Anton Stach was one of the breakout stars of last season. First the 22-year-old helped SpVgg Greuther Fürth to promotion to the Bundesliga, then he was crowned a European Champion with Germany U21s. Now, his focus turns to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The midfielder gave a virtual press conference to discuss the year gone by, his excitement for the Olympics and the opening game against Brazil on Thursday (13.30 CEST).
DFB.de: The team left the pitch in the last friendly before the Olympics after Jordan Torunarigha was the victim of racist abuse. How have the team dealt with the incident?
Anton Stach: We spoke about it once as an entire team. I think that together we picked Jordan up quite well. The incident isn’t on our minds anymore, though. Our focus is on the match against Brazil.
DFB.de: Your last few weeks and months have been extremely eventful. Promotion, winning the EURO with the U21s. Is your participation in the Olympics the icing on the cake? What expectations do you have for yourself?
Stach: Promotion, being selected by the U21s, winning the title and now going to the Olympics. It has felt like I’m always steadily progressing. I’ve always watched the Olympics on TV. For me to now be a part of that myself is a huge deal.
DFB.de: Has the anticipation grown now that the team has arrived in Yokohama? Or is the feeling somewhat dampened by the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that are in place?
Stach: I am accepting of the situation and grateful to be here for such an event. The excitement is growing day by day. The view from the plane over Tokyo was one of a kind. I have never seen so many skyscrapers, never had so many new experiences. So the buzz for that first game is growing. Luckily it’s not far away now.
DFB.de: The opening game will be a rematch of the 2016 final against Brazil. How are you preparing ahead of the game?
Stach: Our final preparations began in training today. At the U21 Euros the collective stood at the front of our minds. If we stick to that philosophy then we can beat Brazil too. We know that they are a superb team when they have the ball. But we shouldn’t have any fear and we have to go against them with all that we’ve got.
DFB.de: How is the team coping with the weather conditions?
Stach: We had to get used to a different sleep pattern. The stifling heat is also new. So it was good for us to get here early to get used to it. It really is hard to play when it’s so humid but we’ll manage. (laughs)
DFB.de: How come you haven’t moved into the Olympic village yet?
Stach: The venues for our games are quite far away. If we top our group then we’ll be at the village for the quarter-finals. If we finish as runners-up then we’ll only get there in time for the semis. It’s definitely our aim to make it there because so far we’ve only heard about the village from stories and the TV.
DFB.de: What other sports do you like to follow the most?
Stach: I’m a big basketball fan and I’d like to watch Germany and America’s games. On top of that I also enjoy watching all the different athletics disciplines. But really I’m the kind of guy who watches as many different types of sports as possible at the Olympics.