Japanese in Europe: Kagawa & Uchida play well in otherwise quiet weekend

With Eredivisie off for the weekend and many players in other countries resigned to watching from the bench, few Japanese were given a chance to shine in European play
In a rather quiet Easter weekend for the Japanese contingent across Europe‚ Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa's play wasn't spectacular but he still contributed to the away 3-1 win against Wolfsburg as it was his defence-splitting pass which was instrumental for his side's opener in the 22nd minute.

The 23-year-old saw a sitter go just wide in the 73rd minute and was substituted with 10 minutes to go. The champions go into the midweek clash against Bayern still keeping their three points advantage.

After a poor game the week before and watching the end of his team's Europa League campaign from the bench in the midweek encounter with Spain's Athletic Bilbao‚ Schalke's Atsuto Uchida found himself in the starting formation in the convincing 3-0 home win against Hannover on Sunday.

The right-back put on a lively game‚ defending solidly and running forward on numerous occasions‚ even drawing fouls in dangerous positions. All three goals by the Knappen were created on the right side‚ and Uchida played a crucial role in the making of the third.

Schalke boss Huub Stevens replaced him with fit-again German international Benedikt Howedes in the 83rd minute‚ but the Japanese earned the plaudits and leaves the Dutch manager with a difficult decision in regards to the starting formation for the match away to Nurnberg on Wednesday.
STAR OF THE WEEKEND
Atsuto Uchida

Reliable in defence‚ the right-back had a fine afternoon on Schalke's more dangerous side

Italy
Yuto Nagatomo (Inter): Remained on the bench in the 2-2 draw at Cagliari.
Takayuki Morimoto (Novara): Was an unused substitute in 1-1 home draw to Genoa.

Germany
Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg): Warmed the bench in the 3-1 loss at home against Borussia Dortmund.
Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg): Started in the 2-1 loss away to Bayern Munich, substituted in the 82nd minute. With his aggression‚ the 25-year-old was one of the players who made life difficult for the Bundesliga giants‚ but like his team's captain‚ Paul Verhaegh‚ he should have been more determined in preventing the cross leading to Bayern's opener.
Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart): Entered from the bench in the 86th minute in his team's 4-1 home win over Mainz. With the Swabians already up 4-1‚ the former S-Pulse hitman saw some pitch time after returning from injury. The striker who got cautioned for the fourth time this season was fielded on Gotoku Sakai's side - as right attacking midfielder.
Yuki Otsu (Borussia Monchengladbach): Left off the roster in the 0-0 home draw against Hertha Berlin.
Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart): Played a full 90 minutes as his club defeated Mainz 4-1 at home. Albirex Niigata's loan player was again fielded as right-back and had a fine afternoon as he contributed with an assist for the home side's second goal after the break.
Takashi Usami (Bayern Munich): Featured on bench as his club defeated Augsburg 2-1 at home.
Takashi Inui (Bochum): Full appearance in his club's 0-0 home draw against Karlsruhe.

England
Ryo Miyaichi (Bolton): Started in his team's 3-0 loss at home against Fulham, but was substituted at the break. Created some chances but failed to impress.
Tadanari Lee (Southampton): After having surgery on his right foot‚ Lee will miss the rest of the season and is aiming to rehab in time for the 2012-13 season.

France
Daisuke Matsui (Dijon): Didn't feature on the roster in the 2-0 loss at home against Nancy.

Belgium
Eiji Kawashima (Lierse): Lierse SK has a home match against KV Mechelen scheduled for Monday.

Russia
Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow): Was not called up for the 0-0 home draw against Anzhi. Honda is reportedly undergoing rehabilitation on his injured thigh in Germany.

Romania
Takayuki Seto (Astra Ploiesti): Came on in the 82nd minute in the Black Devils' 2-0 home win against Pandurii Targu Jiu.

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