The Germany U21s will begin their European Championship campaign in Italy and San Marino on Monday. Their first opponents are Denmark (21:00 CEST). In an interview with DFB.de, Jonathan Tah talked about the atmosphere within the squad, his role as a leader and the first game.
DFB.de: Jonathan Tah, how has it been so far and how is the atmosphere in the team?
Jonathan Tah: We have arrived safely and are happy with everything here. The team has prepared really well and myself and Lukas Klostermann are in great condition after being with the national team. Everyone is raring to go.
DFB.de: How does it feel, to return to the U21s after being with the national team for the Euro qualifiers?
Tah: It doesn’t mean much to me. With the national team, I was fully focused on qualifying for the Euros and now I am a leader again with the U21s. I want to pull my own weight in us having a successful tournament. I’ve known the lads in the U21s for many years and we have played together in the younger teams together. Now, we have the chance to take the next step and accomplish something big.
DFB.de: How do you see your role as a leader in the team?
Tah: I am always very open and ready to talk to the lads. Anyone can come to me if they have a question, problems or anything really. Communication within the team and the coaches is extremely important. I also want to show my quality on the pitch and lead by example.
DFB.de: How important is the experience of playing at the U21s Euros for you personally?
Tah: Very important. I was with the team in 2016 during the Euros in France but didn’t make an appearance. I was injured during the U21 Euros in 2017. I wanted to be there for when we won the title. These tournament experiences are something special, that as a footballer, you will never forget. They make you mature as a player and as a person.
DFB.de: You start your campaign on Monday against Denmark. What are you expecting from your opponents?
Tah: All twelve teams deserve to be at the tournament and there are no easy opponents. For us it is important, to start the tournament with a win. We need to stay compact and give everything against Denmark. We want to come first in the group and get to the semi-finals so we can qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.###more###