The Germany national team are beginning their preparations: before the squad steps out in front of the fans at the public training session, four DFB-Pokal winners with RB Leipzig, Benjamin Henrichs, Lukas Klostermann, David Raum and Timo Werner, spoke to DFB.de ahead of the three upcoming international games against Ukraine on Monday (18:00 CEST), Poland on 16th June (20:45 CEST) and Colombia on 20th June (20:45 CEST) about their aims with the senior team and the cup triumph against Eintracht Frankfurt.
...his injury: It’s going to be very, very tight for Monday. I’ll try to make it for the second game. The pain has been there since the weekend, so it’s hard to say. Being with the national team is always something special. Especially now, a year before the European Championship, it’s about being able to play every game and being there for the preparations. I don’t know how much I’ll play. But when the national team calls, it’s always nice to come here and be part of it.
...Flick’s public announcement on Süle: It something special to play for the national team. The requirement is that you perform at club and international level. We know how we have to perform to be here. The national coach is very open with the players and communicates very clearly what he demands. We are well advised from all sides about what we have to achieve. The fact that someone is not here will always happen for various reasons. Football is so fast-moving that it will always go one way or the other. I’m sure that the players who are not here will be again.
...public training: It’s much, much nicer for the fans. The kids can watch their idols live. It’s very interesting both for young and old fans to see the training sessions. It brings the team closer. It’s nice to be closer to the fans.
...Hansi Flick: The national coach has always had faith in me and I’ve actually always scored regularly. Now that we’re heading for the European Championship, there’s no question about having an obligation. It’s about giving the best possible performance together with the coach – at the end of which is the title. We don’t have to talk about that, because for that to be possible, we have to prepare well. I think we are in a good position as a team. We want to show that Germany is a football nation and that we can play at the top level. We will do our best for Germany on the pitch.
...the back three: On paper, we are missing an attacking player. But what’s important is how the wide players respond. You can be flexible from opposition to opposition. If you have an attacking opposition, the wide players can be more defensive, and vice versa. The system with three at the back can be adapted to the opponents.
...the anticipation for the European Championship: Our results at the last tournaments weren’t as successful as we’d imagined. In 2006, the whole country was rooting for us. The aim is to get back to that point. We have a year to build up the support. We have something to make up for and we owe it to them. It’s up to us.
...the back three: You have one more defender on the pitch. We’ve already played with a back three/five for Leipzig, so there’s no great difficulty in adapting. I hope that that aspect goes well.
...his aims with Leipzig: The two cup victories speak for the work done at the club, but we lacked the necessary consistency in the Bundesliga this season. It’s important to be consistent over the entire season. I think we could have picked up more points, but overall we are satisfied with the way the season has gone. We secured our place in the Champions League and won the DFB-Pokal.
...his move to RB Leipzig: I was well advised when I made my move. I’ve won two titles and am very happy in Leipzig. We don’t need to speak hypothetically, my development is going well and the move has paid off.
...the cup victory: We arrived here with a very good feeling. The players’ emotions vary after the end of the season, but I notice a great sense of anticipation among all of them.
...the back three: It’s pretty much a system that we already know from our clubs, since there too we have played with three at the back. The system can work well for us here. If we can bring flexibility, so that it’s more difficult for the opposition to adapt to us, it will benefit us as a team. It also depends on how the wing-backs interpret their roll and how the coach sets up tactically. The differences are not so huge. There are also situations where you play with a back four when building up play, when the number six joins in at the back. It’s easier for the rest of the defence with a number six in front. In practice, it’s a gradual transition. You can react to the opposition.
...his season with RB Leipzig: The situation has been blown up considerably. Of course, the last six months were difficult because I came back from a serious injury. I didn’t play every game for 90 minutes, but I’ve played a lot in the last few weeks. I’m very comfortable in the team, but as a player, you also have to take a back seat sometimes when the coach has found an eleven. It paid off for me that I remained patient. Looking back, I have to say that the season wasn’t all that bad and I’ll be involved as normal in the preparations.
...the first hours with the Germany side: We had a small session this morning and then a meeting, during which the coach and Rudi Völler said a few words. All in all, we are happy that we are all back. We are looking forward to the three games. After our cup win, we have even more of a boost.
...the back three: I played with that system in Hoffenheim. That’s why I’m looking forward to it as a full-back, but all the defenders here have played in several systems, which is why it should work. You can all look forward to that. I’m confident; we have great players for it. We will also continue to train with a back four too, however.
...his season with Leipzig: You always win titles as a team, no matter who is on the pitch, and we didn’t win the cup in one game. We also won important games when I was on the pitch. I’ve now won a title in my first year at Leipzig. We all have the determination and ambition to play that way in a final. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I had an amazing season with Hoffenheim two years ago, which allowed me to come into the national side. The transfer then happened very quickly for me. I ended up at a top club. It’s normal that you don’t play every game; you also have to get in line sometimes. I’m in the right place, but my ambition is to be on the pitch for big, decisive games. I’m glad that the national coach gave me the call-up. I can feel the trust there, and it means a lot to me. I want to repay that trust when I’m on the pitch.
...the autograph signing after arriving on Wednesday: I think it’s nice when you can make the kids happy. You can always take five minutes of your time. We as a national team want to give something back to the country and the fans. When you make the kids happy, you also feel the same, because I see myself as I used to be.###more###