Marco Richter was named the UEFA Man of the Match against Denmark and Luca Waldschmidt claimed the honour after his hat-trick against Serbia. With three goals and two assists, Richter has been involved in the most goals in the tournament, while Waldschmidt is right behind him with four goals. DFB.de spoke to the duo about the 6-1 win over Serbia and the decisive final group game against Austria on Sunday (21:00 CEST).
DFB.de: Marco Richter and Luca Waldschmidt, congrats on a comprehensive victory. Football is a lot of fun when you play like that, right?
Luca Waldschmidt: Absolutely. We played brilliantly and deserved to win by that margin too. We implemented our game plan perfectly. I think the spectators enjoyed it as much as we did.
Marco Richter: We’ve kicked on well after the win over Denmark and can be very happy. Hopefully we can carry on in the same vein. There was a lot of hard work behind the win though – we all did a lot of running and that made the result possible.
DFB.de: Luca, why haven’t you assisted Marco yet? He’s already set you up twice.
Waldschmidt: I’m not sure (laughs). If the opportunity arises, I’ll obviously try to assist him. He really put the second goal against Serbia on a plate for me; I only needed to tap it in. Ultimately it doesn’t matter who scores the goals though – that’s the case in any functioning team.
DFB.de: How come there is such a strong sense of team spirit in the U21 squad?
Richter: We all enjoy playing together. We want to play the best EUROs we can and we’re focusing on each game as it comes. We all get on really well and understand how our teammates think. We’ve found the right balance between fun and hard work.
Waldschmidt: Exactly. It’s not just Marco and I who get along well; all 23 players are a real tight-knit bunch. Everyone in the team knows that we haven’t achieved anything after two wins. We keep pushing each other to make sure that we reach the quarterfinals and qualify for the Olympics. That’s the next step and our next goal.
DFB.de: Austria could take top spot with a win in the final game as it comes down to head-to-head first. A point would ensure first place for Germany though and therefore a spot in the semis.
Richter: We’re not calculating all the different scenarios. We want to beat Austria. That’s how we go into every game, regardless of the opponents.
DFB.de: Are you expecting a tougher game against Austria than against Serbia?
Waldschmidt: Every team is tricky at the EUROs and we will need to be at our best if we want to get all three points. Austria need a win to progress so it will be an exciting game with the added element of a neighbouring rivalry. I’m looking forward to coming up against my Freiburg teammate Philipp Lienhart.
Richter: The fact that Denmark beat Austria shows you just how even it is at the EUROs. Poland beat Italy in Group A, which most people certainly won’t have expected. We’re well prepared and won’t underestimate anybody. We know that our goal has only been reached once we’re officially into the semi-finals.###more###