AUGSBURG, GERMANY - Japan midfielder Makoto Hasebe reached a milestone when he made his 250th appearance in the German top flight Sunday, but Eintracht Frankfurt was beaten by Augsburg 3-0 away for its first loss in 2018.
Hasebe, who is in his 11th season in the Bundesliga, played the full 90 minutes for the fourth straight game but Austrian forward Michael Gregoritsch spoiled his big day when he took advantage of a positioning mistake by the Frankfurt captain to score the fixture’s second goal.
Koo Ja-cheol opened the scoring at WWK Arena for Augsburg in the 19th minute, Gregoritsch netted the second in the 76th and 20-year-old Marco Richter fired home on the 89th for his first league goal.
“It’s quality that counts, not quantity. I need to raise my game a lot more. I’m not satisfied with my quality of play so far,” said Hasebe, who made his German debut in February 2008.
“I’m not thinking (about my 300th game) yet. I have to focus on one game at a time. Defensively speaking, we gave up three goals today. We played that bad,” he said.
With the World Cup in Russia four months away, Hasebe says it is only natural for players like his Japan international teammate Yuto Nagatomo to switch clubs in search of more playing time.
“There are players in Europe who are more committed to their clubs, but when you hear transfer news involving Japanese players it shows how much the World Cup means to members of the Japan national squad. I see it as a positive thing for Japan,” he said.
In Turkey, Nagatomo made his league debut after having only two training sessions with his new teammates, getting off to a losing start in Galatasaray’s 2-1 away defeat to Sivasspor.
Nagatomo, who moved to the Turkish giants from Inter Milan on a six-month loan deal announced Jan. 31, struggled to find his feet as he committed five fouls. However, he did manage to achieve a 90-percent pass success rate in his 90 minutes on the pitch.
“It was difficult to get a feel for how the team plays and catch up in just two days,” Nagatomo said.
“I was watching how my teammates move during the game. (In the Turkish league) they are really quick to get forward and back, unlike in (the Italian) Serie A,” he said.
In Belgium, Ryota Morioka set up the first of two goals by Silvere M’boussy in the 10th minute to record an assist in Anderlecht’s 2-2 draw to Mechelen in the Belgian first-division clash at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
It was Morioka’s first game with the reigning Belgian champions since he was acquired from Waasland-Beveren last week.