Goalkeeper Markus Schubert is currently preparing in Natz, Südtirol, with the German U21 team for the U21 European Championship (16-30th June). In an interview with DFB.de editor, Maximilian Schwartz, the 20-year-old Dresden keeper spoke about his role in the team, the mood amongst him and the other goalkeepers and his role models.
DFB.de: Markus Schubert, how proud are you that you were one of the three goalkeepers chosen for the U21 Euros?
Markus Schubert: Very proud. I was really happy when I got the call that I would be going. Other than me there were some other really strong keepers in the running such as Moritz Nicolas, Nils Körber and Svend Brodersen. The fact that they chose me is something that makes me so overjoyed.
DFB.De: Do you know why they picked you?
Schubert: vGoalkeeping coach Klaus Thomforder and the coaching staff told me why they chose me. Aside from the game time in the 2 Liga I get with Dynamo Dresden, I’m also younger than the other goalkeepers and can play for the U21 team after the upcoming Euros. The point being that I can take my experiences from the tournament to help the U21 team in the future, since I can still play for them in the next Euros in two years time. Those factors meant they went for me.
DFB.de: Which experiences will you take with you from the training camp in Südtirol?
Schubert: Only positive things. Everyone is working hard and has full concentration on making sure we’re in our best form for the tournament. I knew they were all determined and focused from previous sessions with them. Outside of the training sessions, we’re building up a great connection with each other and there’s a real togetherness. It’s especially there amongst the goalkeeping team – Klaus Thomforde, Alex Nübel and Flo Müller are really fun. We push ourselves and each other so that we can all reach our highest levels and do everything we can to stop the ball.
DFB.de: The togetherness of the three goalkeepers is something that onlookers noticed during your training sessions. Every good piece of play or save was met with great praise from your fellow keepers.
Schubert: Exactly. And that shows what we’re like in the U21 goalkeeping team. Of course we all want to be the number one and stand between the sticks on the pitch, but the team spirit takes priority. There’s no place for egos here, we are all working toward being the strongest possible team for the Euros and support each other at every opportunity.
DFB.de: How would you describe the work that goalkeeping coach Klaus Thomforde puts in?
Schubert: Klaus is a weird guy – in a good way. He drives us constantly and makes sure that we all become better and learn what we can. He praises us a lot but at the same time also expects a lot from us and criticises us when necessary. Through his experiences as pro, he’s able to help us with decision-making in lots of different scenarios.
DFB.de: The team motto for the Euros is “The next step”. Can you explain what’s behind that?
Schubert: That motto applies to us because every single player in this team wants to develop here. Because, like I said before, I’m one of the youngest in the team, I want to use my experiences with this team and grow from them to help me in the future. Some players already have a lot of experience and play like they’ve been in the Bundesliga for ten years. When I was only dreaming of being a professional footballer, they’d already kicked a ball in the first division. They want the U21 Euros to be a nice goodbye to the youth national teams and I want to use my experiences here to help give more to the new U21 team in the future.
DFB.DE: Do you have goalkeeping role models?
Schubert: I admire goalkeepers that are good with the ball at their feet - Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen above all else, but also Alisson Becker from Liverpool. With the U20s I had the chance to play in a training match with the senior team. There you could really see how unbelievably calm and authoritative Neuer and ter Stegen were. That has always been a target for me in terms of my playing style. The team have to have the trust and know that there is someone standing behind them in goal who, when the opposition go on the attack, are able to prevent the team from conceding.