Paul Jaeckel (22) and David Raum (22) from SpVgg Greuther Fürth were forced to drop out of the Germany U21 squad in October after a positive Covid-19 test was reported at the club. In an interview with DFB.de’s Karl Evers, the duo spoke about being called up once again and their upcoming debuts.
DFB.de: Mr. Jaeckel, Mr. Raum: you were both called up as reinforcements for the U21 on the weekend. How did you receive the news that you were being called up?
David Raum: We were on the bus and were on our way home from our league game in Bochum. That’s when my phone rang and it was Stefan Kuntz, who told me the good news. He also told me that I wasn’t the only player being called up on short notice from Fürth. (laughs)
DFB.de: You already had a short stay with the U21s in October. But, after a positive Covid-19 test was reported within the team, the two of you had to return home as a precautionary measure, as you’d been in contact with the individual in question. Was that a tough blow to take?
Paul Jaeckel: Of course it was tough. Bring called up to play for the U21s is something that you’re really excited about, since it’s a great team. We were disappointed to then have to return home early. It was unfortunate for the both of us, but we weren’t angry at anyone.
DFB.de: Was it especially annoying for you, Mr. Raum, because you weren’t able to play at home. After all, you’re a product of the Fürth academy.
Raum: It would have definitely been something special. But, in the end it was the right call for us to return home. The team won both their games, which was the most important thing. Sacrifices had to be made, which is why it’s nice that we’re able to be back with the team now - hopefully, for a longer stay than last time. (laughs)
DFB.de: The U21s are currently preparing for their upcoming games in Wolfsburg. Mr. Jaeckel, you spent three years at the VfL academy, in addition to one year with the first team. Is this a bit like coming home for you?
Jaeckel: A little bit. I’m very familiar with the area here, and the Allersee was always a place where I enjoyed spending my free time. We’re staying right next to the stadium and the first-team training centre, where I trained with the team for a year. That’s why I know my way around here and it’s a bit like returning to my old home.
DFB.de: What do you remember from that time?
Jaeckel: I was able to play three league games for VfL, one of them at home at the Volkswagen-Arena. That’s something I will always remember, in addition to the friends that I made here. I also did my A-levels in Wolfsburg. These are all things that I’ll remember outside of football.
DFB.de: Mr. Raum, you can play at left wing, as well as up front and in defence. Where do you prefer to play?
Raum: I learned how to play up front, but over the last two and a half years I’ve been playing at left back. I got to know the position a lot better over the last year, and it’s where I’m playing this season. It’s a great fit for me, because it allows me to use my strengths, which are my speed, my aggressiveness and my crossing ability. That’s why I feel really good playing there. But, nowadays in football of course it’s always good to be able to play in a variety of positions.
DFB.de: You’ve played together on numerous occasions already, not just now with the Fürth first team, but also with the reserves. You also took part in national team camps together. How helpful is it to have someone at your side whose career is taking a similar path?
Jaeckel: We’ve had similar careers so far, especially when it comes to the national team. We were both called up to the U21s for the first time at the same time, and now we’ve both been called up again. In terms of settling in, it definitely helps to have someone you know well there and for you to take those first steps together. Even if you have the other players, coaches and backroom staff all there to help as well.
Raum: There’s always several players that you know already from previous youth sides. But, I was still very happy to hear that Paul had also been called up.
DFB.de: You’ve had a strong season so far with SpVgg Greuther Fürth, and are currently in third. Are you surprised at all?
Raum: Not really, to be honest. We’re well-equipped and have a very young and hungry team with a great team spirit. We’ve gotten extremely close as a team of late. Our coaches prepare us well for every game. We have different game plans, but we always have a clearly defined structure to our games. We’ve been able to implement that consistently of late, and have seen success as a result. After a bit of a shaky start, we’re glad to have gotten back on track. Now, it’s important that we continue on in this manner after the international break.
DFB.de: Is Fürth a good place for young players?
Jaeckel: Definitely. The fact that young players are given a chance to prove themselves was the deciding factor for me when I was considering a move here. It’s a focus in training as well, to continue developing young talents and to show them what’s needed to make it as a pro. It’s not just about taking part in training, but also about putting in extra work at times. Rachid Azzouzi and our coaching staff talk a lot with us youngsters, but also demand a lot of us.
DFB.de: Let’s go back to the U21s. How excited are you about potentially making your debuts?
Raum: In the end, it’s up to the coach to decide. But of course it would be nice if the two of us were able to make our debuts, and are able to show what we can do in order to represent our club within the U21s.
DFB.de: What are you expecting from the upcoming internationals?
Jaeckel: Two wins, without a doubt. The team are highly-motivated to deliver a strong performance in both games in order to book our tickets to the U21 EUROs.