Featured Matches
Previous
Aston Villa
Newcastle United
0
0
FT
Game Details
Chelsea
Leicester City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Everton
Arsenal
2
2
FT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Valencia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen
0
2
FT
Game Details
Guingamp
Marseille
0
1
FT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Norwich City
0
1
FT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Newcastle United
0
0
FT
Game Details
Chelsea
Leicester City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Crystal Palace
West Ham United
1
3
FT
Game Details
Southampton
West Bromwich Albion
0
0
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Burnley
1
0
FT
Game Details
Everton
Arsenal
2
2
FT
Game Details
Malaga
Athletic Bilbao
1
0
LIVE 90' +3'
Game Details
Granada
Deportivo La Coruña
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sevilla FC
Valencia
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Almeria
Espanyol
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
SC Freiburg
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Cologne
Hamburg SV
0
0
FT
Game Details
Hannover 96
Schalke 04
2
1
FT
Game Details
Hertha Berlin
Werder Bremen
2
2
FT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
FC Augsburg
2
0
FT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen
0
2
FT
Game Details
Guingamp
Marseille
0
1
FT
Game Details
Bastia
Toulouse
1
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Lille
Lorient
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Montpellier
Metz
1
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Nice
Bordeaux
1
1
LIVE HT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Caen
0
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Norwich City
0
1
FT
Game Details
Blackburn Rovers
AFC Bournemouth
3
2
FT
Game Details
Brentford
Birmingham City
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Bolton Wanderers
2
1
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Fulham
5
1
FT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Charlton Athletic
1
1
FT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Sheffield Wednesday
2
3
FT
Game Details
Millwall
Rotherham United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Nottingham Forest
Reading
4
0
FT
Game Details
Watford
Leeds United
4
1
FT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Blackpool
1
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Cardiff City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Barnsley
Gillingham
4
1
FT
Game Details
Bradford City
Peterborough United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Doncaster Rovers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Chesterfield
0
0
FT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Walsall
0
0
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Coventry City
0
0
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Notts County
0
2
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Oldham Athletic
1
0
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Bristol City
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Crawley Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Crewe Alexandra
2
0
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Scunthorpe United
1
1
FT
Game Details
Accrington Stanley
Luton Town
2
2
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Hartlepool United
1
2
FT
Game Details
Bury
Plymouth Argyle
2
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Morecambe
1
2
FT
Game Details
Carlisle United
Southend United
1
1
FT
Game Details
Dagenham & Redbridge
Mansfield Town
2
0
FT
Game Details
Exeter City
York City
1
1
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Burton Albion
1
1
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Shrewsbury Town
1
1
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Portsmouth
0
1
FT
Game Details
Stevenage
Wycombe Wanderers
1
3
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Cheltenham Town
2
3
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Wrexham
2
3
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
AFC Telford United
1
0
FT
Game Details
Chester City
Halifax
0
3
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Torquay United
0
0
FT
Game Details
Dover
Eastleigh
2
1
FT
Game Details
Gateshead
Grimsby Town
1
6
FT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Braintree Town
3
2
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Kidderminster Harriers
0
0
FT
Game Details
Nuneaton Town
Barnet
0
2
FT
Game Details
Southport
Altrincham
2
1
FT
Game Details
Welling
Woking
1
1
FT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Celtic
1
0
FT
Game Details
Dundee United
Ross County
2
1
FT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
Motherwell
2
0
FT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
Hamilton Academical
1
2
FT
Game Details
St Johnstone
Aberdeen
1
0
FT
Game Details
St Mirren
Dundee
0
1
FT
Game Details
Edinburgh Univ
Hurlford Utd
0
5
FT
Game Details
Hawick Royal Albert
Newton Stewart
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cowdenbeath
Alloa Athletic
0
3
FT
Game Details
Hibernian
Falkirk
0
1
FT
Game Details
Queen of the South
Livingston
1
1
FT
Game Details
Raith Rovers
Heart of Midlothian
0
4
FT
Game Details
Rangers
Dumbarton
4
1
FT
Game Details
Ayr United
Forfar Athletic
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dunfermline Athletic
Airdrie United
3
0
FT
Game Details
Peterhead
Greenock Morton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Stenhousemuir
Stirling Albion
4
5
FT
Game Details
Stranraer
Brechin City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Albion Rovers
East Fife
2
0
FT
Game Details
Berwick Rangers
East Stirlingshire
5
0
FT
Game Details
Elgin City
Clyde
1
0
FT
Game Details
Montrose
Annan Athletic
2
0
FT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Arbroath
0
2
FT
Game Details
Osasuna
Barcelona B
2
0
FT
Game Details
Real Valladolid
Mallorca
2
1
LIVE 90' +3'
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Real Zaragoza
0
0
LIVE 90' +3'
Game Details
Las Palmas
Llagostera
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Numancia
Sporting Gijon
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atalanta
Pisa
2
0
FT
Game Details
Varese
Virtus Entella
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palermo
Modena
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Perugia
Spezia
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bari
US Avellino
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cagliari
Catania
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
Karlsruhe
0
2
FT
Game Details
Nurnberg
FSV Frankfurt
0
1
FT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
AJ Auxerre
1
0
FT
Game Details
Willem II Tilburg
AZ Alkmaar
3
0
FT
Game Details
Heerenveen
Excelsior
0
0
LIVE 46'
Game Details
Go Ahead Eagles
Dordrecht '90
