Max Kruse had to smile a bit himself whether the clothing with the federal eagle still fits him. After six years of abstinence from the German national team, a lot has changed. “M doesn’t fit me anymore, I should actually wear an L,” joked the leader of the German Olympic footballers. Joking aside: “Of course it’s a great feeling to be there again.” The 33-year-old by far the oldest player will be in the group games on July 22nd against Brazil, three days later against Saudi Arabia and on July 28th against the Cote d’Ivoire to orchestrate an Olympic success story like 2016, when Germany was only defeated by hosts Brazil in the final. Kruse, who immediately shared his first impressions of the Olympics on social media from landing in Tokyo to moving into the rooms at the training camp in Wakayama, is now dreaming of more. He didn’t have to be involved in the bonus negotiations as a poker face: “We’re going there to get the gold medal – it’s worth more than any money.”
The DFB template from the vegan model professional who turns off the light every evening at 10 p.m. does not fit over him, but the free spirit Kruse is definitely on fire for the football tournament under the sign of the rings. His reasoning: “Many of us already watched the Olympics when we were little. That’s why it’s an honor to be part of it. «Someone is enthusiastic about more than just Nutella rolls, PS monsters or poker tournaments.
The all-rounder from Union Berlin cannot understand the petty blocking attitude of many clubs and players. The question should rather be, he says, “What cannot appeal to the Olympic Games: For many athletes, it is the greatest thing in the world to hold such a medal in your hands. It should be the same for us footballers. “If it is now the case that after a flood of rejections,” Team D Football “only has 18 instead of 22 players, then you just have to make the best of it:” As long as we get eleven people together, we’ll try everything to get gold. “
National coach Stefan Kuntz consciously opted for the 14-time senior national player, whom national coach Joachim Löw removed from the squad because of private escapades in the spring of 2016 – and never pardoned him again. In personal conversations, however, Kuntz quickly sensed that Kruse was one of those footballers “who said from the start that they really wanted to go to the Olympics, who had reported from time to time out of self-interest.” uncomfortable guys on board in order to create added value for the group with their integration. The 272-time Bundesliga player (85 goals), who is planned as a hanging tip behind club colleague Cedric Teuchert, is “a bit more unadjusted, more unpredictable on the pitch, but also more ripped off”.
The 58-year-old is convinced that Kruse, as a completely idiosyncratic leadership figure, can hold the big picture together, especially since only four of the current U21 European champions are there: “A certain looseness and a good team spirit have to be there again.” Due to the Corona restrictions one will »hang a hell of a lot on each other: If something is wrong internally, you only get a mild breeze out and no power blower«. Kruse promises Kuntz: “I will ensure the good atmosphere in the hotel.” And when playing cards and game consoles have to be used for that.
It is of course presumptuous that the German Olympic selection repaired the loss of reputation of the senior national team, which was again disappointing at the European Championship. But Kruse would already like to help “that German football belongs to the elite again in the world.” The Olympic Games in particular are an event at which sports enthusiasts from all over the world would look at it. “That’s why we try to make every German proud.” By the way, he would like to see the basketball players himself. Sports fans in Tokyo can also easily imagine stopping by while fencing or tennis. Which assumes that Kruse and Co. make it to the finals, otherwise the door to the Olympic Village will remain locked.