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The long wait during the cold winter is finally over the K League returns this coming Saturday afternoon. It’s been a time of change and reflection for some, whilst others have stuck with last seasons hand. It’s difficult to predict how teams will get on during the next few weeks, so it’s an interesting time for all involved.

This season we’re going to the covering each match day separately (last few seasons it’s been each round). Making the posts a little shorter and focused on a day.

For details on Super Match & Derby Day Sunday March 5th – Please Click Here.

K League Classic 2017 League Preview & Season Structure

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+ For our full K League Classic 2017 Preview and League Prediction, Please Click Here +

The league structure for the 2017 season is the same as the previous few years, 12 teams play each other 3 times. The top 6 then play 5 more games against each other, as done the bottom 6. The top 2 automatically qualify for the Champions League, with the FA Cup winner whilst 3rd place enters the Champions League playoffs. At the bottom the 12th placed side (bottom) is relegated and the 11th placed side enters the relegation playoff. There is also the Korean FA Cup in which Classic side enter in the 4th round.

Previous rules still apply for Foreign Players, 3 from any nation plus 1 from any AFC member country (Asia).

This season will be similar to previous seasons, one advantage is a lack of the summer break as their is no world cup. However there is the U20 World Cup taking place in Korea late May to early June. A number of Classic sides will play only away games whilst their stadiums are being used for the tournament, Jeonbuk won’t use theirs for any games from March until June.

K League Classic 2017 Previews & Predictions (Saturday March 4th – Round 1)

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Moving onto the football, here are our brief previews and predictions for this Saturdays 3 games;

Ulsan Hyundai vs. Pohang Steelers @ 3pm

Ulsan proved they belong in the champions league winning 6-0 against Brisbane during the week. They are match fit but Pohang will be able to plan for it. Pohang Steelers should have extra energy having not played competitively yet. They unlikely Ulsan are basically unseen and unknown. The head-to-head record is pretty even with Pohang winning a couple of games more over the years. Last Time: Ulsan won 1-0 back in September.
Prediction: 2 – 1
Pohang come into this game an unknown force, but if Ulsan play like they did during the week they should win.
+Game of Day+ This is our highlight game of the day and therefore we’ll be covering it in extra detail via our Twitter Page.

Gwangju vs. Daegu @ 3pm

The second game of the day features two sides likely to be involved in the relegation battle this season. Gwangju have lost their top goalscorer and haven’t really replaced him. Daegu won promotion last season and have stuck with most of that squad, which is an interesting move. The head-to-head record highlights the number of draws, however last time: Gwangju won 2-1 back in October 2014.
Prediction: 1 – 1
Both sides need a strong start to the season, but as they are evenly matched on paper we see this ending all square.

Sangju Sangmu vs. Gangwon @ 3pm

The final game on Saturday features two much changed and on paper at least improved teams. Sangju Sangmu (aka The Korean Army) recorded one of their best finishes to date last season, but suffered towards the end due to players returning to their parent clubs. Gangwon won in the relegation playoff and have strengthen their squad impressively during the off-season, Jung Jo-Gook being the standout. Sangju have the edge in the head-to-head record, with only 2 of 18 games finishing in a draw.
Prediction: 1 – 0
Sangju will be favorites ahead of kick-off, however it could be close and Gangwon might pull off the upset.

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K League Classic 2017 Results (Saturday March 4th – Round 1)

K League Classic 2017 Results – Saturday:

Ulsan Hyundai 2 – 1 Pohang Steelers
Gwangju 1 – 0 Daegu
Sangju Sangmu 1 – 2 Gangwon

Ulsan, Gwangju and Gangwon all sealed early season wins Saturday afternoon. All were very close games.

More Updates via Twitter

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K League Challenge 2017 (Saturday March 4th – Round 1)

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K League Challenge the second tier of professional football in South Korea also returns to action on Saturday afternoon. Saturday features Seongnam FC widely tipped as the team to beat this season vs. Busan I’Park, as well as the debut of Ansan Greeners who host Daejeon Citizen.

This season the number of teams has dropped down to an even 10 sides. Just like in previous seasons teams will play each other 4 times with the winner gaining automatic promotion to the K League Classic. The next 3 sides enter the Promotion playoffs, and finally once again there is no relegation down to the National League.

+ Full K League Challenge 2017 Season Preview & Prediction, CLICK HERE +

K League Challenge 2017 Previews & Predictions (Saturday March 4th – Round 1)

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Here are our brief previews and predictions for this Saturdays 2 games;

Seongnam FC vs. Busan I’Park @ 3pm

The first game in the Challenge would not look out of place in the Classic. Recently relegated Seongnam FC might have lost some of their bigger names but kept a strong squad. Busan I’Park have been in the playoff mix the past couple of seasons but a lack of consistency has been their downfall. These sides have played 36 times over the years with Seongnam edging the head-to-head, last time back in 2015 Seongnam won 1-0.
Prediction: 2 – 0
Seongnam are the biggest team to have been relegated from the K League Classic in recent years and a win on Saturday will signal their intention to return. Busan won’t just rollover, but Seongnam should win.

Ansan Greeners vs. Daejeon Citizen @ 3pm

The newest side to called the Wa Stadium home Ansan Greeners start their K League life on Saturday. The Asan squad is a mixture of K League veterans, some foreign talent and a base made up of the National League champions Ulsan Mipo Dolphins. Daejeon Citizen are another former Classic side, who are always to the playoff mix. Of course these sides have never played before.
Prediction: 1 1
On paper Daejeon, but debut game luck goes to Ansan. So overall we’re siding with an entertaining draw.
+Game of Day+ This is our highlight game of the day and therefore we’ll be covering it in extra detail via our Twitter Page.

K League Challenge 2017 Results (Saturday March 4th – Round 1)

K League Challenge 2017 Results – Saturday:

Seongnam FC 0 – 1 Busan I’Park
Ansan Greeners 2 – 1 Daejeon Citizen

Ansan Greeners recorded a historic first win under the Greeners name. Busan beat Seongnam who were disappointing.

More Updates via Twitter

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Finally

For information on the all of our previous K League and AFC Champions League posts: CLICK HERE

As always if you have anything you’d like to add please let us know. We will try and keep things updated as best as possible via Twitter (and little via Facebook).

Tim
Modern Seoul
tim@modernseoul.org

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