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Maritimo
Academica de Coimbra
2
1
FT
Game Details
Paços de Ferreira
FC Porto
0
1
LIVE 90' +2'
Game Details
Sporting Lisbon
Arouca
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Ufa
Spartak Moscow
1
2
FT
Game Details
Zenit St Petersburg
FK Amkar Perm
2
0
FT
Game Details
FK Rubin Kazan
CSKA Moscow
2
1
FT
Game Details
Kerkyra
Panthrakikos
2
1
FT
Game Details
OFI Crete
Panetolikos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Niki Volos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
KVC Westerlo
2
2
FT
Game Details
KV Kortrijk
KV Oostende
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lierse SK
Royal Charleroi SC
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zulte-Waregem
Mouscron-Peruwelz
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SK Sturm Graz
Wolfsberger AC
1
2
FT
Game Details
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
FC Trenkwalder Admira
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SV Grodig
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
SC Rheindorf Altach
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Malmo FF
IFK Norrkoping
3
0
FT
Game Details
Stromsgodset
Stabaek
2
3
FT
Game Details
Valerenga
SK Brann
3
3
FT
Game Details
Ballinamallard Utd
Glentoran
2
2
FT
Game Details
Cliftonville
Glenavon
3
3
FT
Game Details
Dungannon Swifts
Ballymena
0
3
FT
Game Details
Institute
Linfield
1
1
FT
Game Details
Portadown
Crusaders
3
1
FT
Game Details
Warrenpoint Town
Coleraine
1
3
FT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Montreal Impact
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
Chicago Fire
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Columbus Crew
Houston Dynamo
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New England Revolution
Chivas USA
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
Vancouver Whitecaps
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Queretaro
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Veracruz
Guadalajara
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Puebla
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Pachuca
Atlas
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Chiapas
America
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Airbus UK
Port Talbot
Postp
Postponed - new date to be confirmed
Game Details
Carmarthen
Rhyl
1
0
FT
Game Details
Newtown
Bala Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
New York Cosmos
Minnesota United FC
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Indy Eleven
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Tampa Bay Rowdies
Carolina RailHawks
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Atlanta Silverbacks
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Rosario Central
1
1
LIVE 45' +2'
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Belgrano de Córdoba
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente
Vélez Sarsfield
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sarmiento de Junín
Huracán
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Santamarina
Unión de Santa Fe
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Argentinos Juniors
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Instituto de Córdoba
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Necaxa
Lobos BUAP
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Zacatepec
Altamira
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Mérida
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Irapuato
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlético MG
Internacional
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Botafogo
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Coritiba FBC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Santa Cruz FC
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
Sampaio Correa-MA
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
América RN
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Bragantino
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Ceará
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
ABC
Vila Nova-GO
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Luverdense
Joinville
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de Chile
Huachipato
2
1
FT
Game Details
Ñublense
O'Higgins
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión Española
Universidad de Concepción
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Antofagasta
Municipal Iquique
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Sud América
Nacional
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tacuarembó FC
Fénix
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fortaleza CE
Uniautonoma
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Aguilas Doradas
Patriotas F.C.
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Envigado
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Santa Fe
Alianza Petrolera
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Cienciano del Cusco
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
3 de Febrero
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Guaraní
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Emelec
El Nacional
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
LDU Quito
Postp
Game Details
Aragua
Mineros
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo La Guaira
Estudiantes de Mérida
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Anzoategui
Deportivo Petare
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
Bolívar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport Boys Warnes
Universitario de Pando
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Blooming
Universitario de Sucre
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shimizu S-Pulse
Kashima Antlers
1
3
FT
Game Details
FC Tokyo
Urawa Red Diamonds
4
4
FT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Gamba Osaka
3
3
FT
Game Details
Albirex Niigata
Tokushima Vortis
1
2
FT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Kashiwa Reysol
1
1
FT
Game Details
Omiya Ardija
Sagan Tosu
1
3
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Cerezo Osaka
0
0
FT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Vegalta Sendai
2
1
FT
Game Details
Yokohama F. Marinos
Kawasaki Frontale
2
0
FT
Game Details
Santos
Carmelita
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de El Salvador
Santa Tecla
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aguila
CD FAS
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Universidad de San Carlos
Penarol
9:35 PM GMT
Game Details
Petapa
Coatepeque
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vida
Victoria
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Kansas City
Portland Thorns FC
1
0
ESPN2 LIVE 75'
Game Details
Next
Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
Real MadridReal Madrid
1
0
ESPN3 FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Oct 12, 2010

