GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany – Shinji Kagawa continued his sensational start to his European career as the Japanese international blasted two goals in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 victory over Schalke 04 on Sunday.
“I’m just really having fun right now,” Kagawa said. “I don’t think we could have asked for a better result.”
Before a crowd of more than 60,000, Kagawa took center stage at the AufSchalke Arena midway through the first half and never let up as he netted for the second straight game.
Kagawa opened the scoring in the 20th minute and doubled the lead for Jurgen Klopp’s side in the 58th minute as Dortmund won away in the Ruhr derby for the first time in five years.
Dortmund has won three in a row to climb to third in the Bundesliga, three points behind leader Mainz. The 21-year-old rising star, mobbed by local media after the game, drew the highest praise from his manager.
“Shinji’s just done something incredible in the biggest derby in Germany,” said Klopp.
“He had a phenomenal game. If there’s anyone in Japan who hasn’t seen the match yet, they should. He hasn’t been with us for very long, but already his teammates are confident in giving him the ball.
“People in Dortmund will never forget him now.”
For his first goal, Kagawa dissected the Schalke defense with sheer pace before his deflected left-foot shot put the visitors up 1-0.
Kagawa again struck with his left foot on the other side of halftime, volleying home a cross from Jakub Blaszczykowski as his injured international teammate, Schalke’s Atsuto Uchida, watched from the stands.
“We delivered a great performance and everyone was out there backing each other up,” Kagawa said. “We’ve got some momentum going for us but I hope we can keep it up.
“There are a lot of good, young players on this team so I have to keep fighting for my place on the team.”