Status: 29.11.2023, 15:20 PM
By: Nico-Marius Schmitz, Vinzent Tschirpke
In a nutshell: Konstantin Heide stepped in at short notice and immediately became the match winner. © Dpa
The German U17s thrilled the whole country and reached the World Cup final. In the middle of it all was Konstantin Heide from Hachinger, who became a hero in the semi-finals with two saved penalties. Our interview with the 17-year-old.
After the historic entry into the final of the U17 World Cup, he was the celebrated man. Konstantin Heide (17) actually only travelled to Indonesia as the second goalkeeper, but: "I joked two weeks ago that I would play from the semi-finals," said the Hachinger keeper, who secured the DFB team's way to the final with two saves. In an interview with our newspaper, he tells us how he found out about his unexpected commitment and what role his high school diploma plays for his future career.
Konstantin Heide, congratulations on reaching the final! How much adrenaline is still in the body at the moment?
In the meantime, fortunately, it works. But yesterday (the night after the semi-finals, editor's note) it was hard to fall asleep, I didn't sleep that much. Now, fortunately, everything has calmed down to some extent.
Konstantin Heide: I only found out on match day that I was playing ... I felt ready right away!
Haching president Manni Schwabl said that he looked at his mobile phone at five o'clock in the morning and saw the message from your coach that you were playing in the World Cup semi-finals. When did you hear about it and what were your first thoughts?
I only found out on match day that I was going to play after it was clear that Max Schmitt was out sick. I felt ready right away. Also, two weeks ago I joked that I was going to play from the semi-finals (laughs).
Even in Haching it was always said that there was something in the air at this tournament and that I would get my bet. From time to time, I would say to my teammates at the dinner table: 'Boys, I'll go in from the semi-finals!' The fact that it really happened this way is, of course, a blatant coincidence.
You made your third-division debut in Duisburg this season in front of 10,000 spectators, and now you've made your World Cup debut. Does the big stage just suit you?
I like to play in front of a lot of people. This way I can get into the tunnel better and be more focused. The atmosphere is just outstanding, that's why it's so much fun.
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You've had some strong saves in the game. The late equaliser was bitter, but as a goalkeeper you were still looking forward to the penalty shoot-out?
I would have preferred to win in normal time instead of getting the equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time. After all, a penalty shoot-out is always a matter of luck. Nevertheless, you can excel as a goalkeeper, so I was looking forward to it a little bit inside – even if I would have preferred to have gone straight through.
As a team, you are currently inspiring the whole of football Germany, how much do you get out of it?
You can see from game to game how the attention for us here in Indonesia is increasing, especially compared to the last European Championship. We even won the tournament back then, but you can already feel the increased attention after the semi-finals.
How have you experienced your time with the team on site so far?
We've all known each other for more than two years, so it's always cool to meet again. The time is quite relaxed: sometimes we go to the pool together, other times we chill in someone's room. And after reaching the final, the atmosphere is really good anyway.
Konstantin Heide: First high school diploma, then regular keeper in Haching – that would be unbelievable
Would you be sad if you weren't back in goal for Saturday's final or are you happy about this great opportunity, especially for the team?
I'm incredibly happy that we're in the final and have this chance as a team. But of course, I'd also be happy to get the game. I don't think I played badly in the semi-finals and gave a reason why I could play in the final. If things turn out differently, I'll do it like I did in the previous games - and cheer on my team from the bench with everything I've got.
In Haching, you should possibly become a regular goalkeeper for the new season. First high school, then number one, how does the plan sound to you?
That's the best plan there is in my situation. Graduating from high school is a huge step for me. If I don't manage to do that, it would also burn at home (laughs). Then it wouldn't work out with the regular goalkeeper in the 3rd league, because I would have to continue going to school first. That's why I have to say: First a high school diploma, then a regular keeper in Haching – that would be unbelievable.
Interview: Vinzent Tschirpke and Nico-Marius Schmitz