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K League Coach: A Second Look at Jeonbuk Hyundai

Over the course of a season, a scout will try and watch each opponent in a variety of circumstances. Home and away games, cup games, against "bigger" opponents and against "smaller" opponents. This helps build a better picture of what their own team may be up against and any changes the opponent may favor. Though the Jeonbuk v Jeju game won't go down as a K League classic, there was a lot to be learned about Jeonbuk and add to the previous scouting report.
(image via K League)

Game Information

Team: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Opposition: Jeju United
Date: April 22nd, 2018
Competition: K League 1 Round 8
Number of report: No. 2

Match Overview

Jeonbuk won the game 1-0 with the goal coming off of a rebound from a free-kick. The game started brightly, but lost its rhythm once each team had a man sent off before halftime. From then on neither team were able to dominate or impose themselves on the game. Jeonbuk controlled the match well and had a couple of late chances to double their lead, but were more than happy to play out a 1-0 victory.

Starting Line up

Jeonbuk changed from the 4-5-1 they played against Sangju to a 3-5-2 system. Shin Hyung-min (4) dropped from defensive midfield to the left of the back three, Lim Sun-young (5), Kim Shin-wook (9) and Lopes (10) were chosen as the attacking threat, with the 196cm Kim (9) having a big impact upon Jeonbuk's attacking play.

Offensive Organisation

  • When in possession Jeonbuk's back three spread wide. Short passing options were offered by the full-backs.  Lim Sun-young (5) would join the highest attacking line, either centrally or run behind Kim Shin-wook (9). Lopes (10) tended to drift out wide to the right.

  • Jeonbuk often looked to play long balls up to Kim Shin-wook (9) or Lopes (10). Both players are strong in the air and often won these balls and were able to link up with teammates. 

  • Lim Sun-young would try to link play from midfield to the strikers when Jeonbuk played on the ground. He also tried to combine with either Kim Shin-wook (9) or Lopes (10) once in the final third.
  • As with the game vs Sangju, Shin Hyung-min (4) would look to get the ball on his right foot and play long balls up to either Kim Shin-wook (9) or Lopes (10).

  • Kim Shin-wook (9) and Lopes (10) are both very strong in the air, and were able to either bring these balls down or lay them off to another player.

  • Jeonbuk rarely looked to play through either Lee Jae-sung (17) or Son Joon-ho (28).

  • Both full-backs also looked to play similar long, aerial balls. Crosses would come from deep with        little penetration into the wide areas of Jeju's final third.

  • Goalkeeper Song Bum-Keun was more willing to play long himself than in previous games, but          usually played short so the team could slowly advance before playing the long ball once closer to        the halfway line.

  • Defensive Organisation

    • As with the game against Sangju, Jeonbuk would drop into their own half before pressing.

    • In this shape, Lim Sun-young (5) would step up and try to deny any passes in the central area, while Kim Shin-wook (9) and Lopes (10) curved their pressing runs to force play out wide.

    • Lee Yong (2) and Choi Chul-soon (25) would be prepared to both step up when the ball was played wide to a winger, or drop in with defenders if Jeju played long.

    • Once again Kim Min-jae (3) and Choi Bo-kyung (6) displayed excellent ability in the air, winning nearly every duel for a long ball that came their way.

    • Kim Min-jae is a brave defender and possesses good pace. He has showed this on a few occasions when cleaning up in the channels, and also late on when he tracked a Jeju striker and blocked a shot inside the box.

    Offensive Corners

    Jeonbuk ran a similar routine on corners and free-kicks around the box. It involved three players lining up and getting tight to one another to try and stop defenders making contact with them. The front man of the three then worked as a blocker to try and hold defenders back as the other two made tuns on either side. Lopes (10) took the role of blocker before being sent off, with Kim Shin-wook (9) offering an obvious threat in the box.

