Daichi Kamada, Maya Yoshida and Japan’s Bundesliga core prepared for World Cup conflict with Germany

Germany tackle Japan of their FIFA World Cup opener on Wednesday, with the previous going up in opposition to a aspect that incorporates no fewer than eight German-based gamers of their squad.

There isn’t any getting round it; the Samurai Blue backbone has been very a lot formed by the Bundesliga.

Not even Japan’s top-tier is best represented than its Germany counterpart, with seven Bundesliga gamers – and one other from Bundesliga 2 – outstripping the J-League’s six.

That features Japan captain Maya Yoshida (Schalke), in addition to stalwarts Wataru Endo (VfB Stuttgart) and Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Watch: 2022 World Cup – the Bundesliga’s Worldwide brigade

Takuma Asano (Bochum), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach) and Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart) spherical out Japan’s Magnificent Seven from the Bundesliga, whereas Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf) was known as up from the division beneath.

It is fairly the listing. And it’s under no circumstances a shock given the long-standing hyperlink between the Bundesliga and Japanese soccer, even when numbers have elevated at a fast charge lately.

Yasuhiko Okudera was the primary to make the journey from Japan to Germany in 1977 when he signed for Cologne, and he was adopted by Kazuo Ozaki in 1983.

It was on the flip of the millennium that issues began to ramp up, with the likes of Naohiro Takahara, Junichi Inamoto and Shinji Kagawa all following go well with.

The arrival of Makoto Hasebe – who alongside Genki Haraguchi completes listing of present Japanese gamers plying their commerce on the high of the German pyramid – in 2008 was probably essentially the most important, with the now 38-year-old presently on 362 Bundesliga appearances and counting .

A Bundesliga champion with Wolfsburg in simply his second season led to additional success within the DFB Cup a decade later with Frankfurt, with whom he lifted the UEFA Europa League title simply final season.

Kamada, who transformed in Frankfurt’s victorious penalty in that triumphant Europa League last shootout in opposition to Rangers – is kind of probably Hasebe’s inheritor obvious for each membership and nation, and the 26-year-old believes that German soccer has enormously benefited Japan’s nationwide staff.

“There are a whole lot of Japanese gamers within the Bundesliga now and I believe we’re on an equal footing with them [the German national team] now,” he informed AFP.

“After I first arrived within the Bundesliga from Japan, I used to be taking part in in opposition to gamers from Bayern Munich and the Germany nationwide staff. However once I was taking part in in Japan, there have been just one or two gamers from the Japan nationwide staff over there.

“It was unusual to be taking part in in opposition to gamers I had solely watched on TV earlier than, however I believe it has a giant impact on us mentally to be sharing the identical stage as them.”

Not solely that, however the truth Kamada has the numbers to again up his phrases additionally play a giant psychological function. The 26-year-old has been one of many Bundesliga’s star performers to date this season, hitting seven objectives and three assists in 13 appearances. Solely a handful of gamers throughout Germany’s high battle have had extra direct aim involvements than him in 2022/23.

“I believe it is good that we perceive German, for set performs and so forth,” Kamada continued. “It’s undoubtedly a plus to have the expertise of taking part in with such gamers and understanding their traits.”

Watch: All of Kamada’s Bundesliga objectives and assists to date in 2022/23

Yoshida, who made the transfer from Serie A’s Sampdoria to Schalke over the summer time, says that his transfer to the Bundesliga was – a minimum of partially – strategically deliberate with the World Cup in thoughts.

“Many issues influenced my resolution to play in Germany and the chance to study [our group stage] opponent was amongst them,” the 34-year-old veteran of 122 worldwide caps informed The Japan Information forward of collaborating at his third World Cup.

“Greater than 80.00 followers crammed Dortmund’s stadium on this season’s Revierderby. After I noticed the Yellow Wall behind the aim I believed, ‘this is the reason I got here to Germany’. In tight video games like that one in opposition to Dortmund, you may be in a state of affairs the place one positional error may resolve the match. I really feel like I am studying quite a bit in Germany.

“I really feel joyful that I would made the change to the Bundesliga. You’ll be able to’t sharpen your abilities until you are in that sort of high-pressure state of affairs. Our possibilities of successful the match [against Germany] are undoubtedly not zero, and the primary recreation is at all times tough for each staff.”

The truth that Japan’s Bundesliga core runs by means of the staff in quite a lot of positions ought to stand them in good stead too, giving them expertise everywhere in the pitch. Yoshida, Itakura and Ito are all defenders; Kamada, Endo and Tanaka are midfielders; Doan is an attack-minded winger and Asano a striker.

All of which has given Japan confidence as they method their seventh consecutive World Cup match. The Samurai Blue have by no means beforehand progressed additional than the spherical of 16, however are aiming to go one step additional in Qatar. “Our goal is to get to the quarter-finals on the very least,” mentioned head coach Hajime Moriyasu. “We all know it will not be straightforward.”

Spain and Costa Rica will present formidable opposition of their different Group E fixtures, however given Japan’s stable Bundesliga basis, something is feasible.

Leave a Comment