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Five Aside: Pulisic's super stats at age 19

Five Aside

Shinji Kagawa return provides boost to Borussia Dortmund

Shinji Kagawa's return to Borussia Dortmund has sparked a wave of euphoria, with the Bundesliga club having already sold 5,000 jerseys with the Japanese international's number seven printed on the back.

Dortmund re-signed Kagawa on a four-year deal on Sunday, to free the 25-year-old Japanese midfielder from his Manchester United misery.

The 25-year-old began his second stint at his first European club -- where he played from 2010 to 2012 -- with an individual training session in the gym, and was welcomed by a number of former teammates like Sven Bender, Ilkay Gundogan and Jakub Blaszczykowski.

Borussia Dortmund also released footage of the first meeting between Kagawa and coach Jurgen Klopp, who welcomed the Japanese international home to Dortmund like a long-lost son.

Kagawa will be hoping to rediscover his best form following a disappointing two-year stint at Manchester United.

The tabloid Bild, in an article headlined: "Dortmund goes KaGAGAwa", reported that on Monday some 5,000 Kagawa jerseys were sold in the club shop.

Meanwhile, a Dortmund petrol station put up a video wall with the message "#freeshinji - mission completed" -- referring to a hashtag created by a Borussia Dortmund fan in 2013, when a potential return to Westfalenstadion had been on the table.

The eight million-euro signing of Kagawa elevated Dortmund's summer spending to over 50 million euros, and has been well received by most of the German media. However, some outlets have questioned whether the midfielder will fit into Jurgen Klopp's style, which has developed from 2012, when Manchester United signed him for 16 million euros.

"Dortmund plays faster than two years ago. Germany international Marco Reus, who returned to Dortmund from Borussia Monchengladbach two years ago, has established himself in Kagawa's position," Suddeutsche Zeitung commented.

Other publications highlighted that the transfer gives Dortmund even more depth up front, and the football weekly kicker suggested that Kagawa could either take Reus' role, who would then move forward into Dortmund's attack, or could be installed in the No.8 role to "provide even more structure and inspiration from deep midfield."

Kicker also claimed that despite Kagawa's arrival, contract talks with in-demand star player Marco Reus remain the top priority for the club, who have not given up hope that the Germany international will stay beyond the summer of 2015, when he can reportedly trigger a 25 million-euro release clause.

As Borussia Dortmund are set to open their first international branch in Singapore, the Kagawa transfer also boosts the club's commercial efforts in Asia, the club's marketing executive Carsten Cramer, who is set for a business trip to Tokyo and Singapore next week, confirmed in Bild.

"Regarding the marketing, the transfer plays into Borussia's hands," he said. "Kagawa helps us a lot for Japan and Asia. He gives us tailwinds."


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