Dortmund - As footballing fairytales go, ’s return to Borussia Dortmund will take some beating: the Japan international made his comeback for Jürgen Klopp’s side in their 3-1 victory over SC Freiburg on Saturday, performing superbly and even getting on the scoresheet.
Check out Kagawa's top five Bundesliga goals on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel:
After the final whistle the 25-year-old summed up his emotions at playing in front of the Signal Iduna Park crowd once again, reflected on his welcome back into the Dortmund fold and analysed the side’s unique style of play.
Question: Shinji Kagawa, how did it feel to play for Dortmund in the Bundesliga again after two years away?
Kagawa: It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now, but I’m definitely very happy to be playing here in this stadium again. I had goosebumps the whole time.
Question: It was as if you’d never left: the fans were wholeheartedly chanting your name again…
Kagawa: When the whole of the south terrace was chanting my name it was an indescribable feeling. It was such a warm reception and the fans had welcomed me fantastically even before the game. That also strengthened my resolve to play well for them and I think I managed to do that to a certain extent against Freiburg.
Question: How does the Bundesliga differ from the English Premier League?
Kagawa: It’s refreshing to be playing this kind of fast-paced football again, making quick transitions and using counterpressing. Of course that means that every single player always has to work extremely hard and has to cover a lot of ground, but for me that style of play was a breath of fresh air.
Question: It’s also exhausting - you had to be substituted after 64 minutes…
Kagawa: I had cramp and couldn’t carry on. One of my tasks over the next few weeks is to improve my fitness. If I’m honest I’m not yet at 100 per cent.
Question: How many percentage points are you away from being the old Kagawa in the Bundesliga again?
Kagawa: I can’t put a figure on it but it’s not like the two years I was in England at Manchester United were in vain. I think I learned some things there too. Maybe Dortmund fans will see a new Kagawa.
Question: Now that you’ve returned, how important are people like Kevin Großkreutz to you? He considers you to be almost like a brother…
Kagawa: Out of everybody Kevin is the one who welcomed me most warmly, just as he did back in my first year in Dortmund. He’s a big help both on and off the pitch and I’m very grateful to him for that.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from the Signal Iduna Park