Daejeon Citizen will kick off their 2013 K-League Classic season tomorrow afternoon at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
It's been all change at the Purple Arena over winter, with a number of high profile comings and goings leaving Daejeon fans little clue as to what to expect from the team this campaign. Most notably, head coach and Korean football legend Yoo Sang-Chul has been replaced with the little known Kim In-Wan. Kim acted as assistant coach at the Busan I'Park team that had a very successful 2012 campaign. This is however, his first job as head coach.
Daejeon fans have also seen a wholesale change in playing staff too. Last season's top scorer Kevin Oris has left to join Jeonbuk Hyundai, whilst his attacking partner in crime Kim Hyung-Bum has joined Gyeongnam. Daejeon are understood to have received around $500,000 for Oris, whilst Kim was only on a one year loan deal.
Daejeon have however reacted quickly to replace Oris by signing 24 year old Brazilian forward Joao Paulo from Gwangju FC. The striker impressed last season, scoring 8 goals, but ultimately failed to stop Gwangju from slipping down to the second tier.
|Fans will hope to see more of this from Joao Paulo|
Former club favorite Jeong Sung-Hoon has also returned to the Purple Arena, after originally leaving at the end of the 2007 season. Jeong has played 8 times for the South Korea national team and will offer a significant attacking threat from set pieces given that he stands an intimidating 6 foot 3 inches tall.
|Jeong playing for Citizen in 2007|
Daejeon's final key signing is probably the most important. Taking the advice of the departing Kevin Oris, Citizen have snapped up Antwerp captain Karel de Smet. The defender has been dubbed one of the best in Belgium and brings considerable strength and experience to a relatively weak Daejeon defence.
|'The Beast' Karel de Smet|
Daejeon have also managed to keep hold of several key players including Kim Byeong-Seok, Baba Yuta and Kim Tae-Yeon.
Daejeon Citizen vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (Sunday March 3rd 2013 - 4PM)
Citizen face an incredibly tough opening fixture against perennial title challengers Jeonbuk this Sunday. Having strengthened considerably over the winter, Jeonbuk are many pundits' favorites to win the league this season.
Attention will also be given to the fact that Kevin Oris will make his K-League debut for Jeonbuk against the team for who he scored 16 goals last season. The battle between Oris and de Smet will be fascinating, considering that the two are good friends.
|Oris scores for Jeonbuk in their midweek ACL match.|
Choi Eun Sung, Daejeon goalkeeping legend is also likely to feature in the Jeonbuk line up that surely looks too strong for Citizen to contend with. Most Citizen fans will surely be delighted to gain a point out of this fixture.
The game kicks off at 4PM, Sunday at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
Foreign supporters are encouraged to meet outside the GS25 near the South Stand or at TGI Friday in Dunsan for pre-game drinks.