One topic the pair discussed was their division. “We spoke a lot about Bundesliga 2,” revealed the 20-year-old Kother. Both players are also attackers, with Kother preferring to play out wide, while Krüger can play in a more central role. “I played on the wing a few times last season, which was a completely new experience for me, but I think I did well. I see myself more as a centre forward,” said the attacker from Aue.
While Krüger has 48 Bundesliga 2 games and nine goals to his name (plus one goal in two DFB-Pokal outings), Kother’s professional career only really took off at the end of last season. He made his first appearances in KSC’s last seven games of the season, and bagged his first senior goal on the final day against Greuther Fürth. His equaliser played a big part in Karlsruhe securing survival with a 2-1 over Fürth. “It was a great feeling, even though we missed the fans.”
Florian Krüger played 32 of a possible 34 league games in 2019/20 – a return which he is happy with. “It was important for me to play so much football in the second division.” Krüger joined Aue two years ago from Schalke’s U19s, but an injury set him back. He fought back “step-by-step during the winter break 18 months ago. I then worked my way into the team.” The move from Gelsenkirchen to Aue also went well. “Aue is a club for the workers like Schalke.”
After picking up experience in Bundesliga 2, both Kother and Krüger could make their debut for Germany U21s. Coach Stefan Kuntz spoke with the pair before picking them: “We had a very positive phone call,” said Krüger. Kuntz actually visited Kother personally at his club: “He wanted to find out what I was like and explained to me how the U21s would be.” Now, both players will want to get a taste of what international football is like at the U21s level. “We want to win both games and I want to play my part,” stated Florian Krüger.