Before their Nations League match away against Germany, both Marco Rossi and András Schäfer discussed the retirement of Ádám Szalai, and the Union Berlin midfielder revealed that many of his club’s fans will be rooting for the Hungarian national team on Friday.
Hungary’s men’s national team arrived in Leipzig on Thursday afternoon and almost immediately the team’s official pre-match press conference took place, Rossi first being asked about the retirement of Ádám Szalai by waiting journalists:
“The situation regarding Ádám Szalai has always been a bit special. Everyone has a good relationship with our captain so it isn’t easy to say goodbye to him, but such is life. All our players want to give Ádám a nice farewell gift; a good game and a good result”.
After these two matches, the national team’s head coach admitted that his side had had much less time to prepare for two very difficult opponents than for their previous fixtures at the the start of the summer.
“We are missing several players, but we are not focusing on absentees, but on those who are with us. I feel that the few days we’ve had have been successful. Both Germany and Italy are aiming to win this group and their fate is still in their own hands. It will be tough for us, but we’re prepared. Our aim is always to come off the pitch having done everything we can to give a good performance. However, the team should not be expected to score points against Germany or Italy. A very difficult assignment awaits us on Friday in Leipzig and now I just want to focus on that; I don’t want to be updated about the scoreline in the England-Italy match being played at the same time”.
Marco Rossi also emphasised as well that the team has to keep its feet on the ground, and for him it would be a good result at the end of the group stage if Hungary could remain in division 1 of the Nations League: “In both matches, we want to show the best of ourselves and leave the pitch in such a way that our fans can be proud of us!”
Alongside Rossi was András Schäfer who scored against Germany at last summer’s European Championship, a memory which is of course still a particularly fond one for him.
“I’m very happy to come back to Germany, because almost my whole life has changed since I scored that goal in Munich at last summer’s Euros. With the retirement of Ádám Szalai, the team is losing a very valuable player and personality, but I don’t want to talk about him in a negative context, but rather I’d like to enjoy the last two matches with him,” Schäfer explained.
The Union Berlin midfielder also said that many of his club’s fans had told him that they would be supporting the Hungarian national team on Friday:
“It’s an advantage that I play in a higher-ranked league every week, but which league we are in is not so important from the point of view of this match, because a national team match is always different from a round of league fixtues. I don’t want to think about points calculations; staying in this division is our primary goal and if we succeed, then we can dream bigger,” Schäfer concluded.
The Germany squad:
Goalkeepers: Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Robin Gosens (Internazionale), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham United), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Süle (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Maximilian Arnold (VfL Wolfsburg), Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg), Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig), Leroy Sané (Bayern Munich), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich)
Slavko Vinčić of Slovenia will be the referee in this Nations League match, while his assistants will be Tomaž Klančnik and Andraž Kovačič. The fourth referee will be Nejc Kajtazovic and the video referee will be Matej Jug.