Germany were able to take the points in a key group match against Saudi Arabia on Sunday, winning 3–2 after a gutsy performance. Although Germany had to play almost half an hour with 10 men after Amos Pieper was sent for an early bath, they managed to win in the end thanks to a goal from Felix Uduokhai. Stefan Kuntz’s side now have the chance to reach the Olympic quarter-finals with a win in the final game of the group stage against Ivory Coast on Wednesday morning (10:00 CEST). Keven Schlotterbeck spoke to the press to discuss the Saudi Arabia game, our upcoming Ivorian opponents and how the German team is looking. DFB.de was there to take notes.
Keven Schlotterbeck on...
…the Saudi Arabia match: The win was hugely important. We showed a great mentality, especially after the red card for Amos Pieper. You could see that we are ready to go through hell to be successful. We are ready for the “final” against Ivory Coast.
…upcoming opponents Ivory Coast: They are a physically strong team and are good in the middle of the park, especially with Franck Kessié. On top of that we will have to watch out for their fast wide players. You could see in their game against Saudi Arabia how technical and fleet-footed they are when they get going.
…the German team: We have put in a lot of work and have already clearly improved our defending. We were much more compact against Saudi Arabia than against Brazil. Now it's about continuing to work on the details and keeping a clean sheet in our next match.
…Amos Pieper’s red card: Amos showed what he can do last season. He had a great year and became a European champion at U21 level. It was an unlucky match for him with the red card, but before that he had played a great pass leading to the goal that put us 2-1 to the good.
…his chances of featuring against Ivory Coast: There are two options for the coach: either he switches up the system and surprises our opponents, or he uses Jordan Torunarigha or myself. We will see which option he chooses. First of all, though, today is a day of recovery for us to recharge our batteries. The weather in Japan is still not what we’re used to so it gets the pulse right up.
…Max Kruse becoming engaged: It was the perfect day for Max. On the one hand, we managed to win the game even with the numerical disadvantage, and then his girlfriend said yes to his proposal as well. He could rest easy yesterday! (laughs)
...the Olympics: The best moment for me was seeing all of the athletes at the opening ceremony. The guys from Togo were behind us and spent the whole two hours dancing. It was also good to mix it with other German athletes as well, like Alexander Zverev or the girls from the hockey team.
…which sports he likes to follow during the Games: I've tuned in for the basketball and the tennis. You try to watch as much as possible in the breaks between training sessions, and to support the German teams too.
…remaining in touch: I'm in constant contact with my brother (Nico Schlotterbeck). The first thing he sent me was a message of congratulations after my first international game against Brazil. We also talk about what's going on in Freiburg and I tell him what's happening here with us.