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2020 Season Preview: Daegu FC


Daegu FC are looking ahead to their second year in DGB Daegu Bank Park after such a successful first season at their new home. K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung looks at how they spent the winter and what to expect from the Sky Blues for the upcoming season.


Last Season

13W-16D-9L, 5th place

What Happened?

Daegu FC punched above their weight in K League last year by finishing in 5th place after getting into the top six before the Final Round A. The position in the table itself was incredibly brilliant, but the club also had been at the centre of spotlight off the pitch for the advent of its growing fandom and attractive football following the introduction of a new football-specific stadium ahead of the season.

Daegu FC have recorded a sell-out nine times last season at their 12,000 capacity football stadium

However, with massive fixture congestion in the first three months, accumulated fatigue and injuries significantly hindered Andre's men moving forward, and they looked less and less sharp towards the end of the season. Despite the frustrating ending where they could have secured an ACL playoff spot, it is still considered the most successful season from the Sky Blues.


Notable Moves


Out

Jo Hyeonwoo (GK): Korea international goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo left Daegu for Ulsan on a free transfer after a seven-year spell with the citizen club. The citizen club tried hard to keep the Korean shot-stopper in a Daegu shirt, but reportedly Jo politely turned down the offer and completed a deal to Ulsan Hyundai after finishing four weeks military training over the winter.

Park Byunghyun (DF): Solid defender Park Byunghyun left the citizen club for Sangju Sangmu to serve his military duty. The homegrown player was not outstanding on the pitch, but he was one of the unsung heroes in defence for his hustling play.

In

Dejan Damjanović (FW): It was shocking news that Daegu FC signed Montenegrin striker Dejan from Suwon Bluewings on a free transfer. The veteran forward is looking forward to welcoming the new season in the twilight of his professional career, gritting his teeth after a disappointing spell in Suwon.

Kim Jaewoo (DF): The defender started his professional career at SV Horn in Austria after his graduation before he spent two years in Bucheon FC 1995. Just after he completed a move to Daegu, he represented Korea U23 National Team in AFC U23 Championship, helping the team lift the trophy for the first time. The 190 cm tall player will be useful for his versatility in position as a defender and full back.

Lee Jinhyun (MF): Pohang Steelers Youth product Lee Jinhyun will wear the Sky Blues shirt on a permanent contract after a bit of a disappointing one and half a years with Pohang at senior level. The midfielder initially made his professional debut in Austria with F.K. Wien where he spent one year on loan before he returned to the Steelers in 2018 summer. The 1997 year born midfielder can play either attacking midfielder, winger, or wingback, and he will likely to add more creativity in the midfield area.

Hwang Taehyun (DF): The metropolitan club bolstered their side's assets by signing Hwang Taehyun from Ansan Greeners. Hwang is widely well-known as a captain of Korea U20 National Team who finished as runner-ups in the FIFA U20 World Cup last summer.


Key Player 

Cesinha

Brazilian attacking midfielder Cesinha poses with his teammates; Dejan, Edgar, Cesinha, and Tsubasa
In amid the strong rumours being circulated around Cesinha's future, the Brazilian is looking ahead to playing for Daegu once more.

2019 K League's Best MF winner was merely one of the unknown Brazilian footballers when he came to Daegu in 2016, but now he became the most beloved, famous star player in the league after hard work. Particularly, last season saw him get massive recognition from the whole continent thanks to his performances in the AFC Champions League with Daegu.

This season, with one the league's greatest strikers Dejan added upfront along with existing Brazilian forward Edgar, the potential attacking combination is something to look forward to.


Young Player to Watch

Hwang Taehyun



New signing Hwang Taehyun would be one of the young players we have to keep an eye on. The former U20 national team captain had been given few chances to play at the professional level until he proved his ability in U20 World Cup. Afterwards, he became a regular for the Greeners and helped the side to push for the playoffs. His strength generally includes pace, diligence, and commitment.


Biggest Questions 

Can caretaker Lee Byunggeun pick up the pieces after chaotic winter?



Unlike the fruitful business in winter transfer market, Daegu FC have had such a chaotic, disrupted pre-season. Because of the outbreak of coronavirus, they were forced to withdraw their training camp from China with all planned friendlies left behind and had to come back to Korea. Meanwhile, around the end of January, Brazilian manager Andre abruptly announced his departure from DGB Daegu Bank Park after unsuccessful negotiations with the board for contract renewal.

As a successor, assistant coach Lee Byunggeun is tasked to pick up the pieces and to lead the team moving forward as caretaker. For him, who has a short experience at managerial job as caretaker with Suwon Bluewings, it must be quite embarrassing out of the blue, but, on the other side the caretaker has been with Daegu FC since last season, he wouldn't have that much difficulty in leading the team.

Can Daegu FC cope without Jo Hyeonwoo?

With the Korean international goalkeeper left this winter, Daegu FC are now facing Jo Hyunwoo-less season for the first time. Initially, there were strong speculations that Daegu might sign an experienced goalkeeper, but they have decided to go with their second options at disposal; Lee Junhee and Choi Youngeun.

However, there are underlying concerns among fans. Former Gyeongnam goalkeeper Lee Junhee made only one appearance in Korea FA Cup last year, while Choi Youngeun is well remembered for the nightmare in display in Jeonbuk home game where he was sent off for a second yellow card.

On the bright side, Lee was one of the Gyeongnam team members in 2017 when they earned a promotion place, while Choi did a great job in 2018 when Jo Hyunwoo was away for international duty. It is still unclear that who will be the first choice, Choi Youngeun will be expected to be preferred due to a suspected knee injury Lee has sustained.

Reason to Watch

Despite worrying issues like a heavily disrupted winter training schedule and the absence of Jo Hyunwoo, there is no reason that the club should struggle heavily, Apparently, they have got one of the strongest squads with a good mix of existing talents and decent signings. If you look at the team, there are so many talents; four Korea U23 National Team players Jung Seungwon, Jeong Taewook, Kim Daewon and Kim Jaewoo, former Korea Senior National Team midfielder Lee Jinhyun as well as great foreign imports who have already been proved brilliant.

Moreover, caretaker Lee Byunggeun said to the press that "we are doing our best to capitalise our strength by harmonizing the new signings with us", implying their main approach to the games will remain the same as last season; attacking football. It will be entertaining to watch dynamic football from these talents.

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