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Preview: K League Classic Round 27

Whilst summer in Korea is cooling down the battle to beat the drop in the K League Classic is hotting up, with no fewer than four teams all in genuine contention of falling through the trap door. At the weekend, all four teams will be in action and will be hoping of positive results to keep their hopes of survival well and truly alive. Last time out, Incheon United recorded their first win in seven when the Durumi edged past Sangju Sangmu. Australian centre back Connor Chapman (pictured above) got United on their way to victory with his second goal of the season against Sangju, can United make it two wins in two when they host a faltering Pohang Steelers side on Sunday? Likewise, can Gwangju FC end a run of four straight defeats by upsetting league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors? Can Daegu FC build on their good form when they host free-falling Sangju Sangmu? For everything else, including the race for the title, ACL qualification and much more, here's your comprehensive guide to round 25.

Image via KLeague.com

Saturday 19th August 

FC Seoul (5th) Vs Ulsan Hyundai (2nd) 19:00

FC Seoul's quest for Asian Champions League qualification is well and truly back on track with the current K League Champions in the midst of a run of just just one loss from their last seven outings. Saturday evening sees Ulsan Hyundai visit Seoul World Cup Stadium with the North Gyeongsang outfit hoping to pick up a result that could put further daylight between themselves and Suwon Samsung Bluewings in third place. Both of the two previous meetings between these two sides in 2017 have resulted in stalemates with Ulsan managing to grind out a 0-0 draw during their last visit to Sangam in May, before a 1-1 draw at the Munsu a month prior. Seoul have a good record against Ulsan, especially at home, with the league's capital club last tasting defeat against Ulsan three years ago. A 59th minute Kim Shinwook strike in August 2014 was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Ulsan that evening.

From Soccerway.com
ICYMI: K League legend and FC Seoul's star striker Dejan Damjanovic talks ACL qualification, tactics, and much more in our latest exclusive interview with the Montenegrin ace. Read more here.

Prediction: FC Seoul 1-0 Ulsan Hyundai

Suwon Samsung Bluewings (3rd) Vs Gangwon FC (6th) 19:00

Suwon's disappointing performance in last week's Super Match has left their hopes of a league title in doubt and this weekend's visitors to Suwon World Cup stadium will hope to increase the misery on the home team. However, manageress Gangwon, come into this game with their own troubles and will be desperately searching for a 3 point haul that would halt their slump down the table.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings columnist Scott Whitelock previews the game here.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (1st) Vs Gwangju FC (12th) 19:00 

Saturday evening sees top of the table Jeonbuk once again take on cellar dwellers Gwangju FC as the title chasers look to correct a recent wobble of bad results. However, with fear that survival may escape them in recent weeks, Gwangju are in desperate need of points to keep up with those around them. With their manager Nam Ki-il having resigned this week, will their be an improvement in performances on the pitch?

From Soccerway.com
Jeonbuk Hyundai columnist Matthew Binns' previews this one here.

Jeju United (4th) Vs Jeonnam Dragons (8th) 19:00

Jeju United, still holding onto the last Asian Champions League spot, host Jeonnam Dragons at the weekend. United are on a run of four wins and a draw following their loss to FC Seoul and are a mere three points behind Ulsan in second. Those clad in orange looked to have blown any chances they had of clinching the title, and given Jeonbuk's lead such a feat would appear unlikely, but the runner up spot is certainly all to play for. Jeonnam Dragons make the short flight to the island on the back of a run of just one win in six but unbeaten in the last three. The Dragons did seem to be making somewhat of  momentary push for a top half finish but at present appear to be struggling for consistency. Should Jeonnam make the top half of the split, picking up more points on the road ought to be considered paramount having won just twice away from home in the league this year. Jeonnam haven't beaten a team from the top half of the table since April when Noh Sangrae's men beat both Ulsan and Gangwon. As thus, Jeju United will be seen as the favourites.

From Soccerway.com

Prediction: Jeju United 2-1 Jeonnam Dragons

Sunday 20th August

Daegu FC (9th) Vs Sangju Sangmu (10th) 19:00

After an impressive run of just one defeat in their last five and with three wins to boast of, Daegu have managed to climb out of the relegation places and into nineth place. With both Jeonnam and Pohang faltering somewhat in recent weeks, Daegu could close the gap to just a point between themselves and Jeonnam and move within just five points Pohang should results elsewhere go their way. Considering that Pohang were touted as potential title challengers, it is commendable that Brazilian gaffer Andre has put his Daegu side into such a promising position. On Sunday Sangju Sangmu make the short trip to Daegu Stadium for what is somewhat of a North Gyeongsang Derby. Sangju are finding life difficult in the Classic this season, and with yet another crop of players set to leave in September, it is hard to see how anything else other than a relegation battle beckons for the army side. Sangju have lost their last seven in a row and in desperate need of a win. Given Daegu's form, those in sky blue will seen as the favourites.

From Soccerway.com
Prediction: Daegu FC 2-0 Sangju Sangmu

Incheon United (11th) Vs Pohang Steelers (7th) 19:00

Incheon United got themselves back on track with a much-needed win away to Sangju Sangmu last weekend. Australian centre back Connor Chapman opened the scoring for United with his second for the club before Park Yongji bagged a later winner following a Sangju equaliser on the hour mark. The result, coupled with Sangju's dismal form, means that a win for Incheon could see the Durumi move out of the relegation zone. Sunday's visitors to Sungui Arena, Pohang Steelers, make the long trip north on the back of a run of just one win in eight. The once hotly tipped title challengers are in grave danger of failing to qualify for the Championship round. At present, the Steelers are three points behind Gangwon in sixth and 10 points behind the ACL places. Pohang, however, were victorious when these two sides last met at Sungui Arena back in June, picking up a comprehensive 3-0 win.

From Soccerway.com
Prediction: Incheon United 1-0 Pohang Steelers

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