We’re into extra-time in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinal between FC Augsburg and RB Leipzig, who have the lead. Marco Richter is having a great game and has been part of nearly every Augsburg attack, but the ball just doesn’t want to go in the net. Until the 94th minute, that is. Marco Richter cuts in from the left side and sends a cross to Alfred Finnbogason, who puts it in. Even if Augsburg ended up losing 2-1 and were knocked out of the competition, the match marked the start of a strong end to the season for U21 player Marco Richter.
“Overall, I’m not pleased with how this past season went,” said the 21-year-old. “But, I was finally able to break through towards the end. I think that every striker has been through a moment like that. Everything starts working again after an important game.” Richter picked up four goals and six assists in 25 matches this past season—all of his goals came in the last six games of the season.
He found his form just in time for his team to secure their place in the Bundesliga for the eighth time in a row. And, of course, to give his all together with Germany’s U21 team at the Euros in Italy and San Marino.
Kuntz: “Marco took a big leap forward this past year”
“Our goal is to finish first in our group, to move into the semifinals, and to qualify for the Olympics,” said the attacker. “The most important thing is that we put aside what happens during our everyday club life in order to grow closer as a team. We will add the finishing touches to our tactics near the end of training camp.”
Richter made his debut for Stefan Kuntz’ team in September 2018 and has been invited to every training session since. Previously, he made one appearance for the U20 team in 2017. “Marco is a good example of the fact that a player doesn’t necessarily have to make their way up through every youth team in order to become a valuable player for the national team once you hit the U21 age,” said Kuntz. “He has taken a big leap forward this past year and has really improved through the game experience he has picked up with FC Augsburg.”
“Easy-going, unpredictable and cheeky”
Richter calls himself a “street footballer” and sees his strength as being his dribbling, especially when he’s able to run up to the defence. “Easy-going, unpredictable and cheeky” is how he wants to play in order to become an important part of Germany’s U21 team at the Euros. “We define ourselves through our exceptional team spirit,” said Richter. “That will be very important during the tournament. If everyone gives it their all and we don’t underestimate any of our opponents, then we can achieve big things.”
The Germany U21s will continue to train in Natz in South Tyrol until 11th June before the final 23-man squad travel to Italy on 14th June. Stefan Kuntz's side open their European Championship campaign against Denmark in Udine on 17th June (21:00 CEST) before facing Serbia in Trieste on 20th June (21:00 CEST). Germany will conclude the group stage against Austria in Udine on 23rd June (21:00 CEST). The three group winners and the highest ranked runner-up will progress to the European Championship semi-finals.