Mateo Klimowicz (VfB Stuttgart) made his Germany U21s debut in March. The 20-year-old attacker has now also made Stefan Kuntz’s squad for the knockouts of the U21 EUROs. He spoke to DFB.de about his first season in the Bundesliga, his father Diego and Monday’s quarterfinal against Denmark (21:00 CEST).
DFB.de: Mr. Klimowicz, how are you doing after your injury?
Mateo Klimowicz: I had been training individually in Stuttgart recently and then also for the first two days here. I’m back in team training now though and that’s gone well.
DFB.de: You’ve just finished your first Bundesliga season. How did you find it? Are you tired?
Klimowicz: Physically no, mentally a little bit, but I think that’s normal. Overall, it was a really good new experience. Playing in one of the best leagues in the world was always a dream of mine.
DFB.de: What are your favourite memories from this season?
Klimowicz: My first Bundesliga goal against Mainz. The 5-1 win at Dortmund was unbelievable too. Overall, though, the team had a really good season with many memorable moments.
DFB.de: Stuttgart seem to be developing young players extremely well at the moment. How have you found it?
Klimowicz: Playing with so many young players is definitely enjoyable for me. There’s a lot of talent in our squad, not just with the youngsters.
DFB.de: After being named in the squad for the group stage, you’re back with the U21s for the second time now. Have you settled in yet?
Klimowicz: Yes, definitely. It’s always a bit tough for me when I join a new group because I’m quite a quiet guy. The lads are all really nice though and speak to me and involve me. Even though it wasn’t easy at the beginning, I quickly felt right at home here.
DFB.de: You mentioned your first Bundesliga goal. You almost got your first for the U21s during the group stage against Romania, but a defender cleared it off the line. When can we expect your first goal?
Klimowicz: Hopefully against Denmark! If it doesn’t come in that game, then hopefully the one after that.
DFB.de: Your father Diego was a successful Bundesliga striker, playing for Dortmund, Wolfsburg and Bochum. Did you actually see him play?
Klimowicz: Yeah, until I was nine, we were living in Germany and I watched his games closely back then. After that, we moved to Argentina and I only saw videos now and again, but no full matches.
DFB.de: Have you picked up anything from his game?
Klimowicz: Not much really because he was a different kind of player to me. He was 12cm bigger, great in the air and had a lot of strength. He definitely had fewer touches than I do.
DFB.de: But has he still been able to help you along the way?
Klimowicz: He was an attacker, like me, so he knows what I should do in my position. He’s spoken about that a lot with me and given me some tips.
DFB.de: How much contact do you have with him now?
Klimowicz: He often visits me in Germany and we speak a lot about football.
DFB.de: What does your family mean to you?
Klimowicz: My family means everything. I’m really close with them.
DFB.de: You live alone in Stuttgart without your family. How do you deal with that?
Klimowicz: It’s actually not easy for me, but it’s a new experience. It’s the first time that I’ve been totally on my own. I’m lucky that my mother, sister, brother and father come to visit me often, so I’m not that lonely (laughs).
DFB.de: That must have been difficult recently because of Corona?
Klimowicz: No, it’s been okay because they all have a German passport so they could enter the country. However, my friends from Argentina cannot make it over here, which is a shame.
DFB.de: Aside from your father, do you have a role model?
Klimowicz: Lionel Messi. I watch every game he plays – I don’t think I’ve missed one in the last 15 years! My whole family loves him.
DFB.de: Back to the U21s. You’re taking on Denmark in the quarterfinals on Monday in a knockout game. How is the team dealing with this pressure?
Klimowicz: There’s no pressure on us right now. We’re just focused on preparing well for the game at the moment. We might start to feel the pressure when we leave for Hungary. We had the same situation against Romania in the groups, though. If we had lost, we would have been out, so we can deal with this pressure.
DFB.de: What are you expecting from Denmark?
Klimowicz: It will definitely be a hard-fought game, perhaps with few chances on both sides. I think we showed in the group stage that we can overcome challenges like this, though.