Soccer

Iwabuchi to leave Bayern, return to Japan

Kyodo

Japan forward Mana Iwabuchi terminated her contract with Bayern Munich and will return to Japan to concentrate on recovering from injuries, she wrote on her blog on Saturday.

The 24-year-old, who was with Nadeshiko Japan for their 2011 World Cup championship, their runners-up finish in 2015 and the 2012 Olympics, joined Bayern from Hoffenheim ahead of the 2014-2015 season. Her team has since won two league titles but her playing time has been limited due to injuries, mainly to her right knee.

“I’ve decided to start from scratch in Japan with my future in mind,” Iwabuchi wrote. “I really like this team and have a tremendous desire to continue here. But I’ve been injured or doing rehab for almost two of the three seasons.

“I feel I need to change something quick or things will end this way, and spoke to the club about my thoughts.”

The technically gifted forward thanked her team for accepting the path she chose, and vowed to return to action in her homeland.

“I only have gratitude for the club for understanding my decision . . . I’ll never forget winning back-to-back titles with the best teammates.

“For now, I want a fit body more than Champions League titles, the domestic league or experience in Germany. The first thing is to heal my injury . . . I’ll recover and definitely return to the pitch.”