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Asia

Bundesliga players at the Asian Cup haven't forgotten Germany

Many players have had to miss league matches with their clubs, for example in the German Bundesliga, for the Asian Cup in Qatar. But they are certainly keeping an eye on what is happening back in Germany.

No goal: North Korea's Jong Tae Se (right) was unable to score during the Asian Cup

No goal: North Korea's Jong Tae Se (right) was unable to score during the Asian Cup

In total, eight players from Germany’s Bundesliga have been playing in the Asian Cup – five Japanese and one each from South Korea, North Korea and China. It is somewhat of a surprise that no players from the Australian or Iranian national squad are in the German league at the moment, but this might change, as German scouts are reported to be in Doha.

The players in Qatar have been following their clubs' progress despite being with their respective national teams. Japan captain Makoto Hasebe plays for 2009 Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg, whose first half of the season has been terrible.

"I watched the game over the weekend against Bayern Munich on television," he told Deutsche Welle. "We finally have a team on the field again. They fought and worked as a team which is important for us."

Japan and Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa (left) have made it to the quarterfinals

Japan and Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa (left) have made it to the quarterfinals

In Qatar, Hasebe and his "Blue Samurais" are through to the quarterfinals. They face the hosts, whose coach Bruno Metsu has great respect for the Japanese, calling them Asia's "Barcelona."

North Korea out, South Korea still in

North Korea star striker Jong Tae Se was playing against Iran when his club, Germany's second division side VfL Bochum, were playing away to 1860 Munich. When informed by Deutsche Welle that Bochum had won 3-1, he was overjoyed.

"That is great to hear and I am so happy about the result! Who scored the goals? Who played?"

North Korea not only lost to Iran, they failed to score a single goal in all three of their Qatar matches. This was particularly disappointing for Jong Tae Se, who had been doing so well this season in Germany.

But once North Korea are eliminated, he will be back in Bochum all the sooner.

By contrast, South Korean teenager Heung Min Son, who has been a revelation for Hamburger SV back in Germany, has high hopes for his team in Qatar.

"The Bundesliga started again and we won 1-0 against Schalke. But I couldn’t watch the game, so I got my information from the internet. First, I have to think about the Asian Cup and if we get to the final then we want to be champions. And only thereafter can I think about the Bundesliga again."

Son scored as a substitute against India and has a tough task ahead with his team in the quarterfinals, where they will face Iran.

German coaches Wolfgang Sidka (left) and Holger Osieck are still in Qatar, with their teams Iraq and Australia among the last eight

German coaches Wolfgang Sidka (left) and Holger Osieck are still in Qatar, with their teams Iraq and Australia among the last eight

An additional burden on clubs

Clubs across Europe are used to releasing their players for the African Cup of Nations in January every two years. However, this season the Asian Cup has become an additional burden, as more and more Asian players are based in Europe.

Iraq's German coach Wolfgang Sidka can understand the problems his colleagues in Germany are facing, "but of course they have to follow the FIFA regulations and let their players go. It is mainly because of the weather that the African and Asian Cups are often held in January, whereas the World Cups and the European Championships are played during the summer breaks."

Author: Arunava Chaudhuri (Qatar)
Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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