Germany vs. the Netherlands! The DFB U17s side will kick off their European Championship campaign this afternoon with a real classic, and coach Michael Prus will have all 20 of his players to choose from. One of whom is Robin Kölle, the Wolfsburg defender received a late call-up to the Germany squad, but has not needed much time to get settled in. In this interview with DFB.de, Kölle speaks about his call-up, Germany’s opening game and the team spirit among the squad.
DFB.de: Robin Kölle, you were on standby for a call-up to the Euros’ squad, and the coach did indeed select you. How does that feel?
Robin Kölle: I was obviously very happy. The lads welcomed me fantastically and I know many of them from lower level DFB teams and international games, so it’s not as if I was suddenly confronted with many new faces. The team has a positive attitude and we all get along extremely well. That obviously makes things easier when you join up with the squad at late notice.
DFB.de: Do you have much contact with the other lads in between joining up with the national team?
Robin Kölle: Definitely. On the one hand, we face each other in the Junioren-Bundesliga. On the other, we keep in contact over Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp. We wish each other happy birthday, congratulate each other when one of us scores and send each other “get well” messages if one of us picks up an injury.
DFB.de: What role do you see yourself in within the team?
Kölle: In general, I’d like to support the team and push them to perform well. If the coach needs me, then of course I’ll be ready. It’s helpful to have a healthy competition for places in the team so no one lifts off the gas. We should be in the Euros for a while so we also have to work hard in training.
DFB.de: How are training sessions here with the national team different to the ones at club level?
Kölle: You definitely notice that the quality and intensity is higher with the national team. A good example for that is our passing game; passes arrive at your feet with more precision, power and pressure. You train together with supposedly the best players in Germany at this level, so the level is inevitably higher.
DFB.de: There will also be a lot of quality on show in your opening game against the Netherlands. What kind of encounter do you expect?
Kölle: We know the Dutch players from previous international games, which were really hard-fought. Last time out, we won 1-0. The Netherlands have a relatively physical and aggressive team and they counter well. In the last match, we played really well against them and we have to take this passion and momentum into the opener. We want to show how hard it is to play against us.
DFB.de: What will be the key to starting the tournament with a win?
Kölle: We have to believe in ourselves and support each other at all times. We have already proven that we can beat them. It’ll be important to not allow their playing style to make us nervous, and instead execute our game calmly and clinically.###more###