Suat Serdar: We’ve worked hard ahead of achieving our main aim
As Germany U21s prepare to face Denmark on Monday in their opening U21 European Championship group match (21:00 CEST), schalke04.de spoke to Royal Blues midfielder Suat Serdar ahead of the tournament in Italy and San Marino. Serdar spoke about his aims for the tournament, provides an insight into the team’s training and reflects on the U20 World Cup in South Korea two years ago.
Suat, you and your teammates face Denmark in your opening match of the U21 European Championship. Do you believe the team is well prepared to take on Denmark?
We have worked really hard recently and toiled during our training camp in South Tyrol to ensure we will have a successful tournament. We’ve put the final pieces together during the last couple of days here in Italy. Now we are all ready and excited for the first match to kick off.
Serbia and Austria are your other opponents in the group stages. What is your aim for the group stage?
We want to progress from the group stages, that is our only current aspiration. I can’t predict what will happen after that as there are four strong teams in our group. As always, I want to achieve as much as possible and enter the next round of the competition with the rest of the team.
Who are you sharing a room with during the European Championship?
We had individual rooms during the training camp in South Tyrol. I still don’t know the room arrangements for the European Championship. If you don’t see me on the training pitch then you will find me in the team’s communal space in the hotel. That is where we come together as a team and for example play on a games console together. There is a strong togetherness within the team.
During the training camp, you completed a variety of different activities including an American Football session with Patrick Esume, head coach of the French American Football team.
This was an amazing experience for everyone. After the session, there was enormously positive feedback from everyone in the team as it was great fun to try a professional training session in a completely different sport.
I want to achieve as much as possible and enter the next round of the competition with the team.
Had you been able to enjoy a holiday before heading to South Tyrol for the training camp?
I was in Dubai for nine days before the training camp to recharge my batteries. I now have that tingling feeling again in my feet.
If Germany U21s progress to at least the semi-finals of this summer’s European Championship, they will book a place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Does this give you extra motivation going into the tournament?
I don’t actually need any extra motivation entering a major tournament and I think my teammates have a similar opinion. We all would simply be proud if we were to make a European Championship final. Nevertheless, Olympic qualification would also be very special. We will give everything we have in every match to secure our place in Tokyo next summer.
Germany enter this tournament as defending champions. Has head coach Stefan Kuntz shared some memories of the last tournament in 2017 with you?
The coach has mentioned some of his tournament memories with us and his eyes sparkled as he reflected on the moment he led his team to the title two years ago. Some of my teammates, who were part of that title winning team, have shared some of their memories of that victory. They’ve also said how much they want to defend that title over the course of the next couple of weeks.
You have been to a major tournament before, representing Germany at the U20 World Cup in South Korea. What memories do you have of this tournament?
The time I had in South Korea was very special. It was a great honour for me to play at a U20 World Cup. We had a lot of fun together as a team even if our tournament adventure came to a heartbreaking end with the round of sixteen defeat to Zambia after extra time. I would like to achieve more with the team in this tournament.