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While the showdown between Dortmund and Schalke gained most fans' attention, several other Japanese players in Europe also put in memorable performances for their clubs

In Germany‚ Shinji Kagawa's Borussia Dortmund looks like retaining the title after a 2-1 win in the derby over the fierce rivals Schalke on Saturday‚ following a 1-0 over Bayern Munich during the week. With only three matches to be played‚ Jurgen Klopp's men now have a virtually uncatchable eight-point advantage over second-placed Bayern.

Kagawa didn't have the impact of his first Revierderby in September 2010 when his brace earned him hero status with the fans‚ but kept the opponents' defence busy‚ covering the most kilometres out of all players. The 23-year-old was unlucky to have deflected Jefferson Farfan's shot for Schalke's opener in the ninth minute‚ but was fortunate when his header found the way to Lukasz Piszczek who leveled the score in the 17th minute.

The Knappen started with Atsuto Uchida at the right-back position who worked well defensively‚ giving Kevin Grosskreutz not too much space. The 24-year-old recorded the most ball touches in his team and had a few nice runs on the right flank‚ but looked tired before he was subbed off with five minutes to go.
Yoshiaki Takagi

The 19-year-old had a fantastic game and was involved in all four of Utrecht's goals including two brilliant assists on the way to their 4-2 comeback win.

In an Eredivisie showdown against fellow Japanese players Maya Yoshida and Robert Cullen at VVV Venlo‚ Yoshiaki Takagi's Utrecht came out on top with a spectacular come-from-behind 4-2 victory.

Takagi himself was involved in all four goals; his free kick led to Utrecht's first‚ followed by a corner kick that brought the hosts even at 2-2.

The 19-year-old then proceeded to set up the game-winning goal with a clever through-pass to Frank Demouge just before the hour mark‚ before assisting Utrecht's fourth goal in the 83rd minute. Takagi has been slow in establishing himself at the club since transferring from Tokyo Verdy‚ but will easily keep a starting role if he can continue with similar performances.

This weekend's Serie A fixtures were postponed after the tragic death of Piermario Morosini.

Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart): Made a full appearance in his club's 4-1 home win against Werder Bremen. Fielded again at right-back, the 21-year-old played a solid game against a desolate opponent‚ providing an excellent delivery from a freekick for Cacau to head in for the final goal - his third assist since his arrival.
Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart): Came on in the 80th minute in the Swabians' 4-1 home win against Bremen. The 25-year-old replaced Tamas Hajnal in central attacking midfield before switching to the right for the final minutes.
Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg): Made a full appearance in his team's 2-1 loss at home against Augsburg. In the clash of two former Urawa Reds midfielders‚ the 28-year-old had a decent match as the Wolves' right-back recorded the most ball touches as well as crosses of his team. The Samurai Blue skipper's afternoon ended on a negative note as his foul led to Augsburg's winner in the 88th.
Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg): Started in his club's 2-1 win at Wolfsburg, but was substituted in the 46th minute. The defensive midfielder seemed sloppy in defence and was replaced at the break.
Takashi Usami (Bayern Munich): Left off the roster for the Bavarians' 0-0 draw against Mainz.
Yuki Otsu (Borussia Monchengladbach): Remained on the bench during the 3-0 home win over Koln.
Takashi Inui (Bochum): Made a full appearance in Bochum's 2-2 draw against 1860 Munich.

Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo): Played a full 90 minutes as his team was beaten 4-2 away to Utrecht.
Cullen Robert (VVV Venlo): Entered from the bench in the 64th minute in the 4-2 loss at Utrecht.
Michihiro Yasuda (Vitesse): Remained on the bench during a 1-0 home win against ADO Den Haag.
Mike Havenaar (Vitesse): Entered from the bench in the 46th minute for his team's 1-0 home win against ADO Den Hag, but was unable to score.

Daisuke Matsui (Dijon): Didn't make the squad in Dijon's 1-0 loss at Sochaux.

Eiji Kawashima (Lierse): Played a full 90 minutes in his team's 0-0 draw away to Cercle Brugge. Made several good saves to keep Lierse unbeaten in the Pro League playoffs.

Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow): Was left off the lineup in the 2-0 loss away to Zenit St Petersburg.

Takayuki Seto (Astra Ploiesti): Started in the 4-0 away win over Sportul, substituted in the 62nd minute.