Korea Baseball Organization
KIA Tigers at Doosan Bears
6:30 p.m. Friday, Jamsil Baseball Stadium, Seoul
After playing last weekend in Seoul against the Nexen Heroes, the KIA Tigers are traveling back to the capital city this weekend to take on the Doosan Bears.
This week’s Seoul trip is going to be another tough journey for the Tigers, who lost three games straight against the Heroes last weekend. Not only are the Bears the defending champions, but they also have been dominating in the league this year.
The Bears are currently at the top of the league standings and more than six games ahead of the NC Dinos, who are ranked second in the league.
One of the main drivers behind the Bears’ success this season is the team’s pitching lineup. Dustin Nippert is leading the Bears on the mound as the winningest pitcher in the KBO with 11 as of Thursday. His teammate Michael Bowden is closely after Nippert with 10 wins.
Their effort, however, would be in vain were it not for the help from the batters. Bears slugger Kim Jae-hwan is ranked in second in home runs with 21 dingers as of Thursday.
Ulsan Hyundai FC at FC Seoul
7 p.m. Saturday, Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul
It’s time for the showdown between FC Seoul and the Ulsan Hyundai FC, who are ranked second and third in the K-League standings.
For FC Seoul, the match on Saturday will be yet another opportunity to see whether the leadership of new skipper Hwang Sun-hong has an effect on the Seoul players.
Since he took the helm late last month, Hwang has yet to grab a win with his new team, losing against the Seongnam FC and the Sangju Sangmu FC.
Hwang, who is known for his meticulous management style, has hoped to implement the “tiki-taka” style of football, in which a team keeps possession of the ball for as long as possible by passing the ball around.
This is expected to bolster the FC Seoul’s prowess on the pitch. The team’s lethal offensive lineup is already considered the top in the league, and perhaps in Asia.
Despite the hope, however, Seoul and Hwang have yet to adjust to each others’ styles.
Ulsan has won nine games while losing six and tying three. Although it is tied with Seoul in terms of wins and losses, it is behind Seoul by goal difference.
Pohang Steelers at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
7 p.m. Sunday, Jeonbuk World Cup Stadium, Jeonju, North Jeolla
Sixth-ranked Pohang Steelers is traveling to Jeonju, North Jeolla, to take on top-ranked Jeonbuk Hyundai FC.
Led by its veteran striker Lee Dong-gook, Jeonbuk hasn’t lost a game this year in the K-League Classic. The team is the only undefeated club in the league this year, with nine wins and nine draws.
Lee is a leading all-time scorer of the K-League Classic with 187 goals total throughout his career. Since he joined Jeonbuk in 2009, he’s netted 114 goals while playing in 217 games. He’s scored seven goals this season alone, ranking him at sixth in terms of goals in the K-League Classic at the moment.
Pohang Steelers, which has won five K-League Classic titles and three Asian Champions League (ACL) titles, is rather struggling this year in comparison.
In the ACL this year, the Steelers could not even make it past the group stage. Led by former national team defender Choi Jin-cheul, the Steelers finished the ACL group stage as the last in Group H with one win, two draws and three losses.
In the K-League Classic this season, Pohang is recording seven wins, five losses and six draws. The good news for the Steelers is that the team has been on a streak, grabbing three wins in the last three games.