Shinji Kagawa may have struggled to find his feet in the Premier League with Manchester United, but he has taken to the Bundesliga like a duck to water.
Part of it is to do with the fact that the Japan international had played in the German top flight before, but being deployed in his favoured attacking midfield role on Saturday did help a lot.
Kagawa made his ‘second’ debut for Borussia Dortmund against Freiburg on Saturday, having returned to the German club from United last month. The 25-year-old moved to the Red Devils in the summer of 2012, but he was largely considered a failure in his two years in the Premier League.
There was no such ‘fail’ sign anywhere on Kagawa on Saturday, as he made a dream return to the club with whom he had won the Bundesliga twice in a row in 2011 and 2012.
Starting in attacking midfield behind centre-forward Adrian Ramos and flanked by Kevin Grosskreutz and Henrik Mkhitaryan, the former Cerezo Osaka player was a star for Dortmund and played a key role in their 3-1 victory over Freiburg at the Signal Iduna Park.
Kagawa was involved in Dortmund’s opening goal as he played a low ball into the path of Grosskreutz, who then teed up Ramos.
That was on 34 minutes, and seven minutes later the Japanese star himself got himself on the scoresheet when he turned in Ramos’s ball across the face of goal after Mkhitaryan had missed it.
Kagawa was substituted in the 64th minute to a standing ovation, as Dortmund went on to win the game 3-1.