Kagawa provides reminder of Eastern promise

At 3.30pm on October 22, 1977, Cologne forward Yasuhiro Okudera attempted to separate Duisburg's Herbert Bussers from the ball. It was the first minute of Okudera's first Bundesliga game and it would have been his first touch of the ball in a competitive game in Germany. If he had made proper contact with the ball, that is.

Instead he brought down Bussers and, since this happened in Cologne's penalty area, the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot.

There are no two ways about it - it was the worst possible start for the first Asian player in the professional German game. Okudera, signed for 300,000 Marks (then £75,000) from Japanese club Furukawa, wasn't even supposed to start the match because he had spent the previous week munching tablets like candy on account of an infected wound. And now this.

But it all turned out well, in more ways than one. Rudi Seliger stepped up to take the penalty for Duisburg and, behind his his back, Cologne's Heinz Simmet pointed to a corner to tell his 'keeper Toni Schumacher where he thought the ball would be placed. Seliger struck, Simmet was right, Schumacher saved. And Okudera, we may surmise, enjoyed a big sigh of relief. Cologne eventually won the game 2-1.

It also turned out well when you look at the bigger picture. Okudera spent almost nine years in Germany and played more than 250 games for Cologne, Hertha and Bremen. He won the league and cup Double with Cologne and would have won a second Bundesliga title, with Bremen, if it hadn't been for another, much more famous, missed penalty - Michael Kutzop's 88th-minute spot-kick on the penultimate day of the 1985-86 season against Bayern.

Okudera also became the first Asian to score in the European Cup, when he put one past Nottingham Forest's Peter Shilton with his first touch of the ball, 28 seconds after coming on, to make it 3-3 at the City Ground in the legendary 1979 semi-final first leg. (You don't hear this often, but Shilton should have saved the shot. However, it didn't matter much as Forest won the second leg 1-0.)

A few weeks after this game, the second Asian success story in Germany got off the ground when the South Korean Bum-Kun Cha made his league debut for Frankfurt. Actually, this was the much bigger success story, because while Okudera was a solid Bundesliga player, Cha became a true star in Frankfurt, and later at Leverkusen. The German writer Eckhard Henscheid composed a 130-line ode called Hymn to Bum-Kun Cha in 1979 (it name-checks Okudera) and, almost two decades later, a Frankfurt indie band called itself Bum Khun Cha Youth (sic).

Of course, it's way too early to tell if Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa can emulate Cha - or even, for that matter, Okudera - but there's no denying that the young Japanese already enjoys the kind of cult status among Borussia's support that Cha had in Frankfurt. Even before Kagawa scored two goals to win the heated Ruhr derby for Dortmund against Schalke, the Dortmund supporters had watched and listened to enough YouTube videos to sing Kagawa Shinji - putting the family name first, as it's done in Japan - and make brave attempts at getting the sounds right, pronouncing the 'w' more like 'oo'.

This is astonishing, considering Kagawa has been with Dortmund for not more than 14 weeks. But the fans were given proof very early that this is quite a talented 21-year-old. He was the best man on the pitch when Dortmund met a star-studded and fiendishly expensive Manchester City side in a pre-season friendly. Kagawa, signed for only €350,000 from Cerezo Osaka, won the penalty that led to the first goal and scored the second as Dortmund won 3-1.

Also, Kagawa reminds Dortmund's support of two former players who were very popular in the stands. The first is, of course, Tomas Rosicky, because Kagawa's technique, vision and pace over the crucial first few yards (not to mention his stature) make him almost a dead ringer for the Czech playmaker.

The second is, far less apparently, the Scot Paul Lambert. Like Lambert, Kagawa was signed as a stand-in for more established midfielders but won a place in the starting line-up through diligence and his work-rate; like the Lambert transfer back in 1996, Kagawa's signing was both a no-risk deal and seemingly the result of good scouting in places untapped by competitors.

Seemingly. Because the truth of the matter is that it wasn't scouts who found Lambert back then or spotted Kagawa now. In both cases it was an agent who alerted the club to the availability of a good player. Such things often come about in a convoluted way and usually have to do with being well-connected. Which is why you could say that the Kagawa deal, broadly speaking, goes back all the way to Okudera.

In the 1970s and '80s, German footballers past their prime went to North America or Switzerland to see out their careers and secure a final lucrative contract. But this changed on a brisk day in the winter of 1992-93, when an old friend suddenly paid an unexpected visit to the Cologne clubhouse - Okudera.

