South Korean football powerhouse Suwon Bluewings have left nothing to chance for their crunch AFC Champions League clash with Brisbane Roar next Wednesday.
The four-time K-League champions have already sent a forward scout to Queensland to finalise team training and accommodation arrangements while the Suwon squad will arrive a day earlier than usual to acclimatise (overnight temperatures in Suwon plunged to sub-zero figures last week).
The Roar and Suwon both have three points after two matches in the Champions League – Asia’s premier continental club competition – and are three points behind surprise leaders Beijing Guoan, who came into Group G through a play-off but have won their first two games.
The top two teams from the four-team group after a home-and-away round-robin and advance to the knockout stage.
The South Koreans’ meticulous preparation for next Wednesday’s match at Gold Coast Stadium at Robina (7.30pm kick off) indicates they could be concerned about their ability to finish in the top two if they lose to the Roar.
The club’s forward scout has plotted a minute-by-minute itinerary for the Bluewings during their five-day stay on the Gold Coast. He spent several days on the Glitter Strip last week inspecting accommodation and training venues and finalising meals, transport and medical support for the squad.
Suwon’s Head Coach Seo Jung-Won said he had watched a recording of the Roar’s 1-0 win over Urawa in Japan last week and has no doubts about the huge task his side faces next week.
“Surely it will be a very hard game for us,” he said.
“Roar is a very strong team and I believe they showed their quality at the game against Urawa. It will be not easy, but our goal in Australia is to get a point, at least.”
Suwon qualified for this year’s AFC Champions League Group Stage as K-League Classic runners-up last season behind Jeonbuk and had high hopes of a strong showing in the competition.
Suwon has a proud record in AFC Champions League.
They made the semi-finals in 2011 and the quarter-finals in 2010. They have played in the competition three other times (2005, 2009 and 2013).
But the Bluewings new domestic season did not start well. They lost their opening game last Saturday 1-0 to Pohang Steelers.
Conversely, the Roar recorded their first victory in AFC Champions League with the victory over Urawa last week and have been undefeated in the Hyundai A-League in five games.
Tickets to next Wednesday’s game are $10 (adults) and $5 (children) and are available through Ticketek.
The ticket price includes free train travel to and from Robina. Gold Coast-based fans can also travel free to the game on Surfside bus routes, trains and the G-Link tram.
Trains will leave Brisbane Central for Robina every 15 minutes from 3.30pm next Wednesday. Trains returning to Brisbane will continue up to four hours after full time.
Those planning to drive to the Gold Coast for the match should consult the stadium website cbussuperstadium.com.au for information on shuttle bus services from various park ‘n ride lots north and south of the venue.
ABOUT THE BLUEWINGS
K-League Classic Champions: 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2008
Runners up: 1996, 2006, 2014
Santos : The 29-year-old Brazilian was top scorer in K-League Classic last year (14 goals). Since joining club in 2013, he’s scored 22 goals in 55 appearances and was named in the K-League Classic Best XI last season.
Leo Itaperuna : A new signing this season, the 25-year-old Brazilian centre forward came on to score the winner on Match Day One against Urawa Red Diamonds.
Jung Sung-Ryong : The 30-year-old goalkeeper was Suwon’s only player in the South Korea squad beaten 2-1 by the Socceroos in the final of the AFC Asian Cup in January.