There are some positive developments to report in Homare Sawa’s on-going battle to return to full fitness after having been diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). The disorder is characterised by repeated, short-term onset of dizziness, and is caused by the movement of calcium crystals from their normal position within the utricle of the inner ear to the semicircular canals, with this build-up of calcium affecting the movement of fluid within the area and causing the onset of vertigo. The Mainichi Shimbun confirms that the current FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year may recover in time for the opening game of the L.League season versus Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki on 15 April. The 33 year-old resumed training with the ball at the end of March, and has featured in a full practice match against Osaka Toin High School’s men’s team in her bid to return. It is good news for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Winner, whose progress was set back when she was forced to miss the training camp for the 2012 Algarve Cup and to continue her rehabilitation at home, and the Nadeshiko’s attempt to win the title at London 2012.
The Asahi Shimbun focuses on the performance of Japan’s overseas players, starting with Samurai Blue Shinji Kagawa. The 23 year old attacking midfielder had a relatively quiet game for Borussia Dortmund in their 3-1 win away to VfL Wolfsburg, and was substituted after 81 minutes, but he would have recorded an assist had Robert Lewandowski not squandered a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Diego Benaglio. Makoto Hasebe was an unused substitute for Wolsburg, and the Bundesliga turns its attention to the mouthwatering clash between table-topping Die Schwarzgelben and Bayern Munich, who lie only three points behind in second place and hold a significant advantage in terms of goal difference. With just five matches remaining in the Bundesliga season, the game at Borussia’s Westfalenstadion on 11 April will play a major role in deciding the destination of the league title.
Der FCB kept up the pressure on Borussia Dortmund with a 2-1 triumph over FC Augbsurg at the Allianz Arena. The Fuggerstädter midfielder Hajime Hosogai, who played for all but 8 minutes of the match was unable to prevent his team from falling to defeat to the German giants, for whom Takashi Usami, on loan from Gamba Osaka, has since been moved to the reserve team.
Elsewhere in the division, Gotoku Sakai played the full 90 minutes for VfB Stuttgart as they completed a 4-1 victory at home to Mainz. The 22 year-old full-back has made a bright start to his Bundesliga career since joining Stuttgart on loan from Albirex Niigata in January, who have the option to make the deal permanent should he continue to impress. Fellow Die Roten teammate Shinji Okazaki also made an appearance, coming on as an 86th minute replacement for Martin Harnik.
And finally, the Sankei Shimbun notes the contribution Japan men’s national team goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima made to Lierse S.K.’s 2-1 play-off derby victory against K.V. Mechelen, saving spectacularly from Boris Pandža to prevent an equaliser. The play-offs, which are contested between those in seventh to fourteenth positions in the Belgian Pro League, are used to decide which teams will be the country’s representatives in the Europa League. Lierse are currently second in Group A after two matches, two points behind Cercle Brugge.