Arne Maier is one of the four U21 European champions to be named in the squad for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After a loan spell at Arminia Bielefeld, the midfielder is back at Hertha BSC. Nevertheless, the 22 year old decided to take part in the Olympics. He speaks to the media in a virtual press conference about a short visit to the Olympic Village, being named in the squad and the his feelings in the run-up to the opening match against Brazil on Thursday (KO 13:30 CEST).
Question: Did the team meet other athletes during the tour of the Olympic Village?
Arne Maier: We arrived in the Olympic Village on two busses. It really is huge, I didn’t expect it to be so big. We stopped at the Germany house and spoke to a few German athletes. Then we went to eat in the canteen. I took a photo with the skateboarder Nyjah Huston before we left again.
Question: The team looks like it’s already gelling. How do you manage to grow together in such a short time?
Maier: A few players have known each other for several years already. Also every single person is buzzing about the tournament. The mood in the team is great, the chemistry is right, everyone is there for each other. We will play as a team against Brazil, not as individuals.
Question: Has the team begun detailed preparations for the opening match against Brazil?
Maier: Stefan Kuntz has shown us a few videos in the run-up to the game. Brazil are a very good team with top players. But we also know that they can sometimes step off the gas or become less effective in the challenges when their opponents put up some resistance. If each and every one of us is fired up for the game, we can shape our own success.
Question: What can we expect from Germany in the game against Brazil?
Maier: The spectators can look forward to the match. We are going to play as a young, fresh team who enjoy playing and approach challenges effectively in the correct way.
Question: How is the link-up play between yourself and Maximilian Arnold in the middle as well as with Max Kruse further up front?
Maier: Max is a different type of player to Lukas (Nmecha) or Mergim (Berisha). He has proven many times that he’s a good player. In such a short time, the processes aren’t yet 100% established – you can’t expect that in such a short time.
Question: What is the atmosphere like in Yokohama?
Maier: Even if we’re relatively alone here, you can feel the Olympic feeling already. But it’s quite different in the Olympic Village. It’s our goal to return here.
Question: The lift didn’t work in the first hotel. Does the lift work now?
Maier: There are six lifts in the hotel, they even have lift attendants who go with you. We are currently on the 30th floor, so it wouldn’t be great if they didn’t work (laughs). Everything else in the hotel is under control. It’s really perfect.
Question: How are you getting along with the heat and the humidity?
Maier: It’s very different compared to the weather in Germany, but we have acclimatised. And the other teams have to deal with it as well.
Question: How did your call-up for the Olympic Games go? Was it clear from an early point in time that you would be going?
Maier: Stefan Kuntz spoke to me and wanted to have me in the squad. He then expressed his interest to those responsible. I spoke to Arne Friedrich and Fredi Bobic twice on the phone. They left the decision up to me and of course I accepted, because I really wanted to be here.
Question: Will it now be more difficult for you to pick up traction at Hertha BSC when you’re at the Olympics?
Maier: It’s a small disadvantage for both Jordan (Torunarigha) and myself. We’re missing an entire training camp. But I’m not overthinking it; I’m concentrating fully on the Olympics instead.
Question: You’ve trained with Kevin-Prince Boateng already. How was that for you?
Maier: Prince is a role model for every player. He’s played in the biggest stadiums in Europe. He’s a credit for the city and for the club. We can see already in the training sessions and in matches that he will be a great help to us.