The 2014 K League Classic (overall 21st year of the K League) season finished at the start of December and overall it was a pretty successful and entertaining season. Although some felt the 2013 was slightly better and that the World Cup / Summer break caused an unnecessary stoppage in the season. The quality of football, organization and average attendances (up 3.6%) saw overall increases.
Jeonbuk Hyundai eased to the K League Classic Title with a few weeks to spare. Suwon Bluewings finished runners up and FC Seoul grabbed 3rd and the final AFC Champions League place on goal difference. Sangju Sangmu will return to the K League Challenge after finished bottom of the league. Gyeongnam have also been relegated after losing in the Relegation Playoff vs. Gwangju.
Here is our summary of the K League Classic Season with the key facts, stats and thoughts:
K League Challenge 2014 Final Table
As already mentioned Jeonbuk Hyundai won the league, with Suwon Bluewings and FC Seoul in 2nd and 3rd. Pohang Steelers (4th), Jeju United (5th) and Ulsan Hyundai (7th) complete the top half.
The bottom half was a little more entertaining towards the end of the season, Jeonnam (7th, Busan I’Park (8th), Seongnam FC (9th) and Incheon United (10th) all retained their K League Classic status. Gyeongam (11th) as already mentioned have been relegated via the playoff and Sangju Sangmu (12th) have also gone down to the K League Challenge.
K League Classic 2014 Prediction Update and Review
Here is our Prediction from pre-season back in January, also including the changes compered to the final table:
- Ulsan Hyundai (-6)
- Pohang Steelers (-2)
- Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (+2)
- Suwon Bluewings (+2)
- FC Seoul (+2)
- Incheon United (-4)
- Sangju Sangmu (-5)
- Jeju United (+3)
- Busan I’Park (+1)
- Jeonnam Dragons (+3)
- Seongnam FC (+2)
- Gyeongnam (+1)
Firstly please bare in mind that we wrote this prediction back in January over a month before the season started and also with limited information regarding the teams progresses during pre-season. However looking at our prediction and the end of the season table we made a few errors but most teams were in the right area of the table at least. Jeonbuk Hyundai, Jeonnam Dragons and Jeju United surpassed at expectations. Whilst Ulsan Hyundai, Incheon United and Sangju Sangmu were disappointing this season.
K League Classic 2014 Top Goalscorers
The Top Goalscorers for the 2014 K League Classic were:
1st: Santos (Suwon Bluewings) – 14 Goals
2nd: Lee Dong-Gook (Jeonbuk Hyundai) – 13 Goals
=2nd: Stevica Ristić (Jeonnam Dragons) – 13 Goals
4th: Han Kyo-Won (Jeonbuk Motors) – 11 Goals
=4th: Lim Sang-Hyub (Busan I’Park) – 11 Goals
K League Classic 2014 Awards (Random Stats)
Here are a few awards (basically random stats) from the 2014 K League Classic. Some maybe a little surprising whilst others less so:
Top Goal Scorers: Jeonbuk Hyundai (60 Goals)
Weakest Goal Scorers: Gyeongnam (30 Goals)
Best Defence: Jeonbuk Hyundai (37 Conceded)
Worst Defence: Sangju Sangmu (62 Conceded)
Draw Specialists: Incheon United (16 Draws) – 2nd season running
Best Attendance: FC Seoul vs. Suwon Bluewings (46,549 on July 12th)
Highest Average Attendance: Suwon Bluewings (19,608)
Lowest Attendance: Jeonnam Dragons vs. Seongnam FC (858 on Nov 1st)
Lowest Average Attendance: Sangju Sangmu (2,558)
Final Thoughts and Next Season
Overall we where happy with how the K League Classic 2014 went, of course however there were a few negatives. Firstly the summer (World Cup) break was maybe a little long and with only a handful of K League Classic players involved not really needed. Secondly the league was pretty even which is good, but it meant a high number of draws and slightly more defensive play. The K League has never been known for it’s high goal tally but this year it was a little more noticeable. Finally a number of star players moved aboard (mainly to China) last winter and therefore this season felt a little bit like a rebuilding year.
On the positive side, attendances where once again slightly higher than last season (apart from Incheon United whose attendances sharply dropped). Secondly it was an enjoyable season until the end and the end of season split seemed to work again for most sides. Finally Seongnam FC won the FA Cup and therefore qualified for the AFC Champions League joining the big boys, which personally is nice to see that money doesn’t always talk.
Next Season; The 2015 K League Classic season will once again feature 12 teams, although it’s unclear what the structure will be. Although it maybe safe to say there will still be promotion / relegation between the K League Challenge. Daejeon Citizen and Gwangju will replace Gyeongnam and Sangju Sangmu. It should be an interesting season, which at this point could go in number of directions.
If you have any questions regarding the K League Classic, the 2014 season or if you have anything you’d like to add please let us know either here or via our social media channels.