Japanese players are becoming an ever more common sight in the Bundesliga but of the current crop, none has been plying his trade longer in Germany than Makoto Hasebe.

Arriving at VfL Wolfsburg from Urawa Red Diamonds in January 2008, the quietly efficient midfielder was a virtual ever-present from the off under head coach Felix Magath. 18 months later, he became only the second Japanese player after Yasuhiko Okudera to get his hands on the coveted championship shield as Magath guided the Wolves to a surprise debut Bundesliga title.

New horizons at Frankfurt


After five years-and-a-half seasons at Wolfsburg, Hasebe headed for pastures new, signing up with 1. FC Nurnberg in September 2013. A difficult season in Franconia ended with der Klub dropping down to Bundesliga 2 and the defensive midfield specialist was on the move again, heading west to Eintracht Frankfurt for the 2013/14 campaign.

Hasebe made his full international debut for Japan in 2006 and while he missed out on that year's FIFA World Cup finals in Germany, by the time the next tournament came round in 2010 he was not only a first-team regular, but also the captain. After skippering Japan to victory at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, he also helped them qualify for the finals of Brazil 2014 in double-quick time.