DORTMUND, GERMANY – Japan forward Yoshinori Muto scored for Mainz late on but Shinji Kagawa’s Borussia Dortmund won 2-1 on Saturday to kick-start its new Bundesliga campaign.
Muto, who scored seven goals last season before he was ruled out in February with a right-knee ligament injury, came on with nine minutes to go and headed home Pablo de Blasis’ cross from the right in the second minute of stoppage time.
Kagawa played in his favorite role behind a striker and covered the most ground for Dortmund, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang provided both goals, heading home at the far post in the 17th minute and converting from the spot minutes before Muto’s header.
“Conceding in the second hit us hard. It would have been best if we could have somehow held on and my goal closed it at 1-1,” said Muto, who outmaneuvered defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos for the goal.
“To score against a defender I’ve found tough before, staying clear by readjusting my position gives me confidence,” said the 24-year-old Muto.
In his second season, Muto is determined to make his presence felt at Mainz after the club added to its squad ahead of a season that will include playing in the Europa League from the middle of September.
“I don’t think I’ll be playing as a regular starter all the time. There’ll be more attention from the world if we can go far (in Europe) and it’s important to produce on that stage,” Muto said.