Again Makoto Hasebe gave the Eintracht game the right direction.

When 19 minutes had been played in the Europa League match against Antwerp (2-2) on Thursday evening, the 37-year-old Japanese passed the ball to Filip Kostic on the left side at the level of the midfield line.

The game strategist received special applause from the audience for the technically demanding task.

Hasebe, who had been nominated for the central role in the three-man defense chain, could not surprise his trainer Oliver Glasner with this extensive action.

Jörg Daniels

Editor in the sports department

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The senior in the ranks of the Frankfurters is a “very experienced man.

You can see that Makoto played in the sixth position for a long time, where you tend to have the best footballers on the pitch. ”From Glasner's point of view, Hasebe is“ exceptionally good in his perception ”and also has an eye for the offensive:“ He sees many interfaces, dribbles into midfield again and again, so he's not shy about that. ”What the coach could also have said: The former captain of the Japanese national team, who is the oldest active Bundesliga player, is the linchpin.

Sports director Markus Krösche says: "Makoto is an important anchor, especially for young players."

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Hasebe is no longer a regular this season under the new coach Glasner. From the start he “only” played four times in the Bundesliga. He stayed in the squad six times without being used. In the three previous Europa League matches, however, Hasebe went the full length. Before the Antwerp game, the coach gave the impression that this time, because of Martin Hinteregger's recent failure, he would favor Stefan Ilsanker for the position. Because as an opponent for the Antwerp storm giant Michael Frey (1.89 meters, 86 kilograms), the Austrian would have been better suited due to his stature and robustness.

"Makoto has physical disadvantages there, and they won't change because he won't grow any more," said Glasner jokingly. Hasebe then showed greatness in his own way. As head and leader, he valued the Frankfurt game with his routine, his footballing class, his eye and his overview. Only when he scored 1: 2, he was not up to date. Hasebe had earned his commitment through his strong performance in the 2-0 win at Eintracht in Freiburg.

He had been on the ball 64 times in this encounter - significantly more than midfielders Kristijan Jakic (50) and Djibril Sow (41) or offensive player Jesper Lindström (29). In addition, Hasebe had the best pass rate of all Eintracht professionals. With his calm and serenity, the ripped off Japanese helped his teammates to more stability. "Makoto coaches the boys, helps them with his experience and that's why it's so important," says Krösche: "His age doesn't matter."

The 29-year-old Hinteregger is stronger in duels and headers than Hasebe. When it comes to opening the game, however, the Austrian cannot keep up with the Japanese. Hasebe gives the game structure and line from behind, even in pressure situations he doesn't let himself be nervous. In this respect, the old master is an asset when he is on the field. Hasebe, who has been in the top German division since 2008, has played 345 Bundesliga games for Eintracht, Nuremberg and Wolfsburg in his 19 years as a professional footballer. Only five players from abroad have played more since the league was founded: Claudio Pizarro, Robert Lewandowski, Naldo, Halil Altintop and Lewan Kobiaschwili.

Hasebe added a few games until the end of the round. It could be even more if he extends his contract for another season. Hasebe had spoken three times in the past few years that he would end his career: each time he thought about it differently. Hasebe now wants to decide on his future in consultation with Eintracht in April next year. As things stand now, it is conceivable that the Japanese will maintain their status and continue to actively support the Frankfurters who will receive Union Berlin this Sunday (3:30 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and at DAZN). You can't do without him with his strengths and reliability.And his fitness should continue to play along with him with clever stress control and one or the other game break.

Hasebe doesn't get bored either way.

It is part of the new "Players Pathway" program of the German Football Association, which targets active professionals and players who have just finished their careers.

With the training, it is possible to acquire a “Trainer B +” license, and the graduates also get an insight into management activities in professional football.

Teammate Timothy Chandler recently said of Hasebe: "Anyone who knows Makoto knows that a career as a coach suits him."