By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Doan speaks on decision to join Freiburg: "The club's results speak for themselves."

After literally 15 months of non-stop transfer rumors, Japanese international Ritsu Doan is officially back in the Bundesliga. 

Over at the Breisgauer training camp, the 24-year-old spoke to Thiemo Müller of German footballing magazine Kicker about his reasons for choosing SC Freiburg.
Those immersed in Bundesliga transfer rumors hardly went a week without hearing something related to Ritsu Doan's potential return to German football over the past 15 months. The Japanese International's successful loan spell at Arminia Bielefeld during the 2020/21 campaign rendered him a top transfer target of several Bundesliga clubs.

The 24-year-old's ultimate move to Freiburg came somewhat suddenly. For a time, it had been reported that Doan had chosen to move to FSV Mainz 05 after positive discussions with head-coach Bo Svensson and club sporting CEO Christian Heidel. Speaking to Doan about his decision to opt for Breisgau instead, reporter Thiemo Müller of German footballing magazine Kicker naturally wanted to know why.

"Of course, PSV has the bigger name recognition," Doan replied when asked about why he decided to leave the Erdevisie in the first place, "From my perspective as a professional footballer, SC Freiburg is also presently a great club. Sixth place in the Bundesliga, qualification for the Europa League and a place in the DFB Cup Final all speak for themselves."

"This is a club that continues to develop year after year," Doan continued, "There are no crazy ups and downs at Freiburg like at some others. For me, that's a very, very good sign. The league is stronger than the Erdevisie. That's why I was very keen to return. I gave something back to PSV and it was the right time to take the next step."

Bundesliga enthusiasts will be keeping a close eye on the rising Japanese talent this year. Representative of the Samurai Blue always pique the interests of German football fans. Current league players such as Stuttgart captain Wataru Endo, Frankfurt sensation Daichi Kamada, and even Doan's former Bielefeld teammate Masaya Okugawa reliably entertain.

New top tier arrivals such as Ko Itakura and national team captain Maya Yoshida push the ranks of the number of Japanese internationals in the German top flight to its highest level ever. The largest Japanese field ever coincides with a highly anticipated showdown between Japan and the German national team in the group stage of the coming World Cup.

"This constellation is crazy," Doan remarked with a laugh when asked about the next few months. "Naturally, my goal is to be in the starting XI at the World Cup and to play against Germany. I hope that a few Freiburg fans will be rooting for me then, too. At least secretly."

This might very well be the case as Doan, like his fellow Samurai compatriots, is sure to become a crowd favorite quickly. Not having much time to acclimatize much to his environment yet, Doan still offered up some interesting thoughts on his new gaffer Christian Streich.

Evidently, Doan sees parallels between the Freiburg head coach and his former German trainer Roger Schmidt.

"[Streich's] playing philosophy is similar Schmidt's in Eindhoven," Doan noted, "going straight into counterpressing after losing the ball, I can identify with that very well. And when we have the ball, I can and should roam freely, not sticking to the right wing, but being flexible, moving over to the center and left."

"It suits me well," the player concluded, "It was important to me to have talks with the coach about his philosophy and my role in general before deciding to come here."

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