Nico Schlotterbeck scored a crucial equaliser for the Germany U21s against Spain. The 19-year-old defender scored from close range in the 32nd minute in the Estadio Nuevo Arcangel to bring Germany level. The match would finish 1-1. In an interview with DFB.de editor Karl Evers, Schlotterbeck speaks about his goal, the special atmosphere in Córdoba and the success of Freiburg’s German internationals.
DFB.de: Mr. Schlotterbeck, last night was a hard-fought match.
Nico Schlotterbeck: It really was. The Spaniards started strong and we weren’t able to win many balls at the start. We were able to find our way into the match after they scored and fought hard to equalise. It was a deserved draw.
DFB.de: You scored to make it 1-1 off a corner. Can you describe the situation from your perspective?
Schlotterbeck: I made space for “Jeff” Chabot off the corner, but he wasn’t able to get a head on it. What followed was a bit of a scramble. When I saw that Janni Serra was able to get a head on it, I had a feeling that it would somehow find its way through to me, which it did. I didn’t hit it as cleanly as I would have liked, but luckily it still went in.
DFB.de: It was your first goal for the U21s. How did it feel?
Schlotterbeck: It was a great feeling! It’s amazing, I was really happy. Scoring a goal in Spain is also a nice feeling – at least I was able to silence their fans for a moment (laughs). Let’s hope things continue this way.
DFB.de: You mentioned the Spanish fans. There were more than 12,000 fans watching in the Estadio Nuevo Arcangel, and they were able to create a spectacular atmosphere.
Schlotterbeck: Yes, it was brutal. The stadium was rocking, especially during the second half when the fans started doing the wave. It was also extremely loud. Considering it was just a friendly, the atmosphere was definitely something special.
DFB.de: You haven’t seen much playing time recently at your club, but you played the full 90 minutes last night. How was that for you?
Schlotterbeck: It was really good. I was definitely really pleased to get to play the full match. You could see the lack of playing time during the last ten minutes of the game. I was pretty exhausted by that point, and lacked that final touch. There were a few situations where I could have dribbled forward a bit stronger. But, overall, it was a lot of fun.
DFB.de: You played in two different positions last night. You started at left-back, like you did against Wales, and then moved to centre-back during the second half. Which do you prefer?
Schlotterbeck: My main position is centre-back. I like playing there because I usually get a lot of touches on the ball and can see the game unfold in front of me. But I also have no problem playing as a left-back. I play where the coach tells me to.
DFB.de: This international break seems to be all about SC Freiburg. Two of your teammates in Robin Koch and Luca Waldschmidt started for the senior squad against Argentina on Tuesday (2-2), and then there’s also your goal.
Schlotterbeck: I think we’ve earned it. We’ve been putting in good work with the club and it’s not for nothing that we’re amongst the top teams in the Bundesliga right now. It was most likely a great feeling for Robin and Luca to get to feature for the senior team. They deserve it. You can definitely say that things are going pretty well for Freiburg at the moment.