On Saturday afternoon, the Germany U21s team landed in Dublin ahead of their European Championship qualification game against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday (Kick off 18.30 CEST). Germany currently lead qualification group 5 with 16 points, Ireland closely follow with 14 points. On Saturday evening, Stefan Kuntz’s team trained on the beach in Sandymount. In conversation with DFB.de, Freiburg’s full-back Pascal Stenzel talks about the upcoming duel with Ireland and his personal development with club and country.
DFB.de: Pascal Stenzel, on Saturday evening you and the team had a somewhat unusual training session. Can you describe what you did?
Pascal Stenzel: We took the bus to a nearby beach and did some light passing drills and went for a jog. It was fun and a welcome change to standard training sessions. It was good to see some of the local area. We were training during low tide, but afterwards it only took a few minutes for the tide to come in.
DFB.de: Let’s take a look back to last Friday and the game against Mexico. What did you make of your team’s performance?
Stenzel: The whole team performed well and we got a deserved win. We put into practice everything we have been preparing in training. We were particularly good going forward. Personally I’m happy to have got an assist.
DFB.de: On Tuesday you will face Ireland in a qualification game for the upcoming European championship. A win could put you five points clear at the top of the group. How is the preparation going?
Stenzel: Our focus was on this game long before we arrived here in Dublin. Mexico was a good opponent for a friendly as they made us work hard. However, here in Ireland the game is going to be closer, more aggressive and intense. We know what to expect and we are staying focused in our preparations. In qualification so far Ireland have only conceded four times, it’s going to take all we have got to get the win. I’m confident we will be successful though. We’ve been working towards this game.
DFB.de: How is head coach Stefan Kuntz preparing the team?
Stenzel: The coach has found the right balance of casualness and seriousness. He likes to see us have fun on the pitch and has a lot of faith in us. He has also set some clear targets. It’s a good mix and helps us stay focused on the game.
DFB.de: In just two and a half years you’ve played 46 Bundesliga games for SC Freiburg and made four appearances for the Germany U21s side. What do you make of your development so far and what targets do you have for the future?
Stenzel: I have definitely not finished developing; there are always things that you can do better. I want to be consistently performing well in the Bundesliga and for the U21s. I want to be a regular starter for Freiburg and the U21s.