We talked to Germany’s main center back Julian Real, who shared his thoughts and expectations about the upcoming World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Tell us a little about the opponents you will be facing during the group stage, as well as the the team’s ambition and goals.
I believe that Italy is the front runner in our group. I am hoping we will be a little bit better than Japan and Brazil, which makes the 2nd place of the group our main goal. This will pair us up with the 3rd ranked from group C, probably New Zealand or South Africa, through which we will try to get into the top 8.
This is both, the team’s and the DSV’s ( German Swimming Federation ) set objective. We all want to make it among the eight best teams and then find out if we are able to “tease” our quarterfinal opponent, whoever it might be.
What part of Germany’s game has to improve most leading up to the World Championship?
We have been working on our man-up a lot, as the recent World League showed an abundance of exclusions. Teams with good powerplay conversions will win their games. This has always been true, but I think that it has been proven to be more important than ever. That’s why we have been putting a lot of work into that.
We have also been working on some minor tactical plays, especially with the new substitution zone, which features new potential. Apart from that, we have been working a lot on our conditioning and overall fitness.
In your opinion, who will be the main title contender in Gwangju?
Serbia would have been my main front runner for the title, but they are arriving with a new, younger squad, which is why I believe that the Croatian team will be successful in the end.
Which team could turn out to be the major positive surprise of the tournament?
Spain has been putting on a convincing performance recently. I think that with the new rules in combination with their speed and agility they could really cause a major upset. I am really excited to see what they can do. They are my secret favorite – which may not even be that secret :).