We spoke to left-back and goalscorer Maximilian Mittelstädt of Hertha Berlin about his maiden international goal, the high quality 2-2 draw between the Germany and France U21 sides on Thursday night and the upcoming friendly against England.
DFB.de: Maximilian Mittelstädt, you were 2-0 up at the break, but the tournament favourites France fought back for a 2-2 draw. What is your verdict on the game?
Maximilian Mittelstädt: We started the game very well and created a lot of chances early on. Our 2-0 lead at half time was fully deserved and we could even have added a few more. Of course, France were not without their chances in the first half, but our goalkeeper Florian Müller saved us there. After the break we unfortunately lost a bit of control over the opposition and couldn’t put as much pressure on them going forward.
DFB.de: What was the reason for this?
Mittelstädt: The French really struggled with our style of play in the first half. We gave them barely any room and they couldn’t play their way out. Every one of us ran for each other and recovered each others’ mistakes, but you can’t hold out for 90 minutes against such physical and quality players. In retrospect, we can build on our first-half performance: We withstood the challenge and performed well against a top team. Performances like this make us gel as a team.
DFB.de: In the 31st minute you scored your first goal for the U21s in your third appearance to make it 2-0. Could you describe the goal from your perspective?
Mittelstädt: Benny Henrichs broke free down the right hand side and I burst into a sprint to support the attack. When I entered the penalty area, the ball somehow found its way to me. I was surprised at how much space I had and somehow managed to push the ball home. It wasn’t so easy, since the ball had bobbled up a couple of times before reaching me, but fortunately I gave it enough to score (laughs).
DFB.de: It’s not just going well for you with the U21s either – since the winter break you’ve established yourself as a starter for Hertha and have made a total of 19 appearances in the Bundesliga this season, scoring once and providing two assists.
Mittelstädt: I just feel good at the moment and I can feel the trust from the coaches both at my club and with Germany. I feel comfortable on the pitch and I’m on a good run in my position. I don’t want to rest on these laurels though, just because I’ve played a few good games. I will continue to give it everything I’ve got and work on my performances.
DFB.de: The U21s started with a strong Hertha contingent at the back today, with yourself, Arne Maier and Jordan Torunarigha. Is this formation beneficial to your game?
Mittelstädt: It definitely benefits the three of us. We’ve known each other a long time, we know each other’s game, each other’s habits on the pitch. Especially with Jordan, I know exactly when I can press further up the pitch because he’s covering me, because we play in exactly the same positions for our club.
DFB.de: On Tuesday in Bournemouth, the next top team awaits in the shape of England. What kind of a game are you expecting?
Mittelstädt: It will be a similar game to the one against France. England also have a really strong team: They’re physical, athletic and have rapid players in their ranks. But as was the case against France, we will get our chances as long as we stick together as a team and throw everything we’ve got at the game. This will make life difficult for any opposition.