Dortmund - Stefan Reuter may have had reason to be optimistic that wouldn't need long to settle in back at FC Augsburg, but even the FCA sporting director could not have anticipated the South Korean making an impact quite as quickly as he did after re-joining the club on a six-month deal.
Ji, who had a successful spell at Augsburg in the second half of the 2012/13 season, was signed from English side AFC Sunderland earlier this month and found the net only two minutes after coming on as a substitute on Saturday to salvage a point for Augsburg in a dramatic 2-2 draw away to Borussia Dortmund - the club Ji has agreed to join in the summer.
"It's the sort of thing that only happens in football," said Reuter post-match. "I said it shouldn't take him long to settle in as he had a very successful spell at FCA previously. He knows the team, the coaching staff and the club well, but to see him rescue a point at Dortmund in his first game is just crazy."
Having been plagued by a persistent thigh injury, Ji was only selected for the trip to Dortmund as a last-minute replacement for the injured Sascha Mölders. "It's very unlikely we would've been in the squad had Mölders not picked up an injury in training," said Reuter.
Head coach Markus Weinzierl also admitted that he "didn't plan to play him today." Having witnessed Ji's qualities in the second half of the previous season, however, when the versatile 1,87m attacker contributed five crucial goals in Augsburg's successful quest to stay in the league, Weinzierl changed his mind 70 minutes into the game.
Though Augsburg's joy will again be short-lived given that the 27-time South Korea international has agreed to ply his trade in Dortmund for four years from 1 July, Augsburg are upbeat they will still reap rewards from his second stint in Bavaria. "He gave us a lot of pleasure back then, and he'll do so again" said coach Weinzierl, while midfielder Tobias Werner stated: "We're just glad he'll be scoring a few more goals for us."