news, pre-season transfers, the 2012 season as well as other factors. We’ll try and include as much information as possible about the 2013 K League Classic and K League, so you can gain a little insight even if you’re unfamiliar with South Korea’s professional football league.
Changes / New for 2013 in the K League
So those unfamiliar with the recent changes in the K League structure here in a basic recap:
- Firstly the K League is now split into 2 divisions, the top division (Premier League or La Liga of Korea) is now called K League Classic, whilst the newly formed 2nd division is called K League.
- The K League classic now has 14 teams (down 2 from the last seasons 16) and the K League will have 8 teams.
- In the K League classic teams will play each other home and away before splitting in half and playing a further 12 games ( just like last season, also similarity to the Scottish Premier League)
- In the K League Challenge, the 8 teams will play each other at least 4 times. (We believe they will split like the K League Classic and one a mini league of 6 more games)
- Finally the bottom 2 teams in the K League Classic will be relegated, and the 12th placed team will playoff against the winner of the K League over 2 legs (in December).
K League Classic 2013 Prediction
Here is our prediction for the 2013 K League Classic season;
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma
Firstly let start at the top and we have gone for Jeonbuk to win the 2013 K League Classic. We feel that they have a solid squad with a super core of a players which they’ve kept from last season. They have also brought in some talented players to fill a few gaps.
However we’re not completely discounting FC Seoul, last season they were dominate and deserved to win the league, however the champions scalp may make teams up there game. Also they are in the Asian Champions League which may effect there league results but the same could be said for Jeonbuk, Suwon and Pohang.
Third we have Suwon Bluewings who like FC Seoul are always in the title mix. Last season they started well but faded bad. This pre-season they’ve improved their squad and so should be in the mix.
Fourth we have 2012 FA Cup winners Pohang, a solid team that always do well but sometimes miss that cutting edge. If they find form this season they could be a dark horse.
Fifth are Asian Champions Ulsan, a still story to Pohang a nearly team. However this season without the distraction of the champions league they could do well.
In Sixth are Jeju United. Great at home average away would sum them up last season, a team that is could do well but never really puts it together. Once again 2013 maybe the same.
Closing out the top half in seventh we have Incheon Untied. Last season they started woefully but then turned in around, sadly it was a little to late to really matter. However they seem to have keep their 2012 squad together so they should squeak into the top half.
Into the bottom half we have Seongnam, Busan & Daegu. These three all haven’t done anything pre-season which would make you think that they will improve much this year. Seongnam seem to suffer from lack of funding whilst Busan & Daegu both play in pretty huge but empty stadiums, which maybe why they are mid table.
Next in 11th we have Gyeongnam, they rallied to get into the top 8 last season but then the gap in class showed and they lost most of their final 14 games. Although this season they have some more money to spend, it seems unlikely that they will push into the top 10 this season.
In the relegation playoff spot we have Daejeon, last season they finished 13th and although they’ve brought in a couple of interesting new players they have also lost their main goalscorer, sadly it looks like to maybe a long and hard season for Daejeon.
Finally we have the two relegation spots, which we’ve given to Chunnam and Gangwon. Chunnam admittedly maybe seen as a strange choice however unlike some of the other weaker teams in the K League classic so far this pre-season they’ve not improved their squad and so 13th could be a likely outcome. Gangwon is less of a strange discussion, last season they were lucky not to go down and although they’ve trialed a few interesting foreign players it may not improve their overall squad to the level required to stay in the top division.
We’d like to wish all 14 teams a good luck this season and with the possibility of 3 teams relegated it should be an interesting relegation battle. Also this 2013 season we aim to visit at least 3 more K League teams home game adding to our list of FC Seoul, Suwon Bluewings and Incheon United from last season.
K League Challenge 2013 Prediction
As this league is brand new this season and teams were either relegated from the K League Classic in 2012(2 teams), moved from the National League (4 teams), from the Challenger League (1 team) or reserve league (1 team). Therefore it make’s it more difficult to predict as there teams have changed 2012. But here is our best guess on the 2013 K League (since re-branded as the K League Challenge).
Sangju Sangmu Phoenix
Goyang Hi FC
Bucheon FC 1995
Chungbuk Chungju Hummel
We’ve tipped Sangju Sangmu (the Korean Army team) to win the league as they were always a solid K League Classic level team and are only playing in the 2nd level of Korean football due to an automatic relegation. Therefore we feel they should have the power to win the league.
However Gwangju (relegated last season) won’t be far behind as although they have lost some good players from last season.
Also Police FC (Moved from the Reserve League) should give them both good fight, they won their league last season and like Sangju have a strong team.
Next we have FC Anyang, who in there previous state (Goyang KB) dominated the National league in 2012 only to lose agaist Incheon Korail in the playoff final. So they should be strong, plus it’s nice to see football back in Anyang.
Next we have Goyang Hi (previously Ansan Hallelujah), who have a good amount of money behind them but an unknown team.
We’ve placed Suwon FC 6th, although a solid National League team in recent years, we feel that they may struggle at this level.
Seventh we have Bucheon who are making the move from the Challenger League (3rd tier of Korean Football in 2012, now 4th) they are an unknown package. Rumors are that they’ve only kept a handful of last seasons players and basically have a new squad. But we’re not confidence they will do well this season (sorry).
Finally we have Chungbuk Chungju who are moving from the National League. They have the advantage of being located away from any other major team, however they are still remotely located and so signing players maybe hard. Plus they don’t seem to have added to an average National League squad so far in 2013.
We would like to wish all of the 2013 K League team good luck in the season ahead, and we plan on going to watch live games at least FC Anyang, Bucheon, plus maybe Suwon FC and Goyang Hi. After which we will report back with feedback.
Useful Links for the 2013 K League Classic & K League Season
Rokfootball.com – This is the currently the best site to find English speaking fan viewpoints from the K League Classic & Lower.
Soccerway.com – Tables, Results & Fixtures.
Trailofthelionking.com – Maybe the only blog about traveling around Korea and watching sport (mainly football).
End of Season Summary’s and 2014 Season Links
Just click on the clicks here for more details:
We’d like to hear if you agree or disagree with our prediction for the 2013 season, so please feel free to comment below. Also if you have any questions about the K League or football (soccer) in Korea in general please let us know.Tim Modern Seoul firstname.lastname@example.org