U21 Championship Qualification
0 - 1
(0 - 0)
Israel U21
Germany U21
N. Katterbach (60)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bella-Kotchap speaks on youth team's performance: "Morale is sky high."

The Germany U21s certainly wouldn't have been able to secure a victory against Israel on Tuesday night were it not for the rock-solid defending of youth international Armel Bella-Kotchap. 

The 20-year-old--able to rejoin the team late after initially being ruled out with COVID--spoke on the state of the DFB Juniors now that they're only one point away from 2023 European Championship qualification. 

The defender also addressed the current situation his club team (VfL Bochum) finds itself in. 
After the German U21s eked out a narrow victory in Israel on Tuesday evening, rising German youth star Armel Bella-Kotchap sat down with Carsten-Schröter-Lenz of German footballing magazine Kicker before it was time to board the plane back to Germany. After what had been a hectic week for the VfL Bochum defender, the 20-year-old insisted that all the stress of COVID-testing and travel didn't really impede him.

"I felt good and had a strong team supporting me," the Paris-born German youth international told his interviewer, "We supported each other and went into every duel together. That's our mentality and one can see how we've grown together as a team. Morale is sky high. We'll continue in that vein."

Asked about specific areas in which the team representing Germany at the highest youth level could improve, Bella-Kotchap cited the difficulties the squad encountered playing without team captain Jonathan Burkardt. The youngster denied that there was any sense of unease amongst the players.

"I don't think it was nervousness," he noted, "We were aware that a very aggressive opponent coming at us. They defended compactly and didn't allow for large gaps. After about 15 minutes, we were able to gain access."

"We realized fairly early that we weren't able to do much with the ball," he continued, "So we tried harder to get the counterattack rolling in the second half. We focused on getting the ball to the last man. Thank goodness we managed that."

Bella-Kotchap--in light of his rising market value--will undeniably be a sough-after target during the coming summer transfer window. For now, however, most of his focus remains on helping his current German club team avoid relegation. Although Bochum retain a favorable points advantage in this regard, the 1848ers still have much work to do in order to escape the drop.

The recent forfeit of a match against Gladbach definitely requires a positive response from the team. The trend of two consecutive league losses must be arrested. Bochum face tough tests in the form of Hoffenheim, Leverkusen, Freiburg, and Dortmund over the next month.

"We have to travel a difficult path over the next few weeks," Bella-Kotchap noted, "We're nevertheless determined to stay in the league and will give everything to achieve that."

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