Borussia Dortmund fans will remember one name perhaps more than any other when they reminisce on their memorable successes in 2011 and 2012: Shinji Kagawa.
The Japanese midfielder's career has come full circle after he returned to Dortmund for a second spell in summer 2014, having spent two full seasons with Manchester United FC.
The architect of the Westphalians' back-to-back Bundesliga triumphs has been in fine fettle since his return to the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, a run of form has raised the expectation levels once again at BVB, particularly since their flying start to 2015/16 under Thomas Tuchel.
Spark behind Dortmund's successA return of 29 goals in 71 games during his first spell at the Westphalian giants was an admirable record for a midfielder who was the forerunner of an influx of Japanese talent into the German game. Dortmund's 2011 Bundesliga triumph and 2012 league and cup double still rank highly on Kagawa's personal achievements list, and were it not for his contribution, Dortmund may not have savoured such success.
They spotted his talent quicker than anybody, signing him in 2010 for what now looks like a hideously small fee from Cerezo Osaka. Given the performances and trophies he delivered in three years with the club, he could well be regarded as one of the biggest bargains in Bundesliga history.
Homecoming heroThe attacking midfielder hit the ground running in his debut season 2010/11, redefining not only his own role, but the tactics Jürgen Klopp moulded to nigh on perfection that year. The new kid on the block tricked and teased opposition defenders from a position Marco Reus has since adopted as his own. Lying just behind the front line, but free to roam, Kagawa gave a new identity to being in the hole.
Success followed him to Manchester, where he won the English Premier League title immediately despite having his first-team opportunities limited. His return to the Bundesliga was welcome news for all involved, however. "BVB is like a family and I'm proud that they never forgot me and that I am allowed to be part of it again," said the Japan legend, who is now back where it began, bidding for renewed glory in yellow and black.