On Sunday evening, Germany U21s will face Portugal in the final of the U21 EUROs (21:00 CEST). Goalkeeper Finn Dahmen is a key player for his side, and spoke to DFB.de about the final, preparations for the match and the mood within the team.
DFB.de:Mr. Dahmen, tomorrow is the final of the U21 EUROs. How are you feeling ahead of the game? Are you nervous?
Finn Dahmen: The nerves are starting to show, which I think is normal. But, I’m more excited than anything. This will be the biggest game of my career so far, and the same is true for many of the lads. I’m looking forward to the game and want to win with the team.
DFB.de:How do you deal with the pressure and the nerves that arise ahead of a final like this?
Dahmen: I try to turn the pressure into something positive. As a professional, pressure is something you deal with on a daily basis which is why you shouldn’t let yourself think that moments like this are bigger than they are. At the end of the day, it’s still football. The same game that we have all been playing since we were kids. What’s important is that you have fun and that you try to ignore the pressure.
DFB.de:What’s the mood like within the team?
Dahmen: We have found a good mix of excitement and ease. Despite the importance of the game, we’re all having fun still. I think that’s extremely important in order to not get thrown off.
DFB.de:What’s your phone look like these days? Are you getting many messages?
Dahmen: Of course. I get a lot of messages before and after the games. I’m always happy about that, because it shows that my family, friends and many former teammates and coaches are thinking of me, supporting me and that they are proud of me.
DFB.de:Team spirit has been something that this team has been praised for often recently, and you impressed on the pitch as well against the Netherlands. What will be the key against Portugal?
Dahmen: Both. I think that Portugal will have the right amount of respect for us, after our recent performances. If we manage to bring our mentality and quality to the pitch like we have throughout the tournament so far, then I’m confident that we will win the game.
DFB.de:What have you seen from Portugal so far?
Dahmen: I watched several moments from the semi-final. Of course there are a couple of players on the team that you know, and they definitely have a lot of individual talent. But, our coaches always give us the right tactical instructions for the game.
DFB.de:How are you preparing for the game?
Dahmen: You try to stay professional, to get enough sleep and you prepare for the game by analysing your opponents.
DFB.de:Will you change anything about your routine ahead of the final?
Dahmen: No. I won’t change anything from how I prepared for the semi-finals, quarterfinals or the group stage. You shouldn’t try to force a change, especially if things have gone well so far.
DFB.de:You already went through a penalty shootout against Denmark. You could now experience the same in the final. How do you prepare for that?
Dahmen: Of course we have information about who could step up to shoot for Portugal, and I’ve looked at that and will prepare accordingly. Some of it is just instinct, however. Portugal know that I’m preparing for them. That’s why you try to analyse the shooters and to not focus too much on the statistics. In the end, you also have to be lucky.
DFB.de:The games against Denmark and the Netherlands could not have been more different. In the first, you only scored in the 88th minute and in the second it took just 29 seconds. What kind of game are you expecting in the final?
Dahmen: That’s impossible to predict (laughs). Personally, I don’t care if we score an early or a late winner. Both games prove that we’re capable of scoring goals and that we never give up as a team. That will also be the case in the final.
DFB.de:Fans have been permitted to attend the knockout stages of the U21 EUROs. How important is it to have them there after a season in which you played nearly every game behind closed doors?
Dahmen: There were about 1,500 fans at the semi-final, which was a nice feeling after the last few months and gave us an extra boost. You get goosebumps when you enter the stadium and hear them cheering you on. We hope that there will be a few more fans at the final who can help give us that additional push.