Wooyeong Jeong helped South Korea win the 2023 Asian Games with a goal in the showpiece game against Japan. bundesliga.com profiles the VfB Stuttgart winger, who first broke onto the German scene as a teenager with Bayern Munich...
Data correct as of 4 January 2024
Age: 24 (born 20 September 1999)
Club: VfB Stuttgart
Country: South Korea (15 caps, three goals)
After joining Bayern from Incheon United in January 2018, Jeong – becoming 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 Kovač. 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 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 spent the next four years at Freiburg, producing 11 goals and five assists across 100 competitive appearances for the club. He moved to regional rivals Stuttgart in summer 2023, notching an assist on his third Bundesliga appearance of the season before being called up to represent South Korea at the U23 Asian Games. Already a 10-time senior international, he hit a hat-trick in his country's opener, before scoring braces in the round of 16 and semi-finals. Jeong then netted an equalising goal in the showpiece against Japan as South Korea went on to win the gold medal with a 2-1 victory. He has now been named by Jürgen Klinsmann, himself a former Stuttgart forward, in the South Korean squad for the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar.
Watch: Jeong's former Freiburg boss Christian Streich sings the South Korean's praises
Plays a bit like: Jamal Musiala
Although he states he is now most comfortable on the left of a front three, Jeong has proven he's more than capable of playing anywhere in attack. Agile, physical, tough to knock off the ball but also quick, there are certainly shades of his one-time teammate in the Bayern reserves.
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. He even told fifa.com that he converses with national team boss Klinsmann in German.
What they're saying
"Jeong has stood out while playing in Germany, where he’s scored a lot of goals and been impressive." - South Korea coach Jürgen Klinsmann
"We're delighted that Wooyeong will be wearing our jersey in the future. His abilities will lend greater variety to our attacking play, while his ambitious nature and team-first attitude make him a great addition for us." - Stuttgart sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth
“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
"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
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