Two goals, one template: led by the outstanding Ridle Baku, the German U21 national team started the European Championship with a job win. The team of DFB coach Stefan Kuntz defeated hosts Hungary after only two days of preparation for the start of the group stage deservedly 3-0 (0-0), but without the ailing hopefuls Youssoufa Moukoko also revealed weaknesses in the final before the break.
Lukas Nmecha from RSC Anderlecht (61st) and Wolfsburg Baku (66th / 73rd), who was nominated by national coach Joachim Löw in November, met in Szekesfehervar for the DFB team, which had only flown to Hungary on Monday. With another win in the top game against the Netherlands, the 2019 finalist can buy the ticket for the quarter-finals on Saturday, which will not take place until the end of May.
“That was one of my nicest games I’ve played so far. I couldn’t have imagined it like that,” said Matchwinner Baku at ProSieben: “That was an exclamation point for the others too. We can be very satisfied with today’s performance. ” Kuntz was also relieved: “The 1-0 was the door opener, and then everyone played free football. I’m really happy that we managed it that way.”
Right from the start, the game went almost in one direction: The DFB team controlled the action, had significantly more possession and also seemed physically present. Although Kuntz, who was already acting as the successor to Löw, had an experienced starting line-up, there was a lack of ideas and punch against the low-lying hosts.
A shot from distance by Niklas Dorsch (KAA Gent / 12th) remained the most dangerous action of the first half. On the other hand, goalkeeper Finn Dahmen was only asked for the sometimes risky back passes. Dahmen, who only played one Bundesliga game for Mainz in his career, was given preference over Lennart Grill (Bayer Leverkusen). “The gut feeling has decided,” said the DFB coach.
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While Kuntz was getting more and more impatient on the sidelines, one attack after another fizzled out. David Raum from SpVgg Greuther Fürth, the best assists in the 2nd Bundesliga, hit one cross after the other into the penalty area – but both Nmecha, seven times successful in qualifying, and Salzburg striker Mergim Berisha acted without luck.
BVB prodigy Moukoko watched the match differently than planned only from the stands, muscle problems prevented the U21 debut of the youngest player in European Championship history. “Our doctors are optimistic that we can do that in the next few days,” said Kuntz.
After the break, the knot finally burst: First Baku crossed Nmecha, who provided relief with a header from the textbook. Only five minutes later, Germany stepped up: The tireless room flanked once more, Baku only had to push in. After Berisha’s second crossbar hit within a minute, Baku even made it 3-0.
Hungary: 12 Bese – 18 Bolla, 4 Balogh, 3 Mocsi, 19 German – 15 Kata, 8 Mezei (78th Kovacsreti) – 6 Palincsar (60th Hinora), 16 Szendrei, 7 Kiss (78th Skribek) – 10 Szöke (60th place) Biro).
Germany: 12 Dahmen / Mainz 05 – 2 Vagnoman / Hamburger SV, 5 Pieper / Arminia Bielefeld, 4 Schlotterbeck / Union Berlin, 3 Raum / SpVgg Greuther Fürth (67th Jakobs / 1st FC Cologne) – 6 Dorsch / KAA Gent (75th Janelt / Brentford FC), 8 Maier / Hertha BSC (75th Özcan / 1st FC Cologne) – 21 Baku / VfL Wolfsburg, 11 Berisha / RB Salzburg (76th Klimowicz / VfB Stuttgart), 9 Burkardt / Mainz 05 (67th Krüger / Erzgebirge Aue) – 10 Nmecha / RSC Anderlecht.