Germany-based Korean Koo Ja-cheol eyes double happiness

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Korea Republic and Augsburg midfielder Koo Ja-cheol is hoping for a double dose of success at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Koo, who has been plying his trade in the Bundesliga since 2011, will be coming up against some familiar faces at Russia 2018, with the South Koreans set to face Germany in Group F on June 27.

By that time, both teams would have faced the other two nations in their group – Mexico and Sweden – meaning that match in Kazan could be a do-or-die for either’s hopes of reaching the Round of 16.

Nonetheless, Koo – who is enjoying life in Augsburg – is hoping that will not be the case.

“Since Germany is a team who is hoping to win the World Cup, I also hope that Germany wins the World Cup,” said Koo, in a Bundesliga feature on him ahead of the tournament.

“I hope South Korea make it to the quarter-finals, or perhaps even the semi-finals.

No matter how far we go, I want to be able to say that we gave it everything.”

Along with the likes of Son Heung-min and Ki Sung-yueng, Koo will be crucial to the Taegeuk Warriors’ prospects at the World Cup, given he has been one of their best players in recent seasons.

Having first moved to Germany as a 20-year-old when he joined Wolfsburg, the Chungju native showed plenty of resilience to adapt to his new surroundings.

Having spent time at Augsburg on loan previously, Koo moved to the WWK Arena permanently in the summer of 2015 following a spell at Mainz.

And, the following March, he made history when he became the first player in Augsburg’s history to net a hat-trick in the Bundesliga following a match-winning display against Bayer Leverkusen.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that the 29-year-old feels completely at home in the Southeast of Germany.

“Augsburg is a German home for me,” Koo added. “It’s just like the place where I grew up in South Korea.

“When I first came to Augsburg, there wasn’t really anyone in South Korea who really knew Augsburg.

“Nowadays, even the cashiers in the supermarkets opposite my house in Korea can pronounce “Augsburg” properly.”