FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan believes the Bundesliga could soon have another Asian star in the form of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Daichi Kamada.
A promising but previously unheard-of Japanese prospect rising to prominence in the Bundesliga.
Now where have we heard that one before?
Makoto Hasebe, Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Osako… these are just some of the names that have showed the way in recent times but, considering their similar positions and styles of play, it is perhaps Shinji Kagawa’s footsteps that Daichi Kamada – Eintracht Frankfurt’s rising star – is likeliest to follow.
Highlights – Eintracht Frankfurt vs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
As the 2019/20 Bundesliga season got underway last weekend, there was plenty of intrigue surrounding Eintracht and how they would replace Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller, who combined for 46 goals in all competition last term but have since left for Real Madrid and West Ham respectively.
In a real show of faith by manager Adi Hutter in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Hoffenheim, Kamada was named in the starting XI alongside Mijat Gacinovic as one of the two deeper-lying forwards behind Ante Rebic, ahead of highly-rated duo Dejan Joveljic and Goncalo Pacencia.
It took Kamada about 30 seconds to play a role in his side opening the scoring by taking a quick short corner to Filip Kostic, whose excellent cross was volleyed home by Martin Hinteregger.
Two minutes later, the lanky attacker was confident enough to take a shot on after cutting inside from the edge of the box and stung the hands of Oliver Baumann, and he again forced the Hoffenheim goalkeeper into a smart save down low in the 48th minute following a mazy dribble.
48′ SO CLOSE! Kamada dribbles his way into the area and gets his shot off, but Baumann is down quickly and makes a fine save. 😫#SGETSG | 1-0
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_eng) August 18, 2019
Throughout the match, Kamada was also in charge of most of Eintracht’s set-pieces barring a handful that were dispatched by Kostic when the situation favoured a left-footed delivery, until he was replaced by Pacencia in the 71st minute following a steady if unspectacular contribution.
It was not have been his first taste of Bundesliga action having made three appearances in the 2017/18 campaign following his move from Sagan Tosu.
But having been deemed in need of more development and game time, Kamada spent last season on loan at Sint-Truiden and it proved to be a fruitful spell with 15 goals in the Belgian First Division A.
With a full season of top-flight European football under his belt, he has now returned to the Commerzbank-Arena in a far stronger position to win a regular first-team berth under Hutter.
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Like Kagawa, Kamada offers plenty of energy in the attacking third while also being blessed with excellent technical ability and vision.
Of course, his display against Hoffenheim was not without its blemishes, as he gave possession away on a couple of occasions and was also physically overpowered at times, but he will gain more consistency with matches as he gains more familiarity with the system and the players around him.
At 23, the Ehime native is at the age to really kick on in his career and – if he really does go on to fulfil his potential – who knows that the future holds for him?
Perhaps even a Bundesliga title like current team-mate Hasebe achieved with Wolfsburg, or two-time winner Kagawa did with Dortmund.
For now, however, fans of Asian football can look forward to a full year ahead where – once again – a bright Japanese talent is promising to announce his arrival in the Bundesliga.