‘Duracell bunny’ Haraguchi eager to break Union duck

Dubbed ‘Duracell bunny’ for his seemingly tireless vitality, Genki Haraguchi is a shoe-in for Union Berlin this season, however the Japan midfielder is determined to break his duck for the Bundesliga membership.

“I need to rating,” the 30-year-old attacking midfielder informed reporters having but to hit the web in 19 video games since his low season switch from second-tier Hanover.

Haraguchi’s silky passing has helped Union’s strikers Max Kruse and Taiwo Awoniyi bag 16 targets between them this season, however he desires to get on the scoresheet.

“I need to make the distinction in video games. I’m typically pleased with my kind this season, however I need to rating targets,” he mentioned.

It appears to be only a matter of time.

The Japan veteran confirmed his ending prowess at Hanover final season by having a hand in 16 targets — scoring 9 and creating seven extra — which earned him a free switch to Union.

“He’s one of many winners of the season to date,” Union’s CEO Oliver Ruhnert informed Kicker.

“He’s a bit just like the Duracell bunny — he at all times provides his all.”

Haraguchi got here shut to scoring in opposition to former membership Hertha Berlin in Saturday’s 2-0 derby win which noticed Union climb to fifth in Germany’s prime flight.

He made key contributions by creating targets in wins over Moenchengladbach and Wolfsburg, a house defeat to Bayern Munich and draw with Cologne.

He’d love to hit the web Thursday at Maccabi Haifa within the Europa Conference League, the place Union want one other win, having overwhelmed the Israeli champions 3-0 in Berlin, to climb off the underside of their group.

“It’s an enormous purpose for us to attain the subsequent spherical, however we’ve to win the final two video games,” mentioned Haraguchi.

– Midfield swap –

After failing to make an impression in 4 years at Hertha, Haraguchi was loaned to Fortuna Duesseldorf, who he helped win promotion in 2018 earlier than being offered to Hanover.

There he rebooted his profession by switching from the wing to attacking midfield, which yielded 15 targets and 16 assists within the final three full seasons.

“I used to be a typical winger, however now I play extra within the center, it fits me higher,” he mentioned.

“Being on the wing is plenty of one-on-one, however enjoying within the center means you might have to be extra versatile. That is one in all my strengths.”

Haraguchi’s boundless vitality has been totally examined this season on worldwide obligation with Japan.

In mid-November, he flew from Germany to play simply 4 minutes — two in every sport — in wins over Oman and Vietnam to go away Japan second of their World Cup qualifying group.

That got here after flying midway world wide to be on the bench for October’s 2-1 win over Australia in Saitama after enjoying half an hour of a 2-1 defeat away to Saudi Arabia.

“I do not like flying, however I’m used to it. I do not know what number of kilometres I’ve flown this yr,” mentioned Haraguchi.

“It’s simply soccer, I’m at all times proud to play for Japan.”

Haraguchi scored in Japan’s last-gasp 3-2 defeat to Belgium within the final 16 of the 2018 World Cup and is eager for an additional likelihood at subsequent yr’s finals in Qatar.

“We’re now in second place (4 factors behind Saudi Arabia), so have an opportunity of going to the World Cup.”

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