Takahara fires in hat trick for Frankfurt

Compiled From Kyodo, AP

AACHEN, Germany — Japanese World Cup striker Naohiro Takahara scored his first hat trick in the German League on Sunday as Eintracht Frankfurt won 3-2 away to Alemania Aachen.

News photoNaohiro Takahara celebrates his second goal with Eintracht Frankfurt teammate Benjamin Koehler during their German League match against Alemania Aachen in Aachen on Sunday. Eintracht won 3-2 with Japan striker Takahara scoring a hat trick.
AP PHOTO

Aachen had goals from Jan Schlaudraff and Cristian Fiel but its winless streak was extended to eight games as Takahara took center stage.

Takahara opened the scoring when he collected a through ball from Alexander Meier and drilled home from the edge of the area after 14 minutes.

The striker, nicknamed “The Sushi Bomber” in Germany, then nearly made it 2-0 with a low drive on the half-hour mark but was denied by the legs of home ‘keeper Kristian Nicht.

Takahara, who joined Frankfurt in the close season after a frustrating time at Hamburg SV, bagged his second with a crisp finish just before halftime, after Schlaudraff’s 32nd-minute equalizer had canceled out Frankfurt’s lead.

Takahara completed his treble with what proved to be the winner shortly after the hour mark, escaping defenders Nico Herzig and Alexander Klitzpera before firing past Nicht.

The hat trick was the first scored in the Bundesliga this season.

Takahara had drawn criticism for wasting numerous chances in a 0-0 UEFA Cup draw against Newcastle three days ago.

“Thursday, I had all those chances,” Takahara said. “Today I had to show how I could play.”

The former Boca Juniors man’s hat trick, only the fourth by a Japanese player in a competitive match in Europe, took his league tally this season to six and lifted Frankfurt into eighth in the table on 20 points, 10 behind leader Werder Bremen.

Previously, Junichi Inamoto scored a hat trick for Fulham against Bologna in the second leg of the 2002 Intertoto Cup final and Masashi Oguro bagged a treble in the French second division in April this year when playing for Grenoble against Bastia.

Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura was the third Japanese player to score three times in one game when he did it against Dundee United in the Scottish Premier League in October.