A player who failed to live up to the hype at Manchester United is back to his best for Borussia Dortmund.
It is fair to say that Manchester United fans did not see the best of Shinji Kagawa during the Japanese international’s time at Old Trafford.
When he signed from German club Borussia Dortmund, those who had seen him shine in the Bundesliga suggested United had nabbed a bargain.
But after just 57 appearances, Kagawa returned to Dortmund and United fans were left to wonder where it all went wrong.
In truth it was a combination of things. Kagawa was rarely played in his preferred position behind a central striker, instead asked to do his work from the flank. But the fact that the 26-year-old often plays on the wing for his country suggests that should not have been an issue.
Then there is the fact that Kagawa was rarely given a run of games to get the wind beneath his sails. Instead he only started sporadically and struggled to influence games when coming off the bench.
There were moments of brilliance; most notably his hat-trick against Norwich City and the sheer dread in the eyes of Bayern Munich’s defenders when he came on against them in last season’s Champions League.
Whatever English fans thought of Kagawa, the Bayern stars knew what he was capable of and his confidence soared in that moment.
His eye for a pass was clear for all to see but unfortunately he just did not have the luck, the time and the faith of any one manager to play week in, week out.
He has just that at Dortmund, where he has featured 37 times this season, and while he struggled when he first returned, his recent form has been considerably better.
After recent goals against Paderborn and Eintracht Frankfurt, Kagawa was back to his blistering best this weekend, scoring one goal and setting up the others in a 3-2 victory against Werder Bremen.
The former United player opened the scoring in the 15th minute and set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the second just two minutes later.
Bremen pulled one back but Kagawa was again on hand to set up Henrikh Mkhitaryan and a second for Bremen was a mere consolation.
This was the Kagawa we know and love; the player United thought they were bringing to England.
It is a shame things did not work out at Old Trafford, but Dortmund are all the better for having him home.