Football

Shinji Okazaki is the key for FSV Mainz this season

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For the past week, the spotlight has been on Shinji Kagawa after he completed his move back to the Bundesliga, leaving Manchester United. But to the surprise of many, it is another Shinji who is snatching the headlines.

Shinji Okazaki, the FSV Mainz 05 forward, grabbed his fourth goal of the season over the weekend in their 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund which saw the two headline Japanese Internationals lock horns.

Successful return

Last week, Kagawa made a massive impact in his side's 3-0 win over SC Freiburg as he scored on his return and also played a part in the first goal scored by Adrian Ramos, who moved from Hertha Berlin over the summer.

In their next game, Dortmund dismantled Arsenal in the Champions League with a dominating display in which they fired 23 shots at the visitor’s goal.

With this in mind, many expected Jurgen Klopp’s men to continue this run in their following game but this wasn’t the case.

Okazaki netted just after the hour mark before he then gave away a penalty to Ciro Immobile who missed the following kick.

Just fifteen minutes from the end, Matthias Ginter put the ball into his own net to hand the O-Fives all three points. 

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Okazaki in the Bundesliga

The 28-year-old forward switched to Mainz in the 2013 summer window when he departed from VfB Stuttgart following two and half years of service. He joined the club for an undisclosed fee and a three-year contract.

Since arriving at the club, Okazaki has been the spearhead of the Mainz attack and has been in impressive goal scoring form in the Bundesliga.

In the 2013-14 campaign, the Japan International scored 15 goals and this season he has added four more to his total in the league with Mainz.

In Matchday three, Okazaki went on to break Yasuhiko Okudera's Japanese goal record in the Bundesliga after netting twice against Hertha Berlin.

Mainz leading the Bundesliga

Their win against Borussia Dortmund sent them top of the table along with new boys, SC Paderborn 07 who beat Hannover 2-0 to move on to eight points and remain unbeaten. The game featured a spectacular 80 metre volley from Moritz Stoppelkamp

Although coach, Thomas Tuchel, resigned from Mainz in May, the club are continuing to move forward.

Surprise success last term

Last season Mainz finished seventh and earned a place in the Europa League play-offs but they were sadly eliminated earlier this season before making the group stages.

Under new coach, Kasper Hjulmand, Mainz are capable of achieving a higher finish this season, possibly challenging for the Champions League places granted Okazaki continues his fine goal scoring form.

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Topics:
Football
Bundesliga
Shinji Kagawa
Germany Football

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