Kim Min-jae (27, Bayern Munich) is the best central defender in the entire Asian Cup squad. He’s a big part of the backbone of the Korean team, so he needs to be in top form. He was struggling at the beginning of the tournament, but he has since regained his form and has been energized on the training field.
The Korean national team started the Asian Cup with a bang. Since Klinsmann took the helm, the team has been injury-free, with several key players (Son Heung-min, Hwang Hee-chan, Lee Kang-in, Kim Min-jae) making their mark in major European leagues.
They always had top-class players in the front and midfield, but this time they had Kim Min-jae, who was one of the world’s best defenders in Europe’s top five leagues in the 2022-23 season. His unique “monster instincts” at Napoli and Bayern Munich were no match for the striker at the Asian Cup.
The Korean national team had a seven-match clean sheet streak leading up to the tournament, so we were expecting a solid defense to go along with the flashy attack. However, when the lid was lifted, the Asian Cup squad was not so fortunate, conceding six goals in three group games.
Soccer is an 11-on-11 battle. Offense can be solved to a certain extent by animal instinct and individual ability, but defense requires promised movement and organization. Kim Min-jae cannot single-handedly stop all opposing attacks.
Between Napoli and Bayern Munich, I was mentally and physically exhausted. When he should have been resting, he was doing basic military training and working on his transfer to Bayern Munich at the same time. At Bayern Munich, he played a grueling schedule with a series of injuries to the main players. During the season, there were even concerns in Germany about overloading some players, including Kim Min-jae.
This was evident in the reactions of some soccer insiders. “He was a bit tired and exhausted after playing a lot with Bayern Munich and others. He didn’t talk much on the training field,” said one of them, referring to Kim’s physical condition.
Klinsmann was aware of Kim’s off form and rhythm. At the training center, where the team was preparing for the round of 16 match against Saudi Arabia, he 바카라사이트 approached Kim and smiled and said something. “(Klinsmann) isn’t the type of coach who gives instructions and talks to individual players, but he’s trying to instill some fighting spirit in Kim Min-jae,” said an official from the Korea Football Association.
Captain Son Heung-min has also continued to energize the team during training. The team has had a tough Asian Cup schedule. Kim Min-jae gradually regained his physical and mental rhythm under coach Klinsmann’s “intensive care” and a fighting training atmosphere centered on Son Heung-min. On the training field, he was seen teaming up with Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan, encouraging his teammates and creating an atmosphere together.
Of course, the Korean team’s journey to the Asian Cup hasn’t been easy. They played two consecutive 120-minute matches against Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 and Australia in the quarterfinals. Kim Min-jae was also in the thick of the action, but after accumulating cautions in the group stage and quarterfinals, he’ll be unavailable for the final.