On Tuesday (11/09/18), the Germany U17s took on Italy U17s in their last game of the ‘KOMM MIT Four-Nations-Friendship-Cup’ in South Baden. Despite leading 2-0 late into the game, the Germans eventually had to settle with a draw. This result, along with their earlier draw to the Netherlands and 2-0 victory over Israel, meant DFB coach Michael Feichtenbeiner’s side had to settle with second place overall in the tournament. DFB.de spoke to Feichtenbeiner about the two draws and how his team have developed.
DFB.de: Mr. Feichtenbeiner, the Italians’ late equaliser meant your side just missed out on lifting the trophy. What do you make of this?
Michael Feichtenbeiner: Right after the game I was disappointed on narrowly missing out on the tournament win. However, as I stand back and think about it, I recognise all the positives things and good performances the team put in over the course of the tournament. I’m glad how the boys have developed and, overall, I’m very proud.
DFB.de: After Jan Thielmann made it 2-0 it seemed as if nothing could go wrong…
Feichtenbeiner: Yeah, after that I also thought we were going to win. Up to this point, we had defended well, gave the opposition very few chances and were also looking good going forward. However, then came an individual error and the Italians pounced on the opportunity to get back into the game. After that we failed to capitalise on our chances, including when Lars Kehl hit the post. Towards the end we lost our stability a bit. It was a real shame that the opposition managed to equalise right at the end, since the same thing happened to us against the Netherlands.
DFB.de: In moments like these it’s hard for the players to draw any positives. Did you have to console the boys in the dressing room?
Feichtenbeiner: Yes, they were all very disappointed. The late equaliser felt like a defeat. We were a lot closer to getting a win than the opposition. What made the difference was a slip of concentration and, of course, a heavy dosage of bad luck, like when we had to sub off our keeper at the end of the first game. However, we shouldn’t forget that the boys are only 15/16 years old.
DFB.de: And what do you mean by that?
Feichtenbeiner: Mistakes aren’t necessarily a bad thing because it means the boys can learn from them. That’s why I congratulated the whole squad at the end of the tournament. The team coped very well, since the situation going into the tournament wasn’t ideal. A number of key players were out due to injury. However, the Italians were definitely taken aback by our technical ability. We are definitely on the right path. We do need to work on being more effective in front of goal though.
DFB.de: What’s next for the team?
Feichtenbeiner: In four weeks we have two fixtures against Denmark, then after that we’re taking part in a mini-tournament in Ireland. There, we will want to try and simulate a kind of ‘tournament rhythm’ in preparation for Euros qualification in March 2019. Our goal was to win in South Baden, but that didn’t come off. However, the boys did show a winning mentality. If we continue to develop we will reap the rewards this season.