Germany U21s now sit five points clear at the top of Group 5 in the Euros qualifiers after their crushing victory in Dublin. Stefan Kuntz’s team can now qualify for the 2019 U21 European Championship with a win against current second-placed Norway in their next home game on the 12th October in Ingolstadt. In an interview with DFB.de, the 55-year-old speaks about the convincing wins against Mexico and Ireland.
DFB.de: Mr Kuntz, what are your opinions on this international break after two wins and nine goals scored with none conceded?
Stefan Kuntz: The conclusions made by the coaching staff are extremely positive. What we have found most impressive is the way in which the squad have developed such a good team spirit in such a short period of time. We had quite a few new players and much of the squad did not know each other. So to be so unified on and off the pitch is outstanding.
DFB.de: Were you surprised by the margin of victory in Dublin?
Kuntz: We never assumed beforehand that we would win 6-0 away to the second placed team. The result is a clear statement and an outcome of how hard the team have worked in the last few days. Ireland had only conceded four goals in their last seven games, but now conceded six in one against us.
DFB.de: In addition to the game against Mexico last Friday, seven of the last nine goals were scored by the strikers. Four came from Cedric Teuchert, two scored by Aaron Seydel as well as one for Janni Serra.
Kuntz: As a former striker, it satisfied me greatly. I can only praise the lads for their determination and their efficiency in front of goal. We could have scored more goals in both games because we created so many chances. We wanted to encourage more confidence in front of goal in the run-up to the games. We scored goals at the right times and it knocked the stuffing out of our opponents.
DFB.de: The team played with a diamond in midfield in the last two games. Why did you decide on this change?
Kuntz: We thought before the game that this formation could stifle Ireland the best. By using a number 10, we tried to attack the Irish defence with pace as well as creating quick turnovers in possession by winning the ball back high up the pitch. We had dangerous balls coming into the box from Florian Neuhaus and Maximilian Eggestein but the defence were well organised. Lukas Klostermann won two penalties playing as full back. Suat Serdar only came on at half time and scored two goals. It is always great when tactics are implemented to perfection. We tested the system against Mexico and it worked really well on that occasion as well. It says a lot about the players and their clubs that they can absorb a new system so easily.
DFB.de: Only one win from the last two games will be enough for direct qualification to the European Championship finals.
Kuntz: I want to secure qualification in the next game against Norway. But before that, the players are now returning to their clubs fit and healthy. They are also brimming with confidence, which they have earned through their impressive performances.