Melbourne Victory will face Chunnam Dragons in the AFC Champions League 2008.
Chunnam Dragons qualified for Asia-s premier club competition for a second consecutive season after defeating fellow AFC Champions League 2008 representatives the Pohang Steelers in the Korean FA Cup last year.
Despite defending its Korean FA Cup title, the team from Gwangyang failed to advance from the Group Stage in the AFC Champions League 2007 and finished a disappointing tenth in the K-League.
The K-League title has remained elusive in Chunnam-s 13-year history and the club is pinning many of its hopes on new Coach Park Hangseo, who was a Korea Republic Assistant Coach under Guus Hiddink at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Park recently said: “I know that I was chosen to get good results. I will do my utmost to ensure that we win the league, a third FA Cup as well as the AFC Champions League. It-s an exciting challenge.”
Chunnam-s squad consists mainly of Korean players, including international defender Kim Chiwoo, and has been boosted by a number of recent signings including Sabitovic Jasenko, a Bosnian by birth who became naturalised as a Korean citizen in 2004.
Up front, Chunnam has a trio of Brazilian forwards consisting of Sandro Hiroshi, Victor Simoes and Adriano Chuva, who was recruited from K-League opponents Daejeon Citizen earlier this month.
Victory will host Chunnam in its historic first AFC Champions League match at Telstra Dome on Wednesday, 12 March (kick off 7:30pm), before journeying to Gwangyang Football Stadium to face the Korean side on Wednesday, 7 May.
Gwangyang Football Stadium
Nicknamed the “Dragon Dungeon”, Gwangyang Football Stadium is a modern venue with a capacity of just over 14,000 – the smallest in the K-League – that creates an intimate atmosphere.
While Chunnam maintained a respectable record at home in all competitions last year with 14 wins, five draws and seven losses, its performance on the road was less inspiring with six wins, 10 draws and eight losses.
Victory can expect relatively cool conditions in Gwangyang, which is the heart of Korea Republic-s dominant steel manufacturing industry, with an average high temperature of 17 degrees and an average low temperature of six degrees in April.
Kim Chiwoo is currently regarded as one of Korea Republic-s best left sided players and has earned a regular spot in the national team since debuting for his country in late 2006.
After moving from K-League rivals Incheon United, Kim, 24, has quickly established himself as key to Chunnam-s success, claiming the award for Most Valuable Player in its 2007 Korean FA Cup win.
The handy defender featured in all three of Chunnam-s AFC Champions League 2007 matches and is often referred to as one of the “Kimchi brothers” with teammate Kim Chigon because the pronunciation of their name is the same as Kimchi, a traditional Korean dish.