Germany are currently preparing for their final group game of EURO 2020 against Hungary on Wednesday (21:00 CEST). Leon Goretzka and Marcel Halstenberg spoke to the press two days before the Group F clash. DFB.de has summarised the most important quotes.
...the Portugal game: That was a first step in the right direction, a really good performance. It was really nice to see how excited we’d made the country after the game. Ultimately though, we’ve won one game and lost one. We know the situation we are in and want to win the last game.
...the atmosphere in Germany: It feels like the fans are singing three times as loud as usual in the stadium. It sounds like the stadium is completely sold out. The atmosphere is really incredible. After our win, there’s also a good mood about fans across the country, which makes us really happy. After the recent events over the past few months, it’s great to have 82 million coaches again instead of 82 million virologists.
...his injury: When the results of the MRI came and I looked into the eyes of the doctor, I had the feeling that it could really tight regarding my participation in the tournament. I remained positive, though, and I received the best treatment. I’ve invested a lot of time and hard work to get fit and I’m pleased with how it’s gone. I feel top fit now and the tournament can properly begin for me now.
...missing the France game: It wasn’t an easy decision for me, but as I believe that the tournament will go on longer for us, I made the decision to work more intensively for two to three days. Now I feel ready to give my absolute all.
...the midfield setup: There was a lot of talk before the game that we weren’t attacking enough, however we looked almost too attacking for Portugal’s goals. We still played with the same setup, though. Normally, a five-man defence is good at stopping counters, which is a huge bonus, but there isn’t anyone who shouldn’t be busting a gut when there’s a counterattack against us. Therefore it’s more of a question of our mentality.
...Hungary: We have the most difficult group at the tournament, and Hungary are included in that. They have put in impressive displays in both games so far. Their defence is definitely a tough nut to crack and they’ve looked very good against two world-class teams so far. Nevertheless, we are fully motivated. Our aim is to pick up where we left off against Portugal and win the game.
...a weakness from set pieces: It’s really important to be strong from set pieces in a tournament. We have worked on them a lot in training, but haven’t had the rewards during games that we’d hoped for. We’ve got good set-piece takers and enough aerial presence in the box. We need to believe in ourselves. We’ve got the ability to be successful from dead balls and I’m sure we’ll start profiting from them.
...diversity: You can clearly see that we want to replace racism and homophobia with diversity. There are teams that even take the knee before games to show their support, while Manuel Neuer has worn a rainbow coloured captain’s armband. I also heard that the arena may be lit up in rainbow colours for Wednesday, which I think is a really good idea. I’m behind all ideas and gestures, particularly more creative ones.
... the game against Hungary: It won’t be an easy game. Hungary are a compact team, strong at the back and dangerous from set pieces too. Obviously we want to win the game and get through without having to worry about results in other groups. We need to play with real intent going forwards. We will prepare ourselves well for our opponents.
... Péter Gulácsi’s class: I think he’s not far off Manuel Neuer. I see Manu in every training session and he’s the best goalkeeper in the world. Gulácsi is also really good and has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. He’s a great shotstopper and reads the game really well. Even though he’ll be looking for a clean sheet, we’ll do our best to score a few past him.
...contact with Leipzig teammates Gulácsi and Willi Orban: We haven’t spoken much in the past few days, but we did mention the game a lot before the tournament when we were still in Leipzig. We haven’t chatted at all in the last couple of days, so I’ll be pleased to see them. It’s always special playing against your teammates.
...the benefits of a larger squad: It’s clear that the first two games have been really intense. You can’t avoid players picking up knocks. It’s good to have a big squad and we’re all ready to go. It was great to get my first 30 minutes at a major tournament – I hope they weren’t my last. I will continue to push myself to help us be successful and go as far as we can in the tournament.
...his ‘rival’ Robin Gosens: When somebody wins the team the game from the left of midfield, it’s obviously tough to get past them. I have also played on the left of a back three in Leipzig and then as a left-back too – I’m very versatile. Robin played brilliantly and has had a great season too. The most important thing is that the team is successful, so the best players need to be on the pitch. I’m happy to make way.
...getting mixed up with Lukas Klostermann: We’ve had this in Leipzig a few times too. Where this came from is a good question. We are a similar height and stature, but there are some clear differences: the ginger hair, my freckles and beard. We don’t really know why we get mixed up so often.