Lee Dong-kyung’s dream of becoming a manufacturer, not a championship suppressor

Upon returning to his hometown team, Ulsan Hyundai, midfielder Lee Dong-kyung, 27, gazed longingly into the clubhouse.

On a display case in the center of the lobby was a new championship trophy, gleaming with gold. The spot that had been empty when Lee played for Ulsan, with the words “For The Next” on it, was now filled with the 2022 K League 1 championship, the first in 17 years.

“My beloved family team Ulsan is the same as it was before I left for Germany. They just won a championship while I was away,” he said, adding, “I want to hear about it myself this time.”

■Win inhibitor? Win maker!

Lee Dong-kyung joined German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 on loan in January 2022 and recently returned to Ulsan after a spell with Hanja Rostock.

A standout midfielder for the national team, Lee was unable to showcase his skills to the fullest after fracturing his instep just a month after joining Schalke. As a result, he was forced to return to the team without much to show for it, as he also had defense duties.

What made Lee even more disappointed with the trophy was his inability to cross the championship threshold every year. Since joining Ulsan in 2018, he hasn’t lifted a trophy himself.

Ulsan famously led the K League 1 last year before slipping to second place. The last time they won the FA Cup was just before his arrival. Even the Asian Champions League (ACL) was won after he was sent home with an injury. Some fans even labeled him a “win suppressor.

“Some people asked me, ‘Isn’t it unfair that we won the title in K League 1, where we were only runners-up when I was playing? The day Ulsan clinched the title, I was so happy that I watched from the locker room in Rostock as they prepared for the game. I was just disappointed that I wasn’t there,” he recalls.

What consoles Lee is the fact that Ulsan is likely to win the K League 1 title again this year. After 20 games, Ulsan has a 13-point lead over the second-place Pohang Steelers and will likely win a second straight title unless something changes.

“If I come in the middle and don’t cause any damage, I think we’ll win this year,” Lee laughed.

Lee, who is preparing to join the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Gimcheon Commerce) next year, wants to take his ACL one step further. “Considering my business schedule, I think I’ll be able to enlist around next summer. At this rate, ACL can afford to challenge for the title. It’s a chance to break the jinx of being a championship suppressor and be called a championship maker,” he emphasized.카지노

Expect German ‘mercenary’ experience

Lee Dong-kyung believes that his experience in Germany, where he came up short, will help him win the title.

Originally, he was a “technician” who could kick the ball beautifully, but in Germany, he developed into an all-weather midfielder who was active and physical. He has also developed a sense of urgency that comes from playing as a foreigner in the Isthmus.

“In Germany, I was a mercenary. I learned what I had to do to survive as a soccer player,” he says, “and I want to show the rough and fast soccer of the German second division in the K League 1.”

Lee is now looking forward to his comeback. Having recently registered with the KFA, he will get a chance to play on the right wing, where Uhm Won-sang has been sidelined by injury. “I’m not as fast as (Uhm) Won-sang, but I’m confident that I can work well with the side defenders. I want to be recognized by coach Hong Myung-bo first and then challenge for the Taeguk Mark again. I will show what kind of player Lee Dong-kyung is.”

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