Five years after he had retired as a player, Okudera was working as what amounted to a director of football for his old club. It was now called JEF United Ichihara and would soon be competing in the inaugural season of the first professional league in Japan - the J League.

Many Japanese clubs went looking for foreign players around this time to bolster their squads and make their teams more attractive for the fans during this crucial first season - Gary Lineker signed for Nagoya Grampus Eight, Gerald Vanenburg joined Jubilo Iwata, Zico went to Kashima Antlers.

But Germany would be represented by no less than four players in the first year of the new J League, as Okudera lured not only his old Cologne team-mate Pierre Littbarski to JEF United but also his old Bremen team-mate Frank Ordenewitz.

Those two were joined in Japan by Uwe Rahn and Michael Rummenigge, who signed for Urawa Red Diamonds in two transfers that established this particular club's very strong German ties. (Uwe Bein and Guido Buchwald joined Red Diamonds only one year later, and the list of the team's future coaches would include Holger Osieck and Volker Finke.)

Put differently, German football people have been familiar with Japan for one-and-a-half decades, and that includes football people who didn't even play in Japan themselves, such as a former midfielder by the name of Thomas Kroth.

Kroth played together with Okudera at Cologne and hung up his boots many years later at Borussia Dortmund, as a team-mate of Michael Zorc, who is now Dortmund's director of football. In the mid-'90s, Kroth went into career management and soon discovered an almost pristine playing field - Asia, and particularly Japan.

In the spirit of those times, Kroth placed some older and lesser-known Germans with Japanese clubs, such as Dirk van der Ven, but he quickly realised the more rewarding way was the opposite direction.

And so 23-year-old Naohiro Takahara went from Jubilo Iwata to Hamburg in the same month that the 32-year-old Van der Ven went from Bielefeld to Yokohama - January 2003.

Since then, the number of transfers from Asia to Germany has gradually but steadily increased. Junichi Inamoto joined Frankfurt three years ago, and then, in early 2008, no less than four clubs suddenly found new players in the Far East: Bochum (Shinji Ono), Wolfsburg (Makoto Hasebe), Wehen Wiesbaden (Xie Hui) and Jena (Naoya Kikuchi).

This summer, Kagawa went to Dortmund, Asuto Uchida joined Schalke, Kisho Yano came to Freiburg and Bochum signed the first North Korean player in Germany, Chong Tese (sometimes spelled Jong Tae-Se).

What is this - simply a coincidence? Does this prove the concept of the collective soul, where everybody suddenly feels the same urge and acts accordingly? Or are our clubs just following a trend and jumping on the Japanese/Asian bandwagon?

No, it's none of that. It's a talent for recognising talent coupled with good business sense. Of the ten Asian players I've just mentioned, nine are represented by the same agency. It is Kroth's.

At the end of the day, it was Kroth who arranged the marriage between his old club and Kagawa. However, it was not a foregone conclusion that Borussia would be the ones to snatch him up. Last winter, Kagawa spent some time in Europe to check out Cologne, Schalke and Venlo in the Netherlands. He was also courted by Volker Finke, though the Urawa coach quickly realised he didn't stand much of a chance because Kagawa had no intention of staying in Japan for much longer.

In fact, he could have moved during the winter break, but apparently decided against it because he feared it would hurt his chances of making the World Cup squad. In the end, though, he was cut from the Japan squad and went to South Africa only as a non-player to gain experience. On the first day of the J League season, in March, Kagawa told his fellow countrymen: "My move to Europe is only delayed by some months."

That is an aspect of the Kagawa story which is usually overlooked when people wonder how the young player managed to adapt so swiftly and how he can cope with being so far away from home all by himself. In Germany, Kagawa's image is that of the carefree, happy-go-lucky kid, but he is also, in the words of a Japanese colleague of mine, "an incredibly ambitious person".

Actually, that is why he came so cheap. The €350,000 Dortmund paid to Cerezo was not even a proper transfer fee but just compensation for the player's schooling. Ahead of the 2010 season, Kagawa insisted on a get-out clause for Europe and had this modest sum written into his contract. This is clearly one man who trusts himself and his talent.

The extent of Kagawa's ambition has surprised even those who knew him before he moved to Europe. A Japanese friend of mine predicted that "language and communication will be a big obstacle, as he does not seem to be bookish or a diligent learner", but Kagawa already speaks a bit of German. After his first Bundesliga goal, against Wolfsburg, he grinned into the camera and said "Didn't sleep, didn't sleep!" in German, referring to the fact he'd just come back from international duty and been awake all night due to jet lag.

Didn't sleep - or, more precisely, didn't dream - would be a good catchphrase for Kagawa's time in Germany so far. He's been nothing short of a revelation, as his supposed lack of physical strength doesn't seem to be a problem and his finishing is already better than Rosicky's ever was. If he can keep up this form, expect a Hymn to Shinji and the formation of a Dortmund band called Kagawa Youth.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.