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How Seewald and Grealitsch want to compensate for the failure of the strike

How Seewald and Grealitsch want to compensate for the failure of the strike

With Xaver Schlager out due to injury, Nicholas Seewald and Florian Grealitsch will play particularly important roles in the European Championship.

Already on the pitch together against Italy in 2022: Nikola Seewald (left) and Florian Grealitsch.
Pictures of a pocket

After Xavier Schlager's knee injury, the team faces a special challenge: it must help Nikola Seewald and Florian Grealich at the European Championship in Germany to make up for the loss of the all-important midfield dynamo. While Seiwald is indispensable as a 'vacuum cleaner' in front of the defence, Grealish's composure on the ball can be particularly important against opponents deep. Upon reaching the last 16 of the European Championship in 2021, the Hoffenheim pro was a key player as a leader in the midfield.

At that time, under coach Franco Foda, they played a completely different style of football than they do now under Ralf Rangnick. “We are more settled now,” Grealish said on Thursday at the ÖFB team camp in Vienna. However, the group's competitors are also in a different league than they were three years ago. In addition to the Netherlands, France and Poland are waiting for the tournament this time instead of North Macedonia and Ukraine.

The Poles, opponents in the second group match on June 21, are likely to leave the match to the Austrians. Grealitsch stressed that ÖFB will remain true to the pressing line it used on June 17 against the favored Frenchman. “This is our great strength. We have a foundation that we know is solid. We can rely on it in difficult situations or stages.” Depending on the discount, there will only be minor adjustments.

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Grealish has already returned to full training

Grealish hopes to get his chance. “When I play, I try to use my strengths so I can set the pace with the ball.” But he can also operate against the ball, confirmed the 28-year-old, who played almost exclusively at centre-back for the club in the spring. It will not be difficult for him to adapt to his previous position in central midfield. “For me, there's not much difference in the way I play.”

The black eye that the Lower Austria player suffered on Tuesday in the match against Serbia (2-1) should have no further impact. “It looks worse than it is.” But during the match, he felt a little dizzy and had a headache. Grealish trained fully again on Thursday.

Three years ago, Grealish started the European Championship as a reserve player and became a regular during the tournament. The international, who made 42 appearances (one goal), said: “When I had the opportunity, I wanted to pay it all in. It worked out well at the time.” He added: “I hope that things go well again in the European Championship, that I can help the team with my performance and that we can go far.” He doesn't think much about his chances of being published. “There will definitely not be eleven players playing all the matches.”

Seewald is gaining muscle mass

Seiwald would be a candidate for this. The 23-year-old played all 14 ÖFB matches at the full distance. In his first season at RB Leipzig he gained a lot of muscle mass. The Salzburg player explained: “I tried to exert more physical effort because I did not play many matches.” In the end, there were 21 league matches, but the ball-catcher only started playing regularly after clubmate Schlager tore his cruciate ligament.

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“It was a big step for Leipzig, there is a completely different competition than in Salzburg,” Seewald said. Schlager's loss at the European Championships is very painful. “But we have to make up for it as a team.” He has already succeeded in forming a duo in front of the defense with both Grealich and Konrad Laimer. Marcel Sabitzer, who is considered ÖFB's more attacking side, appears to be another option.

“It's my job to be a stabilizer in the midfield, collect the balls and bring them to my teammates,” said Seewald, explaining his role as the “electric cleaner,” as he calls himself. And on Saturday (6pm, live! on Kicker) in the dress rehearsal for the European Championship in St. Gallen against Switzerland, he set his sights on a seventh successive international win – and therefore a DFB record. “That's what's on our minds. It's about taking the self-confidence we have now into the European Championships and traveling to Berlin with bigger boxes.”

Injured captain David Alaba, who, according to Seewald, has already provided valuable advice in his role as “non-playing captain”, will also be able to help. “He's almost like a coach, but he's also played for the team. He knows exactly what we're missing. He does it really well.”