clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bayern Munich’s Hyunju Lee talks Bayern life after his U-23 national team debut

The Korean youngster hit another milestone on Monday evening.

England Training Camp Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Bayern Munich midfielder Hyunju Lee had something big to smile about.

After a handful of appearances for South Korea’s U-17s, Lee was called up to the U-23 national team as they gear up for the Olympics in Paris two years from now. This was Lee’s maiden callup, and he also made his debut when he was subbed in against Uzbekistan on Monday evening. He played about 17 minutes.

Lee was in the spotlight after the game, namely because the media was eager to learn about not just his international career, but also his Bayern life.

When asked about his role model, Lee picked two players: Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe, and Bayern’s own Jamal Musiala, the latter of whom is the same age as him. Lee has also been known to admire Joshua Kimmich, whose previous number he received when he first joined Bayern.

As for life in Germany, Lee seems to be enjoying it. “I think I’ll fit in just right when my German improves a bit,” he said. “I was tutored until recently, and now I’m studying German on my own. I have no problems with (communicating in) everyday life.”

The last South Korean at Bayern Munich was Wooyeong Jeong (currently with SC Freiburg) before Lee joined the club. Naturally, there were a lot of parallels drawn between the two youngsters. “Some of my Bayern teammates asked me if I know Wooyeong,” said Lee. “They’ve apparently played with him a fair few times. I haven’t met him yet.”

Lee is slightly different from Jeong in regards to his position, though. While Jeong plays mainly in the attack, Lee plays a bit deeper in midfield. “Bayern entrusts me with a lot of different positions,” he said. “I’ve played as an 8, a 10, left winger, even defensive midfielder. Coach Martin Demichelis makes me play in various spots. My best position is at the 10.” This isn’t unlike what Julian Nagelsmann did to Lee’s role model Musiala last season.

Despite his meteoric rise from Pohang rookie to international Bayern starlet, Lee remains humble. “I haven’t really shown anything to anyone yet,” he admitted. “I think I can pick getting forward and getting out of pressure as my strengths.”

As of now, Lee dreams of representing his country at the Olympics, which are quite highly regarded in Korea, more so than in other countries. Winning a medal at the Olympics (or a gold medal at the Asian Games) grants you exemption from the mandatory military service that all healthy Korean males have to go through. Lee, however, still has a long way to go before he thinks about any of that. “I have to show that sparkle that no one else has,” he said. “Thankfully, my teammates treat me really nicely, so I’m fitting in well.”

Meanwhile, Lee and Korea’s U-23s drew 1-1 with Uzbekistan in their friendly at Hwaseong Sports Town Stadium (which is located right in the home city of this writer). Having been battered all game, Korea had to rely on a late free kick equalizer to salvage a point, mostly due to a coach who is clearly out of his depth(sound familiar?).

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bavarian Football Works Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Bayern Munich news from Bavarian Football Works