Dortmund - Two players took to the field for the first time in Borussia Dortmund colours this season in a training game against the club's U-23 side on Friday. They were two returning players, however, who are very well known by BVB fans: Ilkay Gündogan and Shinji Kagawa.
For Gündogan, who has been out of action since Matchday 1 of the 2013/14 season with a back problem, the 35 minutes he undertook were particularly satisfying having been the first since the injury and subsequent setbacks.
Back to normality
Those 35 minutes comprised the first half of the 70-minute training game, but the 23-year-old midfielder remained in the dressing rooms as the second-half kicked off. He cut his typical figure on the field of play, demanding the ball, moving it on quickly and getting stuck into tackles. Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp's second 'new' arrival, Shinji Kagawa, unsurprisingly looked a snug fit in the BVB system, having played in it for two years between 2010 and 2012. The Japanese international opened the scoring for Dortmund's first-team after 13 minutes, showing the eye for goal which saw him net 21 in 49 Bundesliga appearances during his first spell at the club. This strike marked his first goal in black and yellow since returning from Manchester United FC towards the end of the summer transfer window.
'Kuba' limbering up
Nor were Gündogan and Kagawa the only Dortmund stars making their return in club colours. Marcel Schmelzer overcame his muscle problems to feature, while Jakub Blaszczykowski picked up some more gametime in midfield after his ligament damage. After Kagawa's opener, the BVB professionals ran out 3-1 winners over the U-23 side.