Wooyeong Jeong (l.) grew up watching videos of Neymar (r.) on YouTube and has learnt his style of play from the Brazilian. - © imago images/getty images
Wooyeong Jeong (l.) grew up watching videos of Neymar (r.) on YouTube and has learnt his style of play from the Brazilian. - © imago images/getty images
bundesliga

Freiburg's Wooyeong Jeong: "Neymar is my role model"

Freiburg's South Korean attacker Wooyeong Jeong is enjoying a breakout start to the 2021/22 Bundesliga campaign. The 21-year-old scored his first Bundesliga brace on Matchday two, and is looking for more as the season continues.

Jeong sits down with bundesliga.com to discuss his start to the season, why he loves playing for Freiburg, how watching Neymar on YouTube inspired him to play football and how Freiburg head coach Christian Streich is like a father...

bundesliga.com: What aims have you set yourself for this season?

Wooyeong Jeong: "My aim is to play more games this season and to score more goals. I always want to be in the starting lineup and so I always give everything in training to achieve this. I have always said that my aim is to play a lot and to score goals, and maybe even to play in Europe with the team next season."

bundesliga.com: You have a special celebration with Lucas Höler. What is the meaning behind this?

Jeong: "I thought up this celebration myself and it was my idea. If Lucas or I score a goal, the hand gesture means that this goal is already out of our minds and we brush it off and prepare to score the next goal. The focus is already then on the next goal."

bundesliga.com: You were in the spotlight after your two goals against VfB Stuttgart. How was that for you?

Jeong: "I really enjoyed it and these days were like a dream for me having scored those two goals."

bundesliga.com: You have already played 30 Bundesliga games at the age of 21, which is quite uncommon. How would you describe your development in the last three years?

Jeong: "The first season here in Freiburg was a tough time for me and then I played half a season in Bayern in the third division. I wanted to come back here and then in my second year, I played a few Bundesliga games. I want to give my all on the pitch and learn more about football. I'm here to show the coach that I can run, play hard, win the ball, and score goals. This is why I can enjoy the moments when I play."

Watch: Jeong's brace against Stuttgart!

bundesliga.com: You have played for Bayern and Freiburg, but you made your breakthrough at Freiburg. Did you first have to take one step back in order to take two steps forward?

Jeong: "Of course Bayern is a big club, but both are good teams and I learned a lot at Bayern and Freiburg. I trained with both teams and I found that both train very hard. Maybe training is even tougher at Freiburg and they go harder into the tackles and run more. This is why the first few months in Freiburg were tough for me."

bundesliga.com: Why do Freiburg suit you better?

Jeong: "I always want to run a lot and the team wants to run a lot as well. They want to play football and I love football. This is why I love playing with this team in Freiburg."

bundesliga.com: What are your biggest strengths?

Jeong: "I can always run a lot without rest and I can also score goals and win the ball. Running hard is definitely my strength."

bundesliga.com: You not only run hard, you can also play great football!

Jeong: "You could say that, but I can run even more."

Wooyeong Jeong has been all smiles at the start of the 2021/22 season with Freiburg. - imago images

bundesliga.com: You have learnt German quickly in three years. How important was this for you?

Jeong: "I started learning German with German teachers, but not anymore. I teach myself at home after training and I try to speak more with my teammates on the pitch or with the coaches. This is why I can speak a bit of German now."

bundesliga.com: How much do you miss home?

Jeong: "I miss Korea and my parents."

bundesliga.com: How hard was it for you to settle down in Germany?

Jeong: "Of course it was difficult because this is not my country and I miss my country and my parents. But this was my dream, so I am able to stay here alone. It is difficult at the moment for my parents to come over to Germany because of corona. It has been tough to be here alone and to eat alone after training, for example, but this has always been my dream."

Wooyeong Jeong and Lucas Höler have a special celebration for each game in the Bundesliga this season. - getty images

bundesliga.com: How did you learn to cook South Korean food?

Jeong: "I watch YouTube videos of South Korean cooking."

bundesliga.com: Who are your role models in football?

Jeong: "Neymar is my role model because he has great quality and he always tries to win one-on-ones. I used to always watch Neymar's highlights and dribbles on YouTube and I always tried to learn from him."

bundesliga.com: Was it always your aim to play in the Bundesliga?

Jeong: "Yes, I always wanted to play in the Bundesliga."

bundesliga.com: What aspects of your game do you still need to improve on?

Jeong: "I think I need to go into more tackles and run harder in the Bundesliga. The coach always says that I play well, but I need to work on my last pass and my finishing. He says that I am still young but when I have a chance, I need to concentrate and take a little bit more time. The coach always says that if I stay calm and concentrate, I will score goals."

bundesliga.com: What is your favourite position?

Jeong: "I usually play as a left forward and I enjoy playing there. This is where I have always played, but I can play in any position such as attacking midfielder or right forward. I don't mind where I play."

bundesliga.com: Your favourite German word seems to be 'Balleroberung' [winning the ball]. Where does this come from?

Jeong: "I always heard this on the pitch and the coach says it to all the players. It used to always be 'Vollgas' [full throttle]."

bundesliga.com: Do you now have a new favourite German word?

Jeong: "I think it's still 'Balleroberung' because I still hear this the whole time, or maybe 'Zweikampf' [tackle]."

bundesliga.com: What do you think of Christian Streich?

Jeong: "He is cool and emotional during games and on the pitch, but he is like our dad. He can sometimes be quite animated and annoyed, but after training or a game he always puts an arm around us and encourages us. That is something special."