Daichi Kamada was the unlikely hero of Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-1 win at English Premier League club Arsenal in the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League group stage. bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the Japan international’s budding career…
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: Japan (four caps, one goal)
Kamada turned out a handful of times for the J-League U22 selection in Japan’s third tier, before making his debut for Sagan Tosu in the J-League Cup. The 5'11" playmaker produced an assist on his J-League debut - one of 11 goals he laid on for his teammates in 80 club appearances in his homeland. He also scored 16 of his own, prompting Frankfurt to make their move in summer 2017.
Kamada made his full Bundesliga debut against Freiburg on Matchday 1 of 2017/18, but was restricted to just two further top-flight outings, in part due to the burgeoning 'magic triangle' of Sebastien Haller, Luka Jovic and Ante Rebic. The trio shared 68 per cent of Eintracht’s 60 Bundesliga goals the following campaign, which Kamada spent on loan in Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League with Sint-Truidense.
He made the most of the opportunity, registering 16 goals and nine assists in 36 appearances on Belgian soil. A first call-up to the Japan national team and summer recall to Frankfurt were his reward, with the naturally right-footed Kamada making his international bow in a friendly defeat to Colombia five months before scoring his first Eintracht goal in the 2019/20 DFB Cup first round.
The rising Samurai Blue star - rated 73 with a potential of 79 on EA Sports' FIFA 20 - opened his Japan account at the third time of asking in the 6-0 drubbing of Mongolia in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, and topped up his tally with assists against Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach, as well as Standard Liege in the Europa League. His Arsenal double on 28 November 2019 was the second of his career.
Plays a bit like: Shinji Kagawa
Kamada has more than just a passport in common with Dortmund cult hero, Shinji Kagawa. He’s got a few inches on his Japanese countryman, but plays in the pocket behind the striker with the self-same industry and creativity that made two-time Bundesliga winner Kagawa such a hot commodity.
Did you know?
Kamada’s superb double at the Emirates Stadium spelled the end of Unai Emery’s tenure as Arsenal coach. The Spaniard was shown the door on the back of a seven-match winless run, prompting one cheeky Arsenal fan to revise Kamada’s Wikipedia page.
"Daichi Kamada is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Eintracht Frankfurt," it reads. "He is often described as the liberator of Arsenal Football Club."
The edit has since been removed by the Wiki moderators, but tales of Kamada’s capital punishment will survive the test of time.
What they’re saying
"I have to admit he’s really surprised me - in a good way! He’s come on leaps and bounds, not just as a player but his character has really come to the fore, too." - Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter on Kamada’s emergence as a first-team staple
"He waited so long for his first goals, perhaps the dam’s broken. He was brilliant, he’s a fantastic player." - Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic following Kamada’s brace against Arsenal