Soccer

Makoto Hasebe sets German top-flight record with 309th appearance

Kyodo

Former Japan captain Makoto Hasebe set the record for most games by an Asian player in the German top flight on Saturday, racking up his 309th appearance in his team Eintracht Frankfurt's 2-0 home loss to Mainz.

The 36-year-old overtook South Korean great Cha Bum Kun's record of 308 appearances, which he tied on Wednesday in Frankfurt's 3-0 away win against Werder Bremen.

"I'm very proud to have played more Bundesliga games than any other Asian player. But for me, it would have been much, much more important for the team to win today," Hasebe said in an interview posted on the Bundesliga's official website.

Playing at Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt were held scoreless for the first time since the league resumed last month following a roughly two-month break due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Moussa Niakhate headed in the opener just before the break and substitute Pierre Kunde scored in the 77th minute as the visitors denied Frankfurt's bid for a third straight win.

"We weren't as good as we needed to be today. We were lacking something in all areas," Hasebe said in a statement released by the club. "It's a big shame we weren't able to do better today."

Hasebe recently inked a one-year contract extension with Frankfurt, his third club in Germany since joining Wolfsburg from J. League side Urawa Reds in 2008.

He revealed that he will take up a position as a club ambassador from July 1 and maintain a dual role during his 14th season in Germany in 2020-2021.

Hasebe made his Japan debut in 2006 and retired from international soccer after captaining the Samurai Blue to the last 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

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