His goal was the one to break the deadlock for Germany’s U21s in their match against Greece on Thursday evening in Zwickau. Lukas Nmecha used his hip to give his side the lead in the 25th minute. In an interview with DFB.de, the 20-year-old striker speaks about the ‘new’ U21 side’s first match, the upcoming game against Wales on Tuesday and his personal development.
DFB.de: The first match of the new season is done – having a newly formed team means that you needed to find your footing first. But, you guys still got off to a good start, right?
Lukas Nmecha: Yes, I think so. We’ve only been together for a few days so far and don’t know each other that well yet, but it was a very good match. Of course, we need to be better at using our chances. But, for the first game of the season it was pretty good.
DFB.de: There were plenty of substitutions at half time, meaning that nearly every player was able to feature.
Nmecha: That was great for the team. Everyone had to work extremely hard, which is how you start to learn. Overall it was a great performance; we didn’t concede any goals and scored two.
DFB.de: You also shone as one of the goalscorers. What do you have to say about your goal?
Nmecha: It was a good cross from Felix Agu. However, the ball came in a bit oddly, which is why I could only attempt to somehow put it in with my hip. Luckily, it went in. Scoring is also good for my own morale – since I haven’t made that many appearances this season to date, it was nice to play 45 minutes and to score on top of that.
DFB.de: You had a breakaway in the 37th minute and were only stopped by your opponent Alexandros Katranis, who was then shown a red card. How did you experience it?
Nmecha: Ridle Baku played a nice through ball to me. I was already in front of goal and the defender just slid in with a tackle, but didn’t win the ball. He was the last man back, so he had to be shown a red card. Of course, I would have loved to have continued running and to score. During the second half we were very strong against Greece.
DFB.de: Your next opponents will be Wales to kick-start your EURO qualification campaign. What sort of relevant lessons can you take from the game against Greece?
Nmecha: There were several things that worked well for us in our build-up play. We just need to keep trying to improve with each game. As I said, we’re a new team and should do everything we can in order to grow closer. We’re focusing a lot on practicing our runs during training, which is going well. Of course we could be better at integrating this into our games, but that’s something that comes with time. We have a lot of talented players, which is why we will be able to be successful against Wales. I have a good feeling about the game.
DFB.de: You’re one of just three players who were also in the squad for the U21 EUROs this past summer. Do you see yourself as a leader within the team?
Nmecha: Yes, I do have a bit of a better understanding of what the head coach wants to see. Although I haven’t been with the U21s that long, I have a good feel for how the team plays. There are certain things that I might know a bit more about, and I can help the others out with those. But, it’s not the case that I want to pretend to be the boss just because I’ve been here a bit longer. All of us take on some responsibility.