In the space of two years, Borussia Dortmund have signed Shinji Kagawa for €350,000 from then Japanese League Division 2 side Cerezo Osaka in August 2010, won two German Bundesliga titles and sold their Japense playmaker off to English Premier League giants for a fee reported to be around €15,000,000.
Shinji Kagawa has been an important role of the Borussia Dortmund side that have won two league championships and one DFB Cup over the past two seasons. The former Cerezo Osaka was only 22 as part of the youngest-ever Bundesliga champions in 2010/11. He missed most of the second half of that season with a metatarsal injury after being a huge hit in the first half of his debut season.
The 13 goals scored from midfield this past season made him Dortmund’s second top scorer and scored a total of 17 goals in all competitions that included a late goal at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC in the Champions League.
Back-to-back champions of Germany Borussia Dortmund were resigned to losing their attacking midfield playmaker after he didn’t want to sign an extension to his current contract, wanting to following his dream of playing in the English Premier League instead.
Perhaps Jürgen Klopp and the Borussians were prepared for Kagawa’s exist as early as January when they completed the signing of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s goalscoring midfielder Marco Reus. The German international whom is part of Joachim Löw’s Euro 2012 squad completes his move to the champions this summer.
Marco Reus and Shinji Kagawa aren’t identical players, far from it. But one can replace the other in this squad without affecting the harmony of the attacking unit that saw Dortmund top score with 80 goals in the Bundesliga last season.
However, Reus will likely slot in behind Robert Lewandowski in the position Kagawa did when the squad was fully fit.
Marco Reus top-scored with 18 goals from midfield for a Gladbach side that finished in a surprising 4th place to earn a Champions League playoff berth next season. Only Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Mario Gomez and Lewandowski scored more league goals than the young German international.
The Gladbach squad wasn’t filled with playmakers this past season, far from it, but their attacking unit was focussed around Reus – the stand out player in the team.
Shinji Kagawa scored less goals and even had less assists than his replacement (8 compared to 9), but like Reus was a big focus in his team’s attacking game. Sir Alex Ferguson scouted his new signing if the DFB Cup final in which Kagawa opened the scoring in a 5-2 victory over Bayern Munich. In that final, Kagawa, like in most games this season was involved in every good attack from BVB.
Marco Reus doesn’t have the quick, short-passing and move style that Shinji Kagawa possesses and which worked wonderfully well during his two years in Dortmund. Reus makes intelligent runs and gets himself open in and around the penalty to receive the ball. He is also more confident and successful in running at defenders. The German is capable of scoring from outside the penalty area and places a number of his shots into the corner of the goal.
Borussia Dortmund have a lost a very talent and integral member of their first eleven by letting Shinji Kagawa go to England. But replacement Marco Reus is more than capable of stepping up and filling his boots.