Japan star Yoshinori Muto hoping not to trip up in Bundesliga
Yoshinori Muto, the Bundesliga`s latest Japanese import, is hoping to make his debut in Germany`s top flight on Saturday -- even if the length of defenders` legs is something new.
Berlin: Yoshinori Muto, the Bundesliga`s latest Japanese import, is hoping to make his debut in Germany`s top flight on Saturday -- even if the length of defenders` legs is something new.
The 22-year-old striker signed for Mainz from J-League side FC Tokyo in the off-season to replace Shinji Okazaki, after his compatriot joined Leicester City.
With 23 goals in 51 J-league games, Muto arrives with a good pedigree, but admitted he has had a few problems adapting to defences in Germany and hopes to start against Ingolstadt on the opening weekend of the new season.
"During my first training session, I had the impression that the defenders` legs were longer than in Japan," he said, admitting he will need to bulk up to cope with Bundesliga defences.
"It was like they were coming from everywhere."
The Japanese is clearly in Germany to make an impression and gave his first press conference last week in a tailored suit and in near-perfect German.
He came on for the last 20 minutes of Mainz`s 3-0 win at Energie Cottbus in the first round of the German Cup last Sunday.
"I`m going to give everything for Mainz and although German is a tough language, I`m going to learn it," said the Japan international, who has made 13 appearances and scored one goal for his country, after making his debut last year.
Muto has a tough act to follow in Okazaki, the highest-scoring Japanese player in Bundesliga history after 37 goals in 128 league games.
However, the versatile forward is unlikely to slot into his predecessor`s role as a genuine striker.
"I`ve played the last two seasons in Japan as a centre-forward, but although I haven`t spoken to (Mainz coach) Martin Schmidt about the details yet, I think I`ll be able to play wider here," he revealed.
Mainz finished 11th in last season`s Bundesliga and open their campaign against Ingolstadt, who have are making their debut in Germany`s top flight.