After a slightly delayed start, the South Korean K League 2020 soccer season is now in full swing. Although the season will operate with a slightly reduced schedule of 27 league games per team instead of 38, the K League is still one of the most exciting professional soccer leagues in the Far East.
The K League’s return has already captured the imagination of soccer fans and bettors. Leading sportsbooks including William Hill, which provide pre-game and in-play K League markets to wager on in native Asian languages, are also broadcasting much of the season to their customers. Games are readily available to those with active betting balances, with live streaming accessible on all desktop and mobile devices.
If you want to know a little bit about the K League and the players and coaches to look out for in these live broadcasts, read on as we provide a comprehensive guide to the new 2020 K League campaign.
The players to watch out for in the K League 2020
There has been a considerable influx of overseas talent to the K League this year, certainly when compared with previous seasons. In recent years, the addition of hand-picked foreign players has been the difference between success and failure in South Korea’s top division, so it’s intriguing to see many teams going down this route this summer.
Two of the leading contenders for the 2020 K League crown have dipped into the overseas transfer market to pep up their respective frontlines. Lars Veldwijk has been snapped up by Jeonbuk Motors, while Bjorn Johnsen has agreed a deal with Ulsan Hyundai. Both Veldwijk and Johnsen are proven in the Netherlands and boast international caps to their name for South Africa and Norway respectively. At 195cm, both players will provide a much-needed physical focal point too.
There is also a growing trend towards the signing of Uzbek football stars. Three Uzbekistan international players succeeded in Korea’s second tier in 2019 and clubs have returned to raid for more, including Busan IPark’s capture of defender Dostonbek Tursunov and Seongnam FC’s deal with midfielder Jamshid Iskandarov. K League 1 teams have also shown foresight to snap up promising talent from K League 2. Pohang Steelers have been attracted to Manuel Palacious, who was named the quickest player in K League 2 last term. The Colombian was clocked at a top speed of almost 36kmph. Meanwhile, fiery Brazilian forward Gustavo Vintecinco has also made the step up from Ansan Greeners to Busan IPark.
The coaches to watch out for in the K League 2020
Undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan managerial appointment made by a K League club in recent times was that of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Portuguese boss, Jose Morais became the club’s first overseas coach in the history of the club and the only foreign manager operating in the K League. Morais led the club to the 2019 K League title in his first season in charge and hopes are high of a repeat performance.
There were three managerial changes made by K League 1 teams ahead of the 2020 season. Daegu FC appointed Lee Byung-Keun, while Seongnam FC and Incheon United captured the services of Kim Nam-Il and Lim Wan-Seop respectively. The longest-serving K League manager is Choi Yong-Soo, who is an FC Seoul icon having helped the team to a K League title and a national cup in his time at the club.
Another progressive appointment was made by Seoul E-Land with the announcement of Chung Jung-Yong as their new coach. Having guided South Korea’s under-20 side to the FIFA World Cup Final in 2019, testing himself at club level seems like a necessary step for his managerial career. Jung-Yong will also be coaching duo Lee Sang-Min and Kim Tae-Hyeon from his former national U-20 side.
One thing is for sure, 2020 will certainly not be a boring K League campaign. As Jeonbuk Motors attempt to make it four K League titles on the spin and Ulsan Hyundai bid to go one further than last year’s runner-up finish, it looks like a two-horse race for K League supremacy this year.