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Monday, Jan. 5, 2009

Striker Okubo heads to Germany to set seal on move to Wolfsburg

OSAKA (Kyodo) Vissel Kobe striker Yoshito Okubo left for Germany on Sunday to join Japan teammate Makoto Hasebe at German first-division club Wolfsburg after both clubs agreed on terms on a deal for the 26-year-old.

"My main aim is to make sure I get plenty of games under my belt," said Okubo, who is set to complete his transfer from Vissel Kobe on Tuesday subject to a medical Monday.

"Hopefully I will be able to score a lot of goals," the Japan international told reporters at Kansai International Airport.

The move provides Okubo with a second chance to prove himself in Europe after a disappointing stint with Spanish club Real Mallorca between January 2005 and July 2006.

"I have developed as a player at Kobe and I want to test the level that I am at now," said Okubo.

Okubo, who has been with Kobe since the beginning of the 2007 campaign, began his professional career with J. League side Cerezo Osaka in 2001.

He returned to Cerezo after leaving Mallorca, where he scored on a dream debut in La Liga but only managed five goals in 39 appearances.

Okubo has scored 64 goals in 149 J. League games and has netted five times in 33 appearances for the national team.

Wolfsburg, which signed midfielder Hasebe from Urawa Reds at the start of last year, headed into the winter break in ninth place in the 18-team top flight.

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