J.League World Challenge to feature Dortmund, Sevilla

Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla will come to Japan as part of the J.League World Challenge 2017, the league announced on Thursday.

Reigning Levain Cup champions Urawa Reds will host the German titans at Saitama Stadium on July 15, while current J1 title holders Kashima Antlers will welcome the Spanish side to Kashima Stadium on July 22.

The friendlies, backed by title sponsor Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, will take place during a break in the J1 League calendar that was instituted to encourage high-profile international matches.

The visit will mark Dortmund’s second visit to Japan in three years; the side featuring Japan star Shinji Kagawa recorded an dominant 6-0 win over Kawasaki Frontale in a 2015 friendly.

Thomas Tuchel’s squad will be the first high-profile international opponent for Urawa this summer before they host Chapecoense in August’s Suruga Bank Championship.

Sevilla will be returning to Japan for the first time since 2006, when they recorded 6-0 and 3-2 wins against Albirex Niigata and Jubilo Iwata in a preseason tour.

Kashima, the country’s most decorated side, earned global acclaim last December for their spirited runners-up finish to Real Madrid in the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup.

It is believed that other J.League clubs are evaluating their own international friendlies, although it is unclear whether such matchups would be considered a part of the World Challenge. Some local media have reported a possible tie between Sevilla and former midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake’s Cerezo Osaka.