May I introduce - Derbyhero
Let's look back to the summer of 2010. We had completed the last season on the fifth spot of the table, collected the ticket for the Euroleague and were eager to prove ourselves internationally again. But most of all, as we do in every summer, we were looking forward to the new Bundesliegaseason again. During that summer the news spreat quite quickly. Borussia Dortmund was about to buy a new player from Japan. A 21 year old Japanese lad called Shinji Kagawa. The team he played for then? Cerezo Osaka. I am quite convinced that all of us had never heard of that team before, let alone the player. 27 goals he was supposed to have scored in only 44 games. Quite a number. The price for this new talent? 350 000 Euroes. Training compensation they called it. A fact that amused most all of us while we didn't really take any of that too serious. A young Japanese player who had never tasted the likes of European football before. Surely someone to take a seat on the bench and come in when we are in need. So nobody we need to put a lot of focus on. And how wrong we were.
During the testgames he already showed what a great talent he was. While Jürgen Klopp was rotating the positions every now and then and moved Kagawa from the left winger position to the position in the center behind our striker, we were more and more able to whitness what an incredible talent our Susi Zorc had dug up. Fast, versatile, great with the ball, and apparently he was totally up for the game. Witty playfulness was something our Shinji embodies straight away. If this player was to stay on the bench as a substitute player, we could be kind of sure that we would have quite a good one out there. But Shinji wouldn't stay a substitute player. On the 19th of August he contributed two goals to the victory against Euro League opponent Qarabag Agdam. And everyone who had been laughing about this transfer before, was quiet.
Then came the Bundesliga. Obviously testgames are never the same as a Bundesliga and also the Euroleague qualificationgame against Agdam cannot be compared to Leverkusen. And so it came how it had to come. We lost our first Bundesligagame with Shinji in the starting team. And while we played a really terrible game, our youngster from Japan was actually the one who tried to prevent us from the worse. It wasn't meant to be in that game, but after that, there was no holding back. Against Wolfsburg he scored his first Bundesliga goal and against Schalke? I think we all know how the story goes.
It was the 19. of September. Or written in another way. 19.09. The date already promised a historical game. And it became the game of our Shinji Kagawa. Almost all alone he menaged to defeat a desolat team from Gelsenkirchen who could neither, look as fast, or react as fast as Shinji was basically dancing through their defense. 1:0 Kagawa, 2:0 Kagawa and the 3:0 by another Newcomer: Lewandowski. Every Dortmund fan has quite a few painful derby memories. Of course we all remember 2007, and also 2005, but in between that, there hadn't been a lot of joy when it came to derbys. And then Shinji, of all people, with his 350 000 training compensation, a player we had never expected, brought us the well deserved derby victory. A new hero was born. Nobody forgets derby heroes. And I am sure that Shinji will never forget the reception in Dortmund afterwards.
I could write novels about how Shinji entertained us in the first half of the season, how his game, his technique and everything else delighted all of us, 17 games, 8 goals, quite a number. But Fortuna had other plans for us in the second half of the season. In the semi finals, Kagawa broke his foot and was out for the rest of the season. A loss hard to compensate. We managed, we all know that, and it was certainly a highlight to have Shinji back on the pitch during the last game of the season against Frankfurt. Four minutes was his fielding. Four minutes that made us realize again how much we are looking forward to the new season.
It is only an given thing that Klaus Neuhaus dedicated Shinji the legendary song: Kagawa Shinji, BVB, BVB09!....Dear Shinji, it was a pity that we had to miss you during the second half of the season, but for all the effort and joy you have put into our Borussias game in the first half of the season, for the derby goals and every other goal, you truly are a well deserved derby hero and championship winner! We are looking forward to your next season in blackyellow!