Lens is third in the table behind Budgetkroesus Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille in France, Danso is not only the defender, but also a long-running favorite. Born in Styria, he is one of only three outfield players in Ligue 1 to have not missed a minute of the game this season. “I took another step in self-confidence,” explained the 1.90 m giant. “My goal is that I play every minute and that the coach can rely on me.”
Club trainer Franck Haise, who already described Danso as one of the best central defenders in Europe in February, can do that. “I’m glad he sees it that way. He knows how much I’m investing in,” said Danso at the ÖFB team camp in Windischgarsten. “Right now I’m in good form.” He’s also working on giving commands and being a leader on the pitch. “It’s a little bit inside me, because I always have a lot of drive to perform.”
In the past, Danso has primarily impressed with his physique. In the meantime, the twelve-time international is also getting along better with the ball. “I made another good step in the game build-up. It gets a bit of a habit. The playing time helps enormously, the self-confidence is there.” He tries to always be highly concentrated and “to draw attention to small things”. For example, it annoyed him greatly not to have kept a clean sheet against Azerbaijan.
Participation in the European and World Championships as a major goal
With only 21 goals conceded in 28 league games, Lens has the best defensive in the league of the runners-up. Danso does not want to deal with a possible change in the summer for the time being. It is his second season in the north of France, the contract runs until 2026. “I take things as they come. I’ll only deal with it when there is something concrete. ”He wants to concentrate on the ten remaining league games with Lens. “I feel very comfortable there, then we’ll see.”
Danso grew up in England from the age of six and played for FC Augsburg as a junior. The son of Ghanaian parents, who was born in Voitsberg, went through all youth teams in the ÖFB. “I have dreams and goals. One of them is to be at a European and World Cup with Austria,” he emphasized. The next step towards the EM 2024 in Germany should succeed on Monday. “It can also be difficult against Estonia,” warned Danso. “We have to remain highly concentrated on the ball and always be wide awake. But if we play a good game, we will also win it.”
Mwene wants to become a fixed starter
His neighbor Phillipp Mwene saw it in a similar way. “We’re aware that we’re favorites and we accept it that way,” said the PSV Eindhoven full-back. “But we have to push ourselves to the limit in every game.” Mwene also has participation in the European Championship “very high up” on his list. “If you look at the squad, it’s a team that should be there,” said the 29-year-old.
He himself wants to become a “fixed part” of the ÖFB squad. Mwene has played four international matches so far, and he has always played in the last three games. Before moving to Eindhoven in the summer of 2021, he was repeatedly thrown back by injuries in Mainz. “The performances weren’t that consistent either. Now my aim is to always be there.”
Mwene switched from right to left defense and back again in the game against Azerbaijan. “It’s always better when you can play more than one position,” said the Viennese, who moved from the Austria Academy to the youth team at VfB Stuttgart at the age of 16. In Eindhoven he has developed not least because of the tight schedule with many international games. “It helped me to play at the top level every three days, to always have to be there on the dot.”