Shinji Kagawa made a goalscoring return this weekend for Borussia Dortmund, netting in the defeat of Freiburg on his second debut for the club after moving from Manchester United for €8 million on the final day of the transfer window.
Kagawa provided the assist for Adrian Ramos to open the scoring at the Westfalenstadion before finding the net himself, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang notching a third before Freiburg registered a stoppage time consolation.
The return of Kagawa was greeted rapturously by the Dortmund faithful who still hold the Japan international in great affection following his first spell with the club, during which time they achieved successive Bundesliga title victories.
Kagawa scored 29 times in 71 appearances during two seasons with BVB to earn himself a transfer to Manchester United, although he was unable to make an impact of note at Old Trafford over the same time period.
During this difficult time in Manchester, Kagawa did retain links to Dortmund, particularly with Kevin Grosskreutz, and the Germany international is delighted he is back at the club where he was able to forge his reputation.
"It's true, though, I get along great on and off the pitch with Kagawa,” he told Ruhr Nachrichten.
"We are good friends and stayed in regular contact when he joined Manchester United.
"We are strong together as we showed against Freiburg.
"He is technically superior to others, he can sometimes take on two or three players on his own. It is great fun playing alongside him."
Jurgen Klopp had said last week that he needed Kagawa to fire for the club immediately, and the 25-year-old did not disappoint, much to the relief of the BVB manager after another injury sustained by Marco Reus.
The latter is unavailable for another month after once again sustaining ligament damage to his left ankle, and Kagawa would seem the player most capable of filling this Reus-shaped hole while he is sidelined.
Reus missed Germany’s triumphant World Cup campaign after suffering an ankle injury an a warm-up encounter with Armenia, and was making only his second competitive appearance when he suffered a set-back.
The 25-year-old has, of course, been linked with a transfer to Manchester United and the club will be hoping this ankle trouble is a coincidence rather than a concerning trend.
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