Leipzig duo looking to fire Germany into semis
Interview with RB Leipzig duo Abouchabaka and Kuhn ahead of the quarter-finals
Memories of the 7-1 win in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ semi-final
Kuhn: "Elias will set me up"
Germany’s youngsters are back in the quarter-finals of a FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time since 2011. Back then in Mexico, they went on to win the third-place match in a seven-goal thriller against Brazil – whom they will be facing in India in the last eight, reprising one of world football’s marquee match-ups.
Before the match, FIFA.com sat down with Elias Abouchabaka and Nicolas Kuhn, the RB Leipzig duo who have played together twice for the German U-17 team, both matches ending in victories. The young bulls are hoping that they will be picked in the starting XI against Brazil and showcase their skills from the off.
We asked them to introduce each other and tell us how they are preparing for the showdown with A Seleção.
What are your team-mate’s strengths out on the pitch? Kuhn: First and foremost, his ability to read play and his overall football intelligence. Elias is great at setting up chances. We have been playing together since 2015 and we have built up a good understanding.
Abouchabaka: Nick has great acceleration and can maintain his speed, even when he has the ball at his feet. He is technically outstanding and a really good dribbler.
What do you think the other needs to work on? Abouchabaka: I hope that he can avoid injuries as much as possible. Otherwise, I think he can improve physically and in terms of his presence.
Kuhn: Elias is working on his speed. Other than that, you can always work on improving your weaker foot.
What is your team-mate like off the pitch? *Kuhn:* Elias is a really nice guy, we get on well and he’s usually in a good mood. He tends to be the one who comes out with a funny one-liner.
Abouchabaka: Nick is simply a great team-mate. This is the third season that we’ve been together at RB Leipzig, so there are lots of things now that are second nature to us, and that’s a real advantage.
And what is the main difference between the two of you? *Abouchabaka: Nick’s game is a tiny bit more attacking than mine. He really pushes forward, he plays pretty much as a winger. I’m more of your classic number ten, playing all around the midfield, laying the ball off and setting up chances. In terms of personality, Nick is a bit cheeky, and I’m a lot calmer (laughs)*.
***Abouchabaka versus Kuhn
Height – 1.84m versus 1.66m
Stronger foot – Left versus left
Jersey number – 10 versus 11
Favourite player – Zinedine Zidane versus Lionel Messi
Nickname – Eli versus Nick*
Elias, what is the first thing you think of when you think about Brazil? With Brazil versus Germany, I obviously think about the 7-1 win our full international team had at the 2014 World Cup. That was an incredible performance. But we’re here to write our own history. We weren’t the ones who won 7-1, so for us it’s a whole different match – one that we are desperate to win, and one that we can win. Nicolas, why will you be the ones to make it through to the semi-final? We have the quality and the team spirit to win the World Cup quarter-final. And Elias will set me up to seal the match.
The Brazilians have only let in one goal at this World Cup. Elias, how are you going to break down the defence of the Seleção? The coaching staff will analyse the Brazilians in depth and then we’ll find the right solutions. We are a very good attacking team, and we know that we can always rely on that. I’m very confident that we will be able to create chances. We just need to put them away.