"We don’t want to limit ourselves”

First Team

EURO 2024 instead of a summer break – Michael Gregoritsch and Philipp Lienhart talk about being with the Austrian team at the tournament.

Hi Gregerl, hi Philipp – how are you guys doing?

Gregoritsch: Really good. We were obviously disappointed after the first game, but we left with our heads held high.

Lienhart: I’m also good. I’m in full training and I’m happy that I’m feeling so fit. We were naturally disappointed after our opening game against France, but the good thing about a European Championship is that you only have three or four days until your next match, and it’s then more important than the first one you lost.

You’re playing against Poland today, who lost their first game against the Netherlands. How are you feeling before the match?

Gregoritsch: We’re extremely motivated, want to play well and win the game. At the same time though, we’re also well aware that we’re in one of the hardest groups and that it’ll be tough against Poland.

Lienhart: It will be tough, there are no easy games at a European Championship. We know how important it is and will therefore do our best to win it.

What are you doing in the days between the games, aside from training?

Lienhart: We’re mainly in the hotel. We’ve got lots of things to keep us occupied. We won’t get bored and we’re also watching the other games together. It’s fun and I think it brings us closer together as a group.

Gregerl, you told us that the team doesn’t have any specific targets for the tournament. Is that right?

Gregoritsch: Not quite. We don’t want to set ourselves any limits. If we’d said that our goal was to reach the knockouts, then we’d have been limiting ourselves. We have goals because we aren’t limiting ourselves.

Philipp, you missed almost the whole of the second half of the season with SC, but managed to get fit again in time for the tournament. It therefore definitely wasn’t a given that you’d be called up. How proud were you when you were told you’d made the final squad?

Lienhart: It was a difficult six months or so for me, I was struggling with injuries. I’m therefore really thankful to the coach for placing his trust in me. Additionally, I’m also thankful to SC because I’ve not played in a long time and the club didn’t try and stop me going to EURO 2024. I now want to pay back all this trust placed in me. Being with my national team at a European Championship is a proud moment in my career, and I’m pleased I got this chance.

You know the stadiums the tournament is being played at from the Bundesliga, but it must be a different feeling now playing in them? How would you describe it?

Gregoritsch: It does feel different because the stadiums are effectively split in half. On one side you have one set of fans, and the other set are on the other side. It’s a cool feeling and it’s amazing. Playing in a tournament like this is really enjoyable.

Lienhart: The atmosphere in the ground against France almost matched the DFB-Pokal final. Normally in the Bundesliga the whole stadium is either for you or against you, but at the European Championship it’s more 50-50. The atmosphere in Düsseldorf was good and I hope it will be again in Berlin against Poland. A lot of Austrians are there and that pleases us.

Gregerl, you completed your sport management course just before the tournament, along with teammate Maximilian Eggestein. Congratulations! How did this come about and why did you decide to do it?

Gregoritsch: I wanted to have something to fall back on after my career. It then turned out that I did it together with Egge. Thankfully I finished it before the tournament and I’m proud I completed it.


Photo: Imago Images

Your web browser ist outdated.
The web browser you are using is no longer supported.
Please download one of these free and up to date browsers.
Chrome Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge
Chrome Firefox Edge
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
MS Edge
Why should I use an up to date web browser?
Newer web browsers provide better protection against malware, data theft and other threats to your privacy and security. Up to date browsers continuously close security holes that allow attackers to enter your computer.
New Technologies
The technologies used on modern websites are better supported by newer web browsers. This both increases functionality and improves the website layout. By benefiting from new functions and extensions you will be able to surf the web faster and easier.