It’s been a year since Hyunju Lee came to Munich and played with the Bayern Munich second team. The young midfielder played 23 games for Bayern over the past 12 months, and is currently the joint-second highest scorer (along with Timo Kern) for Bayern II in the Regionalliga with eight goals and two assists.
Judging from his performances, it seems Lee has seamlessly transitioned to life in Munich. FCBayern.com sat down with him and chatted about his first year in the Bavarian capital. At the moment, Lee is away at a training camp in Antalya, Turkey, working with his teammates as they gear up for the league’s restart.
Lee’s first impressions on the training camp have been positive. “I am very impressed with the conditions. It’s my first training camp ever,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the guys over the coming days and preparing for the second half of the season.”
Not only has the training camp lifted his spirits, but life in Munich also seems to be suiting him quite well. Of course, it wasn’t too easy at first. “ Everyone at Bayern was very friendly and open to me, but I really missed my family, my friends, the food and just my culture,” he said.
Of course, that is very understandable. It’s not easy being alone so far away from home at any age, let alone in one’s late teens. However, it didn’t take too long for Lee to get his groove on. “When I played against Walldorf for the U-19s for the first time, things improved. We won 3-0, I scored a goal and got on better with my teammates. This also gave me more self-confidence and I now feel very comfortable in Munich.”
#Lee: So lief mein erstes Jahr beim #FCBayern ☝️— FC Bayern Campus (@fcbayerncampus) February 2, 2023
️ Im Interview spricht der Südkoreaner über seine erste Zeit in München, das Trainingslager und seine Mitspieler.
https://t.co/J4srqOBiML#MiaSanMia #FCBAmateure pic.twitter.com/2aFgYNwAr4
From then, it’s been a steady rise for Lee. At the end of 2022, he had scored five goals in five games, a quite remarkable feat for someone who barely started his career. “I think I’ve made good progress in that one year. Especially at the beginning I wasn’t satisfied with my goal tally, but Micho (Editor’s Note: Martín Demichelis) helped me a lot to improve. He believed in me and gave me playing time.”
Demichelis, who was re-replaced by Holger Seitz at the beginning of the year, helped Lee settle in by playing him in a lot of different positions, not too unlike what Julian Nagelsmann is doing with Jamal Musiala. So far, Lee has played as an attacking midfielder, a winger, a central midfielder, and even a defensive midfielder, albeit only once. “I play where the coach needs me: it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the center or on the flanks,” he said. But Lee, like Musiala, feels most comfortable in attacking midfield. “I can use my technique well there and put my team-mates in the limelight,” he said.
Likewise, Lee’s performances on the pitch have impressed many. But what does his life outside of football look like? What does the aforementioned “comfortable” life include, exactly? “I like being out and about in Munich. I often go for walks and have already looked at many things, such as Marienplatz, the English Garden or the Olympic Park,” he said. Not bad choices at all for a stroll in the quaint city.
Lee has already gotten close to many of his teammates, including Grant Ranos and Gabriel Marušić, who helped him settle into life on FC Bayern Campus. Now, Lee is trying to return the favor to newcomer and fellow Asian Taichi Fukui, whom he shares a room with at the current training camp. “When he arrived in Munich, I explained a few things to him about the campus, how public transport works and how to order food,” he said with a laugh. But it’s not easy for us either, because our languages are not at all similar.” Nevertheless, it’s still heartwarming to see that he’s helping a newbie out, even though he’s not a fully fledged veteran himself.
On the topic of language, Lee still finds German hard, as does almost any foreigner who has learned the language. “It’s not easy, but I had to deal with it right from the start in order to be able to communicate with my team-mates,” he said. “It’s already working very well on the pitch. I still have a bit of problems in everyday life, but I try to improve regularly.”
Language problems aside, though, there is little for Lee to complain about his life in Munich. Now, he wants to take the next steps, starting with the Antalya training camp. “I want to keep working on myself,” he said. “I still have room for improvement, especially when it comes to heading the ball and scoring goals. And of course I also want to do something for my endurance here. I’m already looking forward to the friendly against Rapid Wien on (Saturday, February 2). I hope I can help the team again.”