Just like two years ago, Germany will face Spain in the final of the U21 European Championships (Sunday, kick off 20:45 CEST). In an interview with DFB.de, midfielder Florian Neuhaus looks at the mood inside the camp of Stefan Kuntz’s team and also concluded his last two years with the U21s.
DFB.de: Florian Neuhaus, how do you feel ahead of the EURO final against Spain?
Florian Neuhaus: The excitement ahead of the game is tangible. At the same time we are focused and are fully anticipated ahead of it. The EURO title is our aim and would perfectly round off our time with the youth national team. For most of the players, this will be our final game with the U21 team so we want to give our all one last time and lift the trophy.
DFB.de: What do you think of your opposition, Spain?
Neuhaus: To have a chance against Spain we will need a brilliant performance. Despite their loss to Italy in their first game, they still qualified as winners of their group and beat France convincingly in the semi final. They are a strong side and have brilliant individuals. We have these strengths too and we can depend on our togetherness. The team spirit that we in our group can make the difference in the final.
DFB.de: Is there a favourite in the final?
Neuhaus: I don’t think that you could pick a favourite between the two sides. It will be a tight and hard-fought match. Even though the two squads were different two years ago, it could be a just as exciting and tight game. If it goes the same way as in 2017, we will be alright.
DFB.de: Almost two years ago, in September 2007, the current generation of Under-21 players started the new season with a 2-1 home defeat to Hungary in Paderborn. How would you describe the development of the team from then to today?
Neuhaus: It’s just awesome what we’ve grown here and how the players have developed. We won our European qualification group comfortably and now we’re in the final. I don’t think that everyone expected us to do that. But we always believed in ourselves and almost all of us play a good role in a Bundesliga team. The coaching team tried to get this unbelievable team spirit between us here with the national side. They’ve always said the right things to reach us and they set us up superbly, both tactically and playing-style wise.
DFB.de: What the coach said was also a factor in the second-half improvement against Romania in the semi-final…
Neuhaus: That’s right. Stefan Kuntz finds the right balance between calmness, emotion and concentration. We needed to be shaken awake in that moment in order to put in a different performance in the second half.
DFB.de: Do you feel a little sad that you won’t be playing with this side again after the Euros?
Neuhaus: Sadness doesn’t come into it as I’m looking forward to the final too much. This last step that we all want to take is more important than everything else right now. But after the game I’m sure that I’ll feel like that at some point.###more###