The Bayern Munich first team is stacked with trophy-laden senior internationals, so for an unproven teenager to break into the side, they must be something very special indeed. Such is the case of South Korean youngster Wooyeong Jeong, but the teenager is seeking regular top-class football and has made a move to Freiburg.
bundesliga.com shines the spotlight on one of the most promising wingers from the Far East looking to make his mark on the German top flight.
Country: South Korea (two U20 caps)
After joining Bayern from Incheon United in January 2018, Jeong – incidentally the first South Korean ever to play for Bayern – raced to the fringes of the first team in double-quick time. He scored on his debut for the U19s and although injury ruled him out for most of the second half of 2017/18, he was promoted to the reserves in 2018/19 and seamlessly picked up where he left off.
Thirteen goals and six assists in 29 Regionalliga outings are testament to his attacking threat and it did not go unnoticed by Niko Kovac. The Bayern boss included Jeong in the party that travelled to the USA for 2018 pre-season and he even played in Bastian Schweinsteiger's testimonial match at the Allianz Arena in August. Jeong was then an unused substitute in the squad for the DFB Cup second-round clash away to SV Rödinghausen at the end of October and again for the Bundesliga Matchday 12 clash with Fortuna Düsseldorf in November.
If those experiences were Jeong's hors d'oeuvres with the pros, he did not have to wait long for the main course. Just a few days after the Düsseldorf game, the nimble-footed teenager made his senior debut for the club in the UEFA Champions League, replacing Thomas Müller in the 81st minute of the 5-1 victory over Benfica. He probably thought senior life was easy when he featured in his second 5-1 win in as many appearances, this time on his Bundesliga debut against Borussia Mönchengladbach as another late sub for Müller in March 2019.
Jeong has now moved to Freiburg at his own request, looking for regular top-flight action as he aims to progress in his development.
Plays a bit like: Franck Ribery
A winger, blessed with pace, technique, agility and a keen eye for goal, if Jeong keeps progressing at his current rate then he has the potential to emulate Bundesliga legend Ribery, who left the record champions in the summer as the most decorated player in the league’s history.
Did you know?
Jeong has only been playing football for a decade, having previously practised taekwondo as a child. The Ulsan native doesn't speak any English but has been taking German lessons five times a week in order to help communication with teammates and coaches. The result of that was his first TV interview in German on signing for Freiburg.
What they're saying
"I'm very happy and unbelievably proud to have played my first game for this huge club. I had goosebumps. It was an indescribable feeling that will stay with me forever." - Wooyeong Jeong after making his Bayern debut
"If we sign a player from so far away then it's because we see his has the potential to develop. We owe it to him and his parents that he won't be here just to make up the numbers in a team." - Jochen Sauer, head of Bayern's youth academy
“Wooyeong is one of the most promising South Korean players. His joy on the pitch and good feeling for situations and space are remarkable for such a young player. We want to work with him on making him a complete Bundesliga player, and he’ll get the time to do that here.” – Jochen Saier, Freiburg sporting director