The K League 1 (previously known as the K League Classic) 2019 season this year was close at both the top and bottom right up until the final rounds of the year. Jeonbuk took the title, whilst Jeju United and Gyeongnam FC (via the playoff) dropped down to the 2020 K League 2. Here are the key fact and figures, best and worst teams, players and more;
K League 1: 2019 Season Review
Jeonbuk Hyundai took home yet another title, but it was so close. They won the league on goals scored after finishing level on points with Ulsan Hyundai. Ulsan honestly should have taken the title. FC Seoul finished in a distant third. Pohang, Daegu and Gangwon completed the top half. Sangju, Suwon, Seongnam and finally Incheon United lived to play another season in K League 1. But sadly Gyeongnam FC and Jeju United both suffered relegation.
Taking a FM (Football Manager) approach here are the sides that had strong seasons and seasons to forget.
FC Seoul; they picked up a ACL playoff spot but during a season where they lost twelve times and barely recorded a positive goal difference. Best of the rest this season was good enough for Seoul.
Jeju United; from ACL in 2018 to relegation in 2019. They had the squad and talent to make a run at the top four, but things failed to click all season. Question marks on if they’ll be able to bounce back in 2020.
K League 1: 2019 Season Player Review
There were a number of players who had strong 2019 Seasons. Australian Adam Taggart had a great debut year playing for Suwon Bluewings. Junior once again was the main danger for Ulsan Hyundai during their close championship run. Stefan Mugosa saved Incheon United from the drop once again scoring fourteen times. Shout outs also to Koreans Kim Bo-kyung, Moon Seon-min and keeper Jo Hyeon-woo.
Again taking a FM (Football Manager) approach here are our best and worst signing of the season.
Best Signings of the Season;
Australian Adam Taggart had a fantastic debut season for Suwon Bluewings topping the goal scoring charts and earning a recall to the national team as well. Twenty goals is a great return for a first season in Korea.
Also Wanderson who was a little average for Jeonnam Dragons, showed his turn skill this past season playing for Pohang Steelers.
Finally honorable mentions to Moon Seon-min (Jeonbuk Hyundai) as well as Uros Deric (Gyeongnam – Summer signing).
Worse Signings of the Season;
Sadly Englishman Jordon Mutch never found his feet in the league (he was better in the ACL), and also struggled with life in general in Korea. Also Vietnamese midfielder Nguyễn Công Phượng was over-hyped and played too much too soon for Incheon United. He struggled even more in a following move to Belgium.
K League 1: 2019 Prediction Review
The pre-season prediction was a mixed bag. I got the second two correct, as well as four of the top six. However I put Jeju up in third (real finish twelfth), as well as Gangwon FC down in eleventh (real finish sixth). Finally Sangju survived the drop but were at least in reality in the bottom half. I was also pretty close with both Incheon and Seongnam.
Also here are the attendance stats for the 2019 season. Fantastic to see all twelve clubs record improvements over the 2018 season.
Any thoughts, comments or questions. Feel free to comment below or message me via Twitter.