One wants to score goals, one wants to prevent them from going in. Robin Hack from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Felix Götze from FC Augsburg perform equally important tasks for the Germany U20s team. They will face Switzerland on Tuesday (16:00 CEST). DFB.de interviewed them both about duels against each other, each other’s strengths and their experiences together.
DFB.de: Mr Hack, Mr Götze, you are teammates in the Germany U20 team but you play against each other for your clubs. What experiences do you have playing against each other?
Robin Hack: In every game, it was exciting. Felix played in the youth team at Bayern when I was in the Hoffenheim youth team. In the Junior Bundesliga seasons, both our teams were aiming for the title so we would play against each other; Felix in defence and myself in attack against him...
Felix Götze: Hoffenheim always had a really good attack, especially with ‘Hacki’! He was always a physical presence. In the 2016/2017 season we won 5-2 in Hoffenheim but lost 2-1 at home. Didn’t you score the opening goal in one of the games?
Hack: Yeah from a long-shot. You tried to put me off but I had already shot (grins).
DFB.de: You could meet again on the pitch soon. On the 10th November TSG Hoffenheim will play FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga. Is it a good time to meet again on the pitch?
Hack: That would be amazing if we could play against each other on the pitch. I work hard every week, every training session with the aim that I can play my first Bundesliga game. Therefore, right now I am fully focused. If it happens, it would be great.
Götze: As a footballer you always want to be on the pitch, to play, to develop and to learn. For me this season has been good and I definitely want to continue the way it has started. But we are still young and need to be patient. It would be huge to meet ‘Hacki’ on the 10th of November.
DFB.de: Before that, you will be on the pitch together for the first time in the U20s game against Switzerland. What are your aims for this game?
Götze: Our aim is clear and it is to win the game. We expect a very intense and open game. We want to force our opponents into mistakes and win the ball.
Hack: Switzerland are a very good footballing team. They look to pass the ball around and are technically very good. It will not be an easy game and we need our concentration levels to be high.
DFB.de: Your coach Meikel Schönweitz spoke about the narrow stadium and different back drop having an effect on the players. How are you feeling having trained on the pitch during your final training session?
Götze: We went through a few game situations and we have a game plan. It is an advantage to have trained on the pitch. We have got used to the pitch now.
Hack: We know that in this game, commitment and passion will play a vital role. We are prepared for the game and we want to go out there and win.
DFB.de: Mr Götze, how would you defend against Robin Hack?
Götze: I would try to get the ball early before he turns because he is very fast. If he runs at you it is very difficult to get the ball and he is a great finisher too.
DFB.de: Mr Hack, how is Felix Götze’s defending?
Hack: He is a weapon in the air so you should not battle with him aerially. Moreover he know how to defend on the ground and is very good at tackling.
DFB.de: You both participated in the Germany U19 team at the 2017 Euros in Georgia. How do you feel you have developed since then?
Hack: Unfortunately we were not as successful as we wanted to be at the tournament. I have learned that there will always be setbacks in careers. A career is not always positive and you have to learn from the difficult moments how to improve and become a better player.
Götze: I played my first game for Germany at that tournament. Of course, I immediately noticed a difference compared to the U19 Bundesliga, in which I was playing in at that time. The intensity was significantly higher, the quality as well. I was not a regular player at the European Championships and so learned how important it is to push the team in the best possible way and support the boys. Basically, this tournament was, even if we did not get past the semis, a great motivator for me to invest everything into my future.
DFB.de: Is it a dream for you to play for Germany in a big tournament again?
Hack: Definitely! We are 20-years-old and want to first cement our positions in the first team at our clubs and fulfil our potential. When the 2024 Euros were awarded to Germany, I briefly thought, ‘In six years you will be at the pinnacle of your career!’ Basically there is still a lot of work to do to be able to go to the Euros.
Götze: It’s currently very far away from us at the moment, but the prospect of having a small chance of participating in a tournament in your own country makes every footballer excited.