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Kagawa Not in the 18; is Moritz Leitner Really Above Him in the Pecking Order?

Thomas Tuchel had an odd comment before the Hertha match today...

Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

BVB revealed it's starting lineup for their trip to Berlin, and hey! It looks just like this one! However, a certain Japanese playmaker didn't make the trip at all...

Kagawa is not hurt or sick. Tuchel just didn't select him to make the trip, meaning Mortiz Leitner and Christian Pulisic were preferred to the BVB talisman as the only two attacking options who can play in Kagawa's advanced midfield role. It's an odd move, to say the least. While Shinji hasn't lit the world on fire after the break, and the lead attacking midfield role seems to change hands between him and Gonzalo Castro from week to week, he has been outstanding this year on the whole. It seems like an overreaction at best (and I doubt it will be a permanent move, but I never expected to see him dropped while healthy, either, so hey). Odd move from Tuchel, but if you're looking for an upside, now is as good a time as ever to get on the Christian Pulisic hype train.