Stefan Kuntz has included three new players in his Germany U21s squad ahead of a friendly with Mexico in Fürth on Friday (19:00 CEST) and an important European Championship qualifier in Ireland on Tuesday (19:00 CEST). Felix Uduokhai (VfL Wolfsburg), Arne Maier (Hertha BSC) and Marco Richter (FC Augsburg) could all make their U21 debuts in the two matches. DFB.de introduces the three new faces.
Felix Udeokhai was called up the U21s squad for the European qualifiers against Israel and Kosovo in March but he had to withdraw with injury. He’s in the squad now and is impressed: “The standard in training has been really good. We have some fantastic individual players and its really exciting to play with them.”
Uduokhai’s club, Vfl Wolfsburg, have won their opening two matches of the season although the central defender has only had six minutes of game time so far. “It has been fantastic to start the season with two wins from two difficult matches,” he says. “However, as I have hardly played, it hasn’t been a satisfying start to the season for me. That can sometimes happen in football. I need to learn to be patient and to fight for my place in the team.” The 20-year-old featured in 19 Bundesliga matches last season, scoring once.
At 19 years old, Arne Maier is the youngest player in the U21 squad but anyone who has seen him play can barely believe that. The Hertha BSC midfielder possesses exceptional vision and pass accuracy, as if he has played in the Bundesliga for over ten years rather than just one. “I’m always happy when I’m on the ball, everything is great” said Maier, who played in his 20th Bundesliga match last Sunday for Berlin.
The defensive midfielder has started both Bundesliga matches and the DFB-Pokal first round match for Hertha this season. A reason for Maier’s success: “You cannot be anxious about making mistakes. If you do then you get tense and errors are part of the game. If you remember this then you usually play well.” Maier has played in 33 international matches for Germany’s youth teams from U15s up to U19s.
Marco Richter has also started the season well with his club FC Augsburg. The attacker has started all three matches for FCA and scored in the DFB-Pokal first round. “I am very satisfied with my game time and the team earning four points from their opening two matches” said Richter, who has previously made one appearance for Germany U20s. “I want to bring this momentum into the U21s squad.”
He also feels that he has been included well by coach Stefan Kuntz and the rest of the squad. Richter: “There is a inclusive, community feel to the squad. I also immediately realised that other players were pleased to have me as part of the squad. That is a great feeling and I now want to give everything I have in training to compete for match time.”