Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors


It’s Match Day 2 of the AFC Champions League, the first match at home for Melbourne Victory’s 2014 campaign.

It-s Match Day 2 of the AFC Champions League, the first match at home for Melbourne Victory-s 2014 campaign.

Melbourne Victory are set to take on Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at Docklands Stadium, with the Korean side heading to Melbourne on the back of a solid 3-0 win over Japanese side, Yokohama F. Marinos on Match Day 1.


Victory sit third in Group G following a 4-2 loss to reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande in February.

After a 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners in Round 22 of the Hyundai A-League, Victory will be confident of continuing its good home form and Kevin Muscat-s men will be looking to repeat their first half heroics which saw it go into the break with an impressive 2-0 lead against Guangzhou Evergrande, before being overrun by Marcello Lippi-s men on Match Day 1.

Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan and Tom Rogic are expected to return to Melbourne Victory’s starting XI this week, following their midweek trip to London with the Socceroos.

The team
The ‘Green Warriors-, as they are affectionately known to their many loyal fans, were founded in 1994 and are often one of the favourites to challenge for the K-League title.

Choi Kang-hee-s side were the first Korean team to win the AFC Champions League, tasting the ultimate glory in 2006.

The South Korean side has twice been domestic champions, claiming the K-League title in 2009 and 2011, as well as three Korean FA Cup wins in 2000, 2003 and 2005.

Jeonbuk qualified directly for the 2014 AFC Champions League after finishing third in the K-League in 2013.

Key players
Australians will be familiar with some of the players in the Jeonbuk squad, including Socceroo defender Alex Wilkinson.

Wilkinson made 172 appearances in the Hyundai A-League with Central Coast Mariners, before making the move to China in 2011 on loan, then making the permanent move to Jeonbuk in 2012 where he has more than 30 appearances in his two seasons with the 2006 Champions League winners.

Korean veteran Lee Dong-gook is a constant threat in front of goals, scoring 13 goals in last year-s K-League competition. Lee was the K-League-s top scorer in 2009 with Jeonbuk, and also won the League MVP in 2009 and 2011. He has been part of the K-League-s best XI on three occasions as well, in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Lee also thrives in the Champions League, having been named the AFC Champions League MVP in the 2011. The 34-year-old has made 99 appearances for his national side, scoring 30 goals.

Jeonbuk-s three Brazilians are also set to test Melbourne-s defence this Wednesday. Forwards Aurelio and Kaio will no doubt be a constant threat in front of goals, while attacking midfielder Leonardo not only finds the back of the net regularly himself, but is also a constant provider for the men up front.

The coach
Former Korea Republic international defender, Choi Kang-hee was named head coach of Jeonbuk in 2005 and has seen plenty of success across a range of leagues his side have been involved in. Choi left Jeonbuk to lead the Korean Republic national side in late 2011, where he helped South Korea qualify for this year-s FIFA World Cup. He returned to Jeonbuk in June this year ahead of the new K-League season.

Choi has has won the K-League twice, plus being in charge of the impressive Champions League win in 2006. Choi came close to having two Champions League titles under his belt, with a narrow loss in the 2011 final, losing out to eventual champions Qatar’s Al Sadd.

Melbourne Victory vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Wednesday, March 12, 7:30pm
Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
Live on Fox Sports

Get all the latest AFC Champions League news as it happens on Melbourne Victory’s Twitter and Facebook pages.