The German U21 got off to a tailor-made start at the European Championship with a 3-0 win against Hungary. While a tactical measure by coach Stefan Kuntz turned out to be decisive for the game, a postponed debut of the DFB-Elf could look good. The knowledge of the German victory against the host.
One person in particular was in focus before the kick-off of the first German match at the European Championship preliminary round for the German U21 team: filling the goalkeeper position. Team boss Stefan Kuntz had announced a head-to-head race in the gate in the past few days and did not want to be looked at too early in the cards.
However, if it was expected that the decision would primarily be between Leverkusen’s Lennart Grill and Frankfurt loanee Markus Schubert, then the Mainz substitute Finn Dahmen was surprisingly ahead. “We wanted to see some more training impressions. It was completely open and a gut decision,” said Kuntz, explaining his choice before the game ProSieben.
Among other things, Dahmens’ footballing skills are said to have preferred – a shortcoming that Lennart Grill was most recently undoed in Leverkusen. Early in the game, Dahmen, who was only in the game at FC Bayern for the Bundesliga team this season, showed that he is able to solve situations playfully even under pressure.
1. Baku, Dahmen, Maier – Stefan Kuntz’s measures ignite
The influence on the German success of Ridle Baku was significantly greater. Thanks to his “very good performance” (Kuntz) at VfL Wolfsburg, he has become one of the pillars of the team. His coach had planned an unusual role for him at the DFB against Hungary. In his ninth appearance for the U21, he played for the first time in the right midfield. Since the turn of the year, Baku has also been increasingly placed among the wolves.
Start-up difficulties were unmistakable. In search of his perfect positioning, Baku was sometimes too low and did not offer a pass point for striker Lukas Nmecha after he had processed the ball with his back to the goal. For a long time he was in good hands with his opponent, with the German team much more went over the left side around the Fürth David Raum.
Then came the 60th minute. Baku’s flank landed on Nmecha’s head, who nodded off effortlessly. Twelve minutes later, the Wolfsburg-based man had twice entered the goalscorer list and made the opening win perfect. “It was one of my nicest games I’ve played so far. I couldn’t have imagined it like that,” he said, speaking of an “exclamation point to the other teams”. Nevertheless, Kuntz did not want to rule out that the 22-year-old could be used again as a right-back in the further course of the preliminary round.
Another measure by Kuntz after the mixed first half (see below) also had an effect. “A few adjusting screws” were turned, the position of Arne Maier changed. He interpreted his role a little more offensively and was able to improve the lack of balance between attack and defense and the penetration power. Even if not all that glitters was gold until 1-0.