Konnichiwa, Yuya Osako! Sayonara, Yuya Osako! It was only a brief stay in Bremen for Werder’s new Japan international, before the 27-year-old midfielder had to jet off to his homeland. However he managed to squeeze all the important formalities into a single day at the Weser-Stadion. After a medical, a performance test and an interview with WERDER.TV, Osako signed his contract with the club. “I’m really happy. Werder is a big club”, summed up Osako.
Yuya Osako is the second Japanese player to wear the Green-White jersey after Yasuhiko Okudera. Okudera, “a serious legend” for Osako, was the first ever Japanese Bundesliga player, signed by FC Köln in 1977. Osako has followed in his footsteps by making the move from the Rhein to the Weser. “I didn’t have to think too hard, I decided on Werder pretty quickly. I spoke with the coach and just had the right feeling about it”, Osako revealed in an interview with WERDER.TV.
As well as the discussion with Florian Kohfeldt, it was the glowing reports about the Green-Whites from Werder legend, Claudio Pizarro, which particularly convinced him. “He told me that Werder is a good club and that the coach is great.” However, before Osako can get settled in, he has a totally different challenge ahead of him: the World Cup in Russia. Osako, capped 26 times for Japan, was selected in the provisional 35-man squad by coach, Akira Nishino. After the friendly against Ghana on 30th May, he must decide upon his final squad of 23 for the last two warm-up games against Switzerland and Paraguay.
Japan are set to face Columbia, Senegal and Poland in the group stages. Osako is likely to make an appearance in the lineup. Back in 2014 he was also part of the squad. Playing a part in Russia would be a “childhood dream” come true. “The games will be very tough. We really need to win the first match if we’re to have a chance of progressing”, believes Osako. But however far Japan get, when the tournament ends his focus will turn back to Werder. Rather than a short visit, with any luck Yuya Osako will have a long and successful career at the Weser-Stadion.