Austria at the U21 European Championship - "Coach, we will show it all" - Sport
- Austria meets Germany on Sunday evening (9 pm) in the third round of the U21 European Championship.
- With a victory, Austria would be a group first and qualified for the semi-finals.
- The German U21, however, already draws for a group victory.
Anyone who is interested in how Austrian football is doing, especially the offspring, should listen to Werner Gregoritsch. The U21 coach came to the press conference on Saturday before the decisive group match at the European Championship against Germany at Stadio Friuli in Udine. Such events can be tough, and coaches usually report that all players are well and focused. However, Gregory seemed happy to be able to tell for almost half an hour. The only thing missing was that he was pacing in front of the podium, the cable of his microphone in his hand, as entertainers do.
Gregoritsch, 61, spoke about the difference between Germany and Austria: "Humor." He characterized himself: "Hard but warm, there's a series, that's perhaps the right expression." He said about the taste in music of young footballers: "That strains my nerves." And he talked about the mentality of his compatriots: "Dear coffee and drinking a beer, working as a pro." Anyway, he curtailed, had that been the case in the past, even in football, but not anymore. Now, one had to understand him, Austrian football is doing well.
"All of Austria is keeping their fingers crossed," said the Federal President
The consideration of the U-21 European Championship varies greatly from country to country, it is not taken anywhere as serious as an EM of the A national teams. The Serbs, for example, appeared in a 1-6 draw against Germany on Thursday, as if they could have imagined the warm summer evening quite differently. The Austrians were adopted by the Federal President before leaving for Italy. Alexander Van der Bellen called the European Championship "one of the greatest adventures in sport." He said: "All of Austria is keeping their fingers crossed."
Austria has always had generations of talented footballers. But since the U21 European Championships, since 1978, the selection has never been in a finals. For seven years Gregoritsch has been responsible for the team, and even in his time, the U21 did not always have the best reputation. There were stories about non-discipline, as if the most important talent selection in the country was a kind of holiday leisure. Once, after the missed qualification for the European Championship in 2017, Gregoritsch had to explain: "The players got away, they left until two or three o'clock in the morning and when they returned they hit windows, pictures or lamps."
But already the generation of the U21 national team three years ago was a thoroughly successful sport, after all, the team failed only in the playoffs to Spain. Gregoritsch's son Michael also played with Bundesliga players at FC Augsburg. The 94 generation is doing wrong, if you call the current team, the best U21, Austria has ever had, said Gregoritsch on Saturday. Six players from that time are still there, who said three years ago, at the said celebration, after which many a lamp touts, said: "Coach, we will still show it all." This is what Gregoritsch told us before the tournament began in an interview with the courier,
30 Austrians play in the Bundesliga
Six players from the squad play in Germany, captain Philipp Lienhart in Freiburg, Marco Friedl in Bremen, Stefan Posch and Christoph Baumgartner in Hoffenheim, Kevin Danso at FC Augsburg and Mathias Honsak at Holstein Kiel in the second division. Sascha Horvath returns to Dynamo Dresden after a loan to Wacker Innsbruck. And two players are likely to move from RB Salzburg to the Bundesliga: The transfer from Hannes Wolf to RB Leipzig has been confirmed, while Xaver Schlager's move to VfL Wolfsburg seems imminent. It is also this development, which, according to Gregoritsch, illustrates the professionalization of Austrian football: "I believe that youth work is highly valued by the German experts." 30 Austrians play in the Bundesliga, more than in any other country abroad. His team was a "clear outsider", but the players would "burn to play against their friends, some of them club colleagues." This gives the game a derby character. "
Austria won the first group game against Serbia 2-0, but midfielder Wolf injured heavily, suffered an ankle fracture. The second game was lost to Denmark with 1: 3. But Gregoritsch reported during the week already congratulatory calls of former national team players Hans Krankl and Walter Schachner, "everything that has rank and name has congratulated." A draw on Sunday evening (21 clock), Germany enough for group victory. But in a win, Austria would qualify as a group first for the semifinals and for the 2020 Olympics.
Gregoritsch raved on Saturday from the German squad, Marco Richter and Luca Waldschmidt, whom he met as a teammate of his son in Augsburg and formerly at Hamburger SV. He knows the German assistant coach Antonio di Salvo, he hugged the German head coach Stefan Kuntz, who came to the subsequent press conference. "We've done a great job," Gregoritsch said. And his mood left no doubt about his conviction.