Shinji Kagawa's last league strike came on his second BVB debut against Freiburg on Matchday 3
Shinji Kagawa's last league strike came on his second BVB debut against Freiburg on Matchday 3

Japanese stars to the fore in Frankfurt-Dortmund clash

Frankfurt - The Land of the Rising Sun will be singing loud and proud when Eintracht Frankfurt lock horns with Borussia Dortmund on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 16:30 GMT/ 17:30 CET). previews a tantalising contest boasting some of the German top flight's most celebrated Japanese exports...

Dortmund find themselves in the unheard-of position of being bottom of the standings following SV Werder Bremen's 4-0 win over SC Paderborn 07. Victory in Frankfurt, though, would lift them out of the relegation zone and to within a point of Sunday's hosts, who have picked up 15 points from 12 games so far this season.

Thomas Schaaf might have to make changes to the side that dispatched Borussia Mönchengladbach last time out. Sonny Kittel and (r.) are both nursing minor knocks, while Slobodan Medojevic and Vaclav Kadlec have been laid low with colds for much of the week.

Captain (l.) could return to the starting line-up after missing the last two league games with an ankle complaint. Sven Bender (groin) is a doubt, but fellow midfielders Nuri Sahin and Oliver Kirch have been included in the matchday squad following lengthy lay-offs.

opened his account in style against Gladbach on Matchday 12. The Japanese midfielder has shown glimpses of the sparkling form that earned so many plaudits in his debut Bundesliga campaign back in 2012/13 and it's his invention in the final third that could cause BVB all sorts of problems.

In , the visitors have their very own Far Eastern jewel capable of turning a game faster than you can say konichiwa. The 25-year-old made a scoring return to the club against SC Freiburg on Matchday 3, but has been ominously quiet ever since.

Thomas Schaaf (pictured, Frankfurt coach): "If you let Dortmund play, that's when it gets tough."

(BVB midfielder): "Our goal until the winter break is to pick up as many points as possible. Ideally, we want to win all five games."

Dortmund threw away a two-goal lead in an eventual 2-2 draw with Paderborn last weekend, before losing for the first time in this season's UEFA Champions League at Arsenal in midweek. Frankfurt, meanwhile, ended a four-match losing run with an impressive win away to Gladbach on Matchday 12.

The Eagles haven't picked up a win in this fixture since December 2010, with Dortmund victorious in four of the last five meetings between the two clubs. BVB have, however, come away from the Commerzbank Arena with all three points just twice in the last decade.

Possible line-ups:

Frankfurt: Wiedwald - Chandler, Russ, Anderson, Oczipka - Hasebe, Stendera - Aigner, Inui - Meier, Seferovic

Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Ginter, Schmelzer - S. Bender, Kehl - H. Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Großkreutz - Aubameyang

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