Getting to know- Beijing Guo’an

I did this previously for the 2012 campaign and the 2013 qualifier as a way to take a look at the opposition and find out more about them, and decided to bring it back for another campaign.

Today with Brisbane’s campaign just over 24 hours from kicking off, we take a look at a side that Brisbane have come up against previously in the Champions League.

History:
Beijing Football club has existed since 1951, where they were reasonably successful, however at that stage they were only considered to be a semi-professional club.

In that semi-professional era of Chinese football, Beijing won the league on five occasions (1957, 1958, 1973, 1981 and 1984), and the Chinese FA Cup once in 1985.

They have been considered to be a professional club since 1992, since which they’ve won the league just once- 2009. They have however won the FA Cup on three occasions. (1996, 1997, 2003,) and the Super Cup twice (1998, 2004).

Those results, in addition to consistent top four league finishes has made Beijing regular fixtures in the Champions League, with the 2015 edition their 7th appearance in the competition.

Previously however, they’ve only made it out of the group on two occasions (2010 , 2013) and they’ve never gone beyond the round of 16.

In 2014 they finished third in a group consisting of FC Seoul, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Central Coast Mariners.

Manager: Gregorio Manzano
The 58 year old Spaniard arrived in Beijing for the start of last seasons Chinese Super League season and guided the club from the capital to a second placed finish in his first season.

Manzano, who only had a brief playing career which never reached any great heights, started his managerial career at the age of 27 in his native Spain with Talavera in the third tier in the 1996-97 season.

After achieving promotion with Talavera and then Toledo, Manzano progressed to the top tier of Spanish football- taking over the Real Valladolid and achieving a respectable 8th placed finish.

Coaching stints with Racing Santander, Rayo Vallecano, Mallorca (three times), Athletico Madrid (twice), Sevilla and Malaga over the next decade followed with his only success coming in the 2003 Copa Del Rey with Mallorca.

It was at the end of the 2013 season, where he oversaw Mallorca’s relegation from the top tier when he opted for a new challenge, opting to take his first job outside of his homeland.

Beijing Guo’an squad:
Goalkeepers: 1) Zhao Shi, 12) Hou Sen, 15) Shi Xiaotian, 22) Yang Zhi.

Defenders: 2) Li Yunqui, 3) Li Lei, 4) Zhou Ting, 7) Yang Yun, 13) Xu Yunlong, 14) Jin Pengxiang, 18) Lang Zheng, 20) Zhang Xinxin, 24) Li Hanbo, 28) Zhang Chengdong, 30) Lei Tenlong, 31) Zhao Hejing.

Midfielders: 5) Darko Matic, 6) Zhang Xiaobin, 8 ) Piao Cheng, 11) Song Bouxan, 16) Ha Dae-Sung, 17) Pablo Batalla, 23) Chen Zhizhao, 26) Wang Hao, 29) Shao Jiayi, 35) Li Tixaing.

Forwards: 9) Tan Tiancheng, 10) Dejan Damjanovic, 19) Yu Dabao.

Players to watch:
Dejan Damjanovic: The 33 year old Montenegrin striker has some resume, with a highly impressive 116 goals in 181 games for FC Seoul over a 5 year span. He made the jump to the Chinese Super League last season, and after a slow start with Jiangsu Sainty, he was transferred to Beijing where he regained his scoring touch with 10 goals in 15 games.

Pablo Batalla: It’s the foreign players who make the difference in these sides, and Batalla is another who is capable. The Argentine, who spent 5 years in Turkey with Bursaspor (48 goals in 165 games) is a lively midfielder who is capable of opening up defences. Scored 8 in 20 games last season.

Batalla, the aforementioned Damjanovic, in addition to the midfield duo of Serbian Darko Matic, and Korean Ha Dae-Sung will form the spine of the Beijing side.

Xu Yunlong: Captain of Beijing Guo’an and the glue of the defensive unit. The now 36 year old has amassed 383 appearances for his hometown club, and will be key for the visiting side in a defensive sense.

 Zhang Chengdong: The right back was an ever-present in Alain Perrin’s China team which made the ¼ finals in last months Asian Cup. Zhang was the only member of the Beijing squad to take part in the finals. Zhang, along with Xu Yunlong and fellow veteran Zhou Ting will form part of an experienced and formidable defence.

Despite Brisbane’s previous experience with the club from China’s capital, and there relatively unimpressive ACL record they will still prove a formidable test tomorrow night.

They’ve got a couple of highly impressive foreign players, and a coach in Manzano who has achieved cup success with relatively week squads previously.

They don’t figure to pose as much of a threat as Suwon or Urawa, but Beijing are a dangerous side, and not one to take lightly.

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