Eintracht Frankfurt defender Makoto Hasebe discusses his recent sparkling form and the international break.

After three straight wins, head coach Adi Hütter gave you all a couple of days off – how did you spend the free time, Makoto?
"We've just had seven games in 24 days and I played in six of those. Because of that, I was pretty tired, but two days off did the world of good. I took a few strolls with my family and made the most of the weather. I've recharged and am looking forward to a week of training."

It's going well for the team at the moment, as well as for you personally. What are the reasons behind that?

"There are lots of reasons: we have three great strikers, who are very clinical; we're staying well organised at the back; and we have 'Trappo' [Kevin Trapp], an outstanding last line of defence. The wide players are also doing well at the moment. For me personally things have been going better, too, and I can make the most of my qualities in that position in defence. I have to keep an eye on the game and try to read the opposition. That's worked really well in the last few matches. I said right from the start that a new coach and new players just need time. I don't think we've finished that process yet, either."

You retired from the Japanese national team after the World Cup. How important are these free weeks for you?
"I was incredibly proud to represent my country, but at 34 I'm at an age when this sort of break for rest and recovery is important mentally and physically. My family is pleased about it, too."

You mentioned the new coach Adi Hütter. How's your relationship with him?
"I get on really well with him. He's a different character to Niko Kovac. Adi Hütter talks a lot to his players and even when I wasn't in the squad he explained everything to me. I thought that was very impressive. After winning the DFB Cup and going to the World Cup I was in a little bit of a rut – not physically, but more mentally. Now I have my hunger back and have big plans with Eintracht for the campaign. The start of the season has been a success and we can build on that."