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Preview: K League Classic Round 25

The midweek K League action threw up some notable developments in the league standings, more notably Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors extending their lead to seven points. Can the Green Warriors further assert their power and put Ulsan to task when these two sides meet in Jeonju on Saturday, much like how Choi Kanghee's side did when the two Hyundai-backed sides met last? Equally, can Jeju United, with the help of Kim Wonil (pictured above), could move head of Ulsan should the Islanders record victory over relegation threatened Incheon United. Or, can the Durumi pick themselves up off of the bottom of the table with a shock win in Seogwipo. All this and much more in your comprehensive guide to round 25.

Image via Jeju United Facebook

Saturday 5th August 

Gwangju FC (11th) Vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings (2nd) 19:00

Gwangju FC moved off the bottom of the table in midweek, despite the 3-2 defeat to Pohang Steelers. With Incheon United losing at home to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Gwangju were able to ease past the Durumi on goal difference. This weekend Gwangju have the visit of high-flying Suwon Bluewings to contend with. As the result of a stalemate with Ulsan Hyundai, Suwon Samsung Bluewings' attempts to topple Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the summit of the K League Classic hit a bit of a set back in midweek. The Bluewings are still on course for Asian Champions League qualification however and make the trip to Guus Hiddink Stadium on a run of six games without defeat. Gwangju, despite their precarious league position, have some notable home wins to speak of in recent weeks; a 2-1 win over Jeonnam Dragons and a 3-2 win of FC Seoul. As thus, a Suwon win isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion. But, having said that, Suwon remain strong favourites.



Prediction: Gwangju FC 1-3 Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Daegu FC (10th) Vs FC Seoul (5th) 19:00

Both Daegu FC and FC Seoul have seen their seasons improve of late. Whilst FC Seoul have battled their way back into the Asian Champions League qualification hunt, Daegu have been lifting themselves out of the relegation zone. In midweek, Daegu did suffer a 2-0 reverse to Jeju United but due to Incheon United's and Gwangju FC's respective defeats, still have a three point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone. FC Seoul meanwhile bounced back from the defeat to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors before the break by seeing off the challenge of Gangwon FC at home. The 3-1 home win means that Seoul are now five points clear of the relegation round (7th place) and are just three points behind Jeju United in fourth. As thus, Seoul will see the trip to Daegu has an ideal opportunity to put further pressure on the top four. Daegu, however, remain unbeaten against FC Seoul this season having recorded a 2-1 win at home in April and a 0-0 draw at Sangam in June.



Prediction: Daegu FC 1-3 FC Seoul

Incheon United (12th) Vs Jeju United (4th) 19:00

Incheon United's 3-1 defeat to league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai on Wednesday rendered the Durumi bottom of the table on goal difference. Up next for Incheon is the visit of Jeju United, a side who seem to have put their mid-season wobble behind them having notched up five wins from their last six. A win for Jeju could see them up a place and into 3rd with having a far superior goal difference to Ulsan Hyundai in 3rd. A win for Incheon United would perhaps be seen as extremely unlikely, especially seeing as those clad in black and blue stripes have shipped eight goals from their last two home games and are without a win in six.



Prediction: Incheon United 1-4 Jeju United.

Sunday 6th August

Sangju Sangmu (9th) Vs Gangwon FC (6th) 19:00

Heading into Sundays tie at Sangju Civil Stadium, neither Sangju Sangmu nor Gangwon FC will do so in exactly scintillating form. Whilst the former have just one win in their last five, Gangwon meanwhile are on a stretch of five games without a win with three straight defeats. If Gangwon are to arrest the slide then they will have to do so without the services of Jin Sunghwan who will miss the game through suspension. The former Pohang Steelers midfielder has featured heavily for Gangwon and has laid on three assists this term but picked up his third yellow of the campaign against Seoul and so will sit out the trip to Sangju. Sangju are in danger of being dragged deep into the relegation battle with the gap between tenth placed Daegu now just two points. Sangju's home form does not making great reading and are on run of eight home games without a win. But, despite Gangwon's lacklustre showings in recent weeks, the Pyeongchang-based outfit will still be seen as favourites for this one.



Prediction: Sangju Sangmu 0-2 Gangwon FC

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) Vs Ulsan Hyundai (3rd) 19:00

Ironically, it is Jeonbuk's opponents for this Sunday's coming match that they can be thankful to for extending their lead at the top of the K League Classic. Heading into the midweek round of fixtures, Jeonbuk were five points clear of Ulsan Hyundai and Suwon Samsung Bluewings who both went head-to-head at the Munsu. But, with the game ending as a stalemate, and Jeonbuk comfortably dispatching Incheon United, the Green Warriors now sit seven points clear at the top of the league. Jeonbuk welcome Ulsan to Jeonju World Cup Stadium on the back of four straight wins. Ulsan, meanwhile, haven't tasted defeat since these two sides last met at the beginning of July.



Columnist Matthew Binns previews the game here.

Pohang Steelers (7th) Vs Jeonnam Dragons (8th) 19:00


Seventh versus eighth may not seem like a fixture with a great deal of context but Jeonnam Dragons' visit to Pohang on Sunday is not a game without its own importance. Pohang Steelers, who once looked like they were mounting a serious title challenge, have lost their way somewhat before bouncing back with a midweek win over Gwangju. As a result, Pohang will hope that the win kick-starts their season with the North Gyeongsang side look to salvage their season by qualifying for the Asian Champions League. Jeonnam Dragons beat Daegu 2-0 in midweek to move within just three points of Pohang. A win for the Dragons would see them leapfrog the Steelers and into contention for a top half finish. Such a feat would be a real achievement for the Dragons and with the likes of Róbert Feczesin bang in form, a win for Noh Sangrae's men isn't all together out of the question.



Our Dragons duo Aoden Halligan and Alex Meyer sat down with the aforementioned Róbert Feczesin recently for an exclusive interview here and preview Sunday's game here.


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