From the Campus to the Bundesliga: Interview with Freiburg's Wooyeong Jeong

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On Saturday, the league leaders from Munich await third-placed SC Freiburg in the standout fixture of Bundesliga Matchday 11 (15:30 CET) at the Allianz Arena. 22-year-old Wooyeong Jeong is a permanent fixture in Christian Streich's team, who has started 9 of the ten games this season (six wins, four draws) and scored three goals in the process. Woo, as he was known during his time at FC Bayern, arrived at the FC Bayern Academy from South Korea in 2018, and made appearances for both the U19s and the reserves. The Freiburg striker recently celebrated his senior South Korea debut, so he's gone from the Campus all the way to the national team! "A dream came true," was how Jeong described it to fcbayern.com in an interview in which the down-to-earth striker repeatedly used the word "learn". Check out Jeong's assessment of his time in Munich and Freiburg's current form here:

Wooyeong Jeong - The interview

Servus Woo. On Saturday the best attack will come up against the best defence in the league. Who will come out on top in the end?
Jeong: "Everyone looks forward to playing against Bayern. Those are always difficult games, of course, but we're in good shape and will try to win."

You're an established first-team regular in the third-placed team in the Bundesliga and are currently in good form. How are you feeling ahead of your return to Munich?
"When I came to Freiburg, one of my goals was to play against Bayern at some point. Now I'm really looking forward to the clash. I had a difficult start, but things are going very well at the moment. I hope I can deliver against FCB too."

In January 2018, you joined FC Bayern's U19 team from South Korea. How do you look back on your early days at the FC Bayern Campus today?
"It was a very nice time for me. Everyone dreams of one day playing for Bayern. It's a big team and a unique club."

Jeong also made one appearance in the Bundesliga for FC Bayern in March 2019, In the 5-1 win at Mönchengladbach.

Are you still in contact with some of your companions from your time at Bayern?
"I'm grateful to all the coaches I had - whether it was Holger Seitz, Dirk Teschke or Sebastian Hoeneß. I'm in contact most with Herr Teschke, we regularly write to each other. But I also still write to Herr Hoeneß via WhatsApp, because we're both in the Bundesliga now. I also still communicate regularly with lots of players like Otschi Wriedt, Maxi Welzmüller or Taylor Booth - there are quite a few."

What memories do you have of your time at the FC Bayern Campus?
"The food on campus was great and very healthy (laughs). And it was a short walk to the athletics room, that flexibility was terrific. The educators on campus also helped me a lot. It was a very nice time."

You came to Germany from South Korea and didn't speak any German. How did you adjust to life on campus?
"It was very difficult for me to adjust in the beginning. The training and the food, for example, are completely different here. I learned a lot in my early days on campus, which was a great experience. I still benefit from that today. The cultures are very different. For example, when teammates wanted to have a bit of a laugh with me, I didn't understand at first. But now I understand everything." (laughs)

Jeong's "highlight": the sensational third division championship win in Kaiserslautern in July 2020 - as a newly-promoted team!

Why weren't you able to make the breakthrough in your first six months at Freiburg in 2019?
"When I started at SC, I didn't get much game-time in the Bundesliga. Now I can feel the coach has absolute confidence in me. He talks to me a lot, which gives me confidence, even if I make a mistake. Christian Streich has a terrific mix, sometimes he's strict, sometimes he's like a father figure. Bayern and Freiburg are two completely different clubs. I've always given everything, but the coach demanded that my tackling improve. At Bayern, it was less about issues like winning the ball and more about attacking play and footballing solutions. In the past, I had a harder time with defensive challenges and transitioning after losing the ball. I want to continue working on that."

At the beginning of 2020, you came back here on loan with the reserves. At the end of the season, you were able to celebrate winning the third division: How important was this very successful period (one goal, eight assists in 15 games) for you personally?
"Very, very important. After I hadn't played that much at Freiburg in the beginning, I wanted to gain more playing experience through the loan spell. But I knew it wouldn't be easy, because all of Bayern's young talents play for the reserves. Sebastian Hoeneß told me that if I played like I did when I was previously in Munich, I would be in the starting XI. So I gained a lot of confidence and I'm proud that I was able to contribute to winning the third division championship. That was the absolute highlight of my time at Bayern.

Check out the facts and stats ahead of the top-of-the-table clash 👇