A positive weekend for Japanese players saw Ryo Miyaichi impress in his Bolton debut, while Shinji Kagawa scored a clutch goal for high-flying Dortmund and Gotoku Sakai debuted
With five minutes remaining‚ Miyaichi, on loan at Bolton from Arsenal, smashed in a perfect shot towards the far post that would have gone in if not for a monstrous effort on the part of Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
Bolton may have lost on this day‚ but the starlet demonstrated good form in 45 minutes of play and showed that he will continue to make an impact at his new home.
Trotters boss Owen Coyle told reporters after the game: "Their goalkeeper made one or two good saves and even late on young Ryo Miyaichi had a chance, so we kept pushing on."
|STAR OF THE WEEKEND
We'll stop naming him Star of the Weekend when he stops having such great form. A fantastic game-winner for Dortmund this weekend made him the unquestionable pick once again.
In Germany‚ Shinji Kagawa again took centre stage on Saturday as he netted Dortmund’s winner in a 1-0 home win against Bayer Leverkusen.
Despite not recording many scoring chances the 22-year-old bagged the opener just seconds before the break after taking a ball from Jakub Blaszczykowski nicely into the danger zone and tricking an opponent with a feint.
Shortly after the hour mark‚ the former Cerezo man could have also had an assist to his name after he found Kevin Grosskreutz free in the area‚ but Dortmund’s local boy was denied by the Werksclub’s Bernd Leno.
While the result keeps the champions setting the pace at the top of the Bundesliga table‚ the goal takes Kagawa’s league tally to seven.
Down in the south‚ Stuttgart finally put behind their terrible seven games winless run in a 5-0 romp of sorry Hertha Berlin. Shinji Okazaki headed home the Swabians’ third goal in the 32nd minute and generally had a lively outing.
The 25-year-old who was fielded in left midfield could have added another one in the 66th minute‚ but his effort was parried by Berlin’s goalkeeper.
Stuttgart’s winter signing Gotoku Sakai also had something to celebrate as he started in his first competitive match on German soil.
The Japanese youngster whose mother hails from Germany had an error-free debut game‚ showing his attacking mindset a few times‚ but his defensive abilities weren’t tested too much as visiting Hertha never looked like coming back after falling two goals behind and a man sent off on the half-hour. Both Japanese played the full match.
Yuto Nagatomo (Inter): Entered from the bench in the 70th minute as his club was beaten 1-0 by Novara.
Takayuki Morimoto (Novara): Was not called up in 1-0 win at Inter.
Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg): Had a decent match as the Samurai Blue skipper recorded an assist in a hard fought 3-2 win against bottom club Freiburg after coming on in the 46th minute on Friday night.
Takashi Usami (Bayern Munich): Was an unused substitute in his club's 2-0 home win against Kaiserslautern.
Yuki Otsu (Borussia Monchengladbach): Didn't make the squad for Borussia Monchengladbach's 3-0 home win against Schalke.
Atsuto Uchida (Schalke): Not included in 3-0 loss at Borussia Monchengladbach.
Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg): The defensive midfielder was one of the best on a frozen pitch in a fairly entertaining goalless draw against visiting Nurnberg on Sunday‚ passing the ball accurately and also having his side's most goal attempts to his name.
Takashi Inui (Bochum): Started for Bochum's 2-1 loss at St Pauli, substituted in the 85th minute. The attacking player had one of his less influential games as his side was on the backfoot for almost the whole game.
Tadanari Lee (Southampton): Came on in the 90th minute as Southampton defeated Burnley 2-0 at home.
Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo): Full appearance for 2-0 home win against Groningen.
Cullen Robert (VVV Venlo): Entered from the bench in the 88th minute in VVV Venlo's 2-0 home win against Groningen.
Mike Havenaar (Vitesse): Full appearance as his team was beaten 3-1 away to Feyenoord.
Michihiro Yasuda (Vitesse): Watched his team's 3-1 loss at Feyenoord from the bench.
Yoshiaki Takagi (Utrecht): Started in the 1-1 home draw to ADO Den Haag, substituted in the 72nd minute.
Eiji Kawashima (Lierse): Allowed one goal to even the score in the 69th minute but was saved by Milos Maric's late penalty as Lierse beat Zulte-Waregem 2-1 to remain 10 points above the drop zone.