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AFC Asian Cup: Which games will Korea's Europe-based stars miss for their clubs?

There could be as many as nine Europe-based stars picked for South Korea's 2023 AFC Asian Cup squad in January. With the European football calendar out of sync with that of Asia, it means that those players will miss matches for the club sides. So, which matches will the likes of Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in, and Kim Min-jae miss for Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bayern Munich respectively?
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

With World Cup qualification put to one side until March, next up for the South Korean men's national team is the AFC Asian Cup, or at least preparations for it. There'll no doubt be friendlies arrange in the build-up to the Asian Cup but for now, Korea's next match scheduled is against Bahrain on January 15th in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. Such a major tournament landing in the middle of the European football calendar means a fair few of the Korea squad are set to miss matches for their respective clubs.

Son Heung-min, Tottenham Hotspur

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Tottenham's skipper Son Heung-min will definitely miss the trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on January 14th. Whether Son misses any more depends on how far South Korea go in the Asian Cup. Should the Taeguk Warriors reach the last 16 then Son will miss Brentford at home on January 30th; should Korea reach the quarterfinals then he'll miss Everton away on February 3rd, and should Korea reach the final then he'll miss Brighton at home on February 10th. This will be Son's fourth AFC Asian Cup having been part of the Korea squads in 2011, 2015, and 2019.

Hwang Hee-chan, Wolverhampton Wanderers

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Hwang Hee-chan is certain to miss Wolverhampton Wanderers' trip to Brighton on January 22nd but should South Korea progress further than the group stage then he'll also miss the visit to Molineux of Manchester United on January 30th, the trip to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on February 3rd should Korea reach the last eight, and Brentford at home on February 20th if Korea reach the final.

Lee Kang-in, Paris Saint-Germain

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Much like his Premier League counterparts, Lee Kang-in is sure to miss at least one match for his club during the AFC Asian Cup. The match in question is Racing Club Lens away on January 13th and then, should Korea reach the last 16, he'll also miss the visit of Brest on January 27th, Strasbroug away on February 3rd should Korea reach the quarters, and LOSC Lille at home on February 10th should they reach the final.

Kim Min-jae, Bayern Munich

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
With Kim Min-jae, Bayern Munich have a game three days before Korea's first of the AFC Asian Cup group stage. It is perhaps most likely then, that Kim will already be in Qatar by the time Bayern line up against Hoffenheim on January 12th but he will certainly miss the visit of Wolfsburg on January 20th. If Korea then make it to the round of 16 he'll miss the trip to Augsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach at home on February 2nd should Korea reach the quarters, and Bayer Leverkusen away on February 9th if Korea reach the final.

Lee Jae-sung, 1. FSV Mainz 05

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Lee Jae-sung is likely to miss a handful of games for Mainz. Wolfsburg at home on January 13th is just two days before Korea's first group game and so is likely to have already joined up with his international teammates by then. He'll miss the visit of Union Berlin on 19th January and the trip to Eintracht Frankfurt on 21st January during the group stage and then Werder Bremen at home on February 3rd if Korea make it to the last 16 and then Stuttgart away on 10th February should Korea book their place in the final.

Jeong Woo-yeong, VFB Stuttgart

(Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)
Young winger Jeong Woo-yeong is set to miss a handful of games for VfB Stuttgart while away for the AFC Asian Cup. First up is Borussia Mönchengladbach away on January 14th followed by VfL Bochum away on January 20th and then RB Leipzig on January 27th. Then, if Korea advance to the quarters, Jeong will miss the trip to his former club SC Freiburg on February 3rd and then a potential Korean derby with Lee Jae-sung at home to Mainz on 10th February if Korea make the final.

Cho Gue-sung, FC Midtjylland

Photo by CLAUS FISKER/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
None. The Danish Superliga takes a break from mid-December until mid-February meaning that Cho Gue-sung will not miss any matches for FC Midtjylland.

Hwang Ui-jo, Norwich City

(Photo by Cameron Howard/Getty Images)

In the English second tier, Hwang Ui-jo could miss as many as five games for Norwich City if Korea go all the way in the Asian Cup. Firstly, Hull City away on January 13th is just two days before Korea's Group E opener with Bahrain and so is unlikely to still be in East Anglia for the trip to Humberside. He will also miss West Bromwich Albion at home on January 20th as Korea play Jordan that day; the trip to Elland Road to take on Leeds United on January 27th too if Korea make the knockouts; Coventry City at home on February 3rd should Korea reach the quarters, and then QPR away on February 10th should Klinsmann's men reach the final.

Oh Hyeon-gyu, Celtic

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Oh Hyeon-gyu is only expected to miss three Celtic games due to Korea's involvement in the Asian Cup. First up is Ross County at home on January 27th; Korea play Malaysia on January 25th and so he is unlikely to be able to play for Celtic two days later if Korea are dumped out at the Group Stage. If they make it to the quarters then he'll miss Aberdeen away on February 3rd then Hibernian away on February 7th if Korea make it to the last four.

Hong Hyun-seok, Gent

(Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/Belga/AFP via Getty Images)

Gent midfielder Hong Hyun-seok could miss as many as six games for the club if he's fit and selected by Jurgen Klinsmann for his Asian Cup squad. First would be YR KV Mechelen at home on 19th January, then KVC Westerlo at home on 27th January, followed by STVV away on 31st January if Korea make it to the knockouts, RSC Anderlecht away on 3rd February if Korea reach the quarters, then  Cercle Brugge at home on 10th February if Korea reach the final.

Hwang In-beom, FK Crvena zvezda

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
The Serbian Super League takes a break from December until February and so Hwang In-beom won't miss any matches for Red Star Belgrade.

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South Korea's AFC Asian Cup Fixtures & Key Dates

Group Stage

15th January, South Korea vs. Bahrain
20th January, Jordan vs. South Korea
25th January, South Korea vs. Malaysia

Knockout Rounds

Round of 16, 30th/31st January
Quarter Final, 2nd/3rd February
Semi Final, 6th/7th February
Final, 10th February

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