Soccer

Kagawa opens season account for Dortmund

Kyodo

Shinji Kagawa continued his late season surge by opening his 2016-17 account with a goal and an assist in Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 win over Hamburg SV on Tuesday.

It was better late than never for the Japan midfielder, who, with just seven games left in the Bundesliga, struck his first goal of the campaign in the 81st minute to put the hosts up 2-0.

Two minutes into injury time, Kagawa set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to lock up the three points. Kagawa also won a free kick in the 13th minute that Gonzalo Castro converted to open the scoring.

“I’m playing the way I see things in my head right now,” said Kagawa, who was also instrumental for Japan in its wins against the United Arab Emirates and Thailand during last month’s World Cup qualifiers.

“I feel comfortable and I’m starting off games really well. I’m completely focused.”

Kagawa’s international teammate and Hamburg midfielder Gotoku Sakai tipped his hat to the Dortmund playmaker.

“We were told to watch out for him because he slips through the defense to find his position,” Sakai said of Kagawa. “It would have been nice if he wasn’t so involved but as a fellow Japanese, it makes me happy.”

Kagawa is heating up at the right time with big games coming up for Dortmund. Thomas Tuchel’s men, in fourth 15 points off the pace, are away to leaders Bayern Munich on Sunday, followed by the Champions League quarterfinals versus Monaco on April 12 and 20.

“We’ve got some tough games ahead of us. I have to make sure to score then,” Kagawa said.

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