Okazaki scores as Japanese boom in Bundesliga

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Posted Sunday, August 07, 2011 by YAHOO Sport

BERLIN (AFP) - Japan striker Shinji Okazaki warmed-up for Wednesday's friendly with South Korea by coming off the bench to score for VfB Stuttgart in a bumper weekend for Japanese footballers in the Bundesliga.

The 25-year-old netted his club's final goal in the 89th minute of the 3-0 home win over Champions League semi-finalists Schalke 04 on Saturday before flying home to play for his country.

"I'm really delighted to have come on as a substitute and then also to have scored a goal," said Okazaki ahead of Wednesday's friendly against the Koreans in Sapporo.

"During the pre-season preparations, I was injured but I am fit again now thanks to the work done by (Stuttgart's fitness coach) Christos Papadopoulos."

In total, Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has called up six players from the Bundesliga including defenders Tomoaki Makino (Cologne), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke) and Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), midfielder Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg) plus forwards Okazaki and Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa.

Several stars from the land of the rising sun caught the eye over the weekend in the Bundesliga.

Kagawa hit the post and caused Hamburg all sorts of problems on Friday night as German champions Dortmund won 3-1 to open the defence of their Bundesliga title.

Wolfsburg defender Hasebe picked up a yellow card in an impressive display at right back as the 2009 German champions won 3-0 at Cologne on the opening weekend of the season in Germany.


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