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Ji Clipped By Klopp

Former Sunderland striker Ji Dong-Won has suffered a blow early into a new career with European heavyweights Borussia Dortmund following his omission from their 25-man Champions League squad for the upcoming group stages.

Philipp Schmidli

Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp was left with a tough decision to make when selecting his 25-man squad for the UEFA Champions League group phase after his re-signing of Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa from Manchester United meant leaving a first-team member out of the set-up for the early stages of the competition.

That unlucky person forced to miss out turned out to be former Sunderland forward Ji Dong-Won, who signed for Dortmund after a short stay at Augsburg following his January departure from the Stadium of Light. He was convinced of his place in the 25-man line-up until Sunday, when Klopp swooped for the player who'd left the club for Old Trafford only two years ago.

Explaining his agonising choice, Klopp told German paper Bild:

"We had to make a decision.

"It's not like I thought 'yippee'. The decision with Ji was really tough for me. In the winter there will be a new decision to make."

Ji failed to make a great impression on Wearside - apart from one particularly special goal - but showed some form during a loan spell with Augsburg in 2013, scoring 5 goals in 17 appearances to help the team stave off relegation from the Bundesliga. He returned to the same side last January when it was confirmed that he wouldn't be offered a new deal by Sunderland, with a surprise summer transfer to Borussia Dortmund lined up in advance to go through once the 2013/14 campaign ended.

However, the South Korean international has been sidelined with a thigh injury which has restricted his involvement so far at Signal Iduna Park in the industrial heartland of Germany. Yet to make an appearance after two rounds of league action in the Bundesliga, Ji has found himself on the sidelines in terms of European action until at least the wintertime when Klopp will have the opportunity to adjust his squad should he see fit.

It's a blow for the 23-year-old in his efforts to make an impact at a European powerhouse following his years of languishing on the bench in the English Premier League and it could well see him struggle to gain a regular spot in the side at any point in the future.

All signs suggest an abrupt end to his Borussia Dortmund career is on the horizon before it has even begun in earnest.