Japan Women’s captain Saki Kumagai will join FC Bayern Munich from Olympique Lyon for the upcoming 2021/22 season.
The 30-year-old midfielder became world champions in 2011, FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up in 2015 and Asian champions in 2018. With Lyon, she won the UEFA Women’s Champions League five times in a row, as well as seven French championships and six cup wins. In 2020, Kumagai was again shortlisted for the FIFA World Player of the Year. In Munich, the Japanese has signed a two-year contract.
“I am very happy and very much looking forward to playing for FC Bayern Munich. I was looking for a new challenge and when we played Bayern in the Champions League quarterfinals last year, I noticed how unified Bayern are and that they are a very good team. That sparked my interest in the club,” said the midfield strategist about her transfer. Kumagai, who was selected Asia’s Footballer of the Year in 2019, clearly formulates her goal with FC Bayern: “I want to win the Champions League with Bayern Munich!”
Kumagai was born on October 17, 1990 in Sapporo and started her professional football career in Urawa with the Red Diamonds. In 2011 she moved to German record champions FFC Frankfurt as the newly crowned world champion. In 2013, the then 22-year-old joined Olympique Lyon, where she matured into one of the world’s best midfielders. “We are very happy to have convinced Saki of our project. She brings unbelievable international experience and will play an important role in our team’s further development,” said Bianca Rech, Sporting Director of FC Bayern Frauen, about the transfer.
Bayern Women’s head coach Jens Scheuer also looks forward to the experienced reinforcement for the new season with great expectations, “I am extremely happy that Saki has chosen us. We had very good conversations with her, in which we were able to convince her of our association, our department and our path. Saki is an incredibly ball-safe, defensive midfielder who plays in the national team but also in central defense. So it is very flexible, which is an additional advantage for us,” said Scheuer. “With her experience, her ball safety and her routine, she will certainly be good for our team in the coming season and will help us to successfully continue on the path we have chosen.”