Getting to know: Suwon Bluewings

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 we look at the third and final team in the group- Suwon Bluewings.

Suwon were founded in 1995 by the same people who own Samsung, joining the K-League in the 1996 season. Success arrived for the Bluewings very early on, with a K-League Championship won in just the third season. All up they’ve won the K-League on four occasions, the most recent of which however was back in 2008.

Suwon have also won the Korean FA Cup on three occasions, the League Cup six times and the Super Cup three times, so silverware is clearly apart of the furniture in Suwon. Their greatest accomplishment to date however has occurred in the Champions League, with back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002.

In 2001 the had the decided advantage of having the semi-finals and the final all held in their home stadium, with wins over Persepolis in the semi-final before beating Jubilo Iwata 1-0 in the final.

2002 was a bit more difficult for the Bluewings, with the semi-finals and finals held in Iran, however after a win over Nasaf Qarshi they played fellow Korean side Anyang Cheetahs (FC Seoul) after they beat host side Esteghlal in the semis. Suwon went on to win 4-2 on penalties for their second straight ACL title.

Manager: Seo Jung-Won.
The 44 year old was spent the majority of his career as a Suwon player scoring 36 goals in 143 games for the club before ending his career in Austria. Jung-Won also racked up 87 caps for his country, with 16 goals along the way and a part of the 1994 and 1998 World Cup squads for South Korea but unfortunately wasn’t apart of the 2002 side which made it all the way to the semi-finals.

As a manger he started out in the Korean national team set-up, taking over after the 2008 Olympics and leading them to a third placed finish in the 2010 Asian Games in China. Following that he moved into the senior team as an assistant coach through the 2011 Asian Cup.

For his first job in club football management, Seo returned to Suwon as an assistant under Yoo Sung-Hyo, before moving into the head coaching role for the 2013 season. In his first season he achieved modest results, finishing 5th in the league while reaching the last 16 of the FA Cup and a group stage exit in the Champions League.

Last season saw a resurgence in the league, finishing second, albeit 14 points behind runaway winners Jeonbuk while they lost in the round of 32 in the FA Cup.

Goalkeepers: 1) Jung Sung-Ryong, No Dong-Geon, 31) Lee Sang-Wook, 41) Ham Seok-Min.

Defenders: 2) Choi Jae-Soo, 3) Yang Sang-Min, 4) Oh Beom- Seok, 5) Cho Sung-Jin, 15) Koo Ja-Ryon, 30) Shin Se-Gye, 33) Hong Chul, 34) Yeon Je-Min, 39) Min Sang-Gi.

Midfielders: 6) Kim Eun-Sun, 7) Lee Sang-Ho, 9) Oh Jang-Eun, 12) Ko Cha-Won, 13 Seo Jung-Jin, 16) Cho Ji-Hun, 19) Jang Hyun-Soo, 20) Baek Ji-Hoon, 22) Kwon Chang- Hoon, 23) Jeon- Hyun-Ouk, 24) Ko Min-Sung, 25) Han Sung-Gyu, 26) Yeom Ki-Hun.

Forwards: 10) Santos, 11) Leo, 14) Jong Tae-Se, Kaio, 32) Bang Chan-Jun.

Key players:
Jung Sung-Ryon
The Suwon custodian was the only Bluewings player to make the South Korean squad for this years Asian Cup. Jung has been a regular in the national team in recent times, having been apart of three Asian Cups, two World Cups and two Olympic Games since 2007 picking up 67 caps along the way. At club level Jung moved to Suwon in 2011 after spells with Pohang and Seongnam and has made 131 appearances for the Bluewings making him the undisputed #1.

Yang Sang-Min
The 31 year old is the experienced hand in the Suwon defence, with 125 appearances for the Bluewings since making his debut in 2007. Like a lot of Korean footballers, his Suwon career was punctuated with military service, which like the majority he spent playing for Ansan Police. In a boost for Brisbane, Yang won’t play tomorrow night after he was sent off in Suwon’s matchday two loss to Beijing Guo’an.

Suwon are a side who are loaded in the front third with visa players and new signing Leo Itaperuna could be the jewel in the crown. After starting his career with Fluminense, Leo moved to Europe where after a couple of unsuccessful spells he moved to Sion where he scored 64 goals in 19 games. The 25 year old could be a danger man tomorrow night.

In addition to Santos, Kairo and Jong Tae-Se, Suwon are definitely not lacking firepower up front with Santos having scored 22 goals in 54 games, while Tae-Se has 17 in 57 games for the club.

Jong Tae-Se: The North Korean star has been Asian Football for a decade now starting out in the J-League before trying his luck in Japan with Bochum and Koln. Tae-Se joined Suwon in 2013 with 17 goals in 57 games for the Bluewings. He was also apart of the North Korean side who competed in January’s Asian Cup.

These two games against Suwon figure to be decisive in terms of who gets out of the group, and this Suwon side definitely looks like it’s got goals in it. Last time around in the ACL Brisbane played against the eventual champions that season –Ulsan-, and were definitely competitive in both games. This promises to be an equally difficult test.


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