UEFA.com speaks to Germany U21 keeper Marc-André ter Stegen about this month's finals, Manuel Neuer "the benchmark" and being taught to join the outfield players.
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UEFA.com: Germany were very impressive in Under-21 qualification; how highly do you rate your side?
Marc-André ter Stegen: You have to be 100% focused in every match you play. When you manage that, you can rely on your quality as a team. I can't pick out any individual players, but we have really great ones in our side. We have to make it through the group stage, no matter what. Anything can happen in the semi-finals and final – that is where we want to be. For every one of us, it would be great to win this trophy. We are working towards that and I hope that as many of us as possible can take what they have learned from the U21s into the senior team.
UEFA.com: Germany produces so many great goalkeepers; why do you think that is?
Ter Stegen: There is a very high standard of youth development here, and goalkeepers are made to play football – to join in with the outfield players. That's applied from a very early age in Germany, meaning almost every goalkeeper playing in the Bundesliga is pretty skilful with the ball at his feet. Currently we're spoilt for choice in Germany.
UEFA.com: Do you look up to senior goalkeeper Manuel Neuer? Has he given you any tips?
Ter Stegen: We haven't met that many times, but Manuel Neuer is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Every goalkeeper wants to make a name for himself and leave an impression, and Manuel plays for a pretty big team in Bayern München who are challenging for every trophy every year. You have to respect that.
Manuel, for most people, is a great benchmark for any goalkeeper. Of course, even he makes mistakes, but the way he works to fix them is top class. Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world.
UEFA.com: You are up against Denmark, hosts the Czech Republic and Serbia in your U21 group. What do you know about them?
Ter Stegen: It's difficult to follow all the players, because it's still just U21 level and not everybody plays regularly for their clubs. Every match will be a difficult challenge, so you have to be extremely focused and look at yourselves first. I think we're the strongest team in the group, so we should show that on the pitch too.