2023 Asian Cup: Bundesliga players in action in Qatar


The 2023 Asian Cup saw a number of Bundesliga players miss out on club action for several weeks as they competed in Qatar to be crowned continental champions. Follow their performances and find out all you need to know about Asia’s big tournament.

Latest results

Jordan 2-0 South Korea

Minjae Kim was forced to sit out South Korea's semi-final against Jordan and could only watch on as his side exited the competition at the final hurdle. Stuttgart's Wooyeong Jeong came off the bench in the 81st minute, replacing Mainz's Jaesung Lee. As such, all Bundesliga representatives at the Asian Cup have now been knoced out.

Iran 2-1 Japan
Japan's Asia Cup campaign was ended in the quarter-finals courtesy of an Iranian penalty in the sixth minute of stoppage time. The Samurai Blue's Bundesliga quartet were all in action. Ko Itakura, Hiroki Ito and Ritsu Dōan all started - with the Freiburg winger replaced by Takuma Asano in the second half. After Japan's half-time lead was canceled out and the stoppage-time heartache ensued, the South Korean contingent remain the last Bundesliga representatives at the tournament - with their side now facing Jordan in the semi-finals on Tuesday 6 February (kick-off 4pm CET).  

Australia 1-2 South Korea
Bayern Munich's Minjae Kim will miss the semi-finals after being booked in South Korea's dramatic win over Australia. Jürgen Klinsmann's team came from behind to decide the contest in extra-time, sending Australia's Bundesliga 2 trio of Jackson Irvine,  St. Pauli teammate Connor Metcalfe and Wehen Wiesbaden striker John Iredale home. Mainz's Jae-sung Lee got on in the second half for the victors, but VfB Stuttgart's Wooyeong Jeong was an unused substitute.

Bayern Munich's Minjae Kim saw to the elimination of St. Pauli captain Jackson Irvine as South Korea beat Australia in the Asian Cup quarter-finals. - IMAGO/Sebastian Frej

Bahrain 1-3 Japan
Freiburg's Ritsu Dōan opened the scoring as Japan advanced to the quarter-finals with victory over Bahrain. Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Ko Itakura was also in the starting line-up, while Bochum's Takuma Asano got on in the second half. VfB Stuttgart's Hiroki Ito was an unused substitute once again.

Saudi Arabia 1-1 South Korea (South Korea won 4-2 on penalties)
VfB Stuttgart's Wooyeong JeongBayern Munich's Minjae Kim and Mainz's Jae-sung Lee are still going strong after helping Jürgen Klinsmann's South Korea overcome Saudi Arabia in the last 16. The Bundesliga trio were all named in the starting line-up of a dramatic knockout tie in which the Koreans equalised in the ninth minute of stoppage time, before prevailing on penalties.

Iraq 2-3 Jordan
Youssef Amyn is heading back to Germany after Iraq were eliminated in the round of 16. The Eintracht Braunschweig winger played 54 minutes of an eventful contest at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Australia 4-0 Indonesia
Jackson Irvine played the full 90 minutes as Australia cruised into the quarter-finals. St. Pauli teammate Connor Metcalfe came on for the final 29 minutes of the last-16 tie.

Malaysia 3-3 South Korea
VfB Stuttgart's Wooyeong Jeong opened the scoring and Bayern Munich's Minjae Kim started as South Korea missed out on top spot in Group E after sharing the spoils with Malaysia. Jürgen Klinsmann's team - who also had Mainz's Jae-sung Lee in the starting line-up - follow Bahrain into the knockouts as runners-up.

Japan 3-1 Indonesia
Ritsu Dōan was the only Bundesliga player to feature as Japan secured their passage to the knockouts as Group D runners-up. The Freiburg attacker assisted his nation's second goal, before being substituted off in the 86th minute. VfB Stuttgart defender Hiroki Ito was an unused substitute.

Iraq 3-2 Vietnam
Youssef Amyn made an impact as a second-half substitute, the Eintracht Braunschweig winger producing his first assist of the finals to help Group D winners Iraq advance with a 100 percent record.

Australia 1-1 Uzbekistan
Australia finished top of Group B after a team containing Jackson Irvine played out a 1-1 draw with second-placed Uzbekistan. St. Pauli teammate Connor Metcalfe got 18 second-half minutes under his belt, but Wehen Wiesbaden striker John Iredale was an unused substitute.

Jordan 2-2 South Korea
Bayern Munich's Minjae Kim played the full 90 minutes as South Korea survived a scare against Jordan thanks to a 91st-minute own goal to earn a point in the second group game. Ex-Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen striker Heung-min Son had opener the scoring, with Mainz's Jae-sung Lee playing 69 minutes before being replaced by Wooyeong Jeong of VfB Stuttgart.

Iraq 2-1 Japan
Takuma Asano (Bochum) and Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart) started for Japan but could not prevent a 2-1 loss to Iraq. Former Stuttgart man Wataru Endo scored a late consolation for the Samurai Blue, who face Indonesia in their final group game for the right to reach the knockouts. Freiburg's Ritsu Dōan also featured from the bench, while Eintracht Braunschweig's Youssef Amyn made his first start for Iraq, lasting 66 minutes.

