Julian Brandt has highlighted Germany’s “ambition” as they prepare to start their World Cup qualifying campaign in Norway on Sunday.
The 20-year-old is a new face in the Germany squad having made his debut in 2016, but the Bayer Leverkusen winger insists he feels he belongs in international football.
Germany warmed up for the Norway clash with a 2-0 home win against Finland in Bastian Schweinsteiger’s final international appearance and Brandt is targeting a fast start to their qualification campaign.
“Against Finland we wanted to ensure that Basti gets a nice farewell,” Brandt told the official DFB website.
“He was supposed to have as much fun as possible in his final game.
“Against Norway we want to and have to win. You can feel the ambition in the team.
“Only the group’s top finisher qualifies directly for Russia and that’s why we desperately want to start with three points.
“I certainly feel like I’m part of the team now. You get to know the people better and better and it’s not like everything is new to you anymore. The acceptance from the others has also increased. And that will continue to be the case from game to game.”
Brandt featured heavily in Germany’s run to the final of the Olympic Games where they lost on penalties to hosts Brazil – and the 20-year-old accepted that, with hindsight, he is glad he was not selected for Euro 2016 by Joachim Low.
“Obviously the national team is always the biggest and there is nothing that comes close to playing for them,” Brandt said.
“But I’m also a realist and know that if I had made the squad for France, I wouldn’t have got much playing time. In Brazil I played six games over the full 90 minutes.
“My preparation for the tournament was rather unusual, but I was at the same physical level as the other players. And I now have a silver medal to show for it.”