Although Suat Serdar has played the full 90 minutes in recent Bundesliga games, he’s not yet a staple in the Mainz 05 team. The fact that the 20-year-old is constantly hungry for more speaks volumes for his character. It’s a trait which U21s head coach Stefan Kuntz values highly of the midfielder. Suat Serdar speaks to DFB.de about his goals and the Mainz contingent in the Germany U21 team ahead of the European qualifier in Kosovo on Tuesday (KO 18:45 CEST).
DFB.de: Mr Serdar, you last played for the U21s in September 2017. How was it settling back in after over half a year.
Suat Serdar: Completely unproblematic. There are a few new lads with us now, but I know the majority of the guys from the lower age groups. The new lads will settle in really well here, as always. And in Florian Müller and Levin Öztunali, I have two of my Mainz teammates here with me.
DFB.de: How important is it for you to have your teammates with you?
Serdar: It’s really nice for the three of us because of course we know each other well already. I’ve played with Florian for a few years and Levin and I have developed a close friendship. It’s also great for Mainz 05 that we have three players in the most important youth team.
DFB.de: And it comes at a time when there isn’t so much good news for Mainz 05.
Serdar: That’s true. Unfortunately we find ourselves in a relegation battle this season, so there’s quite a lot of pressure on us. We have to give our all in the last seven games and pick up as many points as we can.
DFB.de: Is the situation stressful for you or do you see it as a learning curve?
Serdar: I have a positive attitude because I will profit from the experience later in my career. I know that I can cope with pressure and develop myself further.
DFB.de: Is this time with the U21s in the international break a welcome change for you?
Serdar: It always feels great to be invited to play by the DFB. We play with the best young players in Germany and we’re all the same age. It’s a special atmosphere, so of course I hope that I get more opportunities to prove myself and that we can get through the qualifying stage.
DFB.de: The basketball training was surely another welcome change, which you played on Saturday morning with the Braunschweiger Löwen.
Serdar: That was a lot of fun. We can always learn something from different sports. I was really impressed by their dribbling and how they only look at their opponents.
DFB.de: Back to football: You won the first game against Israel 3-0. What did you think of the team’s performance?
Serdar: We dominated the entire game and barely allowed them a chance to get into the match. We could have been more purposeful in attack, but that’s easy to say from the bench.
DFB.de: Was it difficult having to sit on the bench or do you see yourself as one of the younger players on a learning curve.
Serdar: Of course I’d like to start every game, whether it’s for Mainz or Germany U20s or U21s. But, just like everyone else, I have to accept the coach’s decisions and use my chances. I hope to play in the game in Kosovo; I’m definitely ready for it.
DFB.de: What are you expecting from Kosovo on Tuesday evening?
Serdar: I played in the first-leg fixture in Osnabrück, which was a tough match. We were dominating the game, but Kosovo made it very difficult for us with their commitment and strong challenges. It certainly won’t be any easier in Kosovo when they’re playing in front of their home crowd.