As the focus of Dortmund’s affection, Kagawa can sting Arsenal

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Jurgen Klopp’s pain was there for all to see when he sold Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United in 2012. The man who was the creative hub in the side’s recent league and cup double would no longer be pulling the strings for the affable German’s side, and it hurt.

Those pangs could only have grown as Klopp watched the Japanese star struggle to impose himself at Old Trafford. So when the opportunity arose to bring Kagawa back home this summer, the 47-year-old obviously jumped at the chance.

What followed was one of the best “we-can-announce-the signing-of” tweets from any club ever (seen below) and the love-in continued through the player’s unveiling and his debut.

With Dortmund horribly injury-hit, the attacking midfielder was thrown straight into the deep end against Frieburg and played as if he’d never been away by scoring, then creating, a goal in a 3-1 win.

Now, despite his lack of match fitness, the Kobe native is likely to occupy the number 10 spot as the Bundesliga side get their Champions League campaign underway against Arsenal.

The hosts are 1/1 to send Arsene Wenger’s side home defeated and all eyes will surely be on the club favourite out to prove his talent to English football.

Kagawa, who scored against the Gunners the last time he faced them for Dortmund in this competition, is an 8/1-shot to score the game’s first goal and 23/10 to notch at any time.

The chances of him finding the net look good, with Arsenal’s backline ripped apart by injuries coupling with the Japanese’s own impressive scoring record for the BVB to make a compelling case.

After Mathieu Debuchy strained his ankle against Manchester City, the Emirates club arrive in Germany with worries over both of their full-back positions. Calum Chambers – the deputy right-back – is suffering from illness, while Nacho Monreal has been ruled out on the opposite flank and Kieran Gibbs isn’t fully fit.

With Kagawa – who has 22 strikes in 50 games for Dortmund – given license to roam from a central position, another night spent on the score sheet awaits.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.