The start of the 2019 K League 1 season is now under a month away. With all twelve teams currently finalizing squads and warm weather pre-season training, it seems like the perfect point to preview and prediction the upcoming season. So here is my prediction and a brief preview for the 2019 K League 1 season (note this is my personal prediction);

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K League 1 2019: Prediction

Starting at the top I can’t see anyone dethroning reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai this season, the only possible issue could be the change in management. Behind them I see Ulsan Hyundai and Jeju United leading the chasing pack and claiming the Asian Champions League spots. The top half will be rounded off with Suwon Bluewings, Pohang Steelers and an improved FC Seoul. The top six will be close, but won’t be far ahead of the bottom six.

Moving to the bottom I see Sangju Sangmu struggling once again and being the most likely to be relegated this season. Gangwon FC had mixed results last season and reduced funding could see them struggle. Seongnam FC and Incheon United should be safe but sadly will be closer to the bottom than the top. Finally Gyeongnam FC and Daegu FC might both find balancing both league and champions league football difficult, partly due to the fact they don’t have the budgets to sign expended squads.

K League 1 2019: Preview

Hopes as always are high for a competitive and entertaining season. 2018 wasn’t the best but it was at least surprising and there were small improvements with the VAR system. I personally hope that K League clubs will focus on getting bums on seats following a sharp drop in attendances last season. Ticket price are already low, so it’s going to need to be on the field that’s going to draw in the casual fans.

Overall I can’t see anyone challenging Jeonbuk for the title (again), however the champions league spots are wide open this season and following FC Seoul finishing eleventh last season the relegation battle could once again be interesting and dangerous for many K League clubs. Expect to see more surprise results during this coming season.

Finally here are the fixtures for the opening weekend of the K League 1 season. 2019 starts with a Korean Super-Cup style matchup between Jeonbuk Hyundai and Daegu FC on March 1st, which is also a national holiday in South Korea. FC Seoul and Pohang bookend the weekend as they clash at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Predictions for these games coming soon :).

Finally

Do you agree or disagree?

I will try my best to keep things updated throughout the 2019 K League via Twitter (and little via Facebook).

Tim
Modern Seoul
tim@modernseoul.org

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