    Defensive Corners

    Jeonbuk once again used a mixture of zonal and man markers when defending Jeju corners. Once both teams had been reduced to 10 men and Jeonbuk were happy to play out their 1-0 lead they would bring all of their players into the penalty box to defend a corner. They would line up with four zonal defenders; one covering the front of the 6-yard box, one on the post and six across the top of the 6-yard box, while the rest were picking up men and trying to block the path of attackers

    Key Players

    • 9. Kim Shin-wook - Kim offers a fantastic outlet for Jeonbuk to build attacks off. His aerial dominance and awareness of players around him make him a fantastic outlet and he will be the focus of most direct balls player from Jeonbuk's back line.
    • 5. Lim Sun-young - Lim is a creative and lively midfielder who looks to join attacks in the final third, but also understands his defensive role in forming Jeonbuks half way line block very well. He looks to move the ball quickly on the ground and anticipates second balls well.
    • 3. Kim Min-jae - The defensive and athletic ability of Kim allows Jeonbuk to push further forward and leave space in behind and in the channels. He has the ability to cover ground quickly and anticipates danger well.

    • With Shin Hyung-min (4), Han Kyo-won (7) and Adriano (32) standing out in the previous report Jeonbuk have a deep, talented roster.


    • Jeonbuk offered a considerable aerial threat with both Kim Shin-wook (9) and Lopes (10) able to function as target men.

    • The movement of Lopes (10) and Lim Sun-young (5) must be monitored, with defenders communicating who has responsibility for who.

    • Several players have the ability to hit long accurate balls up to the forward line.


    • As with the game vs Sangju Sangmu in round four, there was little central penetration through midfield. Defenders looked to by pass midfield whenever possible.

    • Even when the opportunity wasn't presenting itself the back three still tried to play long. They may struggle when denied this option.

    • The two central midfielders are asked to cover a lot of ground when defending. If the first line of the press is broken they can be out numbered.

    Defensive Recommendations

    • If Kim Shin-wook (9) and Lopes (10) start we must try to stop the long balls by pressing high.

    • Try to pin Jeonbuk further back in their own half so if they do play long balls, it isn't landing on the edge of our box.

    • Force Shin Hyung-min (4) to play with his left foot, this will disrupt his ability to find attackers with long passes.

    • Lopes (10) will drift to the right to try and create one-on-one situations with a defender, we must ensure we have a covering defender or recovering midfielder to help out.

    • A defensive midfielder must be aware of the movement of Lim Sun-young (5) especially as he looks for flick-ons or knocks-downs from the target men.

    Offensive Recommendations

    • Try to build play centrally when breaking the first press. Lee Jae-sung (17) and Son Jun-ho (28) are asked to cover a lot of space in front of what is almost a back five when defending.

    • During the build up a central striker should drop in to midfield to create the overload against Lee Jae-sung (17) & Son Jun-ho (28)

    • Use high wide attackers to pin back the Jeonbuk full-backs and stop the back line from stepping up.

    • Try to avoid long high balls that hang in the air, Jeonbuks back line will win most of these balls.

    • Try and get runners in behind the Jeonbuk full-backs and cut balls back along the ground into the penalty box rather than aerial crosses.

    Overall impression

    • Jeonbuk are one of the strongest teams in the K League and will go into each game confident of their ability.

    • Their ability to switch shapes means teams must be able to plan to face both shapes and adjust during games.

    • They have an array of attacking options Kim Shin-wook (9), Lopes (10) Adriano (32) Tiago (11) Han Kyo-won (7) Lim Sun-young (5) and the legendary Lee Dong-gook (20) available from the bench.

    • Their back like is physically imposing and able to clear up threats in the air and in behind.

    • Jeonbuk lack creativity at the base of their midfielder and do not want to play through this area.

    • Their defenders are not too patient in possession and will look to play long direct balls the earliest chance they get.

    • They do not face many teams who put them under sustained periods of high pressure and may struggle against this.

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