Rebecca Grote, German U21 team captain
Rebecca Grote, German U21 team captain
(Photo: FIH)

Rebecca Grote is captain of the German U21 team at Women’s ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup Mönchengladbach 2013. The 20-year-old striker from Rot-Weiss Köln talks to FIH.ch about playing the World Cup on home soil and the huge expectations related with hosting the tournament.

FIH.ch: Hi Rebecca, many thanks for talking to us. So, how is the German team doing? How satisfied are you with your preparation so far?
Rebecca Grote: “I am satisfied with our preparation. My team is doing a great job and we are working very hard. There are ups and downs but we are on a good path.”

FIH.ch: The ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup will be played in Mönchengladbach’s Hockeypark. What do you think of this massive stadium?
Grote: “It is a great honour for us to play in such a huge stadium. We all watched the Men’s World Cup 2006 and connect great emotions with this pitch. It is a dream for all of us to play there.”

FIH.ch: Will it be an advantage to play on home soil?
Grote: “On the one hand it is an advantage because we feel comfortable in the surrounding. We know the food, the language, etc. and many people can support us. On the other hand playing in your own country brings a certain pressure because the expectations are very high.”

FIH.ch: Do you expect many spectators to come?
Grote: “In general we would not expect as many spectators as the senior women’s and men’s teams but the entire German Hockey Federation promoted the World Cup a lot and we hope that people will come from all over the country and cheer for us. Mönchengladbach is located perfectly, so people from other European countries have the chance to come and watch.”

FIH.ch: Media interest increases every day. Is this something you and your team-mates need to get used to? How do you like it?
Grote: “Our focus is on the World Cup, of course we enjoy the interest in the tournament and us as a team, but it does not effect us in our preparation.”

FIH.ch: Germany will be facing Belgium, Spain and England in Pool D. What do you think of this Pool?Grote: “We knew from the beginning that no matter what the pool would look like, our priority is on our game. We have played these teams multiple times and know our and their strengths and weaknesses.”

FIH.ch: Germany finished 6th in Boston 2009. What do you want to achieve in Mönchengladbach?
Grote: “Our goal is to finish better than previously. Of course we will go game by game throughout the tournament, but our long-term goal is reaching the semi-finals. And then, everything is open.”

FIH.ch: What are the strengths of this German team?
Grote: “Our team has a variety of different players with high quality on each position. All these different characters sum up into a creative team which is willing to give it all for the same dream.”

FIH.ch: How does it feel to be team captain of host nation Germany?
Grote: “It is a great honour for me to have the support of the staff and team that I can lead them during the home championship. Hopefully I can be a great help on and off the field. But in the end it is the work of each and every one of us that matters to reach our common goal!”