Selected as back-up, arrived in the team hotel, trained and made his first international appearance – for Robin Koch of SC Freiburg, it was surely the most exciting 48 hours of his career so far. Having only been called up by Joachim Löw midway through the current international break, Robin Koch was named in the starting eleven for the friendly against Argentina. In an interview with DFB.de, the 23-year-old centre-back reflects on his debut and explains his style of play.
DFB.de: Mr Koch, congratulations on making your Germany national team debut. Who sent you the first congratulatory message?
Robin Koch: Thank you very much. I really did receive a lot of messages, I couldn’t tell you exactly who was first. Family, friends, acquaintances – it’s nice when so many people are happy for you. This morning I started responding to all the messages, but that could still take a while. Everyone needs to be patient (laughs)
DFB.de: How did it feel playing out there for 90 minutes?
Koch: Good – all in all it went well. In the first half especially we played really well and I was really happy with my individual performance as well. In the second half things didn’t go quite so well: Argentina increased the pressure and caused us more problems than in the first.
DFB.de: Why do you think the team fell short of winning the game in the end?
Koch: We need to be consistent and fully-concentrated until the end, in everything we do. We can learn a lot from this – especially as such a young team. However, we should also not forget that Argentina did have some tremendous quality in their ranks.
DFB.de: Has your father analysed the game with you yet? (Harry Koch made 187 Bundesliga appearances)
Koch: (laughs) No no, we don’t really do that, but my dad was obviously at the ground and saw the game live.
DFB.de: You were told you would be starting at very short notice after Niklas Stark was ruled out with a stomach bug. How did you prepare for the game in this short amount of time?
Koch: It all went super quick. On Monday I was called up as backup, on Tuesday I joined the team, trained with them and then on Wednesday I was playing my first game. It was all really exciting and I was over the moon. I tried to take on board as much information as possible about our game, and obviously the talks and video analyses helped me as well.
DFB.de: One year ago you made your DFB debut with the U21s in a 2-1 win over Norway. How happy are you with your career so far?
Koch: I would rather start in the U21s and then move into the senior team than go through every age group up to U19s and then not play a role anymore. My debut was a dream come true, so in that regard I’m very pleased how everything has gone for me. I have always tried to develop my own game step by step and that will continue to be my approach.
DFB.de: What defines you as a player?
Koch: I think I’m a strong tackler and header of the ball and I want to help my team with this. I’m also quite calm and composed and I always try to give my all.
DFB.de: What lessons and experiences will you take home to Freiburg from the international week?
Koch: An awful lot. These are the best players in Germany all coming together. Whether you’re on or off the pitch, you can learn a lot from them as footballers and as professionals in general.