Dortmund - It's no coincidence that Borussia Dortmund's recent upsurge in form has coincided with the of old once again lighting up the lives of the BVB faithful.
Speaking after netting his second goal in as many games in Matchday 30's 2-0 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt, the Japanese megastar discussed the importance of securing a place in next season's UEFA Europa League, Tuesday's DFB Cup semi-final against holders FC Bayern München and Jürgen Klopp's imminent departure...
Question: Shinji Kagawa, that was an important win. After beating a direct rival 2-0, BVB appear to be on course for the Europa League.
Shinji Kagawa: Every game has been important for us for a while now, with each match effectively being a final. Obviously it was really great that we were able to beat Frankfurt. Now we’re a step closer to reaching our goal. We want to be in the Europa Leage, no question! But we still have to take each game as it comes and pick up as many wins as possible.
Question: You scored again. Have you hit top form, too?
Kagawa: Right now it’s going really well for the team. Everyone’s having fun and we’re playing really well together. That’s key and that’s why we’re winning games. For me, it’s important to take the momentum and the fun factor into the next games.
Question: Bayern are next up in the on Tuesday. How do you rate BVB’s chances of coming away with a win?
Kagawa: It’s knock-out football in the cup. For us that means win or lose, it's black or white. It’s not about percentages. We have to put everything we’ve got into the game. Anything less won’t suffice against Bayern.
Question: How confident are you?
Kagawa: The Bayern game’s coming at a good time for us. We’ll be able to take our momentum from the league into the semi-finals of the cup. The last few games have given us a lot of belief. That’s what we want to draw on in the cup and show in Munich on Tuesday.
Question: Bayern in the cup is a game that suits you very well indeed when you think back to the final in 2012 [which Dortmund won 5-2]...
Kagawa: I’ll never forget that final from three years ago, it was a huge deal. But now’s not the time to be taking a trip down memory lane. We’re on the right track, but now we have to show it in the cup as well.
Question: And then give Jürgen Klopp the perfect send-off?
Kagawa: We feel a great sense of gratitude and we owe him. Soon it’ll be time for him to go and that won’t be easy, which is all the more reason why it’s now about us giving even more for the coach in the last few games.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund