Soccer

Osako targets double-figure goal tally

Kyodo

Japan striker Yuya Osako returned to Germany on Saturday determined to score at least 10 goals with Cologne in the upcoming Bundesliga season.

Osako helped Cologne to a fifth-place finish in the table last season but he was not satisfied with his haul of seven goals in 30 league outings, a single-season personal best in Germany.

“I want to reach at least double figures. That is my target,” Osako told reporters before his departure at Narita airport.

The 27-year-old former Kashima Antlers hitman has been working on balance and core strengthening during the offseason.

“I want to get myself into goal-scoring positions more often, even if it comes to nothing. I have got myself physically ready for that,” he said.

Osako, who scored for Japan in a 1-1 draw away to Iraq in a World Cup qualifier in neutral Iran last month, is in for a busy season, with Cologne also involved in the Europa League.

“Toughness will be demanded of me,” he said. “I want to be at the heart of the team and pull us forward.”