Syria 0-1 Australia
Jackson Irvine scored again as Australia made it two wins from two with victory over Syria to book their place in the knockouts. Pauli teammate Connor Metcalfe was also included in the starting line-up once more.

St. Pauli's Jackson Irvine has helped Australia reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals. - Robert Cianflone

Indonesia 1-3 Iraq
Braunschweig forward Amyn started on the bench for Iraq's first game of the tournament against Indonesia. The 20-year-old was introduced in the 71st minute with his side leading 2-1 as they ultimately won by a comfortable two-goal margin.

South Korea 3-1 Bahrain
Bayern's Kim and Mainz's Lee both started as Jürgen Klinsmann's South Korea got off to a winning start in Qatar. The former went off after 72 minutes, while the latter was replaced on 82 minutes by Stuttgart's Jeong.

Japan 4-2 Vietnam
Ko Itakura and Ito played the entire 90 minutes of Japan's victory over Vietnam, with Dōan entering the fray as a substitute in the 63rd minute. Meanwhile, Asano went unused on the bench.

Australia 2-0 India
St. Pauli captain Irvine helped Australia to a winning start against India, scoring their opener in a 2-0 triumph. Pauli teammate Metcalfe was also involved, playing 64 minutes of the Socceroos' win in Al Rayyan.

What is the Asian Cup?

The Asian Cup is Asia’s equivalent of the UEFA European Championship or Africa Cup of Nations, played to determine the continent’s champions. It is organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Like its European counterpart, it is held every four years. The tournament was first played in 1956, making it the second-oldest continental football tournament in the world after South America’s Copa América.

The record winners are Japan with four titles, while Qatar are the holders after lifting the trophy for the first time by beating the Samurai Blue four years ago in the United Arab Emirates.

Watch: The best of Bayern Munich's 2023 Asia tour

When is the Asian Cup being played?

The Asian Cup has normally been played in either January or July, as per FIFA regulations regarding senior international men’s tournaments. Due to high summer temperatures and Qatar’s participation in the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup the previous summer, the 2023 Asian Cup was postponed and is being played between 12 January and 10 February 2024. It will retain the name 2023.

Where is the Asian Cup being played?

Qatar, who hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup a little over 12 months ago, is the location for this year’s Asian Cup. China had originally been awarded the hosting rights in 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and China’s zero-Covid policy saw the country relinquish their rights. Qatar were announced as the new hosts in October 2022.

A total of nine venues are being used across the Middle East country, of which seven hosted games at the 2022 World Cup:

Lusail Stadium (88,966 – Lusail)
Al Bayt Stadium (68,895 – Al Khor)
Khalifa International Stadium (45,857 – Al Rayyan)
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (45,032 – Al Rayyan)
Education City Stadium (44,667 – Al Rayyan)
Al Thumama Stadium (44,400 – Doha)
Al Janoub Stadium (44,325 – Al Wakrah)
Jassim bin Hamad Stadium (15,000 – Al Rayyan)
Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium (10,000 – Doha)

Watch: Bundesliga's Common Ground project in Jakarta, Indonesia

Which countries are competing?

A total of 46 teams originally entered qualifying to get to the finals, starting back in 2019 and concluding in June 2022. The 24 qualified nations were then drawn into six groups of four as follows:

Group A
Qatar, China, Tajikistan, Lebanon

Group B
Australia, Uzbekistan, Syria, India

Group C
Iran, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Palestine

Group D
Japan, Indonesia, Iraq, Vietnam

Group E
South Korea, Malaysia, Jordan, Bahrain

Group F
Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman

The six group winners and runners-up will advance to the knockout stage, with the four best third-placed teams making it 16 nations to progress. The final will be held again at Lusail on 10 February.

Which Bundesliga players are in action?

Given the timing of this year’s tournament, players called up to represent their country could miss up to five (or six for Bayern Munich players) Bundesliga fixtures, with the German top flight returning from its winter break on 12 January.

Players for Bundesliga 2 clubs could miss up to four rounds of league fixtures, with action resuming in the second tier from 19 January.

St. Pauli, VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Mönchengladbach also have DFB Cup quarter-final fixtures on 30 January, 6 February and 7 February respectively.

Watch: The best of Japanese players in the Bundesliga

The following players have been named in the final squad for their country:

Jackson Irvine (St. Pauli), Connor Metcalfe (St. Pauli), John Iredale (Wehen Wiesbaden

Ko Itakura (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ritsu Dōan (Freiburg), Takuma Asano (Bochum), Hiroki Ito (VfB Stuttgart)

Why Japan and the Bundesliga are a perfect match

Youssef Amyn (Eintracht Braunschweig)

South Korea
Minjae Kim (Bayern Munich), Jaesung Lee (Mainz), Wooyeong Jeong (VfB Stuttgart)