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Happy birthday for Kagawa

18 March 2012 14:42

Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa celebrated his birthday a day late by scoring the winner in his side's 1-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Kagawa turned 23 on Friday and his goal against sixth-placed Werder Bremen came just eight minutes into the match, when the Japanese international headed Ilkay Gundogan's perfectly-placed assist into the net.

After being mobbed by his team-mates, Kagawa ran to the home bench and celebrated with unused substitute Felipe Santana.

"It was (Santana's) birthday as well," Kagawa said after the match. "We had talked about celebrating together so I'm glad it worked out."

Kagawa cited examples of Dortmund's dominance in another important win as they sought to stay ahead of surging Bayern Munich, who thrashed Hertha Berlin 6-0 on Saturday.

"We had the advantage of playing at home, and we overwhelmed our opponents," the former Cerezo Osaka man said.

"We switched quickly between attacking and defending, had numerical superiority, and were able to link our play on both sides of the ball."

With his ninth goal of the season, Kagawa is now on track to become just the third Japanese player to score double-digits in a top European league. But the player himself thought he was capable of reaching that mark on Saturday.

"I wasn't desperate; I knew that I'd be unmarked and have an opportunity at some point," Kagawa said. "But in the second half I had a lot of opportunities and wasn't able to convert."

"I think I could have scored a second or third goal."

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