Munich - Another Japanese face is ready to emerge in the Bundesliga this Sunday when 1. FC Nuremberg welcome Borussia Mönchengladbach to the EasyCredit Arena (Sunday, 15:30 CET).
Mu Kanazaki has swelled the ranks of Japanese imports in the Bundesliga in the last week and could make his Nuremberg bow on Sunday.
“He brings quality to our attack,” said Nuremberg’s sporting director Martin Bader on his club’s website. “We always said we would act if a logical and meaningful opportunity presented itself.” Kanazaki, capped five times already by Japan, will be in head coach Michael Wiesinger’s squad for Sunday’s game and could be a valid alternative for a side that is yet to convince after taking one point from their two league games in 2013.
Whether Kanazaki features or not, though, his arrival will be a boost to compatriot Hiroshi Kioyake, of whom Wiesinger is now expecting great things. “Kiyo has been training with a lot of verve in the past two weeks and he is asking for the ball a lot, enjoying his football and he's really very focused,” said Wiesinger. “You can see he’s a player who can make the difference.”
That is precisely Wiesinger needs on Sunday after a 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund a week ago saw the Bavarian club slump to the brink of the bottom three. They may still have an eight-point cushion over the relegation zone, but given the league's propensity to throw up results that alter the table's outlook on a weekly basis, they cannot afford to rest on their laurels. “It’s an important game for us because we’re at home, and that means we want to win, of course,” added Wiesinger. “We have made all the right preparations.”
While Wiesinger may have been active in the transfer market, his counterpart Lucien Favre focused on preparing the players already in his squad for Sunday's game. The Foals have not delved into the transfer market at all this winter, but then with 29 points and a comfortable seventh place, there was no real need to do so. “We’re convinced that the players we have all blend well together and have enough quality to achieve our objectives,” said Gladbach's sporting director Max Eberl.
Having qualified for the UEFA Europa League last year, and made it through to the last 32 this term, which resumes later this month, a return to the European stage is likely to be that objective, which is why coach Lucien Favre is looking for victory. “We have 29 points on the board, which is good, but we want to get more, so we'll be going to Nuremberg to try to win.”
Nuremberg: Schäfer - Chandler, Nilsson, Klose, Pinola - Simons, Balitsch - Feulner, Kiyotake, Gebhart - Pekhart
Gladbach: ter Stegen - Jantschke, Brouwers, Alvaro Dominguez, Wendt - Cigerci, Marx , Rupp, Arango - Herrmann, de Jong