Makoto Hasebe tied the record for most Bundesliga games by an Asian player Wednesday as his Eintracht Frankfurt side secured a vital 3-0 away win against fellow relegation battlers Werder Bremen.
The former Japan captain’s 308 appearances put him level with South Korean great Cha Bum Kun, whose career in the German top flight included several seasons with Frankfurt.
“I’m so proud,” Hasebe said in a statement released by the club. “I think I can play in a lot more than 308 games, but there’s no chance I’ll catch up the 100 or so goals he scored.”
“He was a great player, and I have so much respect for him.”
Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada could not extend his scoring streak to a third straight game for the visitors, but substitute Stefan Ilsanker sealed the win with a pair of late goals following Andre Silva’s 61st-minute opener.
Japan forward Yuya Osako started on the right wing for the hosts, who sit second-last in the table in a closely fought relegation battle.
With the victory behind closed doors at Bremen’s Weserstadion, Frankfurt climbed eight points clear of the drop zone to 11th.
The 36-year-old Hasebe is set to extend his record for at least another season after recently inking a new deal with Frankfurt, his third club in Germany since joining VfL Wolfsburg from J-League side Urawa Reds in 2008.
A defensive midfielder for most of his career, the veteran has transitioned to playing primarily at center-back for manager Adi